C’s grandmother came to my house last night. I guess she was visiting from her village and while she was here, she wanted to see me. She wanted to give me a National Dress. It was an expensive one. I should have politely refused, but I was just so touched I couldn’t actually say no. I would have cried. I don’t know why I felt that way, but I did.
There are one or two things about this that are interesting and a few other things that are actually important about it. One of the interesting things is that, although I think that this particular grandmother is C’s maternal grandmother, the relatives that interact with me about C are all C’s paternal relatives. C’s grandmother, who speaks no English, came with C’s father’s sister (also no English) and the upstairs neighbour (broken English) whose son is in my class. I know C’s maternal relatives must be in Y-town somewhere, but I have never met them, and I find this kind of weird. C’s natural parents (divorced) are from the same village, so it’s not completely bizarre that her mother’s mother and her father’s sister would have a cordial relationship, but I still find it weird. What it makes me wonder is whether C, who is the result of an unplanned, teenage pregnancy, does not feel to her mother’s relatives like she is really “theirs.” C lived with her grandmother until she was seven or eight, so it’s natural a bond would be there, but I wonder if the other relatives still think of C as being some kind of mistake.
It could have to do with me: I have taught several of the kids that C is related to on her father’s side, and apparently none of the kids on her mother’s side. Or they haven’t cared to share that with me. Her dad’s brother’s daughter is in my class this year. The aunt who came to my house had one son in my class last year and a daughter in my Math’s Club the year before. So I know some of the kids.
Anyway, that’s the interesting thing.
The important thing was how it made me feel. I can’t even articulate the feeling. It is something like relief. I have this goal of helping C. It is my goal. Not everyone sees it as being a worthy goal. Some people like it. The kids in Y-town really like it. Kids usually like when you help one of them. Some people have mixed feelings about it: they like the idea but think it affects me too much. Some people like it, but don’t quite get what I am doing.
C’s grandmother appreciates it. She thinks it is a worthy goal. I guess I feel supported and less alone. Maybe I also feel that as much as I struggle to cope and get through the day and be kind of normal and competent, I can still do something good.