Esther was really fond of her grandmother who she was named after. Whenever grandma called, Esther always ran to her side to run any and every errand she would be instructed to do. Lately she had noticed her grandma wasn’t as bright eyed as always. “What’s wrong Dana?” Grandma shook her head and smiled at the 7 year old caramel gem. “Can I get you something to make you feel better?” Esther smiled revealing her missing milk teeth.

“Don’t worry toto. I will be fine.” Grandma said as she sat down very slowly with an occasional wince of pain. Esther had never seen this before. Grandma started experiencing the aches and pains since Grandpa had returned from what the people in the village called Lweny. It was some great fight that Grandpa and other men fought in. He chose to go instead of Esther’s father. Grandpa said father needed to take care of Esther’s family as the only son and Grandpa was old enough to go and fight. Well that is what Grandma told Esther. Esther didn’t really care much for the details.

Grandpa came back a withdrawn man, Esther and her siblings barely saw him. He was always visiting other homesteads. Esther would only hear him at night when his yelling woke her up as he passed by her window. The route to his house passed right by that window, a window that would later reveal violence and torment that no child should ever be exposed to.

Esther ran from grandma’s side and went to grab some of the left over lunch, that was still warm, for her to eat. She handed it over to Grandma. “Thank you my jewel” Grandma appreciated the affection she got from her grandchild. She slowly began to eat her meal, she took small mouthfuls chewing steadily and swallowing ever so slowly, wincing as the food went down. After the fourth painful swallow that Esther watched she pulled the plate from grandma and asked her what was wrong. Grandma dismissed it. Esther moved closer and looked at her.

Grandma had a wrapped a khanga around her shoulders covering part of her lower neck. Esther leaned in and pulled it away. Grandma tried to fight back and cover herself up. But it was too late Esther saw the deep marks on her neck. She accidentally dropped grandma’s plate of food and ran to the house. ‘Mama! Baba! Mama! Baba!”


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