Jerusalem, approximately 1968
From the instant Trudi knocked on the rotten wooden dor, she knew what to expect. After all, she had knocked on dozens of dilapidated doors in Romema, spreading kindness to poor, immigrant families who struggled to survive in that run-down Jerusalem neighborhood. A child will answer, she guessed, and because she's frightened and fragile she'll loook at me but avoid eye contact. Trudi shuddered, though the chill that swept through her was unrelated to the early morning frost. As if to brace herself for the memories of her own childhood during World War II, she tugged tightly at her woolen sweater.
The little girl who answered the door was probably 10 or 11 years old, but she looked younger. She wore rags. Her hair, which dangled in her eyes, was unwashed, unkempt, and crawling with lice. Scratch marks covered her face, arms, and legs—evidence that the house was infested with bedbugs. She cautiously eyed the visitor, uncertain about the gron-up's motives.
Trudi smiled and introduced herself. The young girl who answered the door mumbled hello and invited Trudi inside. A if she had just awakened from a dream, Trudi said softly, "I'm here to help you."