My new friend Pugeni has taken to calling me "Mom". Umm... that would have made me TWELVE when I gave birth to him. I think it must be a sign of respect in his culture to call an older woman Mom. I don't mind. He's a good son. :-)
He's left us for the west. I'll miss him. He inspired me in ways that will stick with me for a long, long time.
While he was here, I took him to visit the snow sculptures. They completely dumbfounded him. "People do this for RECREATION? In the FREEZING COLD? And then it all melts in the Spring?" Too puzzling for him to comprehend.
He left me with a present. A bar of soap. "This is what the rich people use in Zimbabwe." It probably cost him a fortune - especially in a country in which the economic situation is so unstable they can rarely get milk in the markets, let alone soap. (Their inflation rate is 150,000 percent. Yes, that's really FOUR zeros. He says that it's increasing so rapidly, the price of a carton of milk can go up in the time it takes to carry it to the cash register.)
He can probably never afford to buy a bar of this kind of soap for his wife, and yet he brought one for me. I feel completely humbled by it. (And I felt a little guilty remembering how I'd so callously unwrapped a bar of Dove so he could have a shower that morning.) I haven't decided whether to leave it in its wrapper on my bathroom counter to remind myself how privileged I am, or to lather up every day in honour of him. ("I'll feel like a rich woman," I said to him when he gave it to me.)
Some day, I want to go to Zimbabwe to visit him.