Thrown out by dad, 22-yr-old mom of three has had life of woe

Stabroek News Sunday - - WEEKEND MAGAZINE -

“My father put me out and now he say he will tek back me son, but he don’t want me back at the house. Right now, I stressed but what I gun do I can’t just sit down and think about it whole day. Is not the first time he put me out and he does tek me back in, but he does ill treat me and some­times I just don’t able es­pe­cially with me sit­u­a­tion.” The 22-year-old mother of three speak­ing is HIV pos­i­tive. She agreed to speak to me through an ac­quain­tance of the Guyana Com­mu­nity of Pos­i­tive Women and Girls (GCWAG). Fol­low­ing our con­ver­sa­tion, I felt so help­less and as an avid be­liever in God I con­fess that at that point I sadly ques­tioned His ex­is­tence. If ever there was some­one who was never given a chance to thrive, it was her. What struck me too was that she was emo­tion­less for most of our con­ver­sa­tion; it was like life has been so dif­fi­cult through­out her years that she has be­come im­mune.

She con­tin­ued, “And to be hon­est I not even sure why he put me out. He start with me step­mother first… I was lis­ten­ing to mu­sic on a cheap phone and just so he come and cuff me in my face and start em­bar­rass­ing me in front of he friends.

“He throw out me clothes in the yard and right now it by a cousin and he tell me move out. Wah I coulda do? I had to move and I come by [name pro­vided] and is hay I sleep­ing since. And he don’t treat any­body else like that, me step­sis­ter dem and suh he don’t do it to them is just me. Now when [name pro­vided] ar­range fuh put me son [he is two years old] in a home and I call and tell he, he say how the boy could come back but not me. One of me step­sis­ter dem say they guh help to send he to day care and so. And once dem want he, I would send he be­cause I pre­fer he by dem and not in a home,” she said.

“And is not he alone I get, I got an­other big son [a fiveyear-old] and he didn’t come with me be­cause he father does live not far and he father does tek care of he and so and I just leff he right there. The last one [a baby] well I give he to [name pro­vided] be­cause I can’t mind he and he father don’t have no time. He father did want kill me when he find out I HIV pos­i­tive.

“You know how I get this thing [HIV]? Is just so me father quar­relling and treat­ing me bad and he put me out. I meet this man he was like 30-some­thing and I bin like 15 and he see me and tek me in and I start liv­ing with he. I use to see he us­ing all dem tablets, but he tell me was for di­a­betes and high pres­sure. Then just so one day I get so sick, I start to spit blood and I couldn’t even walk.

“Me step­mother carry me to the hos­pi­tal and the doc­tor run all kinda test but noth­ing. Then they do a HIV test and I tell you when the thing come back and I pos­i­tive I coulda drop dead right deh. Is like me life been over.

“Af­ter I get me first child, I meet an­other man and this man now tell me leh we go to Suri­name and work to­gether and build a life. But me ain’t know is traf­fic he de want traf­fic me. When we meet over there, he start lock­ing me up in a room whole day and den night time I use to had to go and pick fare and he use to tek all deh money and gam­ble and drink.

“Is the woman we use to live by, one day feel sorry for me be­cause he use to beat me bad to. And is she help to pay for me pas­sage to come back to Guyana. I lef one day when he went out and when I come back, I [re­al­ized I] was preg­nant. I be­lieve is he own be­cause when I pick fare I used to use con­dom. But I don’t want me child [the two-year-old] to have noth­ing to do with he be­cause he is not a good man right now the po­lice look­ing fuh he for traf­fick­ing. “When I come back, I just liv­ing and I meet me last child father but I didn’t tell he that I got HIV. When he find out af­ter the baby born and so he de want kill me. He is a po­lice and he had a gun and so but I never see he back. I does see the man who give me this thing, but I don’t say any­thing to he be­cause if I worry with he I would just kill he.” For the first time in the recital of her life’s woes, there was a spark of emo­tion – anger.

“I grow up with me father be­cause since I born me mother liv­ing on the streets. I don’t re­ally know the story be­cause my father don’t talk about it. But peo­ple does tell me how she does deh eat­ing out the rub­bish bin and so. When she feel good she use to come and look for me and talk to me but is a long time she didn’t come is like she re­ally gone full outs now,” she con­tin­ued.

“I have a big brother and we does talk, is me mother son, but he don’t help me or any­thing but we does talk. Look I don’t care if she mad or any­thing she is still me mother and I wouldn’t dis­own she, I still love she.” There was a hint of pas­sion in her speech and then she paused for a while. I asked her if she was sent to school as a child. “Yes. I went to school up to fifth form, but I didn’t write CXC be­cause my father said he didn’t have no money,” she said. I asked her what she wants in life. “I just want a job, so I can find a lil place fuh me self. I use to work for a ho­tel and one day I call and say I was sick and I can’t come to work and the woman just ter­mi­nate me. I carry she to labour but I wait­ing to hear if I would get any money.

“Right now I liv­ing with [name pro­vided] and I feel free here and so and she say she will help me so I will just stay here and find a work or some­thing. I don’t tek it on, I don’t study them things any­more, I just free up me mind,” she said bring­ing the con­ver­sa­tion to an end.

I wanted to ask her more but was un­clear how to pro­ceed and she silently handed the con­ver­sa­tion to the of­fi­cial from GCWAG, who, as if on cue, be­gan to speak.

She in­di­cated that she would as­sist the young mother as much as pos­si­ble but wanted to en­sure that she was tak­ing her med­i­ca­tion as pre­scribed.

“Right now, I don’t like how she is look­ing and I be­lieve she has stopped tak­ing the med­i­ca­tion. So I am go­ing to go with her to the next doc­tor’s ap­point­ment.

“I will try to get her a job but she don’t even have a birth cer­tifi­cate or an ID card and I have to try and get those for her first,” the woman said.

She is in the process of adopt­ing the woman’s youngest child whom she has had since he was days old, but she in­di­cated that she could not ac­com­mo­date the two-year-old and was in­deed about to have him placed in a home through the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties.

“I am go­ing to keep her for as long as I could and help her to get some as­sis­tance, but it is not easy and there are so many of them. Peo­ple are just not treat­ing their rel­a­tives with HIV kind, they are putting them out on the streets and many of them have nowhere to go,” the woman said sadly.

Per­sons in­ter­ested in learn­ing more about GCWAG can call 691-7297 or email cmarlyn9@gmail.com.

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