At age 16, I had very limited knowledge about my sexuality. I was more or less very blank about menstruation, puberty, adolescent struggles, dating and so on. Excitement about adolescence and youthful exuberance, coupled with the fact that I was a complete orphan who had no one to mentor me, I was caught in the web of my wrong choices and I became a victim of my ignorance. Having grown up to who I am today, I regret that I didn’t have the opportunity to have mentors who would have led me towards the right direction. At that age of 16, I was a vibrant and beautiful girl who was already in Form Five, preparing to write the public exams into High School. It was a critical period in my academic life, and also a critical period in my biological life. There was evident conflict between adolescent struggles and educational advancement. I started concentrating more on meeting the demands of my social life more than the demands of my education. I lost total concentration of my academics and I started failing in more and more subjects. I couldn’t even pass the mock exams, that was intended to measure our level of preparedness for the upcoming GCE examination; I had two papers, out of 10. When the time to write the GCE examination came, I was barely prepared. I wrote, knowing fully well that I didn’t prepare for the exams. The results came out and I failed; I had 3 papers, out of 10. The shocking thing about all these was that I wasn’t shocked by my failures; I remained indifferent as if nothing happened. I was living my life, less concerned and seemingly happy, but when the worst happened, that is when I decided to buckle up and be serious for once. Before the results of GCE ordinary level came out, that I failed, in August , I reached the peak of my adolescence and I was dis-virgined on the 22 of July. Sadly too, it was unprotected sex that left poor me, pregnant. It was my first sex, and I was already pregnant. I had no mother, no father, and no close relative to confide in. I was stressed, too stressed and depressed to face the head of teenage pregnancy. Several times, I told myself that I was a disgrace to my late parents, and to my younger ones whom I was supposed to protect. I couldn’t stand the pressure and so I resolved I was going to have an abortion. Abortion, in Cameroon, is illegal, but I had to take laws into my hand and commit and abortion. It is at that point that reality struck. The thought of being dis-virgined, abortionist, and exam failure at age 16, almost took my breath away. It is at that point that I promised myself I am going to redefine myself and move on with my head high.
When schools resume a few months later, I went back into my old class determined to succeed. I took my lectures seriously and I buried my head in my books. I was so ashamed mingling with my friends who were one year ahead of my, in high school. I felt like fast-forwarding everything so that I can write the exam, pass and move on. I threw away every thought and action of getting into a love relationship simply because I wanted something better. I came to realize education is the most important tool to enable me reach my career goals. I needed to stand out as a role model to my younger ones. So finally, the exams came up, I read in full concentration, and passed in flying colours; I passed in 7 ot of 9 papers. I proceeded to high school, in the same seriousness and determination to succeed. I was the best in my class, with the best results during my two years in High School. I was nominated as a class prefect and also a school senior prefect. I represented my school in quizzes and many other inter-school competitions. I was admired by students and teachers because of my outstanding behavior and performance. We finally wrote the GCE Advanced Level after two years in High School and I passed in flying colours. Everyone was happy for me. Many wished they were me. I was proud of myself. I couldn’t be happier that I was heading to the university. It was a good feeling. Adolescence can be a dream killer to many in communities where girls don’t know enough about their sexuality. I am one of those who believe that sexual education should be added in school curriculum. I also admire a situation where girls can be given mentors to help shape their life and future dreams. Even though I used my little resources to support underprivileged girls by paying their school fees, I strongly believe that is not enough to promote girls school retention rate. A lot still needs to be done in communities like Cameroon.