Written December 16th, 2012
So, I figured out a while ago that my site family was not all as it appeared. Basically, that the youngest daughter was not actually their daughter. Only now I have finally learned all the connections. I first found this out when I was walking around with the girls and they pointed to an old lady and said “that’s Tseky’s grandma”. I thought they were messing with me because I know their grandma, and this lady wasn’t her. Then a few weeks later, when we were out at a famadihana they pointed to a young guy and said that was Tseky’s dad. There was no denying it.
I don’t know how they picked such a perfect name for Tseky when she was born. It means “smile” and she has the most adorable round face and the biggest smile I have ever seen on a child. This guy had the exact same thing.
When I tried to ask questions about this revelation they were evasive and uncomfortable, so I dropped it (also, the adults in the family never once mentioned this). It wasn’t important enough to me to make them feel awkward.
But since my former neighbor (Sezety) moved back to my village (to a new house though, she is not my neighbor again… thank god) Tseky has moved out of the main house and into the Sezety’s house. I kind of had suspicions that she was Sezety’s daughter but this made it even more so. Ninah confirmed it for me later as well.
So, that’s weird. How strange it must have been for Tseky to watch Sezety be a mother to Fandresena (her son) while effectively ignoring her. It also makes me even more uncomfortable that she was the only one of the children who I ever saw get beaten (by her grandmother/surrogate mother, Tseky always referred to her grandparents as mom and dad).
Also, by doing the math, Sezety had Tseky when she was 15 or 16. Teen pregnancy is pretty much viewed the same here as it is in the US. It is looked down upon, but their families don’t disown them. It is pretty common here, in my village at least. It is a leading reason as to why parents don’t send their daughters away to middle school (where they are unsupervised and do naughty things). So by age 22 Sezety has been married twice, and has 3 children (the middle of which died). No wonder people act so confused when I say I am too young for a husband!
Also, Sezety pulled Tseky out of school so she could “work”. She is only 6 –years-old so the only work she would be doing is keeping an eye on Fandresena (and even then she still manages to spend a couple hours a day hanging out in my yard). Frustrating!