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Whatever It Takes - Season 1 - Episode 8
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Source: coolval22

We grew from strength to strength both spiritually and emotionally. We learnt not to harbour hatred
and to live a life full of hope. Each year had its own blessings and downturns but we lived through
them all. Even through sicknesses we held up together.

My little siblings had joined school while Marvin had taken to farming and Mweshi had started
working as a domestic worker in the suburbs.
One day I found Mweshi curled up in the corner sobbing softly. I quickly dropped my books and
rushed to her.

” Mweshi why are you crying what’s wrong?”
” I’m scared”
” Why?”
“Promise you will keep a secret.”

I raised my pinky finger and swore to secrecy.

” Have you noticed I have been unwell lately?”
” Not really?”
” Three months ago Mr Chinyama forced himself on me and warned me not to tell anyone. he
threatened that he will kill the entire family if I dared as much as tell anyone.”

” What?” I asked fearfully
” He has been doing it since and now I’m pregnant and madam has fired me from work.” She disclosed.

” You are what?” Mum interposed and we all shifted our eyes to her. ” How is it even possible pantu tawakula ne cisungu ( because you haven’t even attained puberty)
” I’m sorry I had my first period a few months ago. I thought I had just hurt myself and that’s why I didn’t tell you ”

” So how come you know you are pregnant ” She asked getting impatient

” Mrs Chinyama took me to the clinic after I collapsed at her place. That’s when I was told that I’m


” And did I hear you say her husband is the one responsible?”

” Yes.” Mweshi responded and broke into a cry begging for forgiveness from mum who had also
joined in at that time but was weeping loudly in namwanga.

Mweshi kept throwing up each time she ate in the few weeks that ensued and became so frail.

However , in a few months her health stabilised and we didn’t bother go to mr Chinyama’s place for fear of what he would do to us what with the fact that he was a police officer.

Mweshi didn’t
even collect her last pay.

I continued with school and juggling business while my brother continued with his farming and
piece work ventures. Soon it was time for Mweshi to have a baby and she was taken to Mansa
general hospital on the eve of independence day. We all sat anxiously waiting for Mweshi to return
with her baby.

She spent two days at the hospital and on the third day got discharged. Unfortunately she had lost the baby .

A week after the ordeal, Mweshi developed an unusual rash all over her body and sores around
her lips. We took her to the clinic and was treated. But no sooner had the rash disappeared than she developed shingles.

That became routine for her. She would suffer different kinds of ailments
and this prompted my parents to take her to the witchdoctor. As this was against the doctrine of
the Jehovah’s witness we were excommunicated from the denomination upon the news reaching
the church.

The witchdoctor gave her some herbs and accused an enemy of the family as being responsible
for everything that was happening. Seeing as we were only aware of one enemy we placed the
blame on them and father vowed to retaliate.
” Now they have gone too far… striking my only source of joy. They will definitely know why my
name is Christopher Chishimba Mwenya.” he had vowed The herbs didn’t do much and in no time Mweshi was back at the hospital where she was admitted. It was while she was in there that my parents learnt of a similar predicament that had befallen Mr Chinyama. He was equally admitted in the hospital and so my parents resolved to see him and rebuke him of his actions.

But alas he was a shell of his old self. He was too thin as he lay in his hospital bed such that you wouldn’t believe a full grown man lay there.

The only thing he
had kept was his strong voice even the head somehow had shrunk quite considerably.

When my parents felt his body, they were aghast because right in front of them lay a dying man so they simply teared as they imagined Mweshi’s similar end.He took that time to confess and beg for
forgiveness. He said he had been too ignorant and too arrogant of AIDS and was now learning the
hard way.

” What? AIDS my goodness!” I mused and tears freely fell. My parents were shattered and lost all
hope. There was no medication like anti retrovirals back then so she was only given antibiotics in
the hope that her immunity could be boosted.
Bad news apparently spreads like fire and Having an HIV and AIDS patient exposed us to so
much stigma. People stopped associating with us and even buying from us. At school noone
wanted to sit closer to me much worse eat with me. When I spoke they covered their faces for fear
that I may accidentally spit them saliva in them.

As a result I began absconding school and my
grades dropped. To make ends meet we started selling from places where we were not known.
April and I would carry the food and chlorine from Chitamba all the way to Mutende’s Kasasa
market. Sometimes we would even go to Maiteneke market while Marvin sought out employment
as well. It was so tiresome but it was the only way we could make ends meet and eventually
Marvin landed himself a job as a garden boy in low density at a white man’s house.
Our lives eventually started improving from the initial setback and we had a little bit more hope…..

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