Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Woman’s Short Joy and Long Suffering

Jongsaba was a widow who lost her husband eight years ago. She lived in a dilapidated house with her children.
Jongsaba as a woman and a mother had lived a joyous life with her husband before his untimely death. She later fell into the hands of his womanizer boss who was just interested in abusing her and left her to die a sympathetic death. Many a woman has died a similar death. Musoolula Bantaba narrates Jongsaba’s story.
Jongsaba has been a pride of her family when she got married to Baluta, a construction consultant who worked with an engineering company, immediately after the completion of her senior secondary school.
Her husband’s talent had saved the engineering company a fortune during his seven years of service. The young consultant enjoyed life with his wife. He always felt proud of her among her peers. He found Jongsaba as a virgin when they got married. This earned Jongsaba respect both in her family and that of Baluta.
No sooner was her husband elevated to the position of chief consultant than his services were terminated. Neighbours, relatives and friends attributed it to superstition.
As Baluta remained jobless, Jongsaba convinced him to move from the flat they were living to a less expensive house. They searched for a house, but the only house they could afford was a dilapidated house, where they moved to settle with their three children.
“Things started to tumble down only when my husband was making enough money and progressing professionally”, cried Jongsaba.
A year later, Baluta felt severely sick. When he visited the hospital, stroke was diagnosed. In a short while he died as a result.
“I am shocked by my darling’s death, the bringing up of my children is my biggest headache now. I feel as if my blood is draining out of me”, said the widow, screaming at the top of her voice.
She always looked at her children and shed tears. She decided to stay at home to mourn the death of Baluta for forty days as prescribed by tradition, before she could find any job.
After the forty days, she visited Baluta’s colleagues at the company to enquire whether he had any money there or an account elsewhere, only to realize that there were none. She then depended on the charity money given to her from sympathizers for the upkeep of her children in the meantime. She continued to manage with her children in their dilapidated house.
“With all what I enjoyed with my husband, we have no home of our own or an account that the family can depend on for survival. My children have nothing to inherit from their father in terms of wealth. This means that we were spending all what Baluta was earning. This is more than an incident”, she said to herself.
With the assistance of a former class mate, Jongsaba picked up a job at a petrol station in Kanifing. She started to pay the children’s school fees, rent and provide feeding from her meager salary.
She was unfortunate to meet a boss who was a womanizer that takes advantage of women’s situations. When he knew Jongsaba’s condition, he promised to move her to a new flat and pay the rent. The poor isolated widow accepted her boss’s proposal.
She has been feeling worthless, but persuaded by her boss to trust their relationship as she was promised that money was not going to be her problem.
The boss always spent most of her weekends with Jongsaba at the new rented flat.
Her best friend and former class mate who facilitated her getting a job visited her. When she realