Tuesday’s Trash

It’s another pretty day in N***, beautiful by any measure, sunny, clear blue skies and birds chirping away. Jackie, the newest member of my circle of parenthood help is on her way home from picking Shaka up. As I open the gate she says to me, “Mama Z-something just happened.”

Tuesday is rubbish collection day where I am, and we leave our trash at the gate so that the rubbish removal company comes along and collects it. We put our trash out as per usual. What happens is that the trash is collected all in one pile at the end of the street, then the trash collection truck picks it up from there. Jackie lives maybe 50 metres from where we are staying right now, and knows when the rubbish is collected. Jackie, who is no shrinking violet, but also doesn’t say much all the time, tells me that a little baby boy was put on top of the pile of Tuesday rubbish. I don’t understand. Where is the child’s family I ask? How do you tell a child to sit on a pile of Tuesday’s rubbish. Jackie says she doesn’t know. No one knows. All they know is that the little boy was wrapped in a curtain. A curtain. Oh it now makes sense. The little boy was aborted, and wrapped in a curtain, and dumped in along with Tuesday’s trash.

You see what happens is that, when we put our trash out, street children and street adults rummage through our rubbish looking for recyclable plastic. In so doing, a street child, or adult, found the aborted child. Jackie tells me that the child had everything-all it had to do was grow. She says that she reckons the boy was five months or more. Jackie laughs as she relates this to me. But I can tell that she’s laughing because she doesn’t know what else to do. Or say. The boy was dumped on top of Tuesday’s trash, which is right where all the little children walk on their way home to and from school.

 I asked why no one had called the police. She said the police need someone to go there, write a statement, then they can come and collect the body. I want to do this-but with the law enforcement system here, chances are that I will be questioned, and suspected of the backstreet abortion. I’m a single mother, with no important surnames that can offer me some kind of protection. And no husband to come vouch for my moral worthiness. Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong police officer will get me into trouble here.


I am quite emotional. That won’t help at all.


I want to go cover the body. I don’t want children on their way from school seeing such sadness, and people’s apathy in the face of a dead baby’s body on top of Tuesday’s trash. It’s still a sunny, beautiful day. But the issues and rights that I fight so hard for have been dumped on top of Tuesday’s trash, right outside my door. I am so heartbroken. When will a change come. When.


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