I wake up in the morning my body covered in bruised from wrestling with the devil. A night spent selling my soul for food again. I pick up the pieces of my life and convince myself that today will be a better day.
At the age of 13 I had to experience my mother’s agonizing death. She had been suffering from the dreadful AIDS. Nobody really speaks about it now. This plague has become part of my life. With everyone in my community either just contracted it or slowly crawling to their grave. There are no medical facilities in Masendu, and most medical care givers come but do not enough supplies. This makes it so hard to combat the diseases. I have never met my father, my mum said that he dies a long time ago. He used to be a truck driver, driving to neighboring countries such as Botswana, Zambia , DRC and South Africa. Their story is one to shred the hearts. My father contacted HIV from prostitutes he used to sleep with along his long journeys.
Sadly this too has become my reality. I can’t tell my story but I know someone else can.
I will be turning 14 in a few months and already I have been introduced to the “High” life of Zimbabwe. On the side of my dressing table is a tiny bag of marijuana ( widely known in Zimbabwe as mbanje). I roll one and take one drag to numb the pain. This makes me feel fearless and for some reason takes away the shame as well. The two men I had last night requested that I have unprotected sex with them. Knowing the dangers of unprotected sex I tried to say no but the negotiation soon turned violent.
Life is very hard in Masendu. I had to leave school because I could not afford my school fees. This is the reality of so many teenagers. I’m meeting my friends at the growth point. There is a local bar close by. We try to market ourselves by looking pretty and wearing skimpy clothes. The owners of the shops around the growth point also enjoy our services. The charges range from $2 depending on the client’s requests.
I have managed to buy myself a few items which include a tiny radio that keeps me company on most lonely days.
I used t have so much pride in my country. I remember Monday morning singing the national anthem with so much pride and walking past the Head master’s office and seeing the picture of my Great president Mugabe. In gr7 I was chosen to be a flag raiser, but this flag, this country,.. Has been trotted on by the very people who were supposed to protect it.
I don’t believe that there is anything better beyond this point. Most days I feel like a needle in hay stack. It’s a theory I have, you take from the poor to keep the rich healthy. We die in poverty so that they can build houses and fly all over the world, live in lavishly big houses and eat of the best crops. What happened to the Lancaster House agreement?
I did not choose this life for myself. The situation around me drove me into the hands of the devil, to dance and entertain his company through blood and tears. Again this is not just my reality; others are grimmer than this. It is not fair that minors be selling their bodies for food, it is not fair that youths be forced into drugs and alcohol straight from school because of the lack of employment. It is not fair that people die from diseases and porverty. Why is it no onw I hear campaign on the radio ever comes to see how we at Masendu village live our lives and actually bring a change….
I have so many whys….
Do not tell me there is a good side to this our Zim…sigh
The good only comes when you riding the backs of others. It’s beyond unfair.
“For now, let us be united in our endeavour to lead the country to independence. Let us constitute a oneness derived from our common objectives and total commitment to build a great Zimbabwe that will be the pride of all Africa. Let us deepened our sense of belonging, and engender common interest that knows no race, colour or creed. Let us truly become Zimbabweans with a single loyalty. Long live our freedom.”