I think maybe it was Tuesday when C told me she had spoken to her father (actually, stepfather) about staying in Y-town and he was very angry and would not allow it. I had said I would talk to her mother about it and she had said then after exams would be a good time to do that. But actually the family’s plan emerged as leaving on December 1st. Exams end, I think, on the 29th.

So I chatted with IT Ma’am about this over the next few days and talked with her some—she is in Australia. And I made her talk to C, because I couldn’t get anything clear out of her. I wasn’t even sure if C was telling the truth completely, and if she wasn’t, why she would lie about anything. C does lie to me, I have realized, and possibly lies quite regularly. She’s a puzzle at times, and language problems don’t help.

Anyway, then IT Ma’am chatted with the games coordinator, who is also close with C and with her family—they live very close to each other—and Games Miss said she would take me to meet C’s mom and explain things properly.

Yesterday afternoon, she did. It started off strangely for me, because I forgot that Country X thing, where introductions are not really formally made unless you are meeting some government official. C’s mom was outside doing laundry when we came, and we went with her into her house, but because I had forgotten this detail and no one said anything to me directly—C’s mom does not speak any English—I spent maybe ten minutes wondering about the whole thing—who she was, mom or a relative, or a neighbour, and if she wasn’t C’s mom, when C’s mom would come.

Mom prepared tea, and then the talking began. They spoke in the regional language, which I really don’t understand much at all, but Games Miss mixed in a lot of English vocabulary and also said things I knew she would say, so I could understand her. I knew she was saying I would pay all the costs for C, that I am always concerned about her, that I am always worried about her.

As they were discussing, C came in holding the baby. The look on her face was a mixture of shock and fear, although I had told her I was coming. Maybe she thought I wouldn’t come—after school I told her again I was coming. She was afraid to let me come, that her mom would be angry. And she said, “Leave it.” Maybe she thought I had left it. I thought she meant it was okay if her mom got angry: leave worrying. But maybe she meant leave coming.

She came and stood nervously on the other side of the room, and then finally sat down in the windowsill, nervously picking her feet. I lost track of the conversation soon after that, but I could see C begin to relax. Neighbours drifted in and I could hear the situation repeated. I adopted C. I am going to help her. And I could see everyone was happy.

Then they needed to leave—VP Ma’am’s husband died 2 weeks ago, and rituals will be done. These women are all her neighbours, and they were going to help prepare dinner and serve everyone. We left then, and I went down the road with Games Miss in the direction of her house. Five minutes later, Maths Ma’am called regarding the plan to go to VP Ma’am’s house.

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