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Their gravel is made of agates, red and clear. Their houses are painted in turquoise, salmon, yellow, orange, magenta. “Araboolie houses,” my parents told me. The ziggurat rises high above the jungle. Iguanas and armed nationals roam the grounds. A giant beetle carries off a tarantula from the yard.

“We left the lights on at the porch,” my dad tells me.

“That was a mistake,” Mom adds.

The house filled with moths while guard dogs patrolled outside, pure ferocity following their alpha man. The windows rest without glass, but are barred against the darkness. Geckos skitter across the walls of the house, concrete, with curtains in the doorways.

The church walls are covered in my posters for Vacation Bible School, the second one we ever did at our home church. They aren’t really my posters, but I did trace all of them and painted a couple. I am Michelangelo of this church in the jungle. Next year I’ll go, I hope, and see these beautiful Mayan, Spanish, and African children, clambering up in trees, desiring recognition and affection.

This is the place of miracles.

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