Edith was a tall girl with a bosom the boys admired. Every day, the swish of her skirt lapped around her legs and stirred more than the boys' imaginations. Every day she allowed her jet black hair to cascade freely around her neck, framing a brown face that revealed God's mastery; everything on it perfectly structured, and eyes that suggested.
Truthfully, that was the reason the Kenya Regional Peace Corps had dispatched her to Kasari Rehabilitation Center. Of the entire graduating class, Edith had succeeded where most had failed. Her eyes were trained weapons of behavior modification.
When she first arrived at the center, she knew she'd made the right choice. Her home room had the required basics. A wooden desk and chair at the front and fifteen small wooden stools scattered in a semi circle around the room. The walls were a faded green, old and worn, like hundreds of tired and hungry boys had been thrown up against them and frisked thoroughly. This was where she conducted the group counseling sessions.
Every day, after brushing their teeth and washing their faces, the boys would trail in and prepare for what the administrators called 'prayers.' Then one by one, each boy would utter a soliloquy of peace, not a prayer. Because, at the beginning when she had asked, they all said that God did not exist; that God would not have allowed bad things to happen to them. So instead, Edith instructed them on a method of relating their feelings, all of their words focused on the future, not on the past.
Each boy was a veteran ex-combatant, having spent a minimum of five years in various units on the continent of Africa. But Edith preferred to call them her child solders, it was less dehumanizing. And most times, their spontaneous articulations revealed them to be vulnerable children.
One by one, she reintegrated the boys into the community. Every day, she greeted them with solace, her eyes searching, penetrating the amphetamine induced haze that kept them awake for days, that had destroyed their capacity for peace, and wiped out their memories of brutal acts, hardening them. Every day, she taught songs and skits that they performed for everyone. She helped them feel safe, and taught them how to live among people in peace. So that when they went to join the others later in the day, they looked forward to returning to her the next morning.
One morning, Taabu a troubled 13 year-old who had survived a bullet to the jaw and was on a waiting list for reconstructive surgery, shortened his soliloquy drastically, from the allotted two minutes to less than thirty seconds:
"The bullett in my leg pains me,
I have no peace.
I want to study hard and become a doctor, so I will give peace."