“Stop!” I want to scream. “Enough.”
I know there is nothing more I can do or TTL can do or anyone can do, but I feel inadequate.
Death has come yet again. Lipuo died last night at the hospital.
I got a call from M’e Nthabeleng shortly before midnight.
“Lipuo passed away,” she said, and I could feel myself trying to jolt further out of sleep, to wrap my brain around the news.
“Can you pick up M’e Mathabang from C Ward?” M’e Nthabeleng asked.
“Yeah,” I said, still processing everything.
“Sorry to wake you up so late,” M’e Nthabeleng said.
“No problem,” I said.
I got out of bed and got dressed in the cold darkness of my rondaval, using my cell phone for light. Outside my cocoon of blankets, the room was very cold, but I barely felt it. My mind was counting babies…Ithateng, Nketeleng, Nthabiseng, Mathapelo, Liteboho, Lipuo…
I went and picked up M’e Mathabang, the safe-home caregiver who was staying at the hospital with Lipuo, and brought her back to TTL. In the short car ride back, she and I talked briefly, as best we could, about our shared frustration.
“Ke swabile,” I said. “I’m sorry.”
“Ach,” she said. “Lipuo.”
“Too many babies,” I said.
“Ey,” she said.
“Did she stop breathing?” I asked.
“Ey,” she said.
“Ach,” I said.
I was back in bed before I knew it, but I couldn’t fall asleep for a while after, not until I consciously stopped myself from thinking about it all, forced myself instead to think of back home and good friends and other things to carry my mind away.
Poor Lipuo. So adorable. So sad. Taken so quickly. Too soon. Too soon. Too soon.
The TTLF Fellow is a representative of the North American organisation The Tiny Lives Foundation. Based for one year in Mokhotlong, Lesotho, the TTLF Fellow serves in an administrative support capacity for the Basotho charity TTL.