Friday, March 7, 2008

Nothing New

Morlai,a thirteen- or fourteen-year-old-boy in class six, came over to me the day before yesterday to tell me he had a sore. I asked him where and he showed me his arm. On the back of his upper right arm was a u-shaped black scab. It was a little less than a quarter-of-an-inch wide and from end to end was probably four inches long. Pus was leaking out from under the scab. He had another, smaller, sickle-shaped scab on his forearm, also leaking pus. I asked him what had happened. I had to ask twice before he said under his breath, "My uncle."

"Your uncle beat you?"

A nod.



"That was three days ago. Why didn't you tell someone earlier?"

"I stayed home. It hurt."

"What did your uncle beat you with?"

"A cable."

"Was it hot?" I asked because the scabs seemed to me to be oddly smooth and uniform in color, like burn scars.


"Why did he beat you?"

"Some money was gone from the house."

"He thought you had taken it?"

"Yes, but I don't have it."

"Are these the only places he beat you?"

He stood up shaking his head and removed his shirt. On his back were several more small scabs, all sickle-shaped and leaking pus. He then pulled up his shorts and showed me four more of these scabs on his right thigh and lower buttock. Swelling had started around all of the scabs.

I cleaned around the scabs, gave him some plasters over the most exposed ones, and then gave him a little pain reliever. I then took him to his class teacher, Mr. Suaray, who said he would go to the police, which he did that afternoon. The uncle is a fishermen and is now away at sea for the better part of a week. The police agreed to look into the matter.

No comments: