"My dreams and aspirations were so high with me becoming a Journalist by profession. But how it shattered is a mystery am yet to unravel (understand). Yet I learnt that I must move forward no matter what. But how could I bring together the broken pieces of my Life?"
Telling Lilian’s story, encouraged me the most. “I grew up to know I was the only person with high intellectual mindset in my family because I loved education, I was determined that since my elder ones were not embracing education, my case should be different and it was different indeed”.
It all started when her father, the lone bread winner became distracted and irresponsible refusing to provide for his family and then finally stopped paying school fees. In a family of 6, no one lives to tell a story of sound education. As if that was not enough, he got married to another wife. At this point all hope was gone and unfortunately he had no child with the new wife. Lilian knew becoming a journalist is a dream that will never come true.
In a desperate attempt to save the family from illiteracy and shame, their mother took over and decided to educate the three interested in going to school. Unfortunately, her marital problem robbed her of joy, peace and even health. She started depreciating, from one illness to another and then the unbelievable happened. “She died, leaving us in the middle of the sea, no were to run to. All hope was gone. Was I ever to become a Journalist again?”
Deep in her, she knew that, her father was going to have pity on them and come back. He took ill shortly after his wife had died, he became deserted. “His princess the second wife ran away and abandoned him with us”. In his dreads, tears of aid, guilt and nervousness, he answered the ancestral call.
“I saw darkness in day light as we became complete orphans, no mother, no father, no bread winner, no education, no hope”. Iilian decided to be cooking food and selling in the market while struggling to complete high school. It was such a difficult task but I kept on. Then came a man with “big big” English saying he is a teacher, lured Lilian into having sex with him. “I resisted more than a few times but thought could be a way out”. Thinking was the best solution to the problem, “I gave in and slept with him and it was here I discovered he was a cheat and did not want to die alone; he was looking for a victim. He got me pregnant and worst of all he gave me HIV and then abandoned me”.
She kept on wondering like a lion in a dry jungle. her tears dried off, her existence was more of death than living. “Fortunately for me, my rescuer Melvin came through his organization United Youths Organization; he was just like an angel. He assisted me, cancelled me, gave me hope to live”. She struggled with the pregnancy and gave birth to the child without her being infected because of the medical intervention during ante natal care.
This man handicapped her dreams, made her to stop school, got her infected, pregnant and rejected her. “My pride of being a happy wife, woman, mother was lost”. I was mentally unstable. As if that is not enough, he got another victim in the name of marriage, infected her also. They never had a child and It was done to him that he should do something. He saw Lilian as a queen carrying his only child. He came back begging for to marry him as second wife. It was too late, “I had learnt my lessons the hard way picked up my broken pieces of life together”. Though could not be the Journalist she wanted. she knew she could be a successful woman in another field. “Yes, my pass was behind me, Yes it is never too late to start all over, it worked for me. ‼”
She now run a business of her own, manage her farms with yields that feed her child and siblings with little excess to sell, She also teach in a primary school in the neighborhood. “I took upon myself to challenge many not to dwell in their pass but to fight for the future, sexual violence and living with HIV/AIDS is not the end of live”.
Intervening in Lilian’s situation has greatly empowered and encouraged her and many other fellow young women with similar problems in and around her community to be socio economically empowered. I see myself as a change maker, changing her life, she changing people’s lives and this changing everything for a sustainable future.
Written by: Melvin SONGWE SHUYE.