From the Street to an Orphanage
By Lizeth Marin,
Lizeth has been to an orphanage in Zambia between late July to late January. This is one of her stories she brought home. It is a story of one of the children she met there and she wrote it down for other people to share with.
“That night was my first time sleeping in a bed. I will never forget how my body rested calmly on a soft mattress, being comfortably warmed up by a beautiful blue blanket. A gentle smile came on my face whilst looking at the white ceiling, sky blue painted walls and just one decoration; a wooden black man hanging on a cross. That night I didn’t want to close my eyes, fearing that everything was a dream, and that the next morning I would open my eyes in the place I came from: A cold dirty corner in Lusaka’s main bus station.
The hectic bus station was my home. I knew all the people working there: women selling cheap chitenges, which is a large piece of cloth they use as skirt, women walking around with big buckets on their heads filled with bananas, avocados, or frittas. “Oh! How delicious those fritas were!”. I also knew drivers’ names and nicknames, and all bus destinations. Some people I knew too, people who used to be there every day at the same place, same time, waiting for the same bus.
During the day, I had to beg for money from people passing by. My mom made me do it. I used to do it with some other kids who lived in the bus station as well, even though begging was unbearable from time to time, it was our way of playing too. Sometimes we started imitating adults’ behavior. How funny it was to make those angry faces! We could laugh for hours!
I always had to go back to my corner in the bus station at 5 pm, because my mother used to work during nights, and I then had to take care of my little brother. It was fairly easy; I just needed to give him the pills my mom left me before she went to work to make him sleep, then I covered him in his chitenge, and slept next to him. In the morning my mother would come home, sometimes drunk from whatever she did that night, waking me and my little brother up, to start the day. One particular morning my small brother didn’t wake up. Mom wrapped him in a chitenge and went away, when she came back she was alone.
This has happened two times more; getting a new brother, giving him the pills to fall asleep, mom going somewhere with him and coming back alone. “Were it the pills?”, I wondered. Once in while I remember them and I can’t avoid missing them. I so much would have liked to play or talk with them.
Since then I was alone, till one day a Muzungu, a white person in my language, came and offered me to go with him to a better place. I was very scared because I didn’t know where he was taking me, but something made me feel safe with him. I didn’t know what exactly was it, perhaps his hand on my shoulder? Or, his voice whispering that everything would be ok? Or perhaps his blue eyes staring at me in a new indescribable way.
Now I am realizing that the first night in my new bed wasn’t a dream! It became reality and later on I discovered that the indescribable thing I found in the Muzungu’s eyes was love. Something I didn’t feel before.”