A fictional story by Simon Kahoko Mureu of Kenya, Feb. 25, 2015
I looked at the newborn baby boy the nurse had handed to me and shed tears. I had tried to abort him three times yet he had been born healthy and strong. I named him Victor because he had overcome my attempts to abort him and I named Mutuku because he was born at night. As the nurse left the room I whispered to the boy that he was lucky and blessed.
I remembered how I conceived Victor. I was working at Mirema Drive Estate, Kasarani, when I met Johanna Mweu. I was new in the area. The place had very few people and the only people close to me were two elderly men who worked for my boss. I mostly felt lonely and in need of company.
To minimize my loneliness I took long walks in the evenings after work. My work was simple; I cooked for my boss, a white man who lived alone. I could walk all the way to Thika Road, Zimmerman or Githurai and come in time for my supper.
I was employed in June 1982. In July, new occupants came to a vacant house next to mine. One of the newcomers was a young man who spoke Kikamba, my mother tongue. For some time, we lived as if neither noticed the other, though I could hear him sing Kikamba hits across the fence. We by-passed one another several times in the evening as each took a walk.
The young man had a voice that comforted me. He would sing for hours without a break, and at times I laughed alone at the way he mixed up tunes.
Then one day, as I was going to the shops, I found him standing in the middle of the path we used as a short cut to the dukas. He seemed to be concentrating on something. I greeted him and was about to pass by when he warned me, “Don’t step on that snake!”
On the mention of “snake” I stopped instantly. Right ahead of me was a snake. It was black with yellow spots; I had never seen a similar snake. Beside it were six baby snakes. Again I had never seen baby snakes accompanying an adult one.
“What kind of a snake is this one?” I curiously asked the young man.
“It is a Kali one,” he joked and laughed. “I too have never seen another like it but nyoka ni nyoka, a snake is a snake and should be avoided.”
We did not attempt to kill the snakes. Instead we took a different route to duka. As we walked we introduced ourselves.
“I am Jane Mweni from Iveti,” I told him.
“I am Johanna Mweu from Makueni,” he replied.
From that day we start talking whenever we met. As time went on and our closeness grew, Mweu began coming to my room. He would sing for me. I would serve the meal and escort him to the gate. I did not pay back his visits, but we began missing one another when we were apart.
When December came our bosses left the country and allowed us to spend our time as we wished as long as we did not leave the compound. On the eve of Christmas I was alone in our compound because the old co-workers had gone to look for local beer. I felt a strange sort of loneliness and decided to check on Mweu, I found him cooking chicken soup. He was surprised to see me. It was my first visit to his room and it was at night. He welcomed me in and we talked a lot about Christmas and its accompanying merriment.
When the soup was ready we took it and then leisurely began sipping some sodas. Mweu switched on the record payer. The music got us into dancing around the room. At first we danced separately but after a while we held one another and danced in a slow motion. Suddenly, the electricity failed.
As if Mweu was afraid of darkness he held me very tightly around the waist. I tried to push him away but his grip was too tight. I felt him trying to kiss my mouth and turned away. Then I pushed him violently. He slipped and we both fell onto the stool on which the record player was placed, breaking some of the records.
We struggled on the floor but Mweu did not let me go. I tried to scream but he slapped me hard on the face and placed his hand on my mouth. Finally he raped me violently without taking into consideration that I was a virgin. It was very painful.
When he was satisfied he released me and ordered me to go to my house. Before I left I took a stool and hit him on the head with all the force I could muster, then I slipped away to my house. I thought I heard him groan but I wasn’t concerned. He had behaved like an animal to me.
Back in my room I thought of ringing Muthaiga police station to report. But what would I say I was doing at a man’s house at night? I dropped the idea.
For many days that followed, I did not hear Mweu sing. I was happy because I hated the very voice that used to entertain me.
Then I was told by one of Mueu’s work mates that he had been admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital with head injuries. Mweu’s work mate claimed that thieves had broken into Mweu’s house, stolen his goods and beaten him. I knew it was a lie but I did not reveal the truth. I pretended to sympathize. The only thing I wished was that Mweu would not die as I would have hated to kill a man.
Even as days went on, the shame I had suffered in the hands of Mweu did not leave me. Self-pity overwhelmed me but I did not share my feelings with anybody. Then in January. 1983, my boss returned from abroad and gave me a two-week leave. At home I began feeling tired and vomited often. I thought the change of climate was the cause but even when I reported back to duty tiredness and vomiting did not stop.
When I came back from my leave I found Mweu’s boss had moved away and a new mzungu had moved into the house. With the new mzungu came a young man who worked for him. The name of the young man was Peter. He was sociable and hard-working. He cleared his master’s compound and planted vegetables. Soon we were buying from him. I became friends with him and one day when I needed some money, I went to his house and asked him to lend me some.
“I don’t lend money to pregnant girls,” he replied.
I denied I was pregnant.
“But even a child can know you are pregnant,” he insisted.
Two days later as I was ironing, my boss asked me whether I was pregnant. I lied, telling him I was not, but I could tell he was not convinced. By then I knew a number of ladies in the area and I thought they would help me. That evening I visited a lady who operated a hair salon at Zimmermann and disclosed to her that I was pregnant. She felt my belly and confirmed my fears. “You are about four months pregnant,” she said.
I was alarmed. I did not want to be a single mother.
The following weekend I traveled home to Iveti Hills to a girl I knew had aborted a year before, to seek help. She said she could help if I paid a small fee. I paid and she put a straw into my private part and blew in air. She instructed me to wait for some hours and the child would come out. I waited but nothing happened. After one week I went to a lady at Githurai who put a plastic pipe into my private part and told me it would allow air to go in and destroy the fetus. After two days nothing had happened. Then I tried an overdose of malariaquine. I went to three different dukas and from each fought four tablets which I later swallowed.
After a few minutes I began sweating and vomiting, then I fainted. I must have shouted because some people from the neighboring plots who were having a fellowship rushed to my room. They looked for a car and took me to a city clinic.
At the clinic they gave me medicine that made me vomit all the Malariaquine I had swallowed. I kept vomiting and taking water for many hours. My stomach and head ached terribly. I was later taken home and I slept just before dawn. The following day I was taken to the clinic again. When the nurses saw I wasn’t as seriously ill as the previous day they mocked, abused and insulted me, calling me a prostitute of the first order.
They warned me never to try abortion again. When I finally recovered, some believers led by Peter kept coming to my house and sharing the gospel with me. I was convicted of my sins and accepted the Lord Jesus as my Lord and Savior and asked Him to forgive me. Believers nursed my young faith and gave me a lot of encouragement. In September 1983, I took a leave and went to Machakos General Hospital where I gave birth to Victor Mutuku.
Three years later I met john, an evangelist from Nairobi. We loved one another and got married. It is ten years now since we got married and we have not been blessed with a child. Now I realize I could have aborted the only child that God is likely to give me. I do not hate Mutuku because he was conceived through rape, as I had feared. I thank God for saving Mutuku’s life and giving me the joy of being a mother.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’m a freelance writer in-Kenya with my works published in South Africa, Kenya and USA. I’m blind in one eye and must use very large font to write.