TESHE Diaries Sexual Health Series – A collection of Stories of African women living in Canada TESHE Diary Entry : Something didn’t feel right

TESHE Diaries Sexual Health Series – A collection of Stories of African women living in Canada TESHE Diary Entry : Something didn’t feel right

This week I’m bringing to the forefront some of the issues that make it hard for women, particularly those of African descent, immigrants, to fully enjoy all their sexual and reproductive health rights.  As community health ambassadors, we hear many stories; being too embarrassed to speak up, fear of retaliation and the shame attached to “outing” yourself as a victim of assault, even being too self conscious to speak up because of accents.

One woman in particular told me that she felt she was violated by her doctor and when she tried to report the incident, she kept getting the run round.  Eventually she let it go and now she simply will not go to the doctor.

I then decided to create a fictitious person from Nigeria and also created her story ,to try to get you the reader to understand what some women have gone through and /or currently go through.

I cannot emphasize enough this point : THESE ARE FICTITIOUS PEOPLE and the stories are my creative way of bringing to the fore front real issues that women particularly of African descent, experience here in Canada. Any similarities to a real person, is coincidence. (very weird coincidence)

With that said, I introduce you to Ayo from Nigeria

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If-something-doesnt-feel-right-it-probably-isnt.-Listen-to-your-intuition

 

SOMETHING DIDN’T FEEL RIGHT!

AYOLUWA  “AYO” FROM NIGERIA

41 YEARS OLD

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO

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 “Ayolu, Ayouluwa, am I saying your name right?”  The young cheerful nurse called out to her from behind the glass window.  She got up, walked closer to the front desk, and lowered herself slightly so she could speak directly into the opening of the window.

 

She had become a master at offering a fake, rehearsed but polished polite smile complete with head nod that served both to pacify and congratulate people for attempting to pronounce her name, even though most times, it was far from being correct.  It seemed people in this county felt so good about themselves when they believed they had correctly pronounced a “foreign” or was it “different” name.  Who was she to quail their happiness?

 

 

“You are so close; I’m really impressed, most people struggle.  It’s Ayoluwa but you can call me Ayo”. There! She had provided an extra layer of acknowledgment, elevated this nice young nurses’ attempt at her name to being better than most, if it were class she would be a getting a gold star. She hoped the rapport building mini exercise would translate into the nurse rushing her paperwork and she would finally see the Doctor.

 

 

“So, Ayo, there’s a bit more paperwork that you need to complete.  You are over 40 so the doctor will have to do a breast exam as well okay? Just sit back down and it shouldn’t be too long now. I’m sorry for the wait. It’s just so hectic today. But it won’t be much longer okay? Thank you.”

 

Ayoluwa took her papers, started for her seat, grateful that no one had gone to sit in her chair, quickly making a scan of the table to see if the pen was still there. “Ayo, Ayo”, she turned and saw the cheery nurse motioning to her again.  Now her chair was surely not going to be there. She plastered her signature smile again as she approached the glass window. “You know what, on second thought just tick the box on the bottom of page 3 and I can take your file back to the Doctor okay?”

So, it seemed the smile exercise had not been in vain.

 

 

This had been a long morning and she was ready for it to be done. The humid Toronto summer didn’t help neither. She had been sitting there for close to an hour and a half and the longer she sat the more she realized how hungry she really was.  The ladies in the Shelter had told her that before the immigration medical exam, she was not supposed to eat anything from midnight the previous night. After an eleven minute walk in the hot and sticky humid air, 2 buses and a ride in a subway car that had very little air conditioning, she arrived at the immigration doctor’s office.

 

 

Apparently, there were specific doctors one had to use for these types of exams and for some reason this doctor was on the opposite side of town.  The appointment said to arrive 30 minutes before her appointment and she had arrived 45 minutes before for good measure.

 

As she climbed the stairs to the third-floor office of Dr. S, she had a brief flash back of home.  Elevators not working was something common back there, but seeing an Out of Service sign in Canada struck her as odd. She only hoped that at least the waiting room and subsequent examination office would be air conditioned.  She reached in her bag for her cloth and wiped her face as she got to the landing of the third floor.  A stream of sweat made its way down her back and all she wanted in that moment was to lie in Anambra River and cool off.

