houses/home

It hits hardest at certain moments, when I’m talking to others

these images.

Like the time I went to interview someone
who I’d helped build a house for (last year)

[children had come to play with us, every day,
feet shoeless, noses blocked with snot,
sometimes in pajamas still; women had cooked lunch
for us, which we sat outside and sat on the dirt-covered ground
in a circle eating]

She was so SO pleased about the house, telling us
that now, they didn’t need to worry about the sun heating up
the metal shack plates, or the wind shaking the walls,
or cold cold water coming in under the door.

‘And the rats… Now we don’t need to worry about rats.’

She leans back in her chair.

[I felt so ungrateful about the house I’d lived in for all my life]

‘Every morning, I wake up, and I’m so happy to have my own house’

and then, she talks about going to work as a char in a town much further away; someone who she’s been working for like 19 years already; how her employer had even come to see her new house, and how proud she’d felt: ‘My own house!’

[That’s when the image pounces at me: how OFTEN must she have felt that life was unfair during those hours spent dusting the oak-wood cupboards, in front of the kitchen sink with its imported taps, washing the tiled floor, hours spent on someone else’s house, only for her to return home to a shack? How often had she pretended, if she dared dream at all, while cleaning, drying, washing, dusting, that she was in a place of her own?]

It hits hardest at certain moments, when I’m talking to others

these images.

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~ by translating for peas on May 18, 2010.

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