She locked herself in her room and suddenly fell to her knees. It was uncommon for a lady like her with such power, confidence, pride and looks to do that. She knew it. They knew it-her family-they knew how much it mattered to her. Her tears burnt her cheeks like brimstone yet she yearned for her mother's comfort. The woman who raised her to be bold, beautiful, humane and critical. The woman whose black hands splayed across her hair, styling it every morning before she went to school. It was indeed that woman-Achieng' who made her who she was and now was gone! She was six feet under and Atieno longed for her. Her mother's love was haunting her.
"Atieno, you don't have to be indifferent to people's feelings to be considered powerful."
"Atieno, you don't have to walk with your nose held up in the air and sneer at people less privileged than you."
"That poor person as you may think-smiles in a temporary situation of poverty. He has a wife, children and they humbly submit to your wishes with utmost loyalty. They are leaders because first and foremost they serve you."
"That man who seeks your attention isn't evil. He is a man after all. He goes for what he wants and gets what he needs later. He is handsome, dedicated, kind and sweet. He is your prince charming, but keep in mind Atieno- charm is deceitful and beauty is vain."
"That woman who seems to know everything about everyone. The one you call a busy body-knows that much because she is afraid of accepting who she really is. She finds peoples business interesting compared to her own. Understand her for she is afraid of herself."
"Atieno my dear, you are beautiful, talented, gorgeous and smart. Don't let that get in the way of your relationship with the less privileged. Carry that dirty unkempt little child. Help that old man get to his feet. Listen to the cry of your people and the wisdom of your land. Go inside that shack of a home and dine with your hosts. Leave them with hope and bread for tomorrow."
"And lastly, Atieno my child-don't forget your home, culture; do not forget who we are. The way we dance in nicely made Otuoro skirts. How the men woo the women to the Ohangla dances e tok par! How when we eat ugali our fingers attack from all corners of the world-with nothing but Ngege gi mtoo!
Do not forget how we speak, laugh, dance, fight, shout and love each other. Please do not most of all forget who you are. For you can have the whole world in the palm of your soft hands nyathina-but lose it by living to please others!"
"Remember me my child-when am long gone."