For a while, Cordalia was taken in by her aunt, but it proved too difficult for her. In her niece, she could only see the loss of her sister, the violence of men, and the pain of her own existence. She pleaded with her husband to help her find another home for the child, and they eventually found a solution through the Lutheran church.
Their pastor was a leading member of the church’s finance committee and was well aware of the resources available to families through the church. At a monthly meeting, he discussed their case with members of the committee and found a savior in a man named Haingura from the western Kavango region. In this man’s village, there was a large parish that operated a youth hostel. Haingura agreed that he would take in Cordalia when she was old enough to start primary school, and asked that the church pay for her hostel care until she was of age. The only thing he asked from the girl’s family was that someone agreed to work on his farm long enough each year to pay for the child’s school fees.
The pastor took the details of this meeting back to Cordalia’s aunt and uncle, who agreed to the terms. Upon hearing word that everything was in order, Haingura and his wife drove to the settlement to formalize the adoption and to meet the child. Haingura and Cordalia were best friends from the fist meeting. Her face lite up when she was lifted off of the ground by him, and she sat on his knee as if she had been doing it everyday since the day she was born.
Haingura couldn’t believe that so much joy could come from a little girl who had already been through so much pain and born out of such violence. When it came time to sign the papers his wife Rosaria had to pry the child away from him. Cordalia didn’t fuss at the change of hands. Being bounced up and down on a powerful leg was fun, but being welcomed into the warm bosom of a seasoned mother was pure safety. Within minutes the child was sleeping.
And like that, little Cordalia had a new family. Her adoption day was actually her oldest memory, so in her mind, she wasn’t really adopted. She was born the day father Haingura and mother Rosaria arrived.
***back to day after night the demon came,
As she worked throughout that day, she constantly recalled the times before the demon. Of being held by her parents and her aunts. Most of whom were nice, except for Esther. Esther yelled all the time and sometimes hit the children, but Cordalia loved her anyway.
Whenever she thought about the demon’s hands, and had strange feelings, she remembered the story her mother used to tell her. Of how she wasn’t supposed to move onto their homestead until she was of school age, but Haingura could never bring himself to take her to the hostel. So from the day she left the settlement, she was part of their family.
These good memories filled her with joy, but also confusion. Why was this happening to her? Why wasn’t anyone talking about it? Why would such a good family have a demon? What did she do wrong? Maybe she wasn’t grateful enough for everything that had been done for her? Maybe she wasn’t working hard enough?
She lingered on the thought about not working hard enough. It felt like something she could control. She decided she would work even harder at home. And when school started she would work harder at school. Then no-one, not even a demon, could say she was a bad daughter, and she would be innocent again, and safe from the monster.
For the rest of that day she worked and worked. She picked up leaves from the homestead, she hand washed laundry, washed dishes, kept the fire burning, scalded and plucked chickens for dinner. Anything she could do or help with she did. And when she went to bed that night she could only feel the soreness from her hard work, and it felt good. She was exhausted. She went to sleep without fear.
***back to the story now after a quick hiatus, but those of you following along know why. I’ve also been jotting down some notes and getting more ideas for where things are going, but I don’t want to share all of those with you because I figure it might be more fun for you guys just to watch the story unfold, rather than get the spoilers from my notes, but I think once this over, there will be a lot of rearranging and rewriting so it flows like a complete novel. Thanks again for following along.