Summary: Dialogue contrasting the lives of two young women, one brought up in typical Western fashion, and the other in a 3rd World slum. Keywords: consumerism, mission, slums, 3rd World, deprivation, luxury
Style: Dramatic. Duration: 4min
A: I was born in a rubbish dump.
B: I grew up in the suburbs.
A: I wish I could say that was a figure of speech, but it’s not. My house was made out of anything we could find from the piles of rubbish around us.
B: I had my own room, it was pink. Pink is my favourite colour.
A: Our hut was small and dark, with the constant smell of rotting food and garbage. I made a living sifting through rubbish to find something to sell.
B: We had a pet cat and a cubby house that dad made. I was devastated the day it got knocked down.
A: When I was young I went to school, I wanted to work hard cause I’d really love to be a nurse. I tried to study but every night I had to help mum with chores.
B: My primary school years were so much fun. My favourite class was cooking with Mrs James. She was the loveliest lady.
A: When my sister got sick I had to stop school altogether.
B: I went to uni thinking I’d change the world. But when I finished I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t know what to do.
A: It was what I had to do.
B: My church was doing a missions trip, so I signed up. Maybe this was my chance to change the world. Then we arrived… I just couldn’t believe the living conditions – their houses were tiny, and it stank. The hygiene was awful, there were mosquitoes everywhere, making the children sick. The school classes were overcrowded – I mean, can you imagine 12 kids to a textbook? There were just so many people with so many problems – what could I possibly do to help?
A: One day some people came to where we lived. They gave us rice and vegetables to eat.
B: We went to different areas giving food and sanitary packs out. It felt useless to me: How on earth would a bowl of rice be of any help to someone who will soon be hungry again?
A: A few weeks later I got sick and couldn’t get up to work.
B: What am I doing here?
A: My sickness got worse and we ran out of food. Mum had to work even harder than before and I hated being such a burden. I felt so lonely all by myself but one day a lady came.
B: I remember visiting this girl who was sick, she had got an infection. I didn’t know what to do. All I could think of was talk with her, so I did. I talked with her and told her about Jesus. But she really couldn’t understand what I was saying.
A: I couldn’t understand what she was saying but it was nice to have someone to talk to. I told her about my sister dying and how I had always wanted to be a nurse. I had never told anyone that before. It was the first time I ever felt listened to.
B: I wanted to give her something, but all I had was a blanket I’d bought in the markets that day.
A: She gave me a pink blanket and this “Princess” T-shirt.
B: It was pink like my bedroom.
A: Pink is my favourite colour.
B: The blanket seemed so pointless in the hot climate. I gave her a T-shirt and told her she was a princess, which seemed like a stupid thing to say to someone who lives in a rubbish dump.
A: It’s the first brand-new thing I’ve ever had.
B: I don’t know if it meant anything to her. But it was enough to make me cry.
A: That night I just cried.
B: I just thought, people are dying – does anyone even care?
A: Someone cared.
B: How can we possibly make a difference?
A: I’ll never forget her.
© Kerrie Polkinghorne, all rights reserved.,