The day Guadentia decided to keep her pregnancy, was the day her world turned upside down. Her boyfriend, Goliath, was not ready for it.
“How do I know it is mine?” he asked. “You want to use that pregnancy to trap me.” Guadentia was quiet. What would she have told a man who claimed that she was untrustworthy?
“Furthermore,” Goliath started to walk away. “Could you not get some herbs to prevent that?” he pointed at Guadentia’s tummy. “I thought the medicine man was your family friend.”
“How would I have started the conversation?” Guadentia sobbed.
“You have many friends who have done that,” Goliath turned to face her. “They would have advised you on how to prevent or get rid of that thing,” tears flowed down Guadentia’s face. “You are careless, at your age, you would have taken care of yourself. Even if I was sure the baby was mine, I would never marry a woman who does not use her brain.”
She wished she had not told him that she was carrying this baby. Maybe they would have had more time together, but she knew if she did not say, he would still have accused her of something else. Her wish was to hear the man say he loved her, she had never planned to force him to marry her. She did not want to get married like that, by mistake.
Her Mama had told her about other village girls who got married not out of love, but forced by circumstances. Some had been sent away from home because they were pregnant, others married because the men were rich, some quarreled with their parents, others escaped from the very difficult house chores, others were afraid that time was running out, some copied their friends, others got pregnant unexpectedly, the list was endless. What these marriages had in common was, misery.
Goliath lived with his parents and Guadentia knew that if she moved in with Goliath, she would be the servant of that household. That is what happens to couples that are not independent, she knew. If she refused to be treated as a slave, then everyone would turn against her and send her away. She did not want to imagine how her life had turned out, just because she had fallen in love.
She prayed all the time, she knew all of God’s commandments, but now, she had sinned, she had committed fornication, it was a shame. Why did this happen? Why had God not held her back? She thought the man had been chosen by God and as long as she was faithful and obedient to this man, then God’s law was fulfilled.
She wiped her tears as she walked to her friend’s hut.
“The secret is already out,” her friend, Clementina was deep in thought. “We cannot get rid of it now.”
“I am not planning to get rid of it,” Guadentia sighed, “I am only asking for the best advice.”
“I know a girl,” Clementina tried to help, “who went to the man’s house and sat at the doorstep every day. She threatened to go to his place of work and sit at the gate, the man finally married her.”
“Are they happily married?” Guadentia asked.
“No!” Clementina shook her head. “But in such situations, happiness does not matter. Keeping your name clean is most important. The villagers believe you are a respectable woman; you must keep it that way. No one should know that you had sex before marriage. Go to his home, and force yourself in.”
“He stays with his parents,” Guadentia was afraid. “and it does not look like he is going to move out soon.”
“That is even better,” Clementina was excited. “You know his parents are staunch believers of God. They go to church all the time; they would not want shame to come upon their house.”
Guadentia was hopeful.
In small towns and villages rumours travel like wind. Whispers from one person to another, and finally the whole village. Being a quiet person, Guadentia observed, listened and learned… and at the age of forty-three, she knew much. When she noticed heads turning every time she passed by the huts and shopping center, she was aware that Clementina had let the hyena out of the sack.
She loved farming and did not mind fetching water for her neighbour, Mzee. She watered his plants, for pay. On this day, Mzee’s face was as hard as a cold stone. Guadentia knew her sad news would spread, but did not know it was with the speed of an arrow.
“Follow me!” His voice was unpleasant. Guadentia followed. “Whose pregnancy is it?” She wondered why it was his concern.
…… Silence ….
“What do you wish to do?” Mzee sat down on his special wooden chair and rubbed his belly. “Can I talk to a medicine woman to help you get rid of it? You know…. I cannot work with you with that thing,” he pointed at Guadentia’s stomach. “Once it becomes visible, the villagers will think I am a cruel, overworking a pregnant woman.”
“I will keep it.” Guadentia said as she remembered the stories of how risky and painful the process was.
The following day, the security guard did not allow her into the compound. Tears welled up Guadentia’s eyes. She wanted to cry out loud, but thought of God’s word that asked us to leave all the battles to Him. Her feet, heavy as led, she walked to Clementina’s home.
