Noura is four years old. She's the daughter of my Sarah's Swedish friend, Sara.
Noura lives in N'Djamena with her mom, dad and sister Salma. Now we are sitting outside Sara's stables on their farm just outside the Chadian capital. It is getting dark. The sun has just gone down. The 130 degree heat of the day is still radiating off the brick wall behind me but a warm breeze is starting to cool things down. Noura has been fascinated with my headlamp that has both white and red lights. But I've taken it away from her and all she can say is (hint, hint) "Je vois rien. Je vois rien." (I see nothing. I see nothing.)
She's been crawling all over me as i sit in a plastic chair but now she's sitting on my lap facing me and her bright eyes look into mine in the dim light of the early evening and the first few stars. She seems a little serious but with a half smile on her chubby face framed in her wild, curly blondish hair.
"Where's Adoum?" Noura continues in French. She only knows the Arabic version of my late son, Adam's, name. "I want to see Adoum."
"He's asleep, Noura."
"Is he afraid?"
"No, he's not afraid. He's very peaceful."
"When can I see him again?"
"When Jesus comes back."
"Where is he now?"
"Up there." I point to the starry sky.
"Will we have to fly to see him?"
"Yes, one day we'll all fly and see each other again when Adoum wakes up."
"I'm going to fly up there and grab him like this." Noura wraps her arms around herself.
"Good idea. Then bring him to me and we'll all fly up together."
"Yeah. And then I'm going to collect all the stars and put them in a basket. Then I'm going to take them to my room and put them on the ceiling so I can see them when I sleep. Does Adoum want some stars too?"
"Ok, he can have half the basket so he can put them in his room too."
Noura seems content. I stand up, grab her hand, and we start walking past the stables and the sounds of horses munching grain and the smell that only a stable filled to overflowing can smell like.
Noura looks up at me after a few minutes. "Adoum's not afraid, right?"
"No, he's sleeping peacefully and will wake up soon."
Noura smiles, lets go of my hand and goes off half- running, half-skipping to chase after one of the many dogs on this African farm.
I continue to walk slowly reflecting on Noura's wisdom. Yeah, the faith of a child. Wouldn't that be nice.