Childhood Memory

Dear mom

I am now recalling my childhood memory with you

It was not a good one though.

You left me raised by your sisters

As you went away for some days, sometimes even couple of weeks

They said you went away to get me some bread and sweet cakes.

I did not want them. 

I missed you so much 

Yet you did not come back for weeks

I felt so hurt. 

So I cried out loud every night.

Your sisters almost gave up on me.

They told me to stop crying and be quiet. 

That was how I learnt to stop missing you. 

Then one day you came unexpectedly. 

I was playing alone with my clay toys. They told me to get up and run for you and welcome you home.

I did turn around and stared at you blankly. I did not know what to say. I just sat still and being quiet again.

Your face turned regretful. 

Then you came to me and greeted me. ‘Are you alright, darling?’ you said. I just nodded and be quite again.

You felt strange with me. So did I to you.

Since that day, I did not know how to restore this bound between us.

But you keep trying to restore it and you never stop until today.

Dili, 2018

VZ

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A Mother and Her Foreign Worker Son

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It has been five years since they parted.

His mother lives with her four small kids in a firm gray brick house with two floors built by his son’s hard work result.

Her son lives in a room of a flat together with his friends as foreign workers in that city with the Big Ben. Every night, he works up all of his sweat as a factory worker for a bunch of pounds sterling for him and for his family who lives in the far eastern edge of the world. When he comes home, he stares at the sky of the night from the window while painting the face of his beloved old woman with prayers.

Meanwhile, at that the old grey brick house, every night his mother continues to set aside the dinner on his son’s favorite plate. If her other children ask her ‘why do you have to always set aside a plate of food on the table mom? Our brother is not here.’

Her mother would reply ‘kids, this is for your brother. Hopefully, in that overseas land, he is also enjoying dinner like us’.

After finish, the dinner, each of her kids begin to fall asleep in the bed. Before she washes all the dishes, she looks again at that one plate of food with a smile and tears in her eyes. She misses her faraway son badly. She does not know when can she hugs him again, just as when her son was two years old, started learning to walk and run to her embrace with a cheerful laughter.

Next day her son called ‘mom, perhaps we have to go back home.’

‘Why? Did you cause some trouble there, son?’ her mother asked in worriment.

‘No mom. This is just a possibility. The native people here may require us to go home’.

Her mother is actually so happy to hear the words ‘go home’ which she has been waiting for so long.

‘Son, if you have to come home. Then let it be. Your homeland and our family have always welcomed you. We can start all over again like before’. Her mom suggested.

‘No mom. I cannot return just like that. There are still a lot of things that I have to do here, mom’. Her son replied.

Later after that, the conversation on the phone was over between them. However, that one concern of the mother and her son is indeed not yet due.

 

Dili, Timor-Leste

June 28th, 2016

There are lots of Timorese work as foreign worker in UK factories. When Brexit issue was happening, there was a concern that foreign worker might be required to go home.

Rosary of A Rural Lady

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Photo: A Timorese local woman

You live in a peaceful village

You grow along with the nature, the green mountains

Learn to follow the rules and wisdom of the ancestors.

 

In the morning, the cockcrow of the roosters wake you up

While the sunshine has not risen yet.

You enter the kitchen, lighting up the hearth and it smokes out

Later, a hot pitcher of an aromatic smell of coffee is ready to serve

With some freshly boiled cassava roots

It’s morning already’ So you said to everyone…

 

You live in a hut made of palm leaves and trunk

For your children, it is the most beautiful palace ever

As long as you are always there for them, every day and every night

To shelter your children with love.

 

To the spring fountain, there you go to take the water

Even if it is quite far to walk.

Filling the whole water pot, you carry it on your head

To the farm and rice field you go

To secure the food for your household

With palm leaves, you weave the winnower, mat, and basket

Those items are to contain the goods that belong to your household

 

You live with all your strength to serve

Sometimes you become weak and powerless

Yet still, you rise soon afterward.

 

‘The night is coming…’

So you summon everyone to gather

In a table with an ample of food

You fulfill their hunger, thirst, and fatigue

Then, there you sit still

Listening and seeing them talk

Measuring their mind and soul,

Feeling their burden and relieve.

 

Today has passed away

Yet still you believe that tomorrow is coming

Despite you do know not what it will bring.

You do ask not a lot of things

You do aspire not a high dream

As to you, it is enough

When the future of your children can be bright

Though someday, you might not be there at all to see it….

Dedicated to Timor-Leste rural mothers…
Vitalia Ze, Dili, October 15,  2014