Zeni is five tomorrow.
Did she give much thought to the pregnancy or was she too hungry and too exhausted to think about what she would do with a newborn while she was at work all day? Did she have anything ready? A blanket or cloth for diapers? Did she hope to raise her child and muddle through somehow or was she beyond hope - too young to realize what it means to be responsible for someone else's life? Did she dream of her baby growing up and getting out of the slums of Addis Ababa? Did she dream of getting out herself, of going to school, of falling in love or having a job?
What I know is scant. She went into labor while she was at work cleaning, she waited until after work and then went to the health station where the baby was born. Her father came to the hospital and named the baby "Medhanit", which means medicine. Then he left. He was angry with his daughter for having sex, for getting pregnant. Why did he chose that name? Did he harbor his own hopes for the newborn, of education or of healing?
I think of my daughter's first mother every day of her life and tomorrow, as we celebrate Zeni's 5th birthday, I will hold her in my mind and in my heart and thank her and cry for her and hope for her, and for me and for Zeni, that one day we can meet and ask and answer.