The road was not only dusty, it was also extremely bumpy. The kind of bumpy where you can hit your head on the vehicle ceiling. The vehicles were so old one had to be careful not to tear their clothes.
Several months pregnant with child, I recall my exasperation at the local leaders. No one cared about how bad the road was. Yet we continued to pay our taxes and curse them daily.
In an airport, I watched this mother quietly. She had the baby strapped firmly on her back and it did not matter that this was international travel. I could imagine her circumstances; perhaps she had no choice but to travel with her child.
Then I saw another mother who had strapped her child around her stomach as she pulled at two bags with both her hands. The bags seemed heavy and the mother exhausted. Thankfully the child was fast asleep. Imagine having to move like that with an active or agitated child!
Right beside me another mother heavy with child had blacked out in the travelling lounge. She was so fast asleep that she was snoring audibly.
I was tempted to cover her up. But some parts of the world are extremely protective of people and their spaces.
I could empathise with her situation. I have carried a child before and I know how exhausting it can be.
There’s a time I reached out and helped an expectant mum with her many bags.
Another time I nearly helped with a screaming child but the mega tantrum she was throwing couldn’t let me. In fact I prayed for extra strength not to apply my mothering skills. Those of us raised by good African mothers do not take lightly to such behaviour.
My mother was the king, not even queen, of ignoring a child. She could ignore you into silence; quick silence!
Our mothers had a special eye they gave you in public that spoke louder than when they pinched your ear so hard that you asked the ground to swallow you because of the severe pain.
In some cases, the mother has the helping hand of the children’s father and what a difference it makes; not just with the many pieces of luggage but also calming a child or walking a cranky child up and down.
I say a little prayer and smile reassuringly. Thankfully all children finally grow up!