In a twinkling of an eye
Life can be changed in a twinkling of an eye; some one told me those words some time back.
At one point some one would be walking on his two legs, but a little slide he breaks his leg and now walks using crutches!
What a life!
This same happened to two little girls I later got to know.
The day was so bright, the cloud was blue and since i had just got back from a youth group, I was relaxing on a verandah out side my Aunt’s house. By then I was been kept by my Aunt and her husband. They had also had children. My cousin was busy preparing nshima (our staple food) and fish, when I heard a hard nock on the gate, i quickly went to open it, bearing in mind that it was my uncle who has come back for lunch. My uncle never wanted to be delayed on the gate, otherwise you can end up been scolded at and asked a lot of questions of which he can not even wait for you to answer.
As I opened the gate, two little girls, dark in complexion, putting on wretched cloths, were standing there and one of them who looked 12 years old stretched fourth her hands and said tulelobako ubwali (we are begging for nshima), I looked at them and immediately asked them to enter without responding to their request.
I told them to sit on the rid mat while I organized some food for them in the house, I told my cousin about them and we agreed to grant them their request. We left them to eat on the veranda, but because I was touched by their looks and wondered how these little beautiful girls would beg for food and look so dirty.
Where are their parents I wondered and how could they allow such little girls to be moving by themselves! I was not happy about their looks and since I was and I am still slim i managed to find about two smallest blouses which would at least fit the eldest. I rushed out side and to my surprise the girls were putting nshima in a small plastic bag. I was puzzled and wanted to find out why.
Hey girls why are you putting food in that plastic? I questioned them,
Ah-----ah it’s for mama! and our baby brother, the little girl hesitated in talking.
Mum is partially blind and can not manage to go round with us to search for food. Said the little girl who looked to be more brave than her elder sister.
What do you mean search for food, I asked
Where is your mum?
Their face became pale as they all looked at me with suspicious eyes. Well said the eldest, we stay on the streets; we have no place we call home.
What! How and why?
It is a long story, she said. I sat down with them and listened to what the girls had to say.
We once had a place we called home, my dad bought a big farm and built a big house for us, he was a farmer and had a lot of farm equipments. My mum was also doing a smaller business and farming. we never lacked anything. We used to have enough food on the table, bath, put on clean cloths and enjoyed each day that came by.
Then last year (2003) by then I was doing my grade five and my young sister was in grade three, when dad passed on upon a short illness. After the burial, life changed, dad’s family came to live with us and since then, we stopped school, and we were told to toll day and night on the farm. Before dad mum had sight problem and when her sight became worse and could not see far, we were throw out of the farm and told look for our place since mum was now free. They no long need our presence, we were too much a burden to them. We tried our best to resist but it rose into violence. So we decided to move on.
A friend of mum who accommodated us for a week told her that in Lusaka (capital city) there is free hope offered for people in our state, and that we just need to find a way of going there. Within the same week, we all came to Lusaka. Unfortunately every clinic we have gone to,they need money which we don’t have. We don’t even have money to go back and beg our father’s people for the land which once belonged to us so that we can build a little house and do farming. We are stranded and don’t even know whether we will survive the night!
The story goes on!
This is a true story and I intend to write a small book about these unfortunate little girls. I arranged with these girls to come back the following day so that I take them to the social welfare but unfortunately they never turned up. Each time I see little girls in the streets am reminded of these little sweet girls who took up the role of a parent to look for food. These girls, who before the tragedy of losing their dad at least had a brighter future, now live in poverty, with uncertainty in their eyes, only God knows what is in store for them!