I feel unwanted

I am a 16-year-old boy doing Form Four and I lost my father when I was in Grade Seven. We are two in our family, I have a younger sister.

After our father passed on, our mother remarried after one and a half years. We were heartbroken. As if this was not enough her new husband made her choose to either stay with us or go live with him. We cried when she chose to go with this man; we felt abandoned. She literally left us alone and for two months we struggled to survive and relied heavily on our good neighbours.

My sister advised me to get in touch with one of my father’s brothers and he came and took us to live with him.

Later on my sister went to stay with babamukuru and I continued to stay with babamudiki. We see each other often and we are at the same school. Babamudiki and his wife are the ones who are putting me through school.

Generally I am OK, although I have a few misgivings. I am not going to talk about my sister: I will talk about myself and what is going on with me.

I have a bedroom of my own but each time when we have visitors it is always me and not their son who is asked to sleep in the lounge. Ever since I came to stay here they have never bought me any new clothes.

The routine is that their son gives me whatever he no longer wants and they replace it for him with new items. This makes me feel very unwanted.

When it comes to food I have to wait for my cousin all the time. If I am late he eats before me and they think it is OK. When the gardener is overwhelmed they ask me to help out and never their son. I once was down with a bad fever and they contacted my mum and her answer was murume wangu haadi kunzwa nezvevana ivavo. Does this mean that I am now amainini’s son?

What is happening in my life is a cause for concern and now it is affecting my school work. My sister seems happier. Why did my uncle come to take me when he knew he was going to treat me differently from his son? I am hurt.

Response

I am very sorry about the passing on of your father, may his soul rest in eternal peace.

I want to salute the neighbours who helped you out when your mother abandoned you. I think she was not thinking straight when she made such a foolish choice.

She is a weird mum because most women would choose their children over anything.

I do not want you to waste time and energy over this, although, I know that it hurts. For your own good you have to treat it as water under the bridge. I want to help you look at the bigger picture.

Your mother did what she did but God has been exceptionally good to you and your sister. Your uncle did not ignore you when you contacted him. He made time and looked for resources not to just come and see you but to take you with him. That alone shows love and respect for his departed brother. You are now in form four, someone is putting you through school: iyi inhaka yeupenyu hwako.

Paying fees and looking after someone is not easy but they are doing it for you. You have a roof over your head and some guys in similar predicaments do not. You have food daily no matter who helps themselves before you. Yes, as a young boy you want new clothes but the hand me downs are good enough. Do not get me wrong, I do not want to put blame on the people taking care of you but there should be no disparity when it comes to how you and your cousin are treated. Since they have taken the responsibility of being your guardian they should try to treat you like one of their own biological children.

All I want for you is to count your blessings and see what the Lord has done for you. Work hard in school, in the garden and wherever, you are doing it for your tomorrow. Some of these are long term benefits. You have a parent who is alive so your uncles are doing a sterling job to help out.

Giving your bed to visitors is very noble, you must be proud of doing that. Please look at the bright side of life, just rewind and imagine where you would be today had you not been taken in. Yes, your aunt and uncle are your parents because they are doing what parents do. Pray for your mother and husband so that they see sense. What is happening in your life is a miracle some are in worse predicaments. Thank God for your uncles and their families, usatarise twunhu tusina basa. All the best.

Baby daddy has too many girlfriends

I am 21 years-old and married to a 33-year-old man. The guy was once married but the wife died from liver cirrhosis.

He impregnated me before his wife passed on. I was seven months pregnant when this happened. My husband has two kids — the boy is eight and the daughter five.

My problem is he does not want to introduce me to any of his people, not even a friend. I do not know which is which because at times he says he stays with his kids at times he says he does not stay with them. I really do not know why he lies about such serious issues. My son, the one he sired, is now six-months-old.

I do all my duties as a wife and additional household chores such as laundry and so forth for him. He does not want to commit. I spoke to him and he snubbed me and said he was still mourning his wife. I had asked if we could marry traditionally then later on work on our white wedding. He says he cannot do that before the kurova guva ritual.

This man is a womaniser: he has so many girlfriends and each is told the same story that he is not married his wife passed on.

Some months ago my mum gave him some money to give to my sisters who are studying in South Africa — believe it or not — he converted the money to his own use. He has no respect for me and my family. He says the only person he respected was his deceased wife.

I had a C-section during the birth of my child and he never came to the hospital to see me. He does not even want to see my parents, he is always avoiding them. One of the worst things that is happening is many of his girlfriends call and insult me but he is not bothered. I love him so much but I am now so confused. If I leave him what will happen to my son? The other pressing issue is that my parents did not get anything from this guy to cover the cost of damages. Please help me.

