Eyes filled with hope

I don't even know HER NAME. Her image surfaced when I was searching for portraits to put in a slide show. I love that hat, so lopsided and worn out. But it's the eyes that pull me in.

Her photograph had never run in the paper, but I've discovered it's one of my favorites. Her look brings tears to my eyes because it requires trust to allow a stranger to get so close, and trust was in short supply in her village in 1989.

She wandered by when some reporters and I were visiting a farm cooperative in Rio Blanco, Nicaragua, close to the Honduran border and the contra camps. Like most of the country, the village was desperately poor. It was also right in the middle of the ongoing civil war.

I remember that an eerie stillness hung over the town. A cease-fire was in effect, but people weren't sure whom to trust. A neighbor, even a family member, might have killed a loved one. How do you get past that? How do you forgive and learn to trust again?

And yet look into this woman's eyes, so childlike, curious, unafraid. So shy, and maybe even a bit mischievous. What a gift to get such a glimpse inside someone's soul.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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