For her, work was singing and dancing with children, pleading with men in their sober moments to send their children to school and convincing women that they were not challenging their husbands if they worked to earn a second income or went to school with their children.
Her work was persuading the swaying man on top of the building he was helping build, to climb down. She understood his ego was hurt when his child was beginning to read and write, while he, the master of the house, remained illiterate. She told him his family would die without him. She made his child and wife yell from eight floors down that they would never disobey him. She apologized for not seeking his permission before enrolling his child at the little school on the construction site. He let them help him down.
Early next morning, before he left his 10X10 tin shed for work, she was there forcing him to look her in the eye. The low of shame had replaced the high of the drink. She made no accusations; offered no apology. Her hands around his son sitting on her lap, she asked the father to choose. The boy could grow up to carry bricks and cement bags or study and hope to escape. And even support his parents one day, she added softly. The father broke down; she did not. At least not until the mother hugged her and thanked her through her tears and the boy looked up at them both in confusion.
Then she rushed back to her own house, to prepare lunch for her own son to carry to school.
I need your help. Not for myself but for a friend. No, he does not need money. But he is desperate.
Let me jump to the email he has sent me.
You know that I took up working for this NGO because I thought the opportunity was too good. I deeply cared for their cause and I had had enough of the corporate rat race. Within a week of joining, I became as passionate about the cause as the dynamic boss of the NGO, if not more.
I was happy to write about the good work the NGO was doing. I filled page after page online and offline.
I don’t know when things changed. Now, it is about doing only the work that would fill the pages and snag the bytes.