One February night, Christine Namulondo stayed up late thinking hard, her heart heavy with emotion after her mother had announced that she could no longer support her pursuit of education.
Her mother, a waitress in one of the bars in Nabulagala in Kasubi, a Kampala suburb, could hardly raise enough money to fend for her two daughters. Soon the landlord came knocking at their one-roomed door, demanding payment of the month’s rent.
All this left a disturbing silence that degenerated into tears and as Namulondo saw her mother cry, bearing out her broken soul for inability to raise her two daughters in a more serene setting after the man she called her lover left her.
She could not call on him for help because he threatened to cause her harm if she ever contacted him. Like that, there were not many places to look for help.
As she said all this out, in a manner of thinking out loud, Namulondo could not help but break down, sharing in her mother’s pain and her own for having to abandon education given the circumstances.
This stayed on the 16-year-old’s mind for much of the next day, pondering what she could do to help her mother who was weighed down by troubling thoughts that fruited to no answer but psychological agony.
“It broke my heart seeing my mother sad. We could not raise rent of Shs50,000 for the one-roomed house and the landlord was threatening to throw our belongings out of the house. One night, I decided to leave home and go to the streets and sell my body so I could raise some money that could save us from the embarrassment of being evicted,” Namulondo explains in Luganda, her eyes tearing up.
At her innocent age, she reveals this was the night on which she lost her precious virginity to a stranger, a man whose facial expression remains fresh in her memory. It was an uncomfortable surrender because he was rough and laid her on bare ground with wet grass in a dark corner right besides one of the rubbish pits.
“It was so painful,” she adds, narrating about the ache that preceded the sexual act as the man hurried through removing her clothes. In a split second, she felt her world shutter, her partner in the sexual clasp unbothered about her cries for mercy.
“He paid me Shs10,000. He did not use a condom. After he was through, he gave me the money and walked away,” Namulondo recollects, resting her chin on her knees indifferently letting more tears run down, her eyes full of grief that told of emptiness.
A friend who had gone out with her on that night, kept comforting her that the beginning was not easy, and that she would soon get used to it all and cry no more.
In the bar where her mother served as a waitress, she was going through a rough patch and her mother was not earning as much as expected because she earned a percentage off each bottle of beer she sold.
After the painful experience of her first sexual encounter, Namulondo went home to clean her body and rest. She kept thinking about her younger years when she dreamt of losing her purity to someone who would walk her down the aisle.
“Then I was engulfed in fear, thinking that I might have been infected with HIV/Aids because I had had unprotected sex with a stranger. I kept crying in my bed which I shared with my sibling. Our mother was still out working at the bar,” the teenager further narrates.
Namulondo was drowned in sorrow but the pressure from the landlord kept mounting. Her mother had managed to raise Shs11, 000 and she had Shs10, 000. She resolved to return to the streets to sell her body, and made another Shs18, 000 in four nights. It was still not enough.
“I shared the money I had made with my mother. I lied to her that I had a boyfriend who was giving me the money. The guilt kept biting me deep and after a while I opened to her that I had started sleeping with men on the streets in exchange for money. She burst out crying asking me why I had to do it,” she recounts.
Ray of hope
A long silence ensured until the two slept off. The next morning her mother asked her to dress up. She took Namulondo to a clinic for an HIV/Aids check-up. She tested negative which resulted into a sigh of relief to both of them.
“I have tried to quit and I have not gone back to the streets for two weeks now. That is partly because I joined UYDEL where I am learning how to plait and braid hair. I hope to get a job in a salon and earn a decent source of livelihood.
Advice me please
Don’t Keep Scores
You called him yesterday, so he is next to call you, you wake up missing him, you feel like hearing his voice, but instead, you are sitting there looking at your phone angrily and waiting for him to call.
You took her out last time, so it’s her turn to take you out.
You chatted her up last time, it’s his turn to chat you up next
You told him the last “I love you” so it’s now his turn, otherwise you won’t……
This is what we call keeping scores.
Keeping scores is immature and can lead to secret resentments, bitterness and the end of an otherwise good relationship.
Do things for your spouse when you feel/know you should, irrespective of who “did” last time.
Want them to reciprocate?.
And let’s not forget to balance this.
Our spouses shouldn’t keep scores, we in the other hand should always reciprocate.
As a Rule, anything your spouse does for you, do the same for them.
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