 

Dr S’s office was a hive of activity and the waiting room was full.  There is a belief back home that a doctor with many patients is a good doctor as it reflected his or her work and as she surveyed this waiting room, a part of her anxiety dissipated, albeit momentarily.

 

Forty one years on planet earth and she had never been to see a doctor.  Her grandfather was a sought-after herbalist in their part of the state back in Nigeria and they had a large room in their homestead dedicated to his healing practice.

On any given day, there were many people who came to seek help and many swore by the amazing strength and healing of the concoctions he had in his healing room.

 

Rows and rows of bottles and jars that had different colored roots and tree barks in water and various other liquids.  Dishes of dried then powdered herbs that were given to the “patients” wrapped in old pieces of newspapers.  If you wanted to make their grandfather happy, just bring him old newspapers.

 

For some reason, none of his children or grandchildren had ever needed his healing.  Many in their village believed the urban legend which said the water spirits of their fore fathers that had settled on her grandfather and guided him to the “secret valley” where they revealed which trees and roots and herbs had healing powers, watched over the family.  The theory had never been tested.

All feminine related ailments fell under the tutelage of great aunt Abebi. Her scope was everything from menstrual hygiene as she understood it, to lessons on the art of how to behave as a woman in the bedroom but only after you were married of-course and everything else culturally appropriate in between.

 

 

Her roommate at the shelter had said she would be required to wear a hospital gown for the X-ray but even that made her very nervous.  She had never been naked or semi-naked all her life in front of a man except perhaps her late husband.  Even then with Uzo, the pitch-black backdrop of their bedroom at night had always been a welcome and constant companion.

 

Her performance when it came to conjugal relations was executed in the way that great aunt Abebi had so carefully instructed. She dutifully disrobed under the veil of darkness, quick to get under the covers and quickly pull them back up to cover herself. Even in pleasing her husband, she was not to lose her dignity and be “jezebel-like”. It was important to stay a respectable woman such that even with the illumination of the horizon by the early morning rays of the African sun, he could still respect you as his wife and mother of his children.

 

When she first sat down in the waiting room, forms completed and awaiting her turn with the doctor, she had been grateful for the air conditioning and the chair.  As the waiting got longer, anxiety replaced gratitude. Why was this necessary? What if she didn’t go through with it? That flight of fancy she knew, would lead her nowhere.  They had given her 30 days from when she entered Canada to get these tests done.

 

 

She had so many questions but even the social workers at the Shelter had not adequately answered any of them.  The lady on duty last weekend had asked her to “bank” her questions till Monday as another social worker from Africa would be on duty.  What did it mean to “bank” a question? The worker apologized and told her that her accent was unfortunately too thick and perhaps speaking to a fellow African would help.  She added, for good measure and political correctness, she wanted to make sure that all her concerns were heard.  The lady turned out to be from Eritrea, with her own accent.  Who would translate for who?

 

Ayoluwa was so wrapped up in her thoughts she didn’t hear the chirpy nurse call out to her.  It took a nudge from the lady next to her to get back to reality.  “Ayo, come through and go into door # 5 please”. Finally, she could get this over and done with.

 

She located door number 5, walked in and didn’t know what she was expected to do.  She stared at the thin raised bed, lined with a long sheet of paper and the medical instruments carefully arranged on the shelves.  There was a small sink in the corner with little cups shaped like the funnels they used to put fuel in cars back home. The room had a peculiar smell that she could not place.  It smelled like medicine, or rather sickness or a something in between.

 

Just that minute, a different nurse walked in, one arm laden with files and in the other hand a blue robe.  “Okay ma’am, I won’t even attempt your name. Please change out of your clothes, put on this robe with the opening at the front. You can leave your underwear on and sit on the bed.  Amanda will come do your blood work and the doctor will be in shortly after to speak to you and do the rest of the exam.”  As fast as she came in, she left.

 

 

She looked around the room again, replayed the instructions from the nurse and slowly placed her bag on the stool next to the bed. Her hands were clammy, heart beating louder now as she realized what was expected of her.  Slowly she took off her dress, all the while glaringly aware of how bright the lights were in that small room. She neatly folded her dress and placed it in her bag. She heard a knock, perhaps on door # 3 or was it # 4 and the voice of a man saying “I’m Dr. S”.

