The Sunday Mail
Dr Rebecca Chisamba
Aunts badmouthing my mother
Mai Chisamba, I come from a rural set up, both my parents are peasant farmers but they can afford to pay for our fees.Comparatively speaking, my mother’s side is better in terms of resources. Her sisters and brothers are well up. In our family we are three, I am the oldest and the only son. I am now doing Upper Six but I started staying with mainini, my mother’s sister since O-Level.
My other mainini stays with my sister who comes after me. My parents stay with the last born only. The reason we do not go to our rural school is that the pass rate is not as good as it should be, although things are now gradually improving. My mother thinks that she is very close to her siblings, that is the impression we all had before I started staying with mainini.
My parents do not pay anything towards our upkeep because they take it for granted that her sisters are just as good as her. The reason why I am writing you is I am really heartbroken and I do not know how to break the news to my mother.
I overheard the two maininis complaining about my parents being irresponsible. The one I stay with was saying vanofunga kuti vana vavo vanodyei term yose. I remember the last time my mother came she gave mainini US$100 for upkeep but she refused and said munondiona sani? Haasi mwana wanguwo here?
They used bad language to describe my father, some of it I cannot repeat but loosely translated they said he was worse than an animal inongoita vana isinga chengete. What hurts is the way they pretend to be fine with this arrangement when they see my mother. Each holiday they send their children kumusha kwedu and we thought this was mutual.
Sisters bad mouthing one of their own like that. Why can they not tell her? It is unfortunate that I am in an exam class, otherwise I would go back to the rural school. Ndakutonyara kudya nekugara pano. Vana mainini felt so uneasy when I emerged from the other room because they were not sure whether I had heard their conversation or not. Is it wrong if I go and stay with a friend and his family for just this term? His parents said they do not mind when I asked. How do I study kana ndichinzi ndiri kupedza magetsi?
Thank you for writing in. It is a shame when the children seem to be the bigger people. I always encourage people to let their yes be yes and their no be no. People should also learn to move with the times, there is nothing wrong with helping out with provisions when one is staying with your child. The fact that your son is staying elsewhere does not exempt you from your parental duties. Communication plays a pivotal role in all relationships and it helps people stay away from cheap gossip.
These people are siblings and the worst thing anyone can do is to badmouth one of their very own. I do not see any reason why they do not just call a spade a spade. Mainini says aiwa mukoma when given money by your mother and behind her back she complains, that is very bad. I know it is not easy to break such news to your parents because they will be devastated.
In my view, the best way would be to tell your parents to help with provisions. Tell them in confidence that at times mainini struggles although she tells you not to contribute. In reality this is what your aunt wants because you overheard her say so.
There is nothing malicious about this but you will have done it in such a way that causes no trouble. Remember you are family and you do not want to be the one who ignites the fire. The option of going to your friend’s house is a non starter. You have stayed with mainini for several years and all of a sudden in the final term you decide to go. Remember two wrongs will never make a right. Kana nyaya yemagetsi ichinetsa try and study as much as possible during daytime or during weekends. You are still under your parents’ supervision, you cannot make a choice of going to stay at a friend’s house. Do not forget the adage mangwana ndinhasi.
I know you feel like a burden after what you heard but instead, take a positive stand and excel in school. Education is your future so for now that should be your number one priority. For others out there, please do not accept responsibilities half-heartedly.
Discuss and make arrangements you are comfortable with. Back-biting is evil. Please desist from this practice, it affects other people who are innocent. I would be happy to hear from you again. I am sorry about all this but do not ever lose focus.
tearing family apart
Mai Chisamba, my problem is a tricky one. I really do not know what to do.
My mother-in-law is so greedy, she loves money and provisions and as a result she has divided her children. She is so malicious, she creates stories to get money and food. She occasionally plays sick, and she does all sorts of stuff. She is a mother of five, three males and two females.
In the family there are two groups, just like political factions. I do not know when she will use the money and things zvavanokorokoza openly. The last born girl is a carbon copy of amai and her husband has complained about a number of things. It is unfortunate vatezvara is late so we do not know how to reign her in.
Varoora tese we now know her tricks but some of her children need to be convinced but I do not know how. She now enjoys taking rounds among her children. The rural home is now being run by workers most of the time and some of them very irresponsible.
She cannot even buy a drink or even airtime for herself, even if she has the money. Hapana wavasingareve except for the one I talked about. She is never content. When she goes to son ‘A’ she talks about how bad son ‘B’ and his family are. It is a vicious cycle. We are tired of this and vari kutisudurutsa parudo.
The last time she came to my house, I asked when she would be going back to the village because I wanted to drive her back. She changed the story when she went to the next child that she was not feeling well because the blankets she slept in were wet.
I was shocked, the truth was she did not want to go back home. As family we are not united because of the things we hear about each other and most of the stuff is malicious. How do we rebuild our family, it is falling apart?
I would like to start by saying well done for taking the bull by its horns. When things are falling apart someone has to stand up and start the mending process. It is not an easy task given the background that there is a lot of back-biting and gossip. If you want to bring the family closer now is the time to start. You may become the enemy if people misinterpret your efforts but stick to the fight until the battle is won. It is not easy in our culture to take your mother-in-law head on, zvinotoda huchenjeri.