“I thought babies were a blessing,” she entered the house and threw herself on her friends bed. “Life has turned upside down, just like that.” she snapped her fingers. “They want me to hate this baby, they want me to suffer for my sins. God asks us not to judge, but they judge with a passion, with hatred.”
“Don’t say that,” Clementina handed a calabash of goat soup to her.
“Mzee does not want me to work for her anymore,” she buried her head in the clothes on the bed.
Phyllis, their friend saw her and followed her into the hut. “What is that I hear?” she sat on the bed. “Wah!” she exclaimed, hands akimbo. “And how your parents are strict, locking you in the house like a goat. Who thought you would get pregnant in sin, no, no, no, wait…. you would even look at a man? I wonder how they are feeling now. “Oh! May be they are rejoicing. You know Goliath’s family has many cows and a big shamba.”
Guadentia did not say anything. “Did you go to the medicine man for examination? You know there are very many bad diseases nowadays. You might die before you see what your baby looks like.”
Guadentia’s heart dropped to her toes like a bag of mud. She wanted to hurl every insult that she knew, at Phyllis, but didn’t. God would keep her strong, and also avenge for her, she thought. Neither of them wanted to hold any conversation with Phillis, so she left.
“Do you know that woman has had an interest in Goliath since time immemorial?” Clementina dipped a calabash into the pot at the fireplace and fetched some soup. She sat on the bed. “Yesterday I asked her if we should accompany you to Goliath’s house, I did not know I was poking a honey comb. She refused and told me she was in love with Goliath and today I woke up to find everybody talking about you. I made a mistake. I did not know she was a parrot; she hid it so well.”
Guadentia sad and broken, broke the news to her parents.
“Do not be sad,” Mama said politely. “You have been a good child. You are forty-three, it is not so bad. The older you are, the better you handle misfortunes.”
“It still hurts so bad.” Guadentia’s voice was heavy with sorrow.
“We will accompany you to Goliath’s tomorrow,” Mama tried to make her feel better. Baba nodded. Guadentia was glad. She wanted to cry out of happiness. “You have always made our lives easy, it is our turn now, to help you carry this burden.”
They went to Goliath’s house the next day. Goliath’s Baba opened the door. The look on his face said it all. “Mama Goliath,” He shouted. “The fishing net is here.”
Baba Guadentia stepped forward and stretched his hand. Baba Goliath did not take it, he stared. Mama appeared behind him.
“We are not delivering fishing nets,” Baba Guadentia began. “We are here to…”
“We know,” interrupted Baba Goliath. “You have brought that fishing net,” his lips pointed towards Guadentia, ‘to come and trap my son properly, because last time, she missed. If you have never known, women are very good trappers, only they trap the wrong things.” Mama Guadentia knocked his thigh from behind with her knee. “Now she wants to throw the finishing net again into the lake,” he waved his hand towards his house, “the wrong lake. If you want to become a fisher woman, go fish in another lake. I know it is the property you want. It is mine, not my son’s”
Mama put her arms around Guadentia.
“A white man would call you a Gold digger, but I call you a cattle digger, or is it chicken digger, what really made you want to trap my son?” Baba was displeased.
Mama stood still trying to be polite, with a smile. Goliath stood behind her.
“Goliath,” Guadentia walked from her Mama’s arms towards the house.
‘It is not mine,” Goliath’s face was expressionless. “Don’t you dare cast that fishing net. Saying hallo to you at the shopping center and market did not mean I wanted to be your husband.” Several knives slashed Guadentia’s heart, her mother was heartbroken. A younger woman who seemed to be in her mid-twenties appeared beside Goliath. He put his arm around her, kissed her on the cheek and closed the door.
“I did not know,” Guadentia sobbed. Mama rubbed her back. “It is alright,” Baba was resigned.
“I knew he did not want us to be seen in public, but I thought it was because he respected the villagers and did not want them to keep reminding us that we were living in sin. Now I am in trouble, there are no witnesses,” Guadentia lifted the edge of her leso and wiped her eyes and cheeks. “Where is God now that I am in this pit? I know I am wrong, but does God not forgive sins and open paths for the ones who realize they have fallen? What was the point of staying pure until now?” Her body was numb, her mind at a standstill.
“One day at a time,” Mama held her hand. “One day at a time, you never know what tomorrow brings. God asks us to be patient, He has good plans for all of us.”
