Children For Sale

“I don’t care. Whatever their reasons, I tend to be a bit leery of them, they need to find ways of breaking through the rut they are in and educate the masses.” Xiao-he insisted.

“But the masses are leaving in droves to Europe and elsewhere due to the unending civil wars—I’m one of them.”

Lao-he, there wasn’t any civil war in your country, but why did you still choose to leave?”

“You are right. I left because I wanted to have something. So that I won’t have to ask anybody for anything like I did when I was a child.”  

“You wanted to have what?

Something. I mean something” I answered nervously as if his question bothered me.

Gulping back my tears and trying to smile, I continued:

“There came a time when Mama became unemployed and offered to sell us in desperation and anger after not being able to feed us anything but watery milk for two days. She wrote ‘children for sale’ with black paint on the white iron gate that opens into our residence.

“Why did she had to write those contemptible words with black paint?” Xiao-he inquired.

“It was because that iron gate was painted white.” I answered without hesitation.

“What else was painted white in your house.”

“The wall surrounding the whole house was.”

 “So what do you mean by that question?”

“Nothing.” Xiao-he replied.

“Are you suggesting the iron gate and the walls should have been painted black?”

“No. Not all.”

“I was never drawn to going abroad just to become rich. I was driven to leave Africa by the pain of the past. ‘I’m going to work hard, Mama, so I that I can have something.’ I told Mama when I decided to leave’”

“What are you talking about?” Xiao-he asked, interrupting my speech.

 “Growing up, Mama and my other two half-sisters lived in one room under a leaky zinc roof between four brick walls. Every night, before we go to bed, we had to first place empty Milo cans in strategic locations to catch leaks when it rained…”

“Where was your Dad then?” Xiao-he interrupted again.

“Dad was a drunkard.” I replied quickly.

I continued…

 To be continued…

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