Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Dolly in Moroto

Sitting quietly next to her grandmother, this small, dirty child looked up at me with a blank stare. Her grandmother was seated in the hot sun chopping foundations stones into small bits. This jjaja glanced my way and all I could see was the white’ish cataracts covering her eyes. Chopping stones requires one to see the stone, does it not?

I noticed the stick-legs protruding from under the jjaja’s skirt. I noticed her twisted feet and toes…her gnarly fingers and hands. Such work for an old woman. Not far away were others younger and older, some disabled and some not. Encouraged to try the chore myself, I picked up a nearby rock and pounded hard on a stone…several times. Finally the stone broke in two. I told myself that if I’d used more energy with the first strike it would have broken more easily but the reality of doing that kind of work ALL DAY LONG is that I could scarcely succeed in the same way these women persevere. To any man who says women are weak…I say, take a look at the day in the life of an African woman.

Out of my pack I produced a dolly for the girl with the blank stare. She accepted the gift and pondered it a bit. Blank stare. The jjaja thought she would set the doll aside for the girl while the jjaja continued working but the girl had other ideas. In her quiet way she got that dolly back and hugged her close. What a life for such a young girl. Her mother out searching for wood to carry to town (being paid for the carrying) and her grandmother chopping stones in a quarry. What does life have in store for this little dolly girl?