 

Soon she knew the knock would be at her door.  She resolved to quicken her pace and be suitably covered up by the time that happened.  Bra off and standing in the robe, she wondered whether she would be required to also remove her head wrap.  Surely the physical would not include her head!

 

What was it with the way these medical people spaced the time between one thing and the next?  Amanda had since done her part, leaving the room with vials of blood and again, Ayoluwa waited.  Mostly naked except for this tissue paper like excuse of a robe and her underwear, she wondered when all this would end.  Never in her life had she felt so exposed and the coup de gras was she was to have a breast exam.  Cheery nurse at the front had indicated that because she was over 40 this was part of her exam. How was this relevant to her immigration? She had so many questions but after the “my accent is finer than yours” fiasco of last Monday, a part of her wished she spoke with a good accent that was nice and clear.

 

 

She heard 2 knocks on the door and in came Dr. S. He was a short stout man, unimpressive features, salt and pepper hair with thick rimmed glasses.  He looked at her over his glasses and asked how she said her name.  “Ayoluwa, but you can call me Ayo” she quickly offered.  He looked back at his notes, wrote something on the paper and as he approached the stool with her bag, Amanda came back in. A small feeling of relief swept over Ayo, welcoming the presence of another female in the room and she begrudgingly made peace with what was happening.

 

Dr. S kept his gaze affixed to his papers then looked up suddenly.  He rattled off some instructions for the nurse, peppered with medical jargon and finished by saying, “I think I’m okay here, follow up on that case for me”.  Amanda quickly left and again it was just Dr S, Ayo and the quite drone of the air conditioning.

 

Finally, he asked her to remove her bag from the stool so he could have somewhere to sit.  He went through her forms, asking her all the questions that she had already answered and made markings in his notes.  He then asked her to lay back on the bed.

 

 

He asked her if she had ever had any operations and she answered no.  She offered to him at that point that she had never been to a doctor.  He looked at her blankly, but held the gaze as he asked her to affirm her statement.  “You have never been to a doctor before?”  “No, Sir, never”.

 

He turned towards the shelf with the medical gadgets and rubbed some type of oil or antiseptic on his hands. He told her to lift her right arm and lay it over her head so he could perform her breast exam.  He felt around her breast and said he was looking for lumps.  Had she ever heard of breast cancer?  Yes she had heard of it but had never known anyone close to her to suffer from it.

 

He continued to gently press on her breast and he stopped and made a note on his papers.  Resuming his exam on the same breast, he started with a kneading type of motion. She would later liken it to how they made bread in the village.  He ran his finger around her areola and continued that motion for what seemed to be like a minute.  Again, he abruptly stopped made a note in his pad, before resuming his exam.  Next, Dr. S ran his index finger on her nipple and she tensed, avoiding his gaze by staring at a small chipped corner of a painting that hung in the room.

 

 

Something didn’t feel right! But what did she know?  He was the doctor.  He asked her to change arms and he repeated the same exam on her other breast.  This time he lingered longer on the nipple and asked her if it hurt when he pinched it slightly. This didn’t feel right but all the while he did this he kept taking notes.  Surely one does not do anything untoward and proceed to take notes.

 

Her stomach growled, unable to keep up with the otherwise silence of the room.  She had not eaten since last night.  He turned back to the shelf of medical equipment, and she couldn’t make out what he was doing. As he turned back at her she affixed her gaze again to the chipped corner of the painting that now provided a distraction from what was happening.

 

He pressed on her stomach in circular motions and slowly made his was down to the base of her stomach.  He asked if she had ever been pregnant and she replied no.  He asked her to put her legs in the stirrups.  Something didn’t feel right!  Dr. S looked at her stomach, gazed at her thighs then asked her to lower her underwear just for a second so he could verify gender.  What did that mean? Verify gender!

 

 

“Okay so you are a woman”, Dr. S dryly offered and resumed simultaneously rubbing and pressing her belly.  He slowly made his way back to her breasts again and rubbed her left breast, then pinched her nipple again.  She winced and he asked, “What number would you rate the pain, from 1-5? 5 being very painful.”

