Evie and Chipango have been the greatest of friends since the day they met. Chipango is one of Reuben Ngusulu's daughters. Their family lived with us here on our compound.
When we first moved here Chipango and Evie would be out of the bed and outside before anyone and usually up the tree behind my room just chatting until they woke me up. They would check the garden and play before Chipango had to leave for school. They have made many memories together over the years and look out for each other just like sisters. Between what southern draw Chipango has picked up from Evie and what Zambian English accent Evie now carries, you can barely tell which one is talking outside. At Christmas this year Evie wanted something special for this special friend. She had been working and buying Christmas since July knowing exactly what she wanted for everyone. Which included buying for her brother first - WOW! She came to me and said, "Mom, I know what I have for everyone, but, well, would it be ok if I spent more on Chipango?" After discussing what she wanted to buy, I watched the look on my 10-year-old daughter's face as she contemplated how much money she had and how much money it might cost. Did she have enough? As I thought about it, all that I could hear was how my daughter wanted her friend to have just a little of what she has in life. Not necessarily fancy clothes or the best food. Not better health care or schooling. Just a nice place to sleep. As Evie tried to convince me why this was just necessary, I heard as she felt for her friend. Chipango has slept on a concrete floor of a crowded house for most of her life. Not because her family doesn't care for her or provide for her, but that was not a possiblity within their lives at this point. Evie didn't talk about it much because she never wanted Chipango to feel bad about it or to feel that she was looking down on her and her life. Mike took Evie into town, with an advance in her allowance that she was happy about working to pay off. She returned home with her gift and kept it hidden in her room until Christmas. She didn't want to wait until Christmas Day to give Chipango her gift and wanted her to have it Christmas Eve. Late Christmas Eve we drove to the Ngusulu's new house and there in the front yard, by the light of the truck, called the family out to watch Chipango receive her gift. Evie's excitement was as if she was awaiting a surprise, not giving one. It was a delight as a mother to watch. So, there the family stood, Chipango in the front with all eyes closed. Imagine, being 11 years old and opening your eyes to find that you would not sleep on a cold concrete floor tonight. Imagine seeing your best friend standing there holding a gift, just for you, because she loves you and wants you to have all the wonderful things in life. I thank God for this moment and being able to be just a part of it with our families.
The rest of us stood and just enjoyed such a wonderful event!
At first, I thought they were both being silly and not letting go of each other and hugging FOREVER! But, then after a few quiet moments I realized that Chipango was overcome with emotion and could not let go of Evie. She was moved to tears and not wanting anyone to see her crying. So, they just held each other for a bit and it was as if time stood still. One of those moments in life that is etched onto your heart. It was not a camera I even need to hold onto this one for forever.
Just a mat my friend, just for you!