The Little Yellow Bottle: A Book That Transforms the World
One of the most heartbreaking days during our time in Afghanistan was the day we met little Narisula, an 8-year old boy who was walking to school with his cousin when his cousin saw something on the ground that looked like one of the emergency food packets U.S. planes had been dropping. His cousin picked it up and it began to smoke. Narisula yelled for his cousin to throw it away and his cousin threw it, but it landed at Narisula's feet and exploded.
The food packets and cluster bomblets, both dropped by U.S. planes, were the same color and shape.
Narisula was severely wounded and nearly lost both arms and legs, but a doctor from Germany encountered Narisula's wailing father who had just been asked for money to pay for the amputations, and the doctor asked the father if he could take Narisula to Germany to try to save his limbs. Yes.
When we met Narisula the physical and emotional scars were still present. He told us his story and showed us the physical wounds that had still not completely healed. He had become his family's breadwinner, showing his wounds to reporters and photographers in the hopes of getting money to help pay for the medications he needed. At the time, the United States did not help unintended victims injured by our weapons (today we do help, because of folks telling stories like Narisula's).
As he talked, I thought that the doctors had saved his limbs, but wondered if there was anything left of the 8-year old child in him. "When you go outside, what do you like to play with your friends?" I asked. "I don't like to go outside. I'm afraid. And most of my friends are dead." Was there anything I could do to bring a smile to his face? It turned out that I could. I taught him how to play Tic Tac Toe, something he could do indoors, with anyone. After a few minutes of play he was smiling and laughing. A few days later, when we met at an event in Kabul, he pulled out paper and pen and yelled "Tic Tac Toe" and was ready to play.
We told Narisula's story far and wide. Young Katie McDonald (a teen) shared Narisula's story with friends on MySpace, who shared it with friends, who shared it with friends. Soon, the U.S. changed the color of the food packets to end the confusion. If only we could have gotten them to stop dropping cluster bombs.
This week we share a book review from our friend Patricia Tilton, someone who understands the costs of war all too well. She reviews The Little Yellow Bottle by Angele Delaunois. Below is a YouTube video about the book and then we link to Patricia's review. Thank you Angele Delaunois for writing this book. We'll get a copy for Reach And Teach and review it too.