The bog almost looks like a peaceful lake. Then I notice all the trash and remember that the bottom, only six inches or so from the surface, is covered in pig refuse.
It feels like home. It feels like where we are supposed to be. I don’t search for bugs as I walk gingerly in Vitalia’s house. I don’t panic when I wake up in the beyond-black night. And when the roosters scream like they’re about to be dinner, I just mutter an expletive and fall back asleep. The flies don’t bother, the terrain appears under foot s though it knows where I want to go.
“You came back, others said they would, but you, you came back.”
She wasn’t said or angry. Vitalia (our once-again house mom) just laughed unceremoniously. But it’s clear that promises are long and follow through is short around here. The young women I play cards with lament mis compadres who said they would send photos and gifts but never did. Those who said they were return or write and have never been heard from again. And yet, these women remember who is graduating, their countries of origin, their families.
Despite these bits of sadness, everything is calm here and it takes no thought or effort to get food, to play with children or to talk to friends. I amble around barefoot like I would in my deck and backyard back home. I know what food is coming, I know where to eat and go to the bathroom, I know how to bucket shower.
I know it so truly and completely that I’m not sure if it didn’t really come from my mouth when Gwen says, ”it feels like home here. It feels like this is where I should be.”