Precious…the birthing of a dream


she walked out of the house, throwing the blue new tropicals to the floor, she slipped her feet in and ran towards her grandmother who was walking down the dust path that led to away from their house and onto a dusty road. It was an hour’s walk to Chinfinsa congregation of the United church of Zambia. She could make it in 30 minutes if she picked up the pace but that was not going to be the case walking with her grandmother. she pulled the worn skirt made of chitenge material, to cover her belly button and walked beside her grandmother. She couldn’t hide her excitement at going to church today.

“natwendeshe” her grandmother called picking up pace. she wanted to make it to church before the St Marks Choir arrived. She never complained about the distance from Luano to their Church, which was in Munsenga, on the other side of the Chingola-Kitwe Road; a trek from where they lived.

“But mama, “she replied, “our service never starts on time.” Her grand mother insisted they get to church early every week. she had no watch but they always made it on time. Precious had never heard the St marks Bemba Choir sing, but her grand mother had told her,  how beautiful they sounded. her grandmother had heard them sing many times and had even visited the “mother” congregation. The announcement was made a week ago and everytime she thought about it, she felt her heart skip a beat.

they soon met other people headed in their direction “mujibi yepi?” the woman called walking towards them.

“emwani,” her grandmother extended her hand, clapping the other womans hand and touching her chest and repeating the gesture again in greeting; Kaonde greeting. She had grown up speaking iki Kaonde but now mainly spoke ici Bemba despite being in Lamba country. she greeted the woman and run ahead, knowing her grandmother would be fine with her walking companion for the day.

She didn’t care for the dust that was gathering on her legs with each step she took; the faster she run the worse it got, but she would be at the church in no time. She was out of breath by the time the Kitwe-Chingola rd was in sight. On the other side was the Munsenga junction. A small dirt road that meandered from one end, forming a loop and coming out the other. It was mostly bush on one side of the dirt road and houses on the other. she slowed her pace as she came to the road. It wasn’t as busy on Sundays, but she made sure there weren’t any cars coming before running across. There were other people walking down and she walked with them, not quiet feeling at home, she talked with them, maybe if she showed her excitement at what was happening at church today, no one would see the discomfort she felt.

*                                  *                                  *

Jahdel was glad she had made it to church on time. Her 2 friends Limpo and Mwansa were coming to church with the visiting chior. She was excited. Her and Limpo had become close friends, despite her vow never to become friends with men. He had reintroduced her to Mwansa who she had previously known but had not talked to in years. She walked to her sister Karen and the woman she was talking to. She watched as the young girl walked away from them. Her clothes were worn. Her skirt, made of chitenge was not as bright as it had obviously been before. she kept pulling the skirt that kept riding below her belly button.

“You see that girl.” the woman talking to Karen said, “takonfwa.”

Jahdel wondered why the girl was said to be naughty, she seemed so full of life.

“she sleeps around with different men,” the woman shifted the baby in her arms from one side to the other, settling her on her hip and leaning in closer “Bonse bali mwishiba.”

Jahdel was too shocked to respond, did this woman just say everyone knew her? She watched as the woman clapped her hands, as if shocked at what she was relaying, “ka moneka kwati kalonfwa, kanshi….”

“You honestly think that it’s her fault?” anger rose in Jahdel, “How do you decide she’s naughty on the basis that grown men sleep with her?”

“All I know is they pay her and if they pay her, it can’t be that bad. And she’s so young, imagine what she will be like when she grows up.”

The way she said it only infuriated Jahdel more; worse still, Karen seemed almost ready to agree until Jahdel spoke up

“So all you adults know about it. Even her grandmother knows about it?”

“it’s no secret, and her grandmother has tried to talk about it with her to get her to stop but she just doesn’t listen.”

“So you even know which men sleep with her?” she waited for the woman’s self-righteous yes before continuing, “and all you do is talk behind her back?”

“Yes but what are we supposed to do if that’s what she’s chosen.” the woman didn’t look upset at the challenge rather ashamed and disappointed that Jahdel did not share her enthusiasm at the gossip she had to share,

“No! you fight for her!” Jahdel could almost feel herself shaking but kept her voice calm, “grown men, should know better. It’s not her fault that they can’t control themselves!” she looked at the little girl who was walking towards them

“Anyway, that’s that little girl you see.” she clapped her hands and walked away.

“Baunfwa nsoni.” Karen chuckled to herself.

“she SHOULD be ashamed of herself.” Jahdel felt her whole body shake

Karen chuckled again, “they love gossip.”

“Niwebo nani ishina?” Jahdel asked turning to the girl. She didn’t look older than eleven.

“Precious.” she replied with a big smile,

Jahdel smiled at her, heart breaking, knowing this girl had no one to fight for her. Precious, her name spoke of how God saw her. She was precious in His sight, Yet to men, she was “easy pleasure”. Something they could ride, no strings attached. They talked for few minutes, Precious pointing out where her grandmother stood, when asked who she lived with. She was a bubbly little girl. Some thought her insane.

Just then the small Canter made its way onto the church grounds. Precious ran towards it, Jahdel waiting for the boys to disembark. She said hi to both Limpo and Mwansa and introduced them to Karen. Karen left them as they chatted for a while before they had to go into the church and sit in their designated areas. The men sat on the left hand side and the women on the right.

