“My child, if someone gives you a Bible, that person has given you life,” my grandmother used to say. I remember the day so vividly that it feels as if it were yesterday when it all began.

It was on a hot day, under the twisted, old and dry peach tree. Legs as white with the sand we had been using to cook our mahumbwe (house-house game). We saw two smartly dressed men approaching us. My sister and I almost stumbled over the rock that stood in front of us.

It wasn’t only fear that had overcame us, no, but a mixture of fear and joy. Seeing men in suits in this neighbourhood would only mean one of the two things: either these men had come to occupy our yards or they’ve some food donations.

The men smiled and greeted us, asked us if we go to church and invited us to their church services. The men were so nice I almost felt embarrassed at my tattered skirt and mud-filled shirt.

Sometimes I wonder if I had just ignored the men and minded my own business, would my heart had been so broken? Would I have loved any other man more than I love my own father? Would I have to cry myself to sleep almost everyday? And most of all, would some part of me still be alive?

I really wanted to impress the men so the following day I wore my best dress and brushed my blanket-filled short hair and off I went. The church service was really nice and I promised myself I was going back next week. I found out that the taller of the two men is a pastor and the shorter is a deacon.

Going to church became my every Sunday routine and after two months, my mother and her sisters become church members.

I was happy, I’d finally noticed somewhere in my life. I joined the ushering team and everything was going well for me. How could it not, my pastor was now paying school fees for me and even buying us groceries. Finally, someone was taking the responsibility that my drunkard, abusive father didn’t take.

My mother received a call from my aunt in South Africa, offering me education in Cape Town. Wow double blessing.

It was the day before I leave for Cape Town and my pastor came to my house. He prayed for me, motivated me and gave me a piece of myself, my Bible. Little did I know this was the last time I would talk to him, to be that close to him, even though he gave a hundred promises one as to follow me.

Two months later, I was busy enjoying life when there was a phone call from Zimbabwe.

“Pastor Makamba was in an accident… and he didn’t make it, I’m sorry,” says the voice on the other side of the phone.

“If I had been there,” I mumble through my sobs, “maybe I could have done something to stop it,”

Though it was hard to believe, I cannot explain it but I felt it. Some part of me is dead and gone to the grave with him.

I cry myself to sleep for the man who could have changed my family into something better. I wish I could at least have said a proper goodbye. As I’m deep in thought, these words hit me “If someone gives you a Bible, that person has given you life.”

I put one plus one and it all makes sense, he gave me the life he wanted me to live, I should move on.

As I talk to and embrace my Bible, I remember his dark-brown eyes filled with love and kindness and I miss him more. I hope he found joy and peace wherever he is. My Bible is very special and holds a special part of me. It’s the greatest gift.