December 24

Dear Diary,
In some places, this is Christmas Eve. That is hard for me to imagine! We still have a few days left to go. I am helping Mother make kwalima, a delicious beef sausage that we eat on special occasions. I am grinding and chopping ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and cumin seed. There are other spices, too, which make the sausage extra delicious. When we’re finished making it, the kwalima will be smoked and dried. I’m sure it will taste good to her and Father after fasting on mitin shiro—beans, lentils, and berbere—for so long. I am also feeling tired of vegetable wat!

Sometimes my life seems too full, Diary. There are so many things to be done, so many things I want to do, and so many problems I feel I cannot help make better. A woman from the mountains came to mother’s clinic yesterday. She had great trouble giving birth to her baby, and it died. Then her village turned its back on her. She had no home, no friends, no place to go, nothing—and she was crying for her baby. It was not her fault that her body was injured! She just needed a good doctor. We gave the woman food and medicine, and Mother told her that she’d write to a special clinic where the woman could be made well again.  Then her village might take her back, if she wants to go.

Mother says this old custom of throwing injured women out of their villages is shameful and needs to end. I asked how we could stop something that has been going on so long, in so many places? How could we ever make a difference? My mother smiled and said, “Daughter, remember the old African saying: If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a room with a mosquito!

Yes, such a small insect who has such big effect on our lives! Maybe I could be like the mosquito. Only a good mosquito, Diary!

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