Sunday, May 07, 2006

On the Strange Vulnerability that Blogging Entails: Child of Africa Tells the Rest of the Story

I asked Child of Africa if I could excerpt from her latest entry on LiveJournal. I don't usually ask permission in advance, as I understand an unrestricted blog to be public discourse. In CoA's case, I felt the nature of her post was so extraordinary that I couldn't just rush ahead without first getting permission.

There was this line in the opening paragraph of CoA's previous entry that I had re-posted in its entirety: May is also the month in which my mother was born--May 23rd, 1926--and the day her life was so violently taken away from her--May 9th, 2001. There was nothing in "May Is Mother's Month" that provided furthur explanation. It hadn't been written yet. "Haunted," CoA's most recent post, tells the disturbing rest of the story.

When CoA said I was welcome to excerpt from this entry, she commented: it is a strange thing. the reason blogs and reading other people's blogs is so powerful is the degree to which people seem willing to share such deeply personal stories in this very public space. i love to read other people's blogs and gain windows into other lives and how they are affected by the Faith...when it comes to one's own blogs it is so nice to have communicated with people and received their response and yet there is a kind of a strange vulnerability in how open one has been.

She is so right. I have been intensely aware of the vulnerability of which she writes on a number of occasions when putting together this blog. I share CoA's love of blog reading and for the same stated reasons, but I don't want to cause offense in the process of excerpting from others. I am glad that Child of Africa has decided to share this deeply personal story.

Some Baha'is may think that crime and violence never strikes Baha'is or that political upheaval will always spar us. This is a violent world we live in, both at a personal and a societal level. Baha'is certainly can be deeply personally affected.

the police investigation suggested a robbery...but all that was likely to have been taken was a few hundred zimbabwe dollars from her purse and nothing seems she may have known her assassin. i often wonder if she knew too much about her killer and that was the reason she died...

well they never found the person...did they look? i didn't go to the police to ask, d. and the friends in the community had done that before i arrived...i was only home for a week...the assembly arranged for the funeral...i asked that it be an African funeral. i was not sure what i really meant but they beat wonderful drums and sang wonderful songs in both shona and english.

there was the matter of the will. my mother, thankfully, had put all her affairs in the hands of a professional executor. the house would have to be sold to pay off the inheritance tax. the executor arranged for it all. it was not possible to take any of the remaining money out of Zimbabwe. i was grateful for that. After paying Huquq'u'llah for my parents and for myself the money was donated to the national fund and i heard went towards the much needed funds for the expansion of the National Baha'i Center. It seemed most fitting that all of their worldly goods would go back to the Faith...they had already given their lives for the Faith surely their worldly possessions should also go towards it. Most of the household contents were also sold at a fundraiser. My mother was the secretary of the fundraising committee when she died.

I had items of sentimental value shipped to me and they surround me daily with fond memories-- family heirlooms.
there was a confluence of moments and incidents that brought me comfort at the time of immediate loss.

two in particular: the long phone conversation that i had had with my mother about 3 weeks prior to her death. she had been so bubbly and happy and excited and i remember distinctly feeling that i had never in my life felt that my mother was so happy and at peace with herself. in the recent years she had been feeling restless and spending more time in Finland considering returning to her homeland as a "pioneer" there. she had done some "homefront pioneering" i guess you could call it by moving to a town that the Finnish NSA had told her needed people and staying there for a few months...but she discovered how much she missed Africa. it was this brief stay in Finland that really made her realize how much Africa had given her and how rich a life of service she had been able to live there. she had recently returned to Zimbabwe and now she was telling me that she now knew deep down that she was meant to be in Africa and how much she wanted to bury her bones there. she was on fire with a new energy to teach the faith and had initiated some Ruhi institute work in one area outside of Harare and was seeing amazing results. [Click here to read the entire story.]

Child of Africa, "Haunted," LiveJournal

1 comment:

Bonita said...

Bless her heart. I'm glad she allowed you to share her poignant story.