Nothing gave Guadentia comfort. She entered her mother’s hut, sat near the fireplace and stared into it. The flames warmed her heart, a little. She watched the fire, each new firewood that came alight and the smoke winding its way up into the chimney. The bananas were boiling. Soon they were ready. She served her parents, but did not herself, she had no appetite.
“You need to feed,” Mama encouraged her. Guadentia did not care anymore. Life had no meaning to her. She had lost the only love of her life. She had dreams…. She wanted to be married in love, she wished to be a housewife, with nice little children, she had imagined serving her husband fully, she prayed to make him happy. That was crashed.
A tear dropped down her cheek, she wiped it with the back of her hand.
“Have we said that we do not want you?” Mama asked from her bedroom door, Guadentia shook her head. “Don’t cry then.” Guadentia wiped again. “Worry will not be good for the baby and remember life must go on.”
“I don’t want it,” Guadentia sobbed. Mama picked a stool from one end of the hut and sat beside her. “I am a shame to the family.”
Mama placed her hand on Guadentia’s thigh. “Do not say that Guadentia, you are past the age where parents feel ashamed of their children’s mistakes. I know you have heard of parents who say bad things when their daughters get pregnant, others have sent their daughters away, others have forcefully married their daughters to men they do not love, to avoid shame. We will not do any of that. This one mistake, does not make you a bad person.”
“What about the child?” Guadentia looked at her mother with teary eyes. “How can I love a child whose father I already hate? What will people say every time they look at my child? Who will marry me with this child? I don’t want it. I will go to the medicine man tomorrow.” Mama frowned. She was silent. Girls who were desperate never cared about safety. Many were known to pick a leave from every tree in the forest, boil them and drink the concoction. If they got to the medicine man on time, they were saved, the ones who did not, died. Mama knew Guadentia would try this, so….
“We will visit the medicine man tomorrow.” Mama said as she got up. “Try to get some sleep.” Guadentia fetched some water from the pot and washed her face. She walked out of the hut feeling lighter than she walked in. She opened the door to her hut. Something moved on the path. She turned and saw the gate open.
“You!” a drunken voice called. She peered into the darkness. “You thought you and your family were going to make me the son your mother never had,” Goliath staggered towards Guadentia. Guadentia was shocked; she had never seen him drunk. She entered the house and picked a broom. She held the lighter end of the broom and hit Goliath several times with the heavier side. He shielded his face and looked around frantically for something he could fight back with. It was too dark; he could not find any. Mama heard the commotion, and rushed towards them.
“Guadentia!” Mama screamed. “Stop that, stop,” she pushed Goliath back. He was falling, but was saved by holding tight onto Mama’s dress. Mama turned, “Ah! Stop touching me,” she pulled his hand off her dress and snatched the broom away from Guadentia. Wooden windows were now open with villagers holding lamps out of them. Baba approached.
Goliath tried to steady himself. “I have come to warn Guadentia, never to come near our home,” he wiped his nose, then sniffed. “I have also come to tell her that I am married.”
“She knows.” Mama responded as Baba held Goliath’s arm and led him to the gate.
He turned, “and get rid of that thing,” he waved his hand in the air. “I do not want you to come when I am ageing gracefully to….
“She is getting rid of it tomorrow,” Mama shouted, “she will not want your property.” Goliath opened his mouth to say something, but words failed. “Oh!” is all he could say as he walked away, backwards.
“Guadentia…” Mama was worried.
“I am okay,” she said as she took the broom from Mama and entered the hut.
She got into bed, covered herself, curled up and cried.
The following day, with swollen eyes, she walked slowly beside Mama, to the medicine man’s hut. She went in alone.
“Guadentia, the village torch,” he gestured to her to sit, “What brings you here?” She sat, dropped her head and wrung her hands.
Angry and tired, she replied, “I am pregnant, nobody wants this baby.”
“Are you sure?” he moved closer looking into her swollen eyes.
Guadentia looked up, impatient, that this was going too slow. “I am sure. Goliath does not want it, his parents don’t want me.” she wiped her sore, wet eyes.
“Are they the only people who are important to you?”
“Would Mama be standing outside that door if she did not care?” Guadentia shook her head and sobbed. “What did Baba say?” she shook her head.
