“You….you were very little when they brought you,” these were staple conversations in our household, usually led by Akiiki maama Bagaya whenever there was a blackout, “you were about seven months old.” I never really sought to know my background, but in a homestead like ours, information was volunteered- I only found out later intent to hurt was one of the catalysts for the free info. My grandmother raised over 20 of us. Her sons did the easy part, and the women came and dumped the grandkids when they felt they were old enough to stop suckling.
It was after I had turned eight that I curiously started to seek out my history. What loving mother would mercilessly dump their baby, and leave? It was usually the last question on my mind before I drifted off to sleep- it would later turn to crying myself to sleep as a teenager, and the fuel that propelled me from the dungeon of hopelessness.
My grandmother raised over 20 of us. Her sons did the easy part, and the women came and dumped the grandkids when they felt they were old enough to stop suckling.
My grandmother provided some sketchy answers (she didn’t want me to look at her son a certain way, plus I was very young to internalize some facts). The home version went like this; my mother used to work away from home (the one she shared with my father). Then, one day she came back and found another woman from the neighborhood (my step-mother) had taken over the house, and was pregnant! In anger my mother decided to leave, though not with me. I had not been taken off the boob, a nightmare of its own. It’s on the next day that my father decided my grandmother was better capable of taking care of me than he was.
Growing up I never met my mother except for once on her death bed (she passed away when I was five years old- HIV/Aids). My father worked in the city, and lived with his new wife and kids. My sister and I, were in the village- something that his children thought was funny, and yes, they made fun of us whenever we met.
My sister and I, never felt loved by our father- at all! We were like second class citizens to his other children. He usually travelled and bought gifts for them, and we got the crumbs if finances allowed. The thing that stood out for me the most at the earliest was the lack of faith in us. He ridiculed every little achievement we attained as kids, and I remember asking him to let me put a certain first choice when I sat for my primary leaving exams, and he said no. His reason- it’s a wastage of choice. I could never make it. He gave me another choice back in the village. What I learnt though as I got older, was that he was also a gender biased person. I don’t know if he did what he did because we were girls or because we had no mother to defend us…I will probably never know.
My sister and I became thick as thieves because of our adversity, and we still are to this day. She has been more forgiving than I have of both my mother and father. The effects of lacking a parent in our lives are very glaring for us. We second guess every decision we make. We have both failed to follow certain directions we would so have desired mostly because of that nagging voice in the background telling us we are not good enough. We love to please people because we were told that’s how you get accepted- I am trying very hard to get out of this one.
The effects of lacking a parent in our lives are very glaring for us. We second guess every decision we make. We have both failed to follow certain directions we would so have desired mostly because of that nagging voice in the background telling us we are not good enough.
In our bleak situation, we found God. We both credit our progress to God, and we do acknowledge that if it were not for Him, we would certainly have been part of the statistics.
By Miriam Musoni
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