Last evening we had dinner with a young Ethiopian, Mammas, who is studying for the priesthood with the Archdiocese of Boston. He was fascinated with our kids, and they were fascinated with him.
Our kids, who lost both their African parents, are always very concerned that their parents are safe in heaven. We told the girls that Mammas is a man who prays to Jesus, and they seized this opportunity to pepper Mammas with questions:
- Is there lots of food there?
- Can they sleep or do they have to work all the time?
- Is there a doctor if they're sick?
- Who makes them safe when Jesus is sleeping?
- Do they have warm clothes?
Poor Mammas. He looked at me more than once and commented "These are really tough questions!"
With the kids satisfied, we shooed them off to play and settled into adult conversation. Mammas wanted to know all about our adoption process and what we knew about our childrens lives in Africa. So we told him.
By the by we mentioned a cute little song Marin and Emmy used to sing when they washed each others backs in the bath tub. Mammas looked puzzled and asked us to say it again. Then he thought about it a long time and finally said "based on what you told me about their lives after their parents died, I'm not sure you really want to know what this song means." Now me, Mr. Curious, I absolutely must know and will threaten his life to learn it.
The song means "you are dirty you are dirty, but I don't care because you don't belong to me"
My mind flashed back to the muddy filthy alley where our girls lived, and imagined the other mothers mocking our poor orphaned kids. And our kids were too young to even know they were being mocked! They thought it was a cool little rhyme that you sing when you are cleaning up. It was so saddening. Even after 18 months home, we are still learning little pieces of the puzzle.