The medicine man stood, poured a cup of tea from a kettle and handed it to her. There was something familiar about the kettle, but Guadentia’s mind was a swarm of bees, she did not think much about it. She sipped the tea slowly. With the tightening knot in her throat, it was difficult to swallow, but she tried.
“Everybody talks bad when a woman gets pregnant before marriage,” he sat. “The woman is always on the wrong. They don’t remember that the man is also wrong, but that does not mean that the man does not suffer too. Even though they evade responsibility, they are mentally disturbed too…. and…. the people around you, wait for misfortune, so that they can shout the loudest, because they want to cover their own failures. If you are afraid to be rejected because of fulfilling your wishes, you will never live.” Silence….
“I have known your parents for a long time.” he poured himself a cup of tea. “They have taught you how to choose between right and wrong. You have been disciplined, and kind to all of us. Why do you think the being in your womb does not deserve your kindness?” she placed the cup of tea on the floor.
“It has brought me shame,” she covered her face. “and rejection.”
“How?” The medicine man removed her hands from her face. “You have not given the baby a chance to prove otherwise. Remember you got that baby out of love. The ones who have gotten rid of their pregnancies, are they less ashamed? Are their marriages better than the ones who are married with children born out of wedlock?”
She shook her head.
“Drink your tea,” he sipped his.
“Before you got pregnant, did anybody care to know how you got the clothes and food you ate?” No, she said. “Did anybody bother to know the kind of problems you had and tried to solve them?” No, she said. “Did anybody care to get you a good man even with the years that have passed by?’ No, she said. “You have had many friends, friends who were there when things were okay, but now that you are in trouble, nobody wants to help. Only your parents have loved you and they still love you. What makes you think you will not be able to take care of the child with your parent’s help?”
“I lost my job,” a tear escaped from her eye. She wiped it off, “everybody laughs at me, they say bad things.”
“Do I hate you?” She shook her head, “then it is not everybody.”
“There is something else you can do,” he took the last sip of his tea. “You may give out the baby. See me every month, and I will tell you how many women are willing to have that child.”
A bag of sand had been lifted off Guadentia’s shoulders. She smiled, finished her tea and walked out slowly. Her mother shook the medicine man’s hand and mouthed a “Thank you.”
Guadentia turned. “Yesterday I took a cup of concentrated tea leaves, Neem and lemon. Will the baby….”
“That was a dangerous thing you did, you could have died,” The medicine man interrupted. Mama’s lower jaw dropped.
“I wanted to die,” Guadentia said bitterly.
“Life is precious. It is more precious than friends, you will see,” he was worried. “If you see any spot of blood from your womb, come immediately.” Pause…. “God is amazing though, the children in the womb are very safe and protected. Many times the concoction never works, but the baby might be deformed. Do not try that again,” Guadentia touched her stomach. “Eat healthy.”
Guadentia was hungry when she entered the gate. “Let me cook some porridge,” she said as she walked to her hut. I will come to say hallo to Baba later.”
Mama smiled. “You know, Baba and I could not get a child for several years after marriage. We almost became outcasts because the villagers thought we were cursed by the spirits. Then we had you, and all was well. We tried to get another child, it did not happen. People gossiped and the rumour of the curse spread like wild fire. You get pregnant…. you do not get pregnant, they will talk. Have that child, we will take care of it.”
Mama looked at her for a long time, after they parted, then entered the hut.
Baba, with his hands behind his head, was staring at the grass thatched roof. He turned when the door opened. “Is everything okay?”
“Yes and no,” Mama walked to the fireplace. “Do you know she tried to get rid of it last night?”
“How?” he was curious.
“Herbs,” she picked pieces of wood.
“Oh my good soul” Baba sat up and placed his feet on the floor. “At what age? Is she alright?”
“Yes,” she lit the firewood.
“And the baby?” he put on his shirt.
“I think so! Everything went well during the meeting. The medicine man told her exactly what I had asked him too. I was afraid our daughter might recognize the kettle, when he decided to take tea while talking to her.”
Two months passed. Guadentia visited the medicine man again and was informed that four women were interested in the baby. Nine months passed, the women were still interested, confirmed the medicine man. The Baby came, it was a beautiful baby boy. Guadentia loved him. Goliath’s Mama came to see. Yes, the baby had Goliath’s eyebrows, ears, hands and feet.