 

Many thoughts were rushing in her mind now, lead among them that something didn’t feel right.  Yet, he asked for a pain threshold.  Maybe he had “caught” something?  “3 doctor. Or maybe even a 4”, she offered.  Dr. S, returned to his notes, jotted some stuff down. “Okay, please put on your clothes and I will be back in a few minutes”. He turned, opened the door and walked out, taking his notes with him.

 

The knock came again at the door and Dr. S walked in, looked at her from above his glasses again and said, “We will send your results to the address on the Immigration papers you gave us.  Have a good day”.  With those words, he disappeared into the hall and moments later she heard him introduce himself to the next patient.

 

Ayoluwa was not sure how she felt, how was she supposed to feel?  Something about this whole thing had not felt right but Dr. S took notes the entire time.  Her mind was now in overdrive.  He must have found breast cancer in her.  Why had he taken so many notes?  What of that feeling that she couldn’t place when he was examining her? Was that how all women felt? What did the pain in her nipples mean when he pinched them?  Was he even supposed to pinch her nipples?

 

 

Who could she talk to about this day?

 

Perhaps when she got back to the shelter she could speak to the social worker.  What day was it again? It was Wednesday and the one who could not understand her was on duty.  The volunteer who understood her accent would be in week after next.  She only came in once every two weeks.

 

 

Her questions would have to wait till then.

My first documentary was in 2011. Odyssey from Student to Sex worker

My first documentary was in 2011. Odyssey from Student to Sex worker

This Documentary was produced in 2011.

It was a result of a Baseline Survey:

Documenting The Experiences Of Women Engaging In Sex Work And Students At The University Of Zimbabwe Engaging In Transactional Sex: A Case Study Of Harare

 The result was a documentary titled – Odyssey- From Student to Sex Worker.

Main outcomes of the project:

  1. We recorded an outcry from sex workers about the brutality they face at the hands of the Police and lack of alternative means of a livelihood. We then used the DVD as a lobbying tool to encourage dialogue with relevant authorities to attempt to curb the prevalence of such instances and also interrogate alternative options of subsidizing their income.
  2. The vulnerability and resultant heightened exposure young women had to HIV/AIDS, sexual and gender based violence

 

The link to the documentary      https://youtu.be/__PWXHQxLgM

 

 

Stamping Out Stigma (A day in the life of a person living with HIV series)

Stamping Out Stigma (A day in the life of a person living with HIV series)

Stigma around people living with HIV (PLWH) is still very high in Ontario.  It’s been well documented that one of the key barriers to HIV awareness is stigma.

Many people to this day have the wrong perception of what it is to be HIV positive and the images that are often used, perpetuate that stigma. HIV-related stigma normally stems from ignorance about what HIV is and irrational fears.

I volunteer as a Community Health Ambassador in Toronto and one of the issues that is evident in our work is stigma and the impact it has on PLWH.  It’s reported 3 out of 4 clients at Ontario Aids Service Organization report experiencing  stigma and/or discrimination. Let’s change this statistic!

In 2017, and more specifically in the context of Canada, it is imperative that in the fight against stigma, we present realistic images and relevant information.

People living with HIV are diverse, resilient and live FULL LIVES.   We all need to play our part and Stamp out Stigma.

I submitted a grant application to the KW Awesome Foundation to get support for a project re-branding HIV and using film and images to accurately portray PLWH.

What does HIV look like?  HIV has no face!  There is no “them” or “they” but US.

KW Awesome Foundation extended an invitation for me to pitch my idea at their pitch night on July 26 2017 in Kitchener.

This is very exciting and I’m hoping for the best.  Wish me luck !

 

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TESHE Diaries Sexual Health Series – A collection of Stories of African women living in Canada

TESHE Diaries Sexual Health Series – A collection of Stories of African women living in Canada

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This is the first article of a series of stories I’m writing about the challenges that African immigrant women go through in Canada.

Most of my focus is on their sexual reproductive health rights but many other issues will be covered.  This is all fictitious work.  This is a creative way for me to open up the eyes of the reader to certain issues that you may perhaps not have looked at and an attempt at starting a dialogue around topics that most may deem inappropriate particularly if looked at through the eyes of the African lens.

