I try to catch up with my schoolwork before I head out, some computer key board symbols. My little one has been acting out because he knows I am going to leave him at his Jjajja’s. He throws tantrums refusing his meal and making a fit to bath. I finally console him by singing a lullaby. I want him to sleep. I have already lost 45 minutes into my computer lesson, so I literary must run. I leave him with my mother at her market stall just a stone throws away.
“Babirye, you are late,” mother gently rebukes me.
“I know. I don’t even know what that tutor will tell me.”
The baby stirs. I quickly dash to my afternoon class.
The computer lesson is a bit complicated. We are learning something about developing an excel database and we have all these graphs to draw. I am sharing a computer with a colleague who seems bent on not letting me touch it to practice. His bad breath and smelly armpits give me a bit of nausea. Thankfully he goes to sit with his colleague. My friend takes a seat next to me. I plan to save, buy a laptop; the model doesn’t matter. I don’t complain. I am only grateful to mother who is paying my tuition at the computer training centre. I am among the few girls who get this second chance at education.
I unfortunately miss computer school today because mother gets called away for an urgent land thing in their family. I have no one to leave my little one with. My four siblings are all at school. I must ensure the house is in order and that they have their meal when they get back. While sweeping the compound I reflect on that fatal choice that changed my life; when I decided that I was too young to conceive. Well, we had studied the conception process in biology, but I knew it would never happen to me. I still marvel at my ignorance of thinking that I could not get pregnant at the first time. Well, the persuasion from that cunning boy didn’t help either. The noise of motorcycle rushing into our compound awakes me from my thoughts. It is my father; I wonder what he wants seeing he prioritizes his second family. Without even letting me greet him, he goes into the house and picks a green card which I perceive to be his motorcycle logbook. I know that look, he is getting another loan. The baby is awake with his usual crying. Why did father have to come to interrupt his afternoon nap?
It is about 8pm and we are having our supper. We are watching a hot local drama series on one of the popular TV stations. Our eyes are glued on the small 14-inch screen so much that our food starts getting cold. We pick our infamous habit of eating while watching TV from mother. She is the star. The scene of where a young girl is chased away from her home and is forced to marry a man after becoming pregnant hits a sore spot. We all have so much to say yet our lips are sealed. I was that young girl in the sight of my father. His reaction had been the same. Mother thought otherwise; the rift between her and father widened. We only see father occasionally; he prefers his other ‘perfect’ family.
“Hm, ah haa, some parents are quite something,” mother mutters beneath her breath.
Only I catch her statement.
I love Fridays. After computer school, I rush home to change into my dance clothes. We have a youth dance team in our neighborhood of about 35 members; quite a number I would say. No wonder no rehearsal goes by without conflict, but all is good. We are all growing in so many ways. Our mentor a gentle young lady is training us in interpretive dance. We will be participating in some campaign on education for girls at the district. I am doubly excited because the dance is developed around my story. Naturally I am the heroine. I know of some green eyes in the group, but I am too happy to care. I am in good shape, I can dance, I can act, I am going to share my story. May be a parent who watches this dance will give their daughter like me a chance to get an education.
On my way to the market to help mother in her stall, I spot Kato busy chatting with the new girl in the neighborhood. I make a note to become his counsellor later. While having our evening snack-the famous jack fruit, I approach the subject.
“Kato, I saw you chatting with the new girl and your closeness was a bit uncomfortable.”
He is indifferent. He continues to eat his fruit throwing the seeds on the ground.
“You don’t want her to become like your sister now, would you?”
He holds my gaze. I am happy because I know I have gotten through to him. Afterall, he is my twin, and I can tell when he has got the point. I wish young males like him could have good role models to speak to them about sexual reproductive health issues. Maybe I wouldn’t be in this situation.
It is time for church, again another best day in my life. As always baby is fussing but he won’t deter me from reaching in time. I go with two of my younger siblings. Mother goes with my other sibling. We attend different churches since I got a child. Mother is a deacon in her church and prudence led us to go to different congregations. Apparently, that boy’s father is the head deacon. The way his family treats me is a topic of another day. I just changed location for every one’s sake. Well, getting pregnant didn’t make me lose my faith. I still found love and care from those who didn’t cast the stone. It is time to get my dance shoes on; the choir is singing my favorite song.
Sanyu Centre for Arts and Rights
All rights reserved.