By Nel de Borst
The little boy looked anxiously at the woman. If only he could have crept under the chair so that no one could find him. He was so afraid….
He had been traveling for 3 days. An old lady had put him in a small boat, along with 10 other children, who were all as frightened as he was. They hardly slept, and stayed huddled close together during the long journey. This morning they had arrived in Java and were told the sad news that they would be going to different orphanages. This small group of children (sharing the same language, background and experiences) had so wanted to stay together.
Now he will live in Java, where it is peaceful; where there is no sound of gunfire; where people are not being killed or wounded. Here he is going to live in a fine orphanage, and have his very own bed. He had also been given nice clothes and shoes, and a big box of coloured pencils and paper for drawing. He is very glad with all his new things.
The little boy looks warily at the woman from under his lashes. She has warm, friendly eyes. Eyes that remind him of his mother. Oh, how he longed to be with his mother again; to go back to his island home and all the people he loved.
Tears ran slowly down his cheeks. Trembling, he saw again how those angry shouting men had rushed towards them; how they had cut off his grandmother’s head; how, screaming, they had torn his mother from him and dragged her away – to where? He didn’t know.
Another boy had grabbed hold of him and together they ran to the woods. There were many other children there. Children like him who had lost their parents.
One day, when he was big and strong, he would return. One day he would take revenge on all those angry men who had brought so much sadness to the people of Ambon.
The woman smiled at the little boy, only 5 years old. Gently she stroked his head. She prayed silently for wisdom and strength, and that, in time, with love and care, the intense hatred and fear in those very young eyes would one day be gone.