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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Parent (11/16/06)

TITLE: Kendi--The Loved One
By Marty Wellington


Sister Catherine, a nurse from a British mission orphanage, found me near death that rainy night; my frail body sprawled among refuse in a dark alleyway of Kampala. I was only ten, but had spent nearly seven years on the streets fighting for my life. If a life is what you could call it.

What had brought me to this refuse pile would always be a muddle to my young mind. All I could remember was abandonment, torture, and horror. The war-ravaged Ugandan countryside tore me away from home, while a corrupt and sin-filled city severed my heart from love.

Scooping my thirty pound frame into her abundant arms, Sister Catherine carried my diseased body to her mission hospital where I found comfort and healing.

After several weeks, I joined other orphaned children in the overflowing British mission orphanage. For the first time in my young life, I experienced regular meals and baths and the wonder of sleeping in a bed.

Despite these new-found luxuries and the kindnesses of the orphanage staff, my heart remained cold. Being one of the oldest children, I didn’t know how to respond to the babies and the younger children.

Sister watched my self-absorption for many days before she intervened. Taking me aside, she began to teach me about childcare. I learned how to change diapers and feed babies their bottles. We bathed children together and she taught me lullabies to sing to them. It wasn’t long before my confidence soared and I began offering the nurses assistance with the little ones at every opportunity. I found I enjoyed caring for the babies. They reminded me of my own helplessness. Serving them seemed to ease my own suffering heart.

It wasn’t long before a parade of childless couples began to make their way through the orphanage regularly seeking babies for adoption. While I enjoyed readying the babies for these visits, I soon learned that children my age were not desirable for adoptive parents. Despite my ebony skin, I always seemed to blend into the white-washed walls of the orphanage on visitation days.

Until one sticky summer day nearly a year later, when a missionary couple who were grandparents six times over, stepped into the orphanage, and tore down those walls that hid me from myself.


“What is your name, dear one?”

I stuck my chin out in defiance, glaring at the strange white man with the gray hair. “Nasha.”

Sister Catherine volunteered a translation. “Her name means ‘born in the rainy season.’”

The man and his wife drew closer to me and I cringed. Before I realized it, the man had knelt down beside me. His transparent green eyes looked into my mahogany ones. It was as if I could see through him, but I wasn’t allowing him to see through me. No, never.

With deliberate intention, his large hand reached up to my cheek, caressing my face. “What a beautiful child.”

For an instant, I closed my eyes and absorbed the electricity of his loving touch. Then I reached out to that smiling white face and I slapped it with all my might. I would have none of that love—no, it was not for me.

Behind me, Sister Catherine drew in her breath. “Oh, I’m so sorry. She didn’t mean that.”

The man simply gazed back at me—determined and wise. His kind green eyes seemed to envelop me, steadily watching me. “Nasha, you have found a home today. You are going from this place with a new name—Kendi. Yes, Kendi.” Then gently grasping my shoulders, he whispered in my ear, ”Kendi—the loved one.”

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This article has been read 731 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dolores Stohler11/26/06
This story, so well written, had the sound of reality and left me wondering, is it true? If so, Kendi, I wanted to hear more. Nothing is more tragic or touching than the news of an abandoned child.
dub W11/27/06
The drama and realism touched me. This is very well written, I hope it rates well.
Joanne Sher 11/27/06
This felt so raw and real. Excellent description and characterization. I also want to know more - especially if this is true, and even if it isn't!
william price11/28/06
Very honest and real writing!! Great reader involvment. You had me from start to finish. Excellent job. God bless.
Donna Haug11/28/06
We can't even imagine, can we! My heart goes out to all the Nasha's in the world - Lord give us eyes to see them and understand their hurt and pain.
Jan Ackerson 11/28/06
Beautifully written!
Edy T Johnson 11/30/06
I'm so glad I came "looking" for you, to thank you for your sweet comment on my "parent" entry. This is such a gripping piece of writing. It sounds so real. If it is fiction, you have one awesomely creative imagination. If it is fact, are you Sister Catherine, Kendi, or the adoptive parent?