Gift arrive today.
What gift arrives today? replied Gwen, who recognised Wilson’s number but not the content of the message from the jovial and effusive charity liaison.
Arrive Gift today, make you happy forever.
Eternal happiness was not the first grand claim Wilson had made, but the transactions between Gwen and the children’s charity usually flowed in the opposite direction. Appreciation letters were common, especially approaching Christmas, but never before a gift. Thabani’s letter had impressed Gwen and Dara immensely, for its linguistic competence and the cute drawing of a tropical palm tree, despite the children’s home lying in the heart of southern Zimbabwe’s arid region.
He’s clever, Gwen had told Wilson.
No, is not Clever, is Thabani, he’d replied.
“You should give Wilson some lessons in grammar, and tactful language,” quipped Dara light-heartedly. The grammar lessons did not eventuate, nor did the sponsorship the couple had initially requested. They’d been matched with 3-year-old Rose and had been quite content. But they soon discovered that Rose would not be receiving their benevolence. When they contacted Wilson, he informed them Rose had never existed. Maybe they were thinking of Primrose, or her identical sisters Prudence and Privilege.
Sensing their disappointment, and determined to find a child to benefit from the couple’s goodwill, Wilson had messaged soon after,
You want Charity?
Us, charity? This wasn’t making any sense. Gwen understood the difficulty of communicating in a second language, her students faced it every day, but now Wilson seemed to be offering them charity. What is happening?
To be honest, Wilson, we’ve almost lost hope, they’d confessed after hearing the news of Rose and failing to secure another sponsor child.
No, not lose Hope, Hope and Faith I see today with my very own eyes, this I am sure.
Gwen was buoyed by Wilson’s irrepressible optimism and his continued dedication in undeniably challenging circumstances, and she and Dara were determined to provide an impoverished child with a better life. But even after endless trials and tribulations with their charitable efforts, they still had no idea why they would now be the recipients of a gift.
“Maybe it’s a thank you for the water pump we funded, suggested Dara. “or the equipment for the sewing and carpentry workshops. Wilson did say the sewing machines were ‘great for Blessing’ though I’m sure he meant to say ‘a grateful blessing’.”
“Perhaps, but why send us a gift, and how can Wilson be sure it’ll arrive today? Nothing sent between here and Zimbabwe has ever arrived on time.”
Then the couple heard a noise. A noise that would change their lives forever, just as Wilson had promised.
Gwen opened the door. Standing in front of her was not a harried delivery driver demanding a signature. At their door stood a shy young African boy gazing up at her with big, brown eyes.
“Hello, how are you?” he whispered.
“My name is Gift Matebe.”
Image: Jess Bailey