Good is the new kid in our project, and he isn’t supposed to be there. He snuck in after we closed the circle on who is in and who is out, drawing hideously arbitrary but necessary lines. Someone abandoned him at the police station about a year and a half ago, and the police brought him to Gabriel.
Gabriel knew he wasn’t supposed to take a new kid, but he couldn’t bear to send him away to… nothing. We wrangled over Good, one of us wanting to be strict on new admissions, the rest of us being resolutely contradictory to our own firmness in the face of an actual cast off kid. My Habitants scraped their pockets to fund his first year, and he was just there.
Good is our littlest one. Last year, he seemed he was trying to demonstrate earnestly to us that he belonged, singing the Nikibasika anthem with his hand over his heart, mouth wide, dancing with all the little boys, imitating the others in everything. Hugging us like they did. Sign language for Accept Me Please. It broke my heart.
Good stayed, and when a woman giving a workshop to our kids took a fancy to him and offered to take him away, we said no. He’s one of ours, now, and no random woman is going to take him away.
Then, Good’s grandmother reappeared. Now that she knew he was looked after, she wasn’t afraid to be known. She asked if he could come to her for Christmas, said she loved him and was trying to make sure he was looked after.
Good said he wanted to go stay with her for the holidays.
She came to pick him up on Friday, and we had a kind of conversation. She held my hands, Rachael interpreted. She was confused by the presence of this muzungu, but I think she saw me as reasonably well-meaning.Good was so excited, and pleased to pose with her.
Good won the prize for being top of his nursery class this year, and came home the last day of school bearing a washbasin. He presented it to his grandmother. The first gift he ever gave her.
I’m so glad he has her again. And us. And the flock of little boys who absorbed him so seamlessly.