"A New Friend" by Kumar Dixit

I made a new friend. His name is Shermai. He lives across the street from Eden Garden Orphanage in a dangerous shanty town that nobody dares enters. Shermai asked me if I wanted to see where he lives. "Of course I do", I thought, but this is a very dangerous area. The last time New Hope was here, some in our group witnessed a gang rape about to take place in the middle of the road, across the street from where Shermia lives. "Yes," I blurted out. "Oh no", I thought.

He smiled with happiness, exposing his brown teeth that were slowly eroding (we need a some dentists to come with us during our May trip). We entered the entrance to the villiage, a cluster of homes held up by rocks, discarded fabric, curtains, and tin. We hiked down a hill to a small home in a heavily wooded area. As we walked around the home, I came to realize that Shermai lives in a back room behind the house.

He opened the door, and invited me in. It was a small room no more than 5'x8'. One room, the size of my bathroom at home in the United States. "Oh my," I explained, looking for adjectives to describe my appreciation of his home. He sat on his bed - and old hospital bed that no longer worked. I wondered how in the world did he manage to get this three hundred pound metal bed down the hill and through his back door.

There was a huge smiled on his face as he explained to me that this is where he lived. He was proud. Even though there was no electricty, running water, or windows in his room, he was content.

The next morning, I spotted Shermai sitting in church. The the worship service was over, he stood up and proudly walked over to me and extended his hand to welcome me into his church. I stood up and we embraced. I made a friend.