She had two white plastic lawn chairs, a large steel pot, one mattress wet from the rain, an orange bucket, and one remarkable painting. I was nervous. I’d never been in someone’s home where I couldn’t speak the language. My friend, who was semi-fluent, sat and spoke with her. As they conversed, my eyes darted around her home. My eyes fell to the large gaps in the floor where water, mice and any other sort of varmint could run freely in and out. There were missing cinder blocks where the tin ceiling attached to the walls allowing rain and wind to blow in. Several of her children sat politely on the wet mattress on the floor. They were sporting their bright yellow Vacation Bible School t-shirts they had worn faithfully for three days in a row. The orange bucket sat in the corner. I knew the bucket was used for bathing, as I had seen several children being scrubbed down, underwear and all, while standing inside a small plastic bucket of their own.
In stark contrast, above the white lawn chair, hung one remarkable painting. It was at odds with the rest of the scene. Brilliant colors, fine details, an expression of class and beauty.