Category : Naya Blog
By Michael Oliech Okunson (@MikeOkunson)
Wasn’t it once said that East or West, home is best? That wasn’t true for Mary. In fact home was nothing but a nightmare for her.
Life in Manyatta slums was hard in itself. It only got more complicated that she was staying with her single mother who was battling her own wars with alcoholism. When she was sober, which was once in a year, she was clueless and in her own world, when she was drunk she was verbally and physically abusive.
Mary longed for the opportunity to give the slum her back, for good!
Until one day God opened for her doors, or so she thought.
When Mary met a woman who promised her heavens without shedding a sweat, the deal was too good and she didn’t think twice, not even once. She grabbed the opportunity with two hands. She didn’t ask the woman what kind of work she would be doing or where she would be based.
The assurance of quick money was all the motivation she needed.
In hindsight, maybe she would have asked, maybe she would have still been with us today.
But she didn’t.
True to her words, her new benefactor offered her a bed fit for a queen. She had access to more than three meals a day! Her former life already seemed like a distant memory.
“Adios poverty,’ she must have chanted.
Paradise did not last forever. Her benefactor gradually asked of her things that she wasn’t comfortable with. Male visitors started trooping into their new house. Visitors that she was required to entertain.
At first it was just standing there in skimpy clothing and looking all pretty and dazzling. Then she had to waltz around her the visitors and dance with them. Sometimes the visitors would grab her buttocks or breasts and squeeze them. They seemed to be having the time of their lives.
She didn’t complain because after these little tasks these generous men stuffed money into her private parts.
‘Continue being good to us, and we will repay the favor”, they kept assuring her on their way out.
These visits became more frequent and more intense until the Caesars demanded what was owed unto them -SEX!
By now this demands did not outrage or surprise her anymore. Not least because they assured her of more money if they had sex with her, and even more if she let them in without condoms.
The men were even older than her dead father but she convinced herself the end justifies the means.
Her benefactor however started receiving payment on her behalf and giving her crumbs from the bread.
In addition to her new job description, she was still expected to do all the house chores from cleaning to cooking!
The three meals she had started getting used to also disappeared instantly.
She was now nothing but a sex slave!
“Enough is enough.” She thought to herself one night while crying and thinking about her mother’s condition back at home.
That very night she packed the few clothes she had and left for the streets. She had no idea she had just jumped from the frying pan into fire.
With no one to turn to or nowhere to go she just roamed and not very far from the Manyatta Bus Stage, she found what she would refer to as her little haven.
Here, with her job experience, she easily fit into the group of girls like her who peddled their flesh for a plate of fish.
She soon started making ‘good’ money (about fifty shillings per client) that she momentarily forgot her poor and now ailing mother.
However, it wasn’t long before there was trouble in paradise.
Her new ‘friends’’ clients were deserting them for her and naturally they weren’t happy.
Not that Mary was concerned. She had money to buy flashy things and some left overs to indulge in drugs and alcohol.
She was living the life.
That wasn’t to last forever.
She started experiencing some sharp pains in her stomach accompanied with a cough and fever.
She stayed at home for about a week. Her condition only got worse with every passing day.
When she finally went to the hospital, they found her three weeks pregnant and HIV/AIDS postive.
It was just too much for her. Mary collapsed.
When she came to, she decided to seek refuge back at home. Only to find that her mother was no more.
That was the final straw.
Pregnant, HIV/AIDS positive and an orphan!
She took her own life!
Her lifeless body was found in her mother’s shack with a recorded phone message apologizing to society for her actions, including her suicide.
In a tearful message Mary asked the society to show concern for young girls and to provide the necessary support to enable them make informed life’s choices and avoid being misused.
Mary didn’t have to die. But now that she is dead, may her life’s story not be in vain.
But Mary is not a story in isolation. She is just but one of young girls who are recruited into prostitution rings in Kondele and other slum areas with a promise of better tomorrow only to be used as commodities in profitable illicit money making schemes.
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