* * *
Fr. Kane walked down the dusty streets in the village. Most of the houses were half burnt to the ground. Some still intact. But none were occupied. The village bore a ghostly look. He came across Rosalin’s house. He remembered his first visit to the house. There was such a pleasant atmosphere then and look at it today, not even a shadow of its former self. Just a haunted-like look.
The villagers had built a make-shift tent on an open ground and as he walked towards them, he could feel their anger target at him as they looked at him skeptically. He seemed to understand their plight. He stopped and waited. The crowd walked towards him menacingly and slowly circled him. They glared at him with hatred.
Fr. Kane felt no fear as he slowly looked around at each of them slowly. He felt pity for them. This was their land and he was a stranger intruding on it and claiming it to be its own. He gave a big sigh and turned to look at the village elder who with a thick bamboo stick in his hand, was looking at him with anger.
‘Friends, I, as the head of this church right now have come on my own free will to talk to you. ’
‘What do you want to talk to us about?’ The villager elder yelled at him in anger.
‘Senor, I believe everyone has right to his or her own property. You have toiled hard to build your homes and fill it with little things. I know that taking away your property was not a good thing to do. It has affected your families. Lots of people got killed, your wives and children were rendered homeless. And to let you know that I have come in good faith, let me tell you that I have sent a request to the King in Portugal directly asking him for permission to return back your property as a good will gesture. Rest assured that you will get back what is rightfully yours.’
The crowd listened silently. They still were suspicious of Fr. Kane. They looked at each other slowly.
‘What guarantee that you are saying the truth?’ The village elder spoke though with a softer tone.
‘Do I gain anything by coming here in your midst alone and unarmed? I could loose my life if you desired.’
The villagers looked at each other and nodded their head knowingly.
‘I am a man of God. I know no hatred for others, only love and understand. Rest assured that you will get your property back.’
Fr. Kane slowly nodded his head around and turned around, walked back elegantly down the dusty street as the villagers watched him go, unsure of him.