The Lesser Kiskadee above me

Above me there is a lesser kiskadee. He is Brazilian, but even he seems like a foreigner. He is in a food court, no place for a lesser kiskadee. He sits in the ceiling as the chief observer. His first name by the German biologists was bodyguard. I suppose he is working up there, guarding somebody. Maybe me?

He is quiet mostly. He watches. Maybe he likes what he sees. Maybe this is his first visit to the food court. Occasionally, he sings something no one understands. His sounds are the sounds of another place.

I feel close to the lesser kiskadee. If I had wings I could fly to the rafters, he and I could be the same. Brazil is not my home. My sounds are the sounds of another place. In fact, very few can understand me. Many times I want to sit in the rafters and observe. The only difference is I have no wings. Yet having no wings is a blessing for humans while a curse for birds. Birds need wings to survive, but I think with wings a human could not thrive. Brazil has been best for me when I do not live the life of the lesser kiskadee. When I ignore my limits and embrace my foreignness to learn, grow and engage, I sleep less, I am wholly exhausted, but man do I have a good time. I’ve tried Brazilian food, met Brazilian people, and laughed with them about my inability to communicate. I’ve heard God praised in words that I will never be able to praise him in. I’ve played futsal with Brazilian men. Brazil has given me so much because I reached out and grabbed it. If I had flown to the rafters to watch it all go by I would not have thrived. Every day I have been faced with choices of whether I will observe or thrive. Yet every day I have been glad when I have chosen not to fly.

Some of the men I played futsal with



The men in my host father’s Bible study

What is more, the lesser kiskadee still speaks to me though his words are not mine. He cocks his head and wonders at all he sees. Me too Mr. kiskadee. Many things I wonder and many questions I ask without words. But I, Mr. kiskadee will learn what I wonder and explore what I see. You choose a life in the rafters. That life is not for me. That is the life for those with wings. I am made with hands and feet.


~ Jared Sittig

A close up shot of the lesser Kiskadee            © Sonja Ross



Categories: Brazil 2018

1 Comment

Rebekah Distaffen · May 12, 2018 at 3:14 am

Dude, this was beautifully poetic. I loved it! I kept hearing and seeing the bird fly around and I kind of felt bad for it– being stuck and not knowing how to get out. But I also kind of wanted to be it. I think this perfectly describes it all. And I;m glad I finally get a glimpse into what you were thinking while you were so intensely studying that bird

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