One night there is screaming from the next house – like a dog, a child is being beaten. We stand in the dark of the passageway, hands to our mouths as Shabani goes to stop it. I see tears shine in her eyes.

We visit some of our children we are teaching: Ally, Method, Jamila and Jennifer. It feels special to be in each of their homes. Shabani’s bibi who makes us dance, a two month old baby in our arms, groundnuts and God’s fruit, a football made of plastic bags.

On the morning of Eid-el-Hajj Sarah and I walk around to Goody’s with a pan to collect the milk, warm and speckled with things. The cows are tethered to the fence and toss their horns menacingly at us as we go to touch their wet noses. One day, Goody will teach us to milk them and we’ll shriek with laughter at the swing of the udders, a row of children laughing behind. Goody lives opposite the mosque and, as it is a festival, prayers take place outside with a sound-system in front of the rows and mats. In the afternoon, Mama Ally’s house is open with people coming and going, sharing a huge pot of pilau, the television turned up loud and our fingers covered in grease. We hold up our empty plates and show them off.


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