If you were thinking of adding ANOTHER child on top of the four, five or the six you already have, give me your ears to listen and eyes to see or imagine what I am about to tell you. These happen in every family without family planning, they are unavoidable unless you consider family planning NOW!
Living with a wild father, we never tasted a father’s love, every child would give a distance because he was known for beating. None of the children ever got his hug or gift, this role was to marry woman after woman wherever he would go for this army job. Much as he had over 60 women as our mother who got married to him at the age of 12 narrated, he never gave-up marrying and producing more children up-to the year 2000 when he was imprisoned and later died in the prison in 2006. We have over 10 step brothers and sisters not introduced home.
How can I exhaust my life experience in one post? Every experience has a lot to talk about. Growing in a family of 12, father and mother making 15 I have the experience, the experience as a child, the experience as a teenager, and the experience as a young woman. I know the challenges of the parents a mother faces, I know the challenges of the fathers too.
No breakfast , only lunch and dinner, food becomes a training ground for eating competition. Being the second last born of 8 plus 4 step brothers and sisters I know exactly what it means to sit in a circle and a banana-leay tray or a large plate of food is served in the center where ALL the family members young and old stretch their fingers therein to scoop a piece of Millet bread, sweet potatoes, cassava or posho/corn.
Young and old in the same competition, your satisfaction depends on your eating speed. The faster the scoop you, chew and swallow, the more satisfied you will be, in fact the majority could not chew, it was a bite-and-swallow business especially for millet bread popularly known as kwon or kalo. If you want to argue with me, pick a one year old child from a family such as mine and a four or even six years old in the city where you live, give the one year old twice as much as that of the six year old, five them five minutes and see who will have wiped the plate first. I am very ready to offer you one of my nieces for this competition!
Meat, fish or beans where bought on Christmas, Easter strictly. Green vegetables was cooked and served year round. Silver fish popularly known as Mukene or Omena once cooked, every child would be happy, very happy as though they had eaten meat or fish. This still happens in unplanned families today!
Clothings is not a necessity in unplanned family, many children walk naked, others put on rugs. I was very lucky to be the eighth born, I had many cloths to put on, at the age 6 as I can clearly recall, I would put on FAT cloths, 6 times fatter and 4 times taller than me, School uniforms where for the rich, shoes or sandles were a dream. I remember I was laughed at wherever I went dressed the way I was; at school, well, fetching firewood just like many children from poor families today are being laughed at (One of the many reasons for lack of confidence in rural/village children today).
Talk of bedding! Mattress was a vision, the parents would sleep in wooden built beds and on grass filled sack mattress in a hut. The children lay on mats made of banana fibers; boy or girl on the same line as though dead bodies lined for identification. Gomesi (Ugandan long made dresses a must among village women) was the sheet for covering at night, some children would sleep uncovered. Cow dung was the carpet or decoration of the house wall and the floor. During rainy season at night, our linking roof could not let us sleep because the roof had an inlet for water, the grass was never enough for the roof, we would pile in the safer corner until it would stop. This still happens in many unplanned families today!
Of course there was no television (not even a story about what it is), no radio, no nothing for entertainment. We made dolls from banana fibers, I remember there was a BIG screw driver that I used to tie on my back as my baby. Cooking soil as food was the game as children. This still happens today in unplanned families! Labor force unforgotten, at the age of 8 I would go with the rest to fetch water from the well, 2kilometers from our home, looking for firewood from the forests, climbing trees to break dry branches so that the kitchen team could cook faster.
Everyone treated the same, everyone must work, young or old the same. This still happens in unplanned families today! School fees becomes the greatest challenge. Youths (young women and men) especially girls are forced to get married at an early age due to lack of school fees.
How can I exhaust my endless story? I must END here, mark my last words, I have just said mark my last words many children have suffered and are suffering because of the effects of lack of family planning “produce children you can comfortably take care of even if it means ONE child!” You have the power to do so without the fear of your husband, go to your nearest hospital.
Beatrice – Uganda.