Where did these tears of joy streaming down my cheeks come from?
One kid reached out to hold my hand with his small dirt-encrusted fingers. Then somehow, spontaneously, we all held hands and started walking in a V-shaped chain like migrating geese. I was at point.
In the quiet of predawn, wordlessly, we meandered away from the houses. Behind us the hushed sounds of an awakening village: chickens clucking, roosters crowing, adults talking quietly as they started the morning cooking fires. It all seemed so peaceful, so isolated from the rest of the world.
Our little migrating flock wandered across the stubble of harvested fields. With the wide eyes of a fresh-off-the-boat immigrant, I looked back over the bobbing heads of the children towards the collection of thatched-roofed mud huts. Tears of joy streamed down my cheeks. I was swimming in a river of bliss. “This is real. This isn’t Disneyland,” I whispered to myself.