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Introducing Unarine

December 3, 2012

Despite everything that happened in the last two posts, I still hadn’t told my host family about the cat. I was afraid it wouldn’t be easy because I knew they didn’t like cats. At the time, the odds of the cat surviving didn’t seem to justify the risk of causing a conflict with my host family. Those odds changed once I managed to make him eat and go through the other motions of surviving.

One day my host sister had her newborn baby outside and she called me over to play with it. I held the thing for a while, and then I told her, “I have a baby too. Want to see it?” I gave hers back and went to get mine.

I could hear my host sister and other talking behind me in Tshivenda as I went to my room. “Mpho has a child?” “Yes, he’s going to get a picture.”

You can imagine their surprise when I brought out a tiny black cat. “Mpho, that is not a baby,” my host mother said in a not terribly impressed tone. “That is a cat.”

“His name is Fhulufhelo,” I told them. It was my sister’s turn to be not terribly impressed, because that’s her baby’s name.

“No, it can’t be Fhulu!” she said, smiling.

“Just kidding. His name’s Unarine.”



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