Something haunting me, can’t get it out o’ my head.
On Saturday afternoon, my mamu (mother brother) from England and he wife treat to lunch 80 children and they parents.
These children belong in a sponsorship programme for poor Muslim children...my mamu and he wife does sponsor a little girl through the Islamic organisation. Some o’ these children so poor, if you see what they live in...
Me and me mother went to the treat, not for the lunch, but because my mamu ask we to be there.
Was in a quiet place, a huge space, almost open air, no walls but a roof, so we enjoy breeze and sky and palm trees in cool shelter. On one side is a big play field, and on the other side is the grand new mint-green building. It hold a school from kindergarten up, offices for the Islamic organisation, rooms, bathrooms.
Me, my mother, two relatives, sit just behind the last table.
At the table was a boy, a little over a year old, and he 3-year-old sister and they mother. They live up the East Coast, not far from the village where bandits hide out. The mother say when them bandits been on a rampage a few years ago, all them villagers was terrified out o’ they skin.
I rest me hand on the back of the li’l girl chair. She brush me hand away. We had a small power-struggle for that chair back then we become friends. I admire she icing-sugar-pink Indian outfit...bias-cut hem, if you please. She tiny, tiny; she got a rosebud mouth, pink, round cheeks, and big, dark eyes shining with intelligence.
She mother say she quite aggressive, she does boss she li’l brother about, and she got a answer for everything; but in school, she well behaved and bright.
I, foot in mouth, ask the li’l chile where she daddy was. She look like she searching. I ask again. She search.
I get a strange vibe from she mother, sort of like stiff silence. Then she mother say that they father die last year February. That was during the big flood.
I ask if he die ‘cause of the flood. She say yes. He was an ambulance driver, he had a cut on he foot...he went into the water...leptospirosis. The little boy, the mother say, is quiet, just like he daddy used to be.
The mother and she children now live with she mother-in-law or mother, I don't remember who.
“You work?” I ask she.
She say, no, ‘just house work', and she sister-in-law does sponsor the li’l girl to help pay for schooling. The mother get a small donation every month too from the Islamic organisation.
Something seep into me thoughts.
I look up, around me, at the children and they mothers.
Only widows and children. Or wives who husband walk out on them.
How many o’ these women work, I sit there wondering.
So many women, waiting quiet, quiet, for donations. How many got a skill? I wonder if they only aim in life as young girls was to marry, have children. Nobody teach them more. Nobody ever tell them that they husband might leave...either die or walk away.
I know, I know, is not just women here...women who parents never push education too strong, only groom them to be wife, mother, never give them dreams that they can be wife, mother AND more...