The very first day, the interpreters had explained to the girls that if they learned to sew very well, to be able to decorate clothes and design new clothes, they could earn a living for themselves that would keep them off the streets and out of the fields. They had made excited little sounds and whispered to each other, eyes wide, and brought friends back with them the next day. By the end of the first week, Meg had thirty students when she had been told to expect ten. That little success had carried her along for two more weeks, until the interpreter had to move on to the next group of missionaries who came down for the summer, to build new houses in the compound and teach English. Suddenly, she was back to square one, unable to communicate. Sewing didn't have to be a quiet occupation, and her girls did whisper among themselves, but for the most part she could have been by herself in the long, single-room building that served as church sanctuary and dining hall and music lessons room. Another gripe she couldn't silence -- her sewing group was constantly interrupted to set up for meals or for the choir to practice.
What she wouldn't give to be part of the laughing, talking games and crafts group over on the other side of the compound.
She might as well have a huge wall standing between her and the rest of the orphanage, staff and children and visiting missionary teams.
Meal time or meeting up with her bunkmates in the evening before devotions and bed wasn't much of a relief. For the last three days, the girls in the bunks around her were gaga over the new doctor who had shown up to work in the clinic on the other side of the mission compound. It might as well have been on the other side of the planet. Unless one of her girls cut themselves with their scissors or poked themselves in the eyes or tried to pierce their ears with their needles, Meg had no reason to go to the clinic.After two nights of listening to whispers about "He's so cute," and "I wonder if he would mind training a nurse," and "Do you think he has a girlfriend?" and variations on the theme, more appropriate to middle school girls, she decided she didn't care if she ever met the man. She wasn't even sure what his name was. Meg had met Dr. Frisco the day she arrived, to go over her medical documents and get a basic physical and to warn her about the various health hazards in the area -- water, sun stroke, scorpions (thanks, so much!), and other insects. She hadn't needed to go back to the clinic and planned not to need to.