As we navigate being women, Africans and residents of Canada, our experiences are unique and bear some acknowledgement. Some will be stories of success over these challenges, but the goal is that the stories invoke in all of us realization  that empowerment for women, particularly around their sexual health is important.

With that said…

I introduce you to Tetiwe from Zambia. She is 17 years old and She lives in Toronto

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DIARY ENTRY  #1

TETIWE : 17 YEARS OLD : ZAMBIAN

ANYTHING IS BETTER THAN THIS!

 

My name is Tetiwe, I’m 17 years old and I’m originally from Zambia. My friend told me that you work with women and girls from Africa.  I’m hoping you can assist me too as I just don’t know who to turn to.

 

I moved to Canada 2 years ago with my mom/ aunty.  She was my late mother’s best friend and has always been very supportive of me.  I have never known my father and so I have no contact with that side of my family.

 

In 2015, Aunty Mary got an invitation to come and Pastor the Toronto branch of our Church and she asked my mom’s family if she could legally adopt me and add me as her family member so I could come and go to school here.  She explained that the opportunities available to me in Canada would never compare to those in Zambia.  My family agreed and we arrived in Canada on June 23 2015.

 

When we arrived at the airport there were a lot of people from our Church who were waiting for us.  Aunt Mary is the first female to be chosen by the International committee of Elders from our Church to lead a branch in a foreign land.  We were welcomed like superstars and we drove to the Deacon’s house in a convoy of cars.  I felt so happy to be in Canada and even that night as we said our prayers, I thanked God for being in Toronto.  Most of my friends would be so jealous.

 

I started going to school in September and it was so exciting to be going to school in my civilian clothes. Back home I was always in uniform.  The school was not that far from the house the Church provided for us but I still had to take a bus and it was exciting to be able to leave the house by myself and feel like a young adult.

 

When I turned 16, the ladies at the Church had a party for me in the small back room at Church.  I got to invite all my friends and after, Aunt even allowed me to go for a movie with my friends. While at the movies, I met the son of one of the Deacons at Church.  I’m too scared to write his name but he is about 25 years old. I will just call him John.  He started calling me and writing me emails and we would have video chats too, late at night after my aunt fell asleep.

John said he had fallen in love with me and he wanted us to get married and I asked him if we should go and announce to the Elders that we were now a couple.  In our Church we must declare to the Elders the minute you start having feelings and dating someone.  The relationship must be made public and all your dates must be chaperoned.

 

 

He convinced me not to say anything just yet and said that since we were in Canada we must do things the Canadian way.  John and I started having sex and used condoms the first few times. One day he said that he felt we were now spiritually linked and we should stop using condoms.  I didn’t want to but he said I had to prove that I loved him. I insisted but when we were having sex he stopped and took it off and before I could do anything he continued having sex with me.  He was so rough with me and I bled slightly after.  He went and got morning after pills and he begged me to drink them and from that point on we never used condoms again.

 

 

John said that no couple that are truly linked in the spirit use condoms. He always made sure I took the pills.  He said he had a friend that had the “hook up” and we would never run out.  Every time, I asked him to use condoms, he got angry with me and says that even if we are in Canada, I must not forget the Zambian way of respecting the man.

 

 

About 2 months ago I noticed that I had developed some sores down there.  I told John about them and he hit me.  He said he always knew that I was promiscuous and now I was trying to kill him with all these diseases.  I wanted to call the Police but after what happened to another girl at Church I decided not to. She got into so much trouble with the elders after she called the Police on her father who used to hit her mom.  Her father ended up being deported back to Zambia.  John asked me for forgiveness and said he would never do it again and his papers were not in order.  If I called and he got arrested he may be deported. He beats me up regularly now.

 

 

I confided in my friend and she went and told the Elders at Church. I was called in front of the ladies’ fellowship disciplinary council and they were all yelling at me.  They said I had brought shame to the Church and to my aunt who had taken me on as her daughter.  Why had I not followed procedure and announced that I now had a boyfriend?

