Our feet kick up the deep-red clay dirt
as we walk back from Sofia’s grave.
In the reverent silence we share,
only the quiet pleas from Ruth, soon to be a mama herself,
can be heard, “Mama, my mama, Mama…”
Tears stream down her face.
She will take her mother’s place on the team.
Seven down, they tell us.
Seven in ten of our children will not make it to age five.
It can’t be!
But it is.
A spot is chosen.
A place on the deep-red clay dirt
for a pot to sit.
A giant crane rumbles in,
digging in the deep-red clay dirt
deeper, deeper, deeper still.
A car travels
across the deep-red clay dirt
bringing a nurse.
Information, awareness, supplies.
It is 6:30 in the morning
The African sun announces
another stunning day.
31 women walk in colorful chitenge fabric,
each coming from her home
built from bricks formed by the very deep-red clay dirt
that is under her feet as she makes her way
to Living Compassion.
Some stir pots.
Some read books.
Some clean dishes.
Some harvest vegetables.
Some draw water to garden.
Some teach English,
and some math, science or social studies.
All will hold hands, dry tears,
sing, listen, laugh and dance.
These 31 women—
collectively mothers to 154 children of their own
having borne among them the grief of losing 29 children,
born before Living Compassion,
no longer with us—
are saving lives.
They have 1,000 children.
And they have you on their team.
One day we will all rest in the deep-red clay dirt,
May we be here in compassion,
In love, delight,
dancing, singing in colorful chitenge,
Happy Mother’s Day
to 31 of our
most cherished, loved mothers.
And to Sofia, Mabel and Maureen who,
though they rest in the deep-red clay dirt,
are with us every day,
their 11 children a living, breathing,
laughing, loving part of the family.
A Deep Gassho of gratitude for
showing us what it looks like
to sing and laugh and dance,
even as our lives are ending.
We miss you and love you.