I was raised to fear my Vagina and discussing sexuality openly was a taboo in my community. Besides what school taught me and what i shared with my peers,my curousity was on a discovery spree about how certain things work. Maybe i was lucky unlike other children i knew in my area that became mothers at a teenage age. Probably its because my mother was strict or my curiosity bore a fear of certain practices. Maybe its because i was raised i sunday school and was afraid of angering God.
Teenage pregnancies and early marriages are what happen in my community on a daily. i Do not want to blame poverty or religion, i would rather blame it on ignorance and negligence. Some of my playmates died trying to abort while many got married (i don’t recall being invited to any Kwanjula or wedding) but the moment they disappeared and i argued its boarding school, i would later meet them worn out and heavily pregnant or carrying a child.
My mother is the woman counselor, so while we discuss i tell her ‘I am glad i found a best friend in you’. We talk about everything and anything and that is because my curiosity didn’t draw me to better people because i was raised amongst so many boys.’ I was not taught or told every thing by my mother, maybe because she was shy but she always pushed me to a friend who didn’t mind answering all my questions. I wondered why most parents didn’t have this relationship with their parents, i wondered why sex was a bedroom discussion, why marriage was only told and taught to those that were getting married! I simply wanted to know everything and i was glad i did earlier. It helped me question my every move. I followed my mother’s footsteps so i engaged in talking to teens. (i love listening to these guys especially if you make it easy for them to open up, you will be amazed by how much they know). Well, i met a Moslem girl during one of the school visits. she was sad she was told it would be her last term in school yet her father had lots of money to sustain them through school. i was perplexed. i asked her if they were many but she said he was the kind of man that married one wife and they were just five children and she was the first. she went further to explain and it was clear that the parents had an idea about family planning so even the child spacing was on point. However, her mother was married off to her dad at a tender age too thou not as tender as hers. she was a bit educated unlike her father. But well, they had got her a man and he had paid her bride price (what is Bride price anyway if you have no reputation?) She wanted to run away from home but was afraid of how she would manage to continue school. She looked grown because she was healthy(read fat) but i believe this all part of the adolescent health, the body changes and growth but this was no reason of having her married off however the father believed she was ready to be a wife and then a mother (again i wonder if its ignorance or negligence. i just wont blame poverty). I helped her find an auntie she could confide in and she is still in school. she might have been lucky but i know many ought there still suffering.
So back to my childhood playmates. One of them, Mumbejja as we fondly called her, suffered a still-birth because when she went into labor she didn’t know she was in labor. And because he parents and siblings judged her she vowed to stay silent through out her pregnancy so she hardly went for antenatal. When she was due she thought she was hurting just and she was found in her room in pain and the neighbors tried to have her deliver from home which failed because she lost the child. After all the Trauma her mother told her to go to her ‘husbands’ house because she would accommodate a ‘grown woman’. She went to her grandma’s house and her grandma helped her start something small to sustain her and take care of her medication.she started frying and selling cassava for breakfast but In the process, she conceived again and has a little girl with whom she stays with at her grandma’s. (she didnt have a clue about contraception when we spoke). Poverty? Ignorance? negligence? sex education?