Yesterday was not a good day at the clinic. There were lots of people waiting in line for food packets. They said their clinic’s supplies did not come and they are very hungry. Some are also sick.
I held a baby for its mother and it would not stop crying for its hunger. That is the worst thing, because you cannot explain to a baby and ask it to be patient. I rocked it and sang a song and wiped its big eyes, but that only helped for minute or two, then she cried some more. Mother gave out all the food packets we have, since our truck is coming with more next week. I asked if I could take some of the mothers with babies back to our house and give them food.
“Go to Woizero Aamina, Rahel,” she said. “Ask her to gather some other women to the new injera ovens and bake bread for these people. Also, ask your Father for some milk for the babies. We will meet you there soon.” She smiled down at me. “You’re a good girl, yaset lej.”
I ran as fast as I could to Aamina’s house and gave her the message. She is a big, kind, woman who is always smiling. She promised to start the baking right away. Then I found my father in the fields and told him what Mother said. My brother Dawit helped me pour fresh milk into jugs and carry them to the yard. We have a nice tree there, so I put down some mats and blankets for the mothers to sit on, and some cups.
Nine women came to our house. Everyone sat and talked quietly. They thanked us for the milk; the babies stopped crying and slept or made sounds. Kulwa, the little girl I had held before, smiled at me. After a time, Aamina and others came with injera and gave it to the mothers. One of them said a prayer of thanks and we all joined in. Some cried a little. When the sun climbed down in the sky, they went back to their villages.
“They said that bandits are stealing their supplies and selling them,” I told Mother.
She put a hand on my shoulder. “Maybe there is another reason. Let’s not fear until we know.” But I could see she was worried.