Liso* had a birthday party one Saturday, celebrating his fifth birthday. On a Sunday morning when they were returning home after dropping grandmother at her house (she came over for the birthday celebrations), Liso and his cousin were knocked over by a car that was doing drag racing on their street. The car had the 5 year old Liso and his 2 year old cousin squashed against their vibracrete wall. Mpho (his 10 year old sister) saw all this when it happened, and explained how Liso fell over their 2 year old cousin; shielding her from the disaster. The cousin survived the accident, but Liso was declared dead on the spot. This incident left everyone in the family extremely traumatised.
Mpho was seen at school for grief counselling. She was very devastated by the loss of her brother. She did not only lose a brother, but a friendship too. The young man who caused this tragedy was her best friend’s uncle. Mpho believed that, since the accident, her best friend has been ignoring her and giving her ugly looks. Mpho was hurting about how their friendship was affected, and also shared that she (and the family) does not blame the man for the death of her brother, Liso. They believe it was an accident. I asked her if she would like to fix her relationship with her best friend, and the answer was yes.
I called Mpho’s best friend, Lee, who also believed that since the accident her best friend has been treating her with a different attitude and not talking to her anymore. Lee said the accident has also left them as a family traumatised and feeling isolated. She shared how children from their area are refusing to go to their house now to buy electricity (they are selling electricity) because they are scared of being knocked over by Lee’s uncle. Lee also mentioned that they heard that Mpho’s family wanted to take revenge on Lee’s uncle for killing their son. This was not the case, but all this has brought more stress on these two girls and their families.
Lee also wanted to mend her relationship with Mpho. I therefore asked both of them if they would allow me to bring them together. When they indicated interest, I brought them together and gave them a platform to share how their friendship is now, how they thought it got to be that way, and how they would like it to be going forward. After all the misunderstanding and anger was addressed, and feelings were shared, each got a balloon where all the bad feelings that we wanted to get rid of were written. We then took these balloons at the far end of the school field. We stood with them at the small hill that was there. We said our short prayers, and let the balloons fly away with those feelings. Mpho and Lee hugged each other, and later we all shared a group hug. They left there with broad smiles on their faces. Since that day, Mpho and Lee were friends again.