Response

Your letter left me very confused, I do not understand whether you are coming or going. Your story is not consistent: maputi chaiwo. You are talking about a husband but your letter exposes you because he did not marry you.

The reality is you belong to the large group of girlfriends, you are just but one of them. I mean well, but this is the truth according to your letter. This guy is telling the truth and it is actually you who is misrepresenting the facts. I have respect for him for he is not beating about the bush.

You want him to respect you but he has categorically told you that the only woman he respected was his departed wife. Nhai munoda kuudzwa chokwadi chinopfuura apa seiko? Relationships are not about sugar-coating facts. When someone tells you the truth about their feelings please accept it.

You say he does not want to meet your parents; if this is the case how did your mother give him the money he converted to his own use? How did they meet and under what circumstances?

In my view you are the very last person to complain about this guy cheating on you. You did exactly the same when his wife was on her deathbed. You even conceived a son — what a shame! But this guy never respected his wife — it is only now that the kurova guva ritual is convenient and he is hiding behind it. His other girlfriends who phone and insult you should be reported to law enforcement agents.

According to what you have told me this guy does not love you at all; why do you not leave him alone? Go to a civil court and claim for child support. You are only 21 and full of potential.

These love triangles are very dirty in the wake of HIV and Aids. It is high time you started thinking like a parent. Refuse to be taken advantage of, you are not his wife. Wake up and smell the coffee. Wati haana chaakabisa to your parents; how is that your business? Move on and close this dirty chapter.

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Ill-treated by cousin

I am a 20-year-old girl and I come from a very poor background. After O-Level my parents could not afford to send me to school.

I asked for permission to go and work in town as a maid just to assist. My brother irombe; I come after him, we are two in our family. He is a drunk and a good for nothing guy. Anotevedza ndari and at times he does not come home for several days. We used to worry about him but we are now used to it. At times he gets piece jobs but as soon as he gets paid he goes on a binge.

My parents are overprotective and they did not want me to go so they asked mwana wamaiguru to help me. In their family they are all educated and sitting pretty. My mother put so much faith in this cousin of mine. They agreed that I would work and get a salary every month end.

My reason for going to work was to further my education and also help my parents with the little I could offer. But amai, I am treated as an outsider. I work like a horse. I do not even know what the word “off” means. We go to the same church but for the past 12 months that I have worked for her vanongoti pamba hapangasare pasina munhu as they go to church.

Last week I overheard her brother telling her that she should remember that I am family too and as such I must be treated better. My salary is US$100 but I have never received it in full. At times she says “I gave you an extra blanket that is worth so much” and proceeds to deduct it from my pay. I do not want to be charged for these hand-me-downs because I never ask for them. My parents are suffering: I want to make a difference. I sleep in the laundry room and yet there is a free bedroom. I am not crying for luxury but I want to be treated as a human being. It is very rare that I eat when the food is served; ndini wema leftovers but I do not mind. I have decided to quit my job but I feel sorry for the baby and other kids I look after. Rumour has it that hapana musikana akambogara kana three months chaidzo.

Babamukuru is not cruel; it is my cousin who is. How do I get my money and do it in a way that does not destroy our mothers’ relationship? Please help.

Response

Your letter made me teary. You seem the bigger person here and very understanding.

Yes, your parents may seem as if they are overprotective but please bear with them. They have lost their eldest and only son to the bottle. Your brother needs help otherwise he will be lost for good.

Your parents may be poor but you have each other and that is great. Parents who love and care for their children do not just let them go wherever like cattle.

The idea of them asking your cousin to give you a job was very noble but it was abused. She is duty bound to pay you at the end of each month. I see she is imposing purchases on you and that is not right. You should only buy when you please. What she is doing is very untoward and it is against the law. You are human and you need rest so your off day should be treated as an obligation. She is taking advantage of your relationship. I always say some people go to church for the sake of meeting friends or whatever. The treatment she gives you is the opposite of what the Christian religion demands.

Making you sleep in a laundry room seems a bit extreme, although I do not know why this arrangement is in place: do visitors frequent the house and use the spare room a lot?

You are not just a maid but a dear sister, I do not know where she is losing it. You spoke highly of your brother-in-law who may not be very vocal about how you are being treated, I think roping him in would be good.

Do not just quit, ask to see them and talk to them as a couple. Pour out and tell them why you would want to leave. There is no reason to stay if you are not being paid.

You are there for a reason and one of them is to assist your poor parents. If they want you to continue, reach an agreement that you can both sign and it should be adhered to.If you want to leave, give them proper notice so that they can get a replacement in time. Remember her children are your children too, musarase mbereko nekufirwa. It would be good to let your parents know beforehand so that you do not surprise them. Pray for your situation, families and also remember your cousin. I would be happy to hear from you again.

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