Called “Tikpa” by the other members of Hands of Mercy, Severina really embodies her nickname. She is a widow and has only one surviving child of the five she has born. As an older woman and a widow, she is taken care of only by the grace of her family – her one child – or her extended family. Scarred by the memories of war and loss, Severina has an untold story of survival. Having never attended primary school or learned English, her communication with us is mostly through wild gestures, laughs, and quirky facial expressions. She was invited to join us at Hands of Mercy literally, off the street where she begged small notes and coins from generous strangers. Often the bud of the joke, she is the spice and flavor among everyone at Hands of Mercy that keep us laughing together. Aptly named, “Tikpa” means salt.

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