Oh that she had known!
Known that the late evening’s walk to her boyfriend’s place would turn this ugly.
Now look at her. Seated on the verandah confused, her worried head, supported by her badly manicured hands, she doesn’t even care that tomorrow will be her 16th birthday,
For who celebrates a birthday with an accidental baby on the way?
Yet she must face it. Her eyes are filled with shame so she keeps them fixed on the ground, shyly struggling to button her dirty pink dress – a former school uniform, an attempt to hide her protruding 4 months old pregnancy.
Tina is just one of the three girls in her village that have dropped out of school this month.
The unfolding of their stories is different but their fate is not. For Tina, it was a typical evening walk from school when she decided she wouldn’t go home early. Steve, the boy with whom she had been flirting for two weeks had invited her to his place to “catch a movie”. The act was rushed; they both feared that someone might find them, but they had their way.
That was four months ago, weeks before the end of their O’ level vacation; then she dreamt of joining a local school for her A’ levels, now she thinks of how to survive. Her father has affirmed it is a waste to educate a girl and tells her to marry “the man who is responsible”, her mother recoils, looking away, fearful of defending her child. Tina stands alone, 16 years old and four months pregnant, she made the decision on her own after all, or did she?
Tina has never talked to anyone about sex and had been led to think it was evil, the children called it ‘bad manners’ and her parents forbid her interaction with boys, then the hormones came ,and well, a boy liked her, said she was beautiful and she was his entire life. How could she have known about abstinence? Who did she have to talk to about the boy in her world? One wonders with questions such as these, for in one’s eyes it is all her fault and in another’s it is others. Tina will not be an engineer as she envisioned, No, she will struggle as a teenage mother, doing odd jobs and scraping to survive, fighting to beat the odds and rise above the stormy waters.
The perils of becoming another statistic of teenage pregnancy in Uganda.
Look what Tina has become. A teen Mother.