“Don’t even think of trying to bring your ugly legs to my house, you, property digger!” she left.
Guadentia tightened her grip on the beautiful boy. She did not care about getting married anymore.
The medicine man came, she held her boy tighter. “You will suffocate the baby,” he sat on a stool.
“I think I will keep the baby,” she loosened the grip.
“Think?” he frowned.
“I want my baby,” she begged.
“That is better,” he smiled.
She was shaking.
“I knew you would love him,” he went away.
Mama fed Guadentia well. The baby grew into a bright intelligent boy, who always walked beside his mother. Guadentia did not have friends anymore. Nobody wanted a woman who did not have anything extra to give. The boy was her companion; the boy was her little friend…. And when friends visited, it was….
“Ha, who would think that you would ever have sex with anybody?” some woman would ask. “Your parents were very strict…. even goats get out to graze.”
Other women… “Sometimes it does not pay, to keep yourself clean, a virgin,” they laughed mockingly. “It has no rewards. See, you are still single, you are burdened, taking care of a child, whose father does not care….”
If Guadentia never loved her son, she would have been so heartbroken. Her wonderful son gave her hope.
She had grown up thinking that she would change the village and make it a better place. She would unite them and discourage gossip. She would go around, talking to people who were sad, who had lost hope. She would preach kindness, love and respect. She wanted people to know that in the end, things would be alright.
She later realized that she could not change the world, instead, the world had changed her. She did not smile to people anymore, each time she tried, there was a rumour that she was pretending to be happy, or wanted to borrow food or clothes for her son. If she smiled to a couple, she was trying to snatch the men. The villagers saw her as a failure, they would never take her advice.
She kept to herself. With time, she discovered that she found joy in staying alone. Her thoughts were pure. She did what she wanted, anytime she wanted, she was free. She had time to look into her heart, to connect with her son and love him more. There was peace, in being alone.
She enjoyed the attention her parents gave her. Baba and Mama visited her every morning and evening, brought beans, maize floor, bananas, sweet potatoes, arrow roots, kunde (leaves of cowpeas), managu (nightshade), terere (Amaranth) and nsaga (spider flower). They also checked if she was fine. Her son, was her best friend. They went to the river together, cooked together, played together, went to their small garden together and told imaginary stories. She had always wanted to have her own little garden, for vegetables, and she had. Her life was very quiet, until….
“Your hut is slightly leaning to one side,” he pointed at it as she weed her garden.
“I know,” without looking up, she pulled her son closer and continued weeding.
“I love farming too,” he took a few steps closer to her.
“I Know where I can get some manure for you,”
“Mama,” the son shook her thinking she had not heard. She sighed, paused with her hand in the soil. Looking for something nasty to say….
He saw the unpleasant expression on her face and walked away quickly. She watched him walk away until he turned, she lowered her eyes quickly.
The men in the village thought she was desperate for a man’s love. They came with many stories. Some promised to build a new hut for her, others promised to take care of her son as their own, some promised to give her cows, others promised to help her in her garden, but after several weeks of trying to have sex with her and not succeeding, they stopped coming.
“Your son needs a little brother, he is lonely,” they manipulated her into having sex. “That boy should have a man around to call Baba.”
“You are getting older every day and your eggs will finish,” she did not worry. “If Goliath does not want to give you a second child, I will.”
Some were willing to marry her if she agreed to leave her son behind, but she loved her son so much, that she did not mind being single. She was also glad, nobody told her how to raise her son.
“And another comes in the name of manure,” she laughed out loud. Her son laughed too, even if he had no idea why his mother was laughing. The next day she found a small sack of manure beside her shamba, she appreciated the gesture. She put her hand over her mouth and tried not to laugh as she spread the dung over the garden.
“How are you?” he startled her. “Huuu!” she almost fell backward.
Mama heard and rushed out. She stopped and turned back when she realized there was no danger.
“I am Patrobas, I know you, Guadentia.”
“Patrobas!” Guadentia straightened up. She knew his story very well. He had lost his job; he had been employed in the neighbouring village. He fell sick on the job. When he recovered, he had already been replaced, he had been sick for too long, (it was only a week) his boss said, he should have recovered sooner. His parents were too old to accommodate him for so long, he had no other source of income, so he started working in the villagers’ little shambas, until he was able to take care of himself and parents again.
