8/40

“You say that I like being in control, but that is exactly what you have been doing since we met,” I said.

“If that is what you think then let it be. I will not argue with you on it, but I insist that you spend a week with the team of LightKeepers. You will learn more about what we do and it might help you get creative in how to impact the society as an organization.”

“So, does that mean that you are against cheques?”

“No, I love cheques. In fact, receiving them is much better than writing them, but what does it say of the one who writes it? Most of the challenges we face need our engagement. I might buy clothes for the homeless or build them houses, but what good would that do in the long term? If I can engage them to understand their weaknesses and strengths, and also to know what their needs are, then I stand a better chance of helping them.”

“So, you believe that my participation is the kind of thing that is needed to come up with an action plan for my boss?”

“See, you are smart.”

“You are still bossy. Why did you start your organization?”

“Do you need the long version or the edited version?”

“I need the version you are willing to share now.”

“Sawa, so, I grew up in a family of six. My Mom was the third wife. If you don’t know what that means, allow me to spell it out for you. It meant that her cries were not heard. It also meant that we were the extra mouths that our father had no time to feed between his ego and athritis. He died when I was ten. My mom and all of her six children were kicked out of the home because she could not forge an alliance with either the first or second wives. We walked for two days to her ancestral home. When we arrived my youngest sister died of hunger and thirst. Three days later, my mother started sweating in her sleep and vomiting. She died of Malaria or as the villagers loved to say ‘tuo marach.’ We also had this disease and as such we ate only after everyone had eaten. My brother left every morning to dig and weed in people’s farms so we could eat. My elder sister cooked and cleaned and never missed a day of school. My Grandfather sold his bulls to pay for our school fees and he would ensure we had enough kerosene to keep our lamps on as we studied into the night.”

“How is that so far?” he asked, his eyes trained on me, but even as I set my cup back on the table, the words could not come out of my lips.

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