“The homeless, asylum seekers, the elderly, the disabled, children in need, victims of abuse. We know them by their needs. What if we knew them by name?”

My surmise of life is that sometimes it is necessary that life is completely reshuffled, reshaped, reoriented, transfigured to somewhat realign us to where we are supposed to be. Making a decision to work with Serve the City- Brussels was one of those inflection points in my life. Through the instrumentality of the services I worked for, I managed to have journal inscriptions in form of letters in which I addressed to some of the most amazing souls I was serving. The last letter I wrote were thoughts I wish to put across to Marcelle, a Belgian senior citizen with whom I met at Les Petites Soeurs de Pauvres- Bruxelles:


To the classically beautiful Marcelle,

I wish to admit that I may not be aware of all your afflictions in the centuries of your time not only because time did not allow you to unfold them to me but also because it was not evident in either the creases in your brow or the the down-curve of your lips. I, however, would like to make mention of your eyes that reflected your beautiful soul; of the fact that I honour/still honour the light, love, truth, beauty and peace within you; that you are a taaffeite…and that a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.

I wish to let you know that I still  remember your adenoidal voice,” Je m´appelle Marcelle- M.a.r.c.e.l.l.e- Marcelle avec deux ´l´s…”  and that I still have the picture I took of us during my last night in Brussels, my last night visiting your home- to help me remember the very little details even long after I will have forgotten everything. I still yet have to see so much beauty in one picture…

I also wish to share with you my favorite piece of writing in the spheres of one of my best-loved writers, Ijeoma:

“I hope you are loved, if you’re not, I hope you love yourself. I hope whatever God you believe in protects you and if you don’t believe in God, I hope the universe keeps kissing your feet. I hope you make mistakes and realize how easy it is to fall, so you might not judge so easily. I hope you find your way home and if you cannot, I hope you build yourself a warm spot to call home. I hope you are loved, I hope you are loving, I hope you do not break apart and stay apart for any human being. I hope to the heavens you find your way back to yourself, that you love your journey. I hope you become the best at your life and you do not blame others for your mistakes. I hope life is enjoyable to you but know not everyone can understand that or feel that. I hope the world does not break you, your God does not forsake you and I hope the universe keeps kissing your feet. I hope you give this life a chance. I hope you recover from your mistakes, I hope the darkness does not call you by name anymore. If it still does, I hope you find ways to remember your light.”

Marcelle, I could write a million letters, each one the same as the last in sentiment and lilt, they would stay the same, only the word order would change but it would always boil down to one thing: I love you, I care and I am here for you.

Gros Bisous,

E. K. Gimba


5 thoughts on “JE M´APPELLE MARCELLE…M.A.R.C.E.L.L.E

  1. Dear Elizabeth,
    I could leave a series of letters each not different from the last as my mind dances to the feelings inside your words and the sorrow masked by the hidden story engraved within Marcelle. All I would say as for now is how beautiful you write a story inspired by a man who’s touched us both!
    Yours sincerely ,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so beautiful. Ijeoma is also so talented.
    Hoping to read more.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s so sweet of you. Am really proud of you.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Amazing piece👌👑

    Liked by 1 person

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