This girl is going somewhere.


Stella Nambwall. She is 13 years old, a brilliant glint of starlight in a dark sky. Do you know which child I’m talking about? Yes, the one in the gingham dress. The one looking directly into the eye of the camera.

This girl is going somewhere.
I can feel it with my entire being.

There are certain people I can’t stop thinking about. Stella is one of them. Along with her mother, Anna, and her cousin, Harriet. This family feels like the muscles lining the inside of my ribcage. They contain a reservoir of strength, even in their brokenness. Stella’s father died this past May. He hung himself from a tree in the middle of the night outside the family’s back door. I can’t seem to take the edge off of this fact. It was a horrific shock to the entire community. Her cousin, Harriet’s father is also dead. Death is everywhere. It’s made Stella and Harriet close like sisters. They are both bold, respectful, friendly.

Stella and her family are eloquently real to me.
In the closest fold of the mountain, their house sits in perfect lines.
Red dirt and jungle trees.
My eyes constantly falling in their direction, even before I knew why.

There are those times when a magnetism pulls us in the direction of something before we even know the reason. Repeated moments of distinct lucidity. One at a time, the puzzle pieces come into existence until, eventually, locking into place.

In the mountains of eastern Uganda, there’s yet another sad story everywhere you turn. But this girl? This one isn’t stopping at sad. She’s traveling further than that. She’ll keep going all the way to redemption. I can see it in her eyes. I can feel it in my bones. And like tendons growing into the bones creating a connection that is extremely strong and hard to break, we’ve somehow become inextricably woven as one. It doesn’t end with her and it certainly didn’t start with me.

This is a story of deliverance. And Stella won’t be alone as she walks it.

Yes, this girl is going somewhere.
Just watch.



4 thoughts on “This girl is going somewhere.

  1. I read the title, I looked at the photo and knew immediately which girl she was. Jessie you have a special way of capturing emotion with your photographs. And yes, I believe you, Stella is going somewhere! You also have a gifted way of telling the story of the people’s lives who touched yours in Africa. Through you, their lives also touch hearts that have never met them and most likely never will. We will know and love them through you. We will say prayers for them. We will help support them as we are able. Stella has the kind of spirit that you do. Perhaps that is why there is such a connection. And you my friend, are going somewhere too! I know that with every fiber of my being.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another thing I noticed is the each child has a different emotion showing on his or her face. They all come from such different places and yet it’s the same place! It’s difficult to see the sadness! The more I look at Stella the more I see – shy but confident, caretaking and a little mischievous!!

    Liked by 1 person

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