 

I tried to explain that he had forced me not to, that he had been hitting me, forcing me into sex acts that I was not comfortable with it but it was all my fault they said.  A virtuous woman described in Proverbs would not let stuff like this happen. I had let down so many people and I must be ashamed of myself. They made me feel so bad, I didn’t have the strength to tell them about the sores.  I have even noticed more bumps now.

 

As I write you this email, I have missed my period and I just don’t know who to turn to.  Everyone I know is from our Church and I cannot tell anyone.  What do I do?

 

 

John moved to Alberta because he heard that there was more money there.  He won’t pick up my calls even after I told him that I suspected I may be pregnant.  He just said that I should know what to do, he is not the one who is pregnant.  My aunt doesn’t know yet but I know she will definitely kick me out after she finds out.

 

 

I’m not ready to be a mother.  Please help me.  What do I do?

 

Lately I have been feeling maybe it’s better I follow my mother.

 

 

Anything is better than this. 

Dear Daddy (Open letter to fathers who have abandoned their children)

Dear Daddy (Open letter to fathers who have abandoned their children)

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Dear Daddy

This article was originally published on Zimdaily.com in 2007.  I had a weekly column.  I had no idea life would imitate art and one day 10 years later it would look like I wrote this through the lenses of my daughter. She is only 2…

On this mothers day, I want to honor all mothers out there but more so those who take on the dual role of both mom and dad.  No-one will ever understand how hard it is,unless you walk the path but we do it with the grace that only God bestows mothers. We love our children, we would do anything for them. BUT can we get the men to grow up! It takes 2 people to make a child.  Our African culture frowns on us talking about this sort of thing.  You will either be labelled bitter, or painted as still fawning over the ex, and what good woman opens her armpits (sic) and discusses these things?!

Anyway, I dare talk about it today as a single mom taking care of my daughter solo, as I did 10 years ago when I wrote this article.

With those words:

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DEAR DADDY

Letter to all the fathers who have abandoned their kids.

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Hi Daddy

I am just writing this letter to talk to you and tell you what’s been going on with me and ask you why you don’t want me or love me.

 

I don’t want you to think that mommy put me up to this as a way to annoy you.  She doesn’t even know that I am doing this.  It’s just that sometimes when I’m watching other kids with their dads, I just wonder what’s so special about those kids that their fathers didn’t leave them or act like they don’t exist like you did with me.

 

Daddy, last week was my birthday and I wished for the same thing I wish for all the time.  I wished that you would just call or write and tell me that you loved me.  I’ve heard some people call me a bastard because you are not around.  What’s a bastard daddy? Why do they call me that?  What really happened with mommy?  No one wants to tell me but whatever it is daddy, please don’t punish me.

 

 

I’ve head different stories but I’m not sure which one is true.  Some say mommy tried to trap you into marrying her by getting pregnant with me.  They say that you were not ready for marriage but mommy kept insisting and finally she “got herself” pregnant and she was secretly hoping that you would do the “right” thing and marry her.  Is that true daddy?  Was I just a pawn on the negotiating table and did the stakes get too high?

 

I’ve heard rumors that you were actually married when you met mommy and you lied to her about your marital status.  Is it true that you refused to use protection with mommy because you said it didn’t feel the same and I heard you said something to the effect of it was like eating sweets with the wrapper still on?  The people I heard talking about it said it was such a hot topic with you, even though mommy tried to reason with you and explain what could happen (pregnancy).  They say you would get upset with her.

 

To get her to lay with you without protection you would mentally manipulate her by saying stuff like,” You are wife, why should I use protection when I’m with you?”, “Even if you get pregnant, I will take care of you and the child”, “Condoms make you itch”.

 

It’s believed that mommy was so in love with you and was scared if she insisted on protection, you would leave her.  Well, she did get pregnant daddy, with me, and you stopped calling or coming over.  When she would call, you would say you are with your “real” family and you suspected that I wasn’t your child anyway.  You called mommy a whore and made her cry.  But, daddy, you know mommy didn’t cheat on you!  You know she worshiped the ground you walked on and all she wanted was to make you happy.  You convinced her that even if she got pregnant, you would take care of her.  I admit, mommy should have probably been more firm with her resolve, but daddy I’m here now.  You got upset with her because she wouldn’t have an abortion!

