Monday May 12 2014

Living and Loving it: I judge not, I could have been her


By Carol Beyanga

You know, I could have been that prostitute, the one whose story I heard on radio a few weeks back. Her parents passed away. She found herself in the city relying on an acquaintance. She started to do karaoke but it hardly put food on the table. Then she realised her acquaintance was making more money and decided she needed that too. She started to sell her body. What else could she do?

I could have been that socialite that everyone loves to hate, but cannot stop talking about, and whose body they love to envy or ogle. She has not had many people tell her how good she can be at school, or the skill she has for teaching people.

No one has given her a chance to truly be herself. Only her first boyfriend, who died. All everyone comments about is her hips and bust. So she decides to flaunt them in the hope that she will be recognised, after all, that is all everyone is seeing.

I could have been that girl in the office most of the men sleep with. She is reviled by her fellow women. The only ones who sit with her at lunch time and who hang out with her once in a while, do so because they know they can use her to get favours from the bosses.

Otherwise, she has no true friends in the office, and she knows that. But she pretends along. She reasons to herself that it is better to have people use you, than be alone in this big wide city.

I could have been the maid whose employer’s husband sleeps with. She came ready to make some money for her two young siblings in the village.
Her aunt told her that if the boss wanted to sleep with her, she should accept it, because that would be the start of big things.

But her uncle warned her against anything like that. “It will ruin your life forever.
Just do as you are told by the woman of the house and respect her.” She was confused as both pieces of advice seemed good, but they conflicted with each other.

She held onto her uncle’s advice, until her baby sister died. She had sent every penny she had, but the nurses had asked for more money. She cried the whole night, pleading with the madam of the house to give her an advance.

The madam refused. And the little girl passed away. And so the next week, when the man of the house persisted after her, she gave in. “I cannot afford to see my other sibling die,” she vowed to herself.

I could have been any of these people. You could have been one of them. But we are not. You might call it fate, luck or karma. I call it God’s grace. And it makes me look at these people a whole lot differently.