On May 9, 2010, I wrote the following:
Being here with the X’s, their beautiful houses and beautiful daughters, has stirred up all kinds of emotions I can hardly identify much less understand. I know this: I love girls…I wonder how God can use these desires? The best I could guess would be that I should raise precious girls of my own. But how?
As a rather emotionally-contained and self-absorbed person, I never wanted to have children. When I got married, I didn’t know that I couldn’t sire children even if I wanted to. Alas, I am infertile, the number of my swimmers being too sparse. Seeing the silver lining, my wife and I enjoyed eight years of matrimonial freedom without the responsibilities of child-rearing. It wasn’t until 2012 that we started to investigate the options of fertility treatments and adoption. Honestly, we were quite content without kids. Eventually, Amber’s desire for parenthood grew stronger, and I followed suit a couple of years later.
And what else could’ve softened my heart but two little girls like these?
It’s no surprise (to me) that this would be the case. I’ve long had a special fondness for the young females of our race. Home-schooled by my mother, I grew up with my younger sister as my main playmate during grade-school years. Much of my experience at that formative age took place within the embrace of feminine energy. While being home-schooled conferred on us siblings a couple of advantages, one disadvantage was that the relative social isolation stunted our process of maturing in interpersonal relations with the opposite sex. In addition to that, being raised in a fundamentalist Christian community exposed us to the religious shaming and suppression of our erotic natures. By the time I was old enough to experience romantic attraction and sexual desire, I had been thoroughly indoctrinated in total abstinence and virginity-till-marriage.
The repression of my erotic energy had two unintended results: 1) in general I could not experience romantic and sexual attraction toward the same person (the latter being totally forbidden), and 2), with the sexual completely removed from the realm of possibility, my sublimated sexuality translated into quasi-romantic attraction to girls as young as age 8-9. The formula went like this: a) I cannot be sexual with anyone, but b) I can feel romantic toward anyone (over a wide age-range) because romance and sexuality are divorced. This psycho-sexual dysfunction left me – and to a degree still leaves me – a prepubescent boy eternally in search of prepubescent female playmates.
All this is a precursor to saying that it could’ve only been love that would soften my heart toward having children…not family pressure, or spiritualized guilt-tripping, or cultural convention. And not just any love, but the special type of love I felt for and felt from the miniature women of our kind: an innocent, playful, tender, and above all, feminine love. Only a little girl could’ve coaxed my embattled soul out from behind its insuperable walls.
And so my query above would find the beginnings of an answer as follows:
February 23, 2011:
Lochiyo Gabriel died last evening in Kaabong Hospital. He had AIDS. He is survived by his Dodoth wife Alice and their young daughter Janet [aka Mercy]…Lochiyo was the first Ik we met in Karamoja (March 2008). He willingly helped me in those early days to collect my first Ik word-list for phonological analysis. Since he’s always been sickly since we’ve known him, his passing is not a big surprise. But how I wish I could’ve seen him one last time! My last communication with him was that I couldn’t honestly write him a letter of recommendation because of his drinking problem. I know he didn’t hold it against me.
Lochiyo Gabriel, may your soul rest in peace.
This afternoon we’ll take his body to Lokinene for burial.
February 27, 2011:
Alice, Lochiyo’s widow, mentioned us adopting her little daughter, Janet. I find it very intriguing. I’ll just be praying about that…
March 2, 2011:
The goat was finally brought for Lociyo’s funerary ritual. Poor Alice had to stay there a whole week with people mistreating her [because she was from a different tribe]. My heart really went out to her. We tried to show her love in little ways. Yesterday when we dropped her off in Kaabong, she gave me and Amber a big hug. That was all the payment I’ll ever need…Her precious baby, Janet, is adorable…
March 26, 2011:
Alice came to visit us in Lomusian. She brought her little daughters, Lemu [Immaculate] and Janet [Mercy]. Amber had got a doll for Janet. Once again Alice talked of us taking Janet and keeping her and educating her. We don’t know how serious she is or if she understands the implications…