Sunday, May 30, 2010

“Fearing for my Life”

About that time, Vickie asked me to run to her jeep to get the pile of quilts we had brought with to distribute to the women. I don’t know where my team mates Michelle and Cathy were at the time, all I remembered were the stern instructions that Jen and Dave had repeatedly given us. “Don’t go anywhere by yourself at anytime for any reason.” We had also been told how the slums were filled with crime and any white person was seen as someone with great wealth, so be extra careful there.

I looked at Vickie and took the keys to the Jeep which she was offering me. Surely she knew what she was doing, she wouldn’t possibly tell me to do something that would endanger me.

I went out the front door of the church and looked up the gentle slope to where the Jeep was parked about a block away. The dirt-packed alley wasn’t filled with people, but there were a few milling about and others walking determinedly to their destination. It was the middle of the day, the sun was shining. Certainly I could make it there and back safely.

I took a deep breath, said a quick prayer and walked to the vehicle as quickly as I could. Being as it wasn’t the most modern car, I had to unlock the driver side door first to get at the latch to open the back hatch. As I came back around the side of the Jeep to the unlocked hatch, a man was suddenly in my path.

“What are you doing?” He said and then he froze just as I had. I stared at the quilts, my goal, and held my breath not daring to look at the tall black man next to me.

“Oh, you must be with Momma Vickie. I am sorry if I scared you. Can I help you?”

“No, thank you. I’m fine.” He still helped me unload the quilts and piled them in my arms. I locked the Jeep again and strode back to the church. It wasn’t until I was back inside that it dawned on me that the man had been watching Vickie’s car, keeping it safe. And Vickie had known that he would be there and that I would be safe as well.

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