The first warning sign was his aggressive push at my arm as I tried to speak to him. Then we saw the furious stare, and the slow pacing around the room.
We were at a local orphanage for a holiday program, and this was the crafts and card games part of the day. Everyone was particularly excited about the facepainting, and soon the room filled with tigers and butterflies. However his face remained unpainted, but coloured with rage. My friend saw it too, and we sent for help as we saw him fall more into that inner anger. I silently prayed for peace, and remembered how little I know of these children’s stories.
Away from the group he calmed down, and I next saw him observing the facepainting. I realised I had been afraid of that simmering fury, so I approached him, looking to restore peace. He nodded that he wanted a tiger face and as I painted I hoped that I communicated, across age, race and language, that he is cherished and loved. What else could I offer in that moment to this hurting child? When I finished, he wouldn’t roar, but he did smile.
This is the fourth post in our ‘Tools of the Trade’ series – stories of the objects weaved into our life in Sosh.
Previous posts in the series: