We have come a long way, from poverty to wealth and from wealth to nothing. Standing from where I’m, I couldn’t see the contours to the future we envision. Everything has fallen from the top. It is not life; it is a zero-sum game.
Sometimes the contacts I meet leaves me uncomfortable, almost to a point where I just need to cry myself out. I’m not grateful to share what I have seen when I was dreaming. It was a complete suffering. Sometimes suffering is worth it when it is done with purpose but there is suffering that is worse than other forms of suffering. This is what we witness daily.
I was taken to a hospital that morning and I saw a real hell. The place was beautiful but empty. There were no medicines there. I met a certain woman. She was a HIV patient; this woman has seen the worst of life. She has been stigmatized and left alone, to take care of herself by those who are closest to her.
This is her second year since she got the virus, everything has never been the same. Her children were taken from her and were not allowed to see her in the hospital. She wanted someone to comfort her during these trying times.
It wasn’t her choice; she didn’t ask for this virus. When her husband died, it wasn’t this natural death, he was brutally murdered. It had never been easy to cater for children; she had no choice but to use her body to put food on the table for her children. This is where she ended up being the victim of AIDS.
We were taken to the maternity ward, in fact, it was a shocking euphemism, because in truth it is not a medical ward at all. It is the place where women come to die. The room was filled with moans. I have never seen this before, strangers sharing beds. Alongside or underneath the bed there is somebody on the ground, sometimes literally on the ground because the beds are occupied or sometimes on a piece of cardboard, dying beneath the bed.
The situation was very pathetic but there were people who had been covering up these messes. How can this hospital be beautiful outside, yet it lacked all that the patients needed in a hospital? The doctor here is unqualified, he studied business administration, but because he has a business clinic, it gave him ways to work in the community hospital.
The level of poverty here is far beyond what the eyes can see. I met some little children seated around a fire; it was not only cold. It has been days now since they had their last meal. They were hopeful but not sure where their next meal would come from.
The eldest daughter was the one narrating the story. They were not talking about children’s stories. The little young girl was once married at the age of fourteen to a man who was 30 years older than her. She had no choice but to run far away to her aunt’s hut. She was for your information not in school.
Nobody knows why but the education there is not a priority. There were schools there but no teachers. She came to her auntie’s hut with hopes that she would go to school but that was just a dream from a young girl who was just a victim of an unfair world. When we met them, their aunty was not in the house. It was 10: PM at night. Sometimes she was almost eaten by a hungry leopard when she was returning from work.
We were never told why she had to take that long in a country where security is not always guaranteed. We asked the kids where their mom had gone to and what she was doing there. They all cried and amidst tears, the oldest of them all pointed at some dried green leaves. “That’s where she is”. She said with difficulty.
This woman was a lioness, she was very strong, but life was against her. She sells tomatoes and other green vegetables, but nobody buys from her. In this community, anything is edible, even grass. Money too is never easy to get and when you have little of it, you will use it for buying medicine. Sometimes back, this woman was nearly killed by some soldiers.
They asked her why she sold goods by the roadside, that it was risky. It was a crime against traffic rules. They asked her to pay a certain amount of money or she would lose her life. These soldiers, if you still don’t know them, are people who should have been the highest paid class in that country, but they don’t know their rights.
Most of them are extremely poor. They beg to eat, and their families are suffering. What they do is to stop passengers on the road and ask for money. Some years ago, one soldier climbed a tree and made it clear that he would kill himself if he wasn’t paid his one-year salary.
They pleaded with him and promised to give him all he needed. He was convinced not until he was given a bag of maize instead of the money. The bag of maize was full of weevils. It was for animals, but these people are seen as animals.
The other day he shot himself dead. I was sad when I heard this story. Indeed, these people should not be beggars in their own country. They have the right to enjoy the privileges of this country. The other day, I made up my mind to speak on their behalf, but I was digging my own grave.
There was this guy, also a soldier. He was fatter than the rest. At first, I thought he was not a soldier, but he was one but a bodyguard to another big man. For him, food is not a problem. He eats leftovers from the table of his master. There was a dog in that house, but it was very thin and looked sick.
This dog’s position was taken by the bodyguard. The other day we met; he almost swallowed us because I have been very critical of his master. He was not a good man, he grabbed me by the belt and said it was my end. I was like a rat in his hands.
He has eaten a lot of leftovers from stolen money by his master. “Bring me this computer before I break your neck.” He said, then I woke up from a deep sleep and felt the urge to go for a short call. What a nightmare!