He had been rejected too, for being poor and helpless, Mama had told her. Mama wanted Guadentia to know she was not alone. Men were also rejected when they had nothing.
God has a guardian angel for everyone, all we need to do is be patient.
“I got a job in this big shamba, at Mzee Tumbo’s” he spread out his hands wide. “It is too much for me to work alone; can you help me? I know you can dig” I will share my pay with you.” Guadentia looked at her son. “You may bring your son with you.”
“I will think about it,” she looked away.
The next day, she left for the shamba. In her kiondo was Githeri and tea in a kettle.
He was already there. “Where is your son?” he was surprised.
“He is with my parents,” she placed the kiondo beside Patrobas bag. She joined him. They were quiet, even when they ate. Patrobas ate millet ugali and soup. “I know you have not done any hard labour for some time, you may rest.” He said after some hours.
When they were almost done, she rested under a tree…. “I have heard a lot about you,” after he thought the silence was too loud.
“And I, about you,” she covered her legs carefully.
“Sometimes living alone, without people’s negativity and useless talk,” he hit the ground hard with the jembe, “is the best thing.”
“As I have discovered.” She was happy that someone shared the same sentiments.
He looked up and smiled. “People in this world can feed you with so much information that you get confused sometimes,” he stopped to rest. “Alone, can be wonderful, most people do not know that.”
“Alone can be wonderful?” Guadentia laughed. “I never thought anyone else would think that. I would rather have one or two friends who are true to me, than a thousand friends who think they are smart, like the ones who bring me manure as a way of starting friendship.”
Patrobas stopped digging and looked at her frowning. “I am joking,” she laughed, stood, picked her jembe and dug beside him. “Thank you for the manure, I needed it.”
“You are welcome, I thought of sharing it with someone who had not rejected me yet,” he hit the ground. “Mr Tumbo has a lot of it in the cowshed. When he said I could have it, I immediately knew where to take it. I had noticed that your plants’ growth was stunted.”
“So you are the one who has been walking outside my house at night, interviewing my plants?”
“Someone has been walking outside your house at night?”
“No!” she uprooted some weeds and threw them aside. Silence…. “The soup…. it was delicious.”
“That was deer soup, boiled with onion. I hunt, when I am free. I will take you to the forest one day.”
She looked at him. “Are you asking me out?”
She dug. “But we are already outside, or do you mean outside the village?”
He was speechless. He dug.
“I want to take you out for a walk, in the forest. I want you to see how I hunt. You can bring your son along.”
“To watch you kill beautiful animals?”
“Don’t you kill chicken? Are they not beautiful?” He smiled secretly.
“It is different.” Guadentia replied.
The next day, in Patrobas’ bag, was cooked chicken, wrapped in banana leaves.
“I will eat this animal that I killed, alone,” he unwrapped it.
She looked up from her calabash of Githeri (maize and beans) and laughed. He laughed too as he stretched his hand to give her, her wrapped share. “I will keep this for my son, I hope it is not head and legs” she took it.
“It is intestine,” they laughed.
“There is some for your son,” he got more from the basket, “and this,” he gave her chapati wrapped in a piece of cloth.
“Thank you,” she placed both packages in her basket. “Did you make the chapati?” he nodded. “I love to cook and eat them, but the flour is expensive.”
“Yes it is,” he watched her. He loved her.
‘No rush’… he warned his heart.
…. Of course, they visited the forest a few days later. Patrobas did not hunt that day. He wanted Guadentia to have an easy time.
“I don’t think you failed in life,” he said, “you are a good woman,” she was pleased.
“And I don’t hate you,” he paused in his step.
“I know,” she smiled and cracked her knuckles. “I know.”
“You know you can still follow your dream,” he kicked a leaf. “you can start with the young ones.” she nodded. “The young ones are not very biased.”
“I will try.” She was deep in thought.
At the end of the week, he gave her half of his pay. Guadentia loved him. For the first time in her life, she got to spend her money the way she wanted, without her friends in the village hovering, begging her to buy them nice things.
One day at the gate…. They heard Mama shouting. “Leave him alone.” Mother pulled the left hand of her grandson, father pulled the right hand of his son. “He is mine!” Goliath shouted.