 

Did you really hate me that much even before I was born? Because I loved you from before I was born.

 

Daddy, I will probably never know the truth about what happened with mommy, only the two of you know, but I just ask that you don’t make me pay for both your mistakes.

 

Daddy do you have another family now? Is that why you don’t want me?  Does it upset your new wife or girlfriend that I exist?  Does she even know about me?  Do my brothers or sisters know of me?  I’m really curious daddy.  Sometimes I sit here and wonder if I look like more like your side of the family because mommy’s family looks so different from me.  When mommy’s upset with me she will say stuff like “kushata sababa”, ugly like your father?”  I don’t care anyway when she says that because it makes me feel good inside that I look like you-ugly or not.

 

I miss you daddy. I know they say you can’t miss that which you never had but daddy you are a part of me, and I am a part of you.  It upsets me that I have mommy’s last name on my birth certificate.  It’s like an announcement to the world that I am the child who has a dad who isn’t around.  Don’t get me wrong, I love mommy, and she tries her best to make sure that I don’t want for much, but I want you daddy.  I want your name!  I want people to know that I was born to two people who despite that they don’t love each other anymore; they put aside their feelings because they love me.

 

I promise I will be a good child.  I will make you proud and I will always do what you tell me to do.  I’ve heard that you don’t come around because you hate mommy now and she makes you feel like it’s all or nothing.  Either you are with her or you can’t see me!  If that is true daddy, is there a way you can find a mutual person or talk to aunts and uncles so they can mediate.  Please don’t let your squabbles and resentment you to have for each other play a part in my not seeing you.

 

I love you daddy.  Please love me too.  When I make it in life I want you to never want for anything.  I promise you will never have to work hard because I will take care of you.  You are my father and I love you.  For whatever mommy did to you that you didn’t like, I’m sorry.  Please forgive her if that’s what it will take for you to be in my life.

 

Daddy, I just want to know you.  It’s not about the money, no matter what the courts, mommy or the legal system says about the issue.  I just want to know you.  I want you to give me your last name.  I want you to be proud of me regardless of the circumstances surrounding my birth.  Please daddy.  If you read this, and you are not sure where mommy and I are, surely you must know someone who knows where we are.  Please find me daddy.

 

I love you and I can’t wait to hear from you.

 

Your baby

 

P/S:  Even though mommy says it, I don’t think you are ugly at all.  I think you are the best looking dad ever created.  Mommy’s just jealous.  Have you seen the nose on sekuru/umkulu (grand dad)!  I bet yours is nothing like that.  Bye daddy.

 

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To all the fathers out there, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the birth of your kids, please don’t punish these innocent children.  Act like men and not dead beats.  There is no justification for not being in the lives of your children and supporting them!

 

Being a man is not about being biologically able to reproduce, but stepping up and taking care of that which you produce.  No excuses. Please find your kids if you don’t know where they are.  I know the mothers may be a bit much and may use the kids as pawns but I implore all you parents, enough with the games and abusing your kids and using them as bargaining chips!

 

That is reprehensible that anyone would do that and you should be ashamed of yourselves.  These kids didn’t ask to be born.  How they came to be conceived may have been a mistake but they are CERTAINLY not mistakes.  They are beautiful and they need love from both parents.  Be grown ups and do the right thing.

 

Be Blessed

 

 

 

 

 

 

FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real)

FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real)

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For a very long time now, perhaps for the last 3-4 years, I have wanted to have my own blog where I write about my life, the daily challenges, losses, wins and how sometimes it just didn’t look like the sun would rise again.

I was afraid of so much.

What will people say? Chipo uya atanga futi zvekunyora nyora.  Chipo is back at it with her writing.  I used to write for several online public publications years ago but for some reason, I walked away from it all.

I write from a place of honesty.  The process of writing is cathartic for me, a release; akin to what I can only imagine is what those of the Catholic fraternity find in Confession time.

As I tried to start writing again several times, and stopped as many times, fear stopped me. In speaking my truth, I was so afraid to offend, to insult, to ruffle feathers! What if?!

I start this next chapter of my life CHOOSING to not be afraid.  It’s False Evidence Appearing Real.  

What’s there to be afraid of?

Here we go!