Awero

I had always been involved in this kind of charity and/or community development work, even right back from my undergraduate stage while I was a member of a youth organization. Then, we would organize seminars and trainings for local youths in the university town, and also embark on charity visits to the Motherless Babies’ Homes, the School for the Physically Challenged, and also adopt a specific number of young boys or girls to mentor. As such, societal realities such as: rape, sexual abuse, unwanted pregnancy, and teenage pregnancy were not alien to me. In fact, the scandalous rate at which the menace was growing in our local area of primary assignment, prompted us to dedicate a whole month to raise awareness and campaign directed at the young girls and boys in the local government area, and of course their parents.

Out of all our experiences in the course of our enlightenment campaigns against rape, sexual abuse and teenage pregnancy, our last visitation to the community health centre remained the most unpleasant and unforgettable. Other vulnerable girls who have fell victims of rape have all had their own share of the blame; some had sneaked out of class to meet their boys in the bush behind the school, some had even walked straight into the boy’s room claiming they only wanted to see a movie. But, Awero’s story stood apart.

Awero was the last child in the family of five. Her body was perfectly formed, and she was no doubt one of the prettiest girls in the community. Her parents were farmers, but her mother had a small table in front of her house, the one the locals called “Ate” where she sold fruits, tomatoes and pepper. After school in the afternoon, Awero hawked fruits, mostly banana. She would go to the next door to call Sadiat with whom she hawked. Sadiat was not Awero’s kind of friend, for she was the weird type. Her mother was divorced and all her sisters – three of them had become unexpectant mothers. Awero did not like the idea of Sadiat being her ‘hawking partner’, but her mother would not listen to her; for she believed Awero was only being unreasonably stubborn, and besides, she was pretty and could be an easy prey for those “rabid boys around”.