The good thing about your issue is you say varoora vese vakuzviona, this is a big plus. You are the backbone of this family and if you do not act now you disadvantage your children’s future.
Why do you not arrange for a family get-together where you bring your husbands and children? The idea of eating and merrymaking together is very noble. Talk about how important the rural home is and what each one of you would want to do to make it better.
Discuss projects that want to be monitored closely like chicken, farming, gardening, etc., ways that turn it into a home where you all enjoy going to during weekends and holidays. If possible make a roaster yekubatsira amai, for instance, this month so and so do the following. If anyone feels like adding more even if it is not their turn its acceptable.
Encourage direct communication all the time, do not be a family that thrives on the grapevine. The projects I mentioned could potentially generate quite a bit of money (people will come to buy chickens, veggies etc) and I do not see amai letting the workers handle money, indirectly you will have pinned her down.
If funds permit kana kachigayo kanoita vaswere vachiverenga mari instead of visiting aimlessly. By so doing, you will have killed two birds with one stone. Ignore the cheap gossip, do not dignify it by responding. It’s only one life to live, look for ways that bring the family together. Kungovengana nekuvengana hazvina chimuko.
Parents out there, please help mould your families and be content with what you are given, everyone is trying to make ends meet. Do not compare your children, they are all very different, they are only human and can only do so much.
Musazezwe nemhuri. Embrace your mother-in-law despite her weaknesses. God will reward you for that. Pray sincerely for your families and friends the world will be a better place to live. I wish you all the best.
Hubby wants DNA THANK you for the advice you give in The Sunday Mail every week. I personally enjoy and benefit from this column.
Sometime last year, I read from your column about a family that was up in arms because of a dream. Me and my hubby thought it was very weird for people who are sane to do that. Early August this year, my husband had a dream, maybe let me start by giving you just a background of our marriage. We met at college where I was his junior by a year. I was with another guy and he knew about it before I broke up with that guy.
He was happy when I fell for him but something at the back of my mind told me that he would bring this up later in life. We talked about this guy and his ex-flame and promised each other that these two would stay in our past. We have been married for six years now and blessed with a son and all was fine until he had this dream. He says he was shown that I had rekindled my love affair with my ex and that the son was not his. We go to a Pentecostal church and we are both born again. I got the shock of my life because he believed this kuita kunge andibata red handed. He went to some old man from one of those churches dzepasi pemiti and he was told what the dream meant. I am disappointed to say the least. I never thought my hubby would ever sink so low.
He now wants our son to go for DNA tests. He does not eat alone anymore because he was told of some juju that I put in his food. This is hogwash. There is real tension between us because every now and then he asks me questions about my ex.
He is married and I do not even know where he stays with his family and it is really none of my business. I have never asked him about his former girlfriends although I knew some of them from way back.
This is the disadvantage of marrying someone you have known since college. I cannot stand this kind of humiliation. I plan to quit after the DNA test which I think is a waste of time. How can we come to such a stalemate over a dream? We now only speak when it matters most. No more funny and loving texts, no more spontaneous calls. I cannot take this anymore.
Thank you big fan, I am humbled when you talk about the column. I surely have a problem when people talk about being college alumni and then behave in a way that I am forced to doubt if they even went to college. How can someone as educated as him believe in a dream to that extent?
Dreams are in the spiritual realm and no one can positively give the meaning of a dream. It could just be his subconscious that played a trick on him while he was sleeping. The same dream can be translated into a hundred different meanings. Love and marriage are personal choices so after you tie the knot you move on and forget about the past. He loved you despite your past relationship and you did likewise.
The good thing is you talked about this and agreed to bury it saka chii chanetsa? Everyone has a past that is why you are where you are today. The only difference is some partners extensively know about their spouse’s history and some do not. Marriage is about trust, if you lack this quality then you are not a good candidate for it. Just imagine a whole life of cross checking what the other will have done. He can go ahead and take his son for DNA tests, it is his right but this takes money from your budget unnecessarily, especially since this is stemming from a mere dream.
Is he going to do this for all the children Mwari vakakupai vamwe? From what is on the ground it seems the church and college has not done much and this is very unfortunate. It seems your hubby never moved on, he is still living in the past. You have been married for six years, why did he pick on this particular dream? Ko dai arota wave queen/mambokadzi with your own jet and palaces was he going to consult vepasi pemiti about such a dream? He is just losing it over nothing, he must open up and say what he is up to. You desperately need the services of a professional counsellor because your marriage is full of mistrust. If he suspects juju in his food then how is he going to spend the rest of his life with you?
He is being very childish, does he ever think of his son? Children can sense the unhappiness and all this tension is not good for their upbringing. What happens if the DNA proves that the child is his? He must relax and know that as long as he is alive he will continue to dream. As you work with the counsellor, also pray for your marriage, there is immense power in prayer. I wish you all the best but do not quit over a dream, it shall be well. tests