There’s a thought that crosses my mind sometimes, I have seen stories on the television about families that consist of children only. It’s either their parents have died, the father fled, the mother passed on or maybe they both fled. The stress that the older one goes through to take care of the siblings is enormous. Sometimes they can’t even go to school because they have to work and feed, clothe and provide shelter their younger siblings. Also, it is within their duties to make sure the young ones are educated.

I pray every day and thank God for my grandmother that none of us had go through that. Granny had two daughters and my older mother (my mother’s sister) raised her own children and some of my siblings. She did what she could, only her and them know how it was. Some of my siblings were raised by my aunts (dad’s sisters) and grandma, also they are the ones who know how that was.

Me… I was raised by my grandmother; she was my mom.

Things were much easier for me compared to the other six. I’m forever grateful for her. From the age of 7 I realised how other people’s situations were so painful. But they survived and managed to go to school despite being in a bad situation. There was this guy, he never had school shoes and for as long as I remember I never saw him wearing school shoes. Never! But he was always at school and had never ever skipped school. He was always on time and doing his work.

Then there was also this girl, I never paid attention to her situation but she would sometimes skip school because she had to work and make money. They had to eat and she was the mother to her siblings. By the time we were in Grade 9, or before that, she had already left school. But she later moved with her siblings and they never told anyone anything.

She in-boxed me about two years and only now did she tell me that she left because she had found a job on a farm. The owner told her to move to the farm with her siblings. They were going to school and she had to work full time. Their situation is better now. Two of her siblings have graduated and one of them is a doctor and she is going back to school.

Other people’s lives give me a push, their situations become mine and I carry their worries sometimes and I walk in their path sometimes. She made me cry. I cried like I’d just lost someone and mostly I cried because we saw her everyday but none of us knew what went on in her life.

Child-headed homes run by sisters and brothers are doing their best out there for the little ones.


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