OpEd, Politics

Simon; a father of 8 children suffers headache as Christmas approaches

An SSPDF soldier named Simon wishes Christmas had never existed. He blames Christians for creating unnecessary month of celebration. He wishes he were Chinese to live from 1st January to 31st December without being asked by his wife and children for clothes for Christmas and New Year celebrations. Having received his salary last month, he gave his family a bigger portion and he used the remaining balance for clearance of debts.

But according to him, the bucket of debts is still too heavy in that they can take the salary of two months and a half. He thought the payment of the salary would be continuous, but because indicators are now blinking red, predicting that the next salary may be received in February next year, worry has struck him so wholly as demands for Christmas on his table grow day in and day out.

The increment of the salary and the truth that it was earned made him abort his conditional job of charcoal-making. For one full month now, he has never seized an axe to cut down trees for charcoal and, this has tripled his worry. With 6 girls, two having reached puberty, and two boys, it is not easy for Simon, a rankless SSPDF soldier, to cater for their Christmas and New Year needs.

Even if he had a rank and was not assigned, he would still not cater for their needs. Two boys would accept picking second-hand clothes at Nyakuron market or any other market where aliwara clothes are sold, but the 6 girls may not accept it as they expect to be taken to boutiques for shopping so that when they mingle with other girls, they would say these clothes of ours were bought in boutiques.


Their mother is another big problem for Simon. As her daughters call for a meeting with their father in the morning, she too calls for her meeting at night, raising Simon’s blood pressure to the point of frank hypertension. Simon could bear life with her daughters’ demands, but he could not bear life with his wife’s demands as she insults Simon and threatens to leave if her demands are not met. You know how sharp the mouth of a woman is when it comes to an argument.

In this world of human rights, fighting is never an option unlike our traditional days where one could just pick a whip and the woman could shut up whether she liked it or not. All a man could do these days is to break his leg to meet the demands and cry with one eye later in pubs or otherwise, he becomes wifeless tomorrow.

So, Simon is restless, inquiring from one soldier to another, and one official of the Finance Ministry to another whether or not this month’s salary is going to come out. The only Simon’s option now is to pick his axe once again, go to the forest, and cut down trees for charcoal. The truth is that, even if this month’s salary comes, it would not cater for all his house needs.

Simon tries staying indoors to think of the final thing to do to get out once and for all, but he almost dies of too much thinking. Once he gets out to interact with his colleague soldiers so as to take a breath of fresh air, he would later get the size of demands has increased by twofold, forcing him to stay indoors tomorrow and next tomorrow. It looks like something fishy happens when he leaves the house. Who knows there may be a female neighbour who tights the conn more when Simon steps out?

The government should be informed that the soldiers are in a catch-22 situation, particularly during this Christmas period. How do you expect them to have peace when their children are not studying, do not wear good clothes, and their wives can swear by God’s name that their hair has never been braided in a salon? The salary, though still undeserving, should continue flowing to allow them to have some peace in their own houses.

The author is a medical student, University of Juba.

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