A man came this morning, Johnny, to tell us the story of three of our children. We ate breakfast, shared our avocados, in the blast of sun while he told us the history. Their mother was the second wife, and was stronger than the first. The first wife and older children were jealous, were afraid the younger children would take their tiny piece of land, leave them hungry. So they decided to kill the second wife, the mother of our children.
The twins were about four and the little one was a baby when the uncle came and used a sharp knife to stab the other in the neck. Our twins and their older sister saw. The father lost his head, and right after the burial, disappeared.
The man who came picked the children, kept the sister with him and took the little ones to the orphanage. He came to thank us. He came to tell us that he hopes we will be able to buy them a little bit of land, so they have a place for shelter and to grow food because prices are rising so much. He hopes that maybe if they have land they will be safe from the older siblings.
The man keeps them in the holidays, loves them, supports the older sister along with his five. He came to thank us, to appreciate us for what we are doing. He can’t envision the leap from land to where we are aiming, but he feels it, he sees them healthy and alive.
“Without you they would be naked — who would put clothes on them?”
We asked him to spread the information that the children will have land. He asked us how to help their older sister feel comforted.
The hardest part of this project, the siblings of our children who haven’t landed in this project. One of our big girls came to me yesterday to ask how to help her little sister, who has had to leave primary school. I held her hand and explained the concept of putting your own oxygen mask on first. “Talking about it is comforting,” she said.
Our last night, last night, we danced with the children, delighted them as muzungu aunties tried to follow the moves. Saphra pushed Robinah away from the drum and sped up the beat. Dance, dance, dance to the left. Dance, dance, dance to the back. Shake shake shake your body.