Jahdel was in a haze; her mind fixed on Precious. Would she make it,or would abuse devour her like it had Jahdel. She knew all too well the horrors it brought, the guilt, the suicidal feelings, the shame and pain that just made no sense. The feeling of being in the wrong body, unwelcome in your own flesh, feeling like dirt had made it’s way under your skin. As the service went on, she found it hard to concentrate. Those men, deserved death! She looked at Mwansa and Limpo and remembered Limpo’s words, How could he expect her to trust any man, when his species could be so heartless and selfish. She had to admit though that both young men were different. They seemed sincere; different, they spoke kindly and offered respect even when she was undeserving. But she couldn’t help but wonder.

After service, Jahdel talked to precious some more, hoping that she could find hope in words that didn’t raise her apparent failings. She talked to Mwansa and Limpo more as well before they all had to go.

Every time she saw the little girl after that, she talked to her, but with exams looming, Sundays at Chimfinsa became a rare happening, St marks or not attending church becoming the options because of the extra lessons she needed to do in order to get ready. Hope reigned still, Precious, was the birthing of a dream, just maybe, Jahdel would one day fight what many refused to see as present. Zambians frowned when they heard about paedophiles in the western world, yet in their own world, this child, had no voice.

Years after meeting that precious soul, reading another story of a girl used by her step-father, Jahdel remembered, knowing there were many such stories. burying her head in her hands, Jahdel wept. She would never forget Precious, she hadn’t the means to help her, but one day, she would fulfil a dream.

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If only


Lord, if men would realise that women are to be treasured and protected…not to be used to fulfil selfish desires but to be honoured…that girls will give sex in exchange for companionship, love and respect because they are disillusioned and that their hearts break when that love and respect is not shown…if only men could open their eyes and see that the girl they lie with today, is beauty that they might destroy. Worthy of the respect due a mother; she might one day mother their own son’s wife. That she is a grandmother, mother, wife; she is a child, a sister, a granddaughter, a friend; maybe even your own. If only they would open their eyes and see that she looks enticing, yes, but let the man who she was meant for enjoy her, just as you will one day hope to alone enjoy yours. That they owe their wives nothing less than what they expect, a man who is untouched. That as enticing as she seems, she might just be the seam ripper that makes you come undone…

That we women would open their eyes and see that if he loves “me”, He will wait. He will want the best for “me” even if it means he loses “me” . If only we would realise that compromise leaves us lost and broken…unsatisfied…pleasure lasts a moment but when it’s gone, what do you have left? If only we could treasure what is right and true, closing our ears off to the sweet nothings he whispers and hearing the truth in his words; hearing that we will get hurt and that he cares very little in the end.  Hear the truth in His words…the words of a loving Father…You are precious, loved and need nothing other than Him. That honour and respect; that love does not come by giving yourself away. That letting him have his way with you, deprives you, and if he hasn’t married you, he was no right to you…That there’s something more that awaits you, a man maybe, who will value you. If only we would realise that just because you gave in once, you don’t have to keep giving in, or that just because he denied you your right to “NO!” does not mean you lost the right…If only we realised that just because he ignored your “NO!” doesn’t mean that all men seek to take from us, by force if need be… If only we could see His tear-stained face, with arms outstretched, sweat beading, bleeding  for us, His deeds shouting as loud as His words, I love you this much!

IF ONLY…

Feminism is as vice…a lot like other things that end with ism


Women and men are equal. We’ve all heard those sayings meant to empower women, right? “Everything a man can do a woman can do better”, “There’s no difference between men and women.” But is there really a need to fight for equality by burying the differences that men and women have? Why not celebrate the similarities as well as the differences. Rather than aiming to be better than men or be like them, why not aim to be the best woman possible?

You don’t fight for equality by reverse sexism. Create a level playing field where people are appointed to positions because of capabilities and not their sex, but remember still that some capabilities are enhanced by sex because of hormones. For instance, men are stronger than women because of testosterone. Does that make us less equal? No! We have calls for legislation calling for companies to appoint a set number of women to executive jobs. Problem with that is even when a man is more capable, he misses out on a deserved position. If equality is what we want, then we have missed the point. Do we really want to get jobs because of our sex rather than the fact that we are capable?

Men and women are different and whether we like it or not, men do not have the anatomy to carry a baby, nor do they breast feed. And whether we like it or not, men are stronger, physically than women based on the simple fact that testosterone beats oestrogen. Testosterone causes increased muscle mass, which then means more strength. Does that make me less equal to men? No! it just makes me different. Fact is I need maternity leave because yes, being pregnant is hard work! It is life threatening work! But it doesn’t in anyway mean I’m a less valuable entity in the work force.

I wonder which woman or group of women decided that stay at home mums were wasting their talents or that working mums are bad mums. You have women feeling guilty about not staying home with their children wanting to feel superior to those staying home and those staying at home trying to fight for recognition. But in the end, we make our choices differently.

Part of being the best I can be is admitting that I can do a lot but can’t do everything, and I can do a lot better than men but not everything they can do. Just like they can do a lot better than me but they can’t do everything. We need each other, time to put the pitch forks down and work together!

#Vivateamcelebratingwomanhoodandmanhood!