A gift is something acceptable around the world , no matter how humble it may be . It might be small but we find it rude to complain. Nevertheless quantity, texture or size does not change its name. Even if you have not yet discovered it’s really is a gift. We call it Mphatso . I still remember when I first received my gift, it actually reached me disguised as a curse . ‘if you don’t tell me who gave you that, you will not sleep in my house’ these were the words of my father, the man who had been very loving in my life. There were tears in my eyes that I could hardly see his face. I shifted my view to the floor to allow my tear drip to the floor. The next thing I felt was a sharp pain against my cheeks that set my head on fire and a sharper sound that accompanied it was left ringing in my ears like a reminder . He did not even hear me cry because he was already gone by the time I cried out aloud. My mother stared at me from a protective distance. She too had tears in her eyes. She could not believe it either. It happened to any other girl but never did it ever cross my mind that it could happen to me. I was pregnant.
For the first time in my life I realized how real it was, I was going to have a baby soon. I figured it out that way, it just happened so fast. I do recall we were going to a friends’ party. Mubita and I had known each other for half a year then, he was the nicest person I had ever met. He was a handsome young man and loved to chat mostly about how he felt about me. After that awesome party we went to his house, well actually it was his fathers’ house. No one was around at the time making us the owners of the whole place. We owned the place, we dance and we sang. Clearly that was an awesome moment, if I could grasp it I would make it last an entire life time . My thoughts were interrupted by a sudden open door. We all thought it was my father returning with some more punishment, when I looked up I beheld my elder sister Natasha. ‘Musonda! Ninshi? I came immediately after hearing the news’ she sat next to me on the cold floor. My sister and I fought a lot when we were kids, as we grew up we understood each other more and more. ‘Tell us, landa fye who did this?’ her voice was reassuring. I held her so close to myself and begun to cry, ‘it was…’ I lost my voice before I could say Mubita. Everyone was quiet for a while; my sister understood perfectly the reason for doing so. She stared at me with so many questions that she could not ask with our mother around . ‘nani uyo?’ her voice made both of us jerk. There was anger in her voice ‘who is this mubita?’ she walked over to me and my sister ‘Muzo, landa! Who is this mubita?’ answering was a simple thing to do now but there was no assurance she wouldn’t add her own share of punishment. Walking closer to us but only to be greeted by so much fear. Where had her motherly warmth disappeared to?
My mother is from the copperbelt where the bemba language is mostly spoken and her being bemba made quite an impact on her children . Being around her made it possible for us to speak the language of our mother than the Ngoni of our father who was from the eastern province, I guess that’s why it’s called mother tongue . She stared at me in disbelief as I answered chokingly ‘my boyfriend’. She had never heard of Mubita, to top up on that I was dating now? when father returned she was still looking at me ‘wakamba naye mwana wako?’ ( did you talk to your child )was the first question although it was to tease her . ‘mufunseni’ ( ask her )she said as she walked away quite disgusted. ‘Who is he?’ he asked. I stared at my sister for I saw refuge in her. She nodded, giving me the assurance. ‘Its…it’s….’ I hesitated ‘iwe nizakumenya!!’ ( I will beat you up ) his voice deep and full of stress. ‘Mubita’ he was confused, ‘Mubita? Who is this Mubita? Iwe nindani wamene uyo Mubita?’ his voice still hash but he sounded a little relieved, ‘okay, fine tomorrow we will take you to Mubita’s house. Get ready for that.’ He then proceeded to his room with mum rushing after him. It was clear she wanted to beg him on my behalf. The next day I woke up knowing what the day would hold . My night was full of night mares, I hardly slept. Mubita knew nothing about this, this would be a shock for him. Ok maybe he won’t be so shocked, we had unprotected sex and this was bound to happen. I was worried about how he would react, any way he loved me . My comforts prepared me for what was coming. Its easy to say I managed to smile due to the fact that the ordeal was over. Mubita’s home was a thirty minutes’ drive from mine. No one said a word on that journey, my sister was very supportive the whole trip. She held my hand and time to time whispered ‘it will be alright’ I was happy she was around, she was not just my sister at the time but my rock as well as my mentor. When we arrived at Mubita’s , my breath could not catch up with my heartbeat. We humbled ourselves and pretended there was nothing wrong, luck was on my side for it seemed everyone was around, his young brother Mark opened the door. He was surprised to see me among people he hardly knew, ‘halo, ulibwanji?’ my father greeted and waited for a response before he continued. ‘baliko bene ba nyumba? He was calm and had a smile on his face ‘baliko, allow me to call them’ the young boy went back in, and a minute later a woman walked out, ‘yes, how can I help you?’ she did not know any of us. ‘is this the house?’ father asked me before he turned to talk to the woman. ‘mummy tabwelela nkani ya mwana wanu mubita’ ( we have something we have to discuss with Mubita ) she stared at us for a while before she allowed us to come in. What ever we had to talk to Mubita about was supposed to be in the hearing of his parents. In fact his father had to know what was going on first. Every step into the house was a bringer of memories. I looked at the walls that witnessed my great mistake. In the living room sat a man of whom I presumed was his father. He welcomed us as his wife sat just next to him. ‘Ati balinakani na mwana wanu mubita’ she whispered to him although we could all make out what she was saying. ‘yes sir, how may I help you?’ the man was humble and very kind. For the past thirty minutes the two men exchanged speeches, I had already lost them in the greeting . Facing the floor, my mind was in the middle of a flash back. I could remember the first day I and Mubita met in school. He was quite popular, he spoke to almost everyone. He played football in the school team and was quite skilled . Most of the time I and the girls would watch them play, I only noticed Mubita when he was given a chance off the bench. Everyone cheered as he ran onto the pitch. Who was this guy? Questions ran into my head. My best friend answered most of them as I couldn’t resist but ask her. ‘He is Mubita, he plays for the school team. Haven’t you heard of him?’ I lost her just after she mentioned his name. ‘Muzo! Iwe Musonda!’ my sister was whispering. Oh my! I was still in Mubita’s house, how long had it been? What had I missed? A few minutes later Mubita’s mother walked in followed by Mubita. I had not even noticed she walked out of the room. He seemed shocked to see me but he hid it from his father, staring at his mother who gave him a swift signal before he sat. ‘Do you know this young lady?’ his father pointed at me. There was silence, it was at that moment that I started to feel uneasy and my faith abandoned me. ‘Mubita!?’ his voice was firm. ‘No! I don’t know her, basakila ine olo kapena basoba’ (are they looking for me or are they lost? ) he tried to humble himself but I found every word from his mouth rude and painful. He did not know it but my love for him suddenly turned into hate. I did not know he was such a liar. A no good liar, I allowed so many ideas of hate into my preoccupied mind.
My sister looked at Mubita in disbelief. ‘if you don’t mind me asking but upunzila kuti?’ she knew that if his father knew nothing of this Mubita would not lie in front of him and she was right. ‘kamwala high school’ he quickly responded. This made my father see what my sister was driving at, he picked it up from there and said ‘so ukamba kuti you are both in the same school but you have never seen or talked to her’ Mubita begun to Punic ‘imwe mwana wanga akamba ati samuziba mwana wanu, are you trying to force him into accepting vintu vamene saziba’ the woman protected her son, my mother was at that moment prepared to say something unfortunately Dad quickly held her hand. That meant calm down so she let her words burn her deep within her. Mubita’s father did not say a word and when he did we were all silent. ‘ sir, I am sure it can be hard to accept but we were not there when all this happened we cannot take either side, I assure you that if Mubita was responsible he would surely take responsibility. So make sure you ask her who really got her pregnant’.
The most painful part of all this was that I heard it all, looking deep into Mubita’s eyes was all that my frustration could allow me to do. All I could see in his eyes was a terrified little child trying to hide in his guilt. My sister held me close as we stood up to leave. For the first time I felt the weight of my own body, it seemed the lord had ignored me to punish me or something like that. On our way back home it was a de_ja_vu silence, only the engine assured us we were not dreaming . Me and my sister whispered. ‘Nalachita shani Natasha?’ (what will I do?) I asked her, for I was comfortable around her. ‘she held my hand and smiled brightly ‘don’t worry, it will be alright’ my mother was so upset she hardly said a word and tears only spoke the loudest. Then her tears made me see right through her, she was not upset. Maybe a little disappointed by the way everything was handled, her child could make a lot of mistakes but she never believed she was a liar. She looked behind with tears in her eyes. No mother wants to see her child suffer especially in such a situation. She looked back at her husband who said nothing.
My pain was far from over, when we were home my parents locked themselves in their room, I did know what expect after wards. By then all the neighbors heard about my unfortunate situation. I swore never to walk around again. An hour later my mother walked out of her bed room, it seemed she was crying from the swollen eyes. She loosened her chitenge (rapper) and gave me some money that she hid on the edge. I immediately knew just what my fate would be, ‘ngaulenifwaya please call me mwana wandi’ she hardly stopped her tears from exposing the sadness she greatly felt inside. She didn’t say anything more when father walked out. ‘Natasha,mutandize kulonga vintu mufana wako’ his voice was soft but firm. My heart was on fire, my breath failed me. I held on and fought so hard to stay conscious. ‘Daddy nipapata, nezamutandiza kuti amukulise mwana’ ( Dad please, I will help her ensure the growth of the child ) Natasha tried to defend me or should I say stood up for me. My father is the type that was so caring but he never wanted to be weak, he always made sure he taught us how to be good people, he had to punish me. It was time to face my greatest night mare.