We have to create an environment where our children feel free enough to talk to us and are confident that we will listen to them. Our African cultures are so big on respect but that respect is sometimes performative. It has no depth to it and sometimes, f
with their parents even though they greet them every day, go around saying “thank you” to every adult in the house after each meal and leave the sitting room as soon as their parents have a guest. We are not good parents for having successfully raised such kids but they are unable to count on us when they need us most. This is not about castigating Mrs. Akpagher who is a victim of our environment and who has lost a child and deserves our sympathies. This is about us learning to intentionally create an enabling environment for our children where their voices are both encouraged and respected.
I keep imagining Keren calling and crying on the phone from disappointment and sadness because she could see the help she was relying on slipping away from her. How relieved she must have been when her housemistress managed to convince the mother to turn around. I am sad and I am angry. She could very easily have been my child. I hope that the rapist is found and castrated. And that’s just for starters.
May Keren, beautiful, dimpled, innocent one, who wanted to be a nurse, rest in peace.s