Bibi usually tells me that if you do something very wrong, Allah will not hesitate to strike you dead. He will call you by name, just like he did to my sister Latifa. She was barely three years old, Latifa. When she died, she almost carried my mother’s entire happiness to the grave with her. After the burial, Ma had my other sister Amina leave for Lamu as soon as she could walk on her own two feet. A visit every Ramadhan, but no more.

“Your mother did not want to tempt death with the two of her remaining girls so she had Amina go to your aunt in Lamu,” Bibi told me.

We were born three girls, one after the other. Ma often says I was the first one to come but Ba says no, it was Latifa. Bibi doesn’t remember. She was the only one with Ma during…

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