I remember my trip to the mall accompanied by my cousin and sister, selecting various gifts for children between 7 months and 14 years. I wrapped each gift individually and on my own. I wonder sometimes if that was a way to make up for the many gifts I would never wrap for Zia, I remember wondering about the children who would unwrap them. What they were like and what were their hopes and dreams, about whether they would like the gifts I bought them, all relevant to their age groups. I made my own bows and labelled each one personally “To… In memory of Zia”.  Brady helped put on the blue bows for the boys and white bows for the girls. I placed them all under the Christmas Tree and on 20 December 2013 we drove out for Brady to hand them out. I called out their names and as they made their way to the front of the dusty room they all smiled appreciatively and said thank you. Unfortunately all 23 of them were not there but the lady said she would ensure they got the gifts.

Some of them started opening the gifts there and then and one of the little girls who was probably around three years old put on the butterfly wings and tutu and ran around waving her wand. The lady who ran the home led me from one room to the next and it smelled awful, of old clothing and dust. There were a few old broken toys in some of the rooms and there was no themes in any of the bedrooms. Not a childs bedroom, none of them were. Some of the kids shared a room with their abused or drug rehabilitated mothers, some had no mothers to share a room with. I thought about my daughter alot as I walked those passages from room to room. I thought about the room she would have had and the life she would have had. I was deeply saddened about the fact that I will never be the mother I would like to be to her. I will only be this, a mother who longs for her child everyday and will never get the opportunity to give her the life I dream of for her.

 An old lady was knocking bricks into place with the palm of her hands outside and even as I left the confines of the dark and dingy rooms, the musty smell stuck in my nose and could be felt in my mouth when I spoke.

I was given a tour of the factory where they make candles which they sell to shops in the local mall or direct to the public. I was grateful for the opportunity to buy gifts for those children, very grateful but it can never make up for the gifts I dream of buying for Zia but it warmed my heart to see those smiles.



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