whispered thank you...
He came screaming into
the world, brown and beautiful. In stoic silence she watched
as I lifted the baby into my arms. And as I wrapped him
in a towel I looked down at the tininess that was him. His
mother, no longer a girl, looked up, settling on him with
her eyes and then stood, with the help of the driver and
climbed into the Landrover.
As we drove the rest
of the way to the hospital, still silent, the mother reached
out for her baby and held him to her breast. Her eyes softened
when she saw his face, but still stoic, still shocked and
pained she still did not speak.
When we finally got
to the hospital she staggered down the path, a trail of
blood and me, with the baby in my arms following. As she
undressed in, what I can only assume by the lone, tattered
crib, was the maternity ward, she climbed into bed and whispered
She took the baby,
stared into his face again and asked me the name of my father.
But Canadian names don't roll off the tongue so easily in
Swahili, so we decided that Kumuka should be his name. It
is the Swahili word for awakening.
Seeing the boy enter
the world so suddenly, purely, resolutely, awakened something
in all of us I think.
I can still picture
it in my head.