Guadentia ran into the house and came out with the broom. She hit Goliath several times on the head like she had done several years ago. He let go of his son and turned to face her. “You!” She hit him again and again. Patrobas held her by the waist and pulled her back.
“Do you want to spill this man’s brains out and bring a curse to our compound?” Mama was shocked.
“Yes,” Guadentia’s face was expressionless, her voice, plain.
“Oh my soul!” Mama exclaimed. “What happened to you?”
“The world happened to me, it made me who I am, Mama,” She struggled to get free of Patrobas’ hold, he was strong. She lifted the broom.
“Bring that broom!” Mama tried to take it away, but Guadentia held it tightly, freed herself and hit Goliath with it.
“No one will ever love you!” Goliath tried to reach for her face. “Your face will never be beautiful,” he tried to scratch it. Guadentia struck him.
“Do you want us to have a stinking, naked mad man walking around the village because you destroyed his brain?” Mama placed her hands on her head.
“Yes,” as Patrobas pulled her away.
“I am not leaving without my son,” Goliath staggered to Guadentia’s doorstep and threw himself to the ground and blacked out.
“Come,” Mama gestured to Patrobas. “Come help me get him up.”
“No!” Guadentia carried her son and stepped over Goliath, as she entered the house. “Let him rot,” she spat at him.
She stood at the doorway and thanked Patrobas. He nodded, “Are you sure you will be okay?” Guadentia lifted the broom and showed him. “Yes.”
“Alright,” he left.
Mama shook her head in wonder and walked away.
Baba came home after sunset. Mama talked and talked. He walked to his daughter’s house and knocked.
She opened the door. “Are you alright?”
“And my Grandson,” he pinched the grandson lovingly on the cheek, then looked at Goliath, bent and shook him. “Even an elephant’s stampede cannot wake him up.” Baba smiled. “You are safe.
The compound was quiet, except for a drunken murmur from Goliath. The night was peaceful.
The rays of the sun peeped through the clouds and fell upon Goliath’s back. He woke and sat up, confused. He was shivering from the morning dew and his head was aching. He looked around, squinting. Guadentia stared at him from the hut. She held the broom.
“The fish throws itself onto the shore,” she sneered. “After throwing my ‘net’ away, burning it and deciding that I will never fish again, because I was afraid all the fish in the river were rotten.” He stood unsteadily.
“Do you know why I do not fish anymore?” she pointed the broom at him. “I got the fish I wanted, a fish that fills my cooking pot.”
“I want my son!” he demanded. She knew why, she had heard the rumour.
“How are you today, Dentia?” Patrobas was a few meters away. “Thought I would pass by to check if you are okay.”
“Is this the fish?” Goliath asked.
“Yes,” Guadentia walked out of the hut, broom high in the air, ready to strike. Patrobas snatched it.
Goliath’s mother rushed in through the gate, angry. “You bewitched my son,” she cried “My son has never had another child. It is that medicine man I saw you visit often. You!” she rushed towards Guadentia. Patrobas jumped and stood between them.
Mama and Baba came. “I am sorry; we do not have any more nets left, we would have donated some to your son’s wife.” Mama was calm. “My daughter stopped fishing.”
Goliath’s mother turned to hit Mama. Baba held her arms back. “I think you have never had a thorough beating. I will give you one you will never forget,” Goliath pulled his mother away. Baba looked at Goliath. “We only wanted you to love our daughter. We were not going to force you to marry her. You rejected her and her son. Her wounds healed a long time ago, you will not open them up again.”
“Give me my son, please…” He pleaded.
“He is not your son,” his grandson appeared at the door. He was a little sleepy. He stretched. His Grandpa picked him up. “Where is your Baba?”
His grandson pointed at Patrobas and ran into his arms. “You see,” there was no expression on Grandpa’s face.
“Go away,” he waved his hand towards the gate. “I do not want to ever see you here, again.”
They left distraught. Baba held Mama’s hand as they walked towards their hut.
Patrobas looked into Guadentia’s eyes. “You called me a fish.”
“I did not mean it that way,” they laughed.
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REJECTION – I
Reject: To dismiss as inadequate, unacceptable or faulty.
Rejection occurs when an individual is deliberately excluded from something by an individual or by a group of people. It can be in active form such as bullying, teasing or ridiculing, or passive as in the case of being ignored or being given ”the silent treatment ”. However, in some cases, individuals experience feelings of rejection where there are none.
