I remember you seated with your hands on your chin. I remember watching your normal glow gone and heavy with a child. I remember you turning over from us so that we could not see the pain in your eyes. Then turning towards us and saying that we were going to make it. Relatives said that we should be separated and despite your pain and how tired you were, you said you weren’t going to let any of your children go. I remember  you said if we were going to undergo any changes or go through pain then it was going to be under your watch; you were going to stick with us all the way. Two months later Mercy came and you only took a few days off then you strapped her on your back to go and find us some food. In the evening you carried her on top of the potatoes or maize that was going to make our evening meal.
Every time when there wasn’t enough, you put on a strong face and said you weren’t hungry so that we could have enough.

You lost weight and looked older than your age yet you were stronger than ever before. You reprimanded us and loved fiercely like it meant life to you and I remember when you stood up against a man whose daughter had insulted our little sister without a care of what was going to happen to you. When everybody lost hope on my brothers because they were disobedient teens, you didn’t. You fought them, cried yourself to sleep and prayed for them until they decided to try staying in school.
When Sam passed his primary school exam, you walked for miles to get books for him and everyday you came back determined that he was going to school even if it meant for you to spend your entire lifetime walking.

When I, your eldest daughter joined private school you took to manual labor so that  I could get books all the other kids had and the two pairs of uniform. I did my primary exams and you had two sons in secondary school and people advised you to forego taking me to school because you were already educating boys. All you said was that no daughter of yours was going to give up school at such a tender age despite that you had no money on you.

You said you were going to stand by me even if it meant selling everything you had. Every one of us and even our neighbor’s kid, you gave your best. You forewent clothes, even the least luxury that you deserved to see us become stronger than we were then and no matter how hard it was and maybe still is, you look at us with a smile and say we are your life. You mother are always selfless and giving.

I am and will always be grateful to you. I will not let anybody undermine me because from the best I learnt that the strength of a woman is beyond limits.
To my mum, with love and respect.