Ten Miles a Day through the Tall Wet Grass for Young Barnabas

Preparing the Beautiful Feet

February 20, 2005

Shivering in his totally drenched clothes, ten year old Barnabas made his daily 5 mile hike to school. Every day, before the sun was up, he trekked through grass that was taller than he was. Barnabas lived with his two older sisters, one younger brother, and a niece in a small hut far away from the town where the elementary school was. Their parents lived even farther away in the mountains in a poor village.

Once a month, Barnabas’ parents would drop off a bag of rice so the children would have enough for the coming month. Every evening after school, Barnabas would take this long 5 mile trek again through the grass, to arrive, exhausted and hungry, to a home where there was no hot meal awaiting. In fact, the kids had to climb the mountain to chop down some banana trees, take off the bark and use the inner core of the banana tree to boil as food.

One day, his niece developed a severe case of malaria, and died. It seemed everyone had malaria. Barnabas would hear of deaths from malaria every day. There was no treatment for malaria available, and few people lived over the age of 40 years.