Rejection can become a problem when it is prolonged and consistent or when the individual is highly sensitive to rejection. People who feel bad about themselves are especially vulnerable to rejection but people can also control and regulate their emotional reactions.
There are a range of negative emotions associated with rejection such as frustration, anger, jealousy, hate, resignation, despair and depression. Rejection eventually leads to adverse negative psychological effects such as low self-esteem, aggression and loneliness. As a result, such people become insecure and mistrustful of others as they anticipate future rejection from them.
~ Wikipaedia ~
Rejection is emotionally painful because human beings are social by nature and feel the need to interact with others. They seek love and a sense of belonging as well as an identity from others who are like them and want to form interpersonal relationships with them.
Rejection sensitivity is a part of the mentally disturbed personality. It is the tendency to feel deep anxiety and humiliation at the slightest snub or turn down. Sensitive individuals are reluctant to express opinions, tend to avoid arguments or disputed discussions, are reluctant to make requests or impose on others, are easily hurt by negative feedback from others and tend to rely too much on others who are familiar to them as well as familiar situations so as to avoid rejection.
(Neuroticism is a condition where people respond worse than normal to stressors and are more likely to interpret ordinary situations as threatening and minor frustrations as hopelessly difficult.)
The fear of rejection forces compliance from individuals as well as conformity which is matching the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of others in order to be accepted by them.
Rejection is painful and unavoidable but rather than being self-critical and cruel about it, we should take it as an opportunity for self-reflection. We should review what happened and consider what we should do differently in the future. An individual should look at their self-worth rather than their short-comings.
We can also deal with rejection by keeping the odds in mind. We should remember that there may be a chance of facing rejection rather than acceptance in various situations.
Rejection provides a learning opportunity as we look at the experience as a means of discovering areas that need improvement and self-growth hence moving forward with more wisdom as we learn from where we went wrong the first time and make corrections.
Article by: Tracy Moraa
Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)
REJECTION – II
Rejection occurs typically when a person or entity pushes something away or out. Studies have found that the same areas of the brain get activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain. This is the reason why rejection hurts so much. As human beings, we are extremely sensitive to rejection, especially forms of social rejection. We have a strong motivation to seek approval and acceptance. One only feels rejected by those people whose love or approval they were seeking out. These may be people one has known for a long time (family members, friends), or people who one has just met, people one wants to work with (e.g. being turned down for a job), parents whose approval one wants, and so forth. Rejection can be a very painful experience because it makes an individual feel unwanted and not valued. Most people will experience rejection at one point or another in their life.
However, romantic rejection is more common and can be particularly challenging for people who are looking for a lasting relationship. It leads to feelings of grief that are overwhelming and can last for weeks or months, altering one’s view of their life after the occurrence.
Several emotions arise from experiencing rejection. People’s feelings are hurt when they believe that others do not sufficiently value their relationship. One is humiliated when another person puts them down especially if this is done deliberately.
One could experience loneliness when they believe that people who greatly value their relationship are not available for social interaction and support. Loneliness is particularly common among people who have recently experienced rejection in the form of bereavement, divorce or the end of a close relationship and people who believe that others do not regard them as desirable friends and partners. Loneliness and rejection are both about being socially excluded, and as such share the same painful, sad feeling. Someone who feels rejected by a group can go on to feel lonely for not having meaningful social interactions.
Facing rejection also leads to one experiencing social anxiety which is where one feels nervous in social settings, because of the realization that people value and accept you as friends depending on how they perceive you. Thus, when you believe that you may not make desirable impressions on others and are likely to face rejection, you end up experiencing social anxiety.
Rejection also causes one to experience sadness. Sadness is brought about by the loss of a relationship that one deemed close to them or separation from a loved one. In extreme cases when the rejection is prolonged one could go into depression and have difficulty recovering thereafter. People also become angry when they feel rejected but anger arises during rejection where people interpret the rejection as unjustified. In some cases, people who feel rejected not only become angry, but also react aggressively. However, whether people get aggressive when rejected depends on whether people value the relationship, believe that the rejection was unfair, or believe that the relationship cannot be repaired.
Article by: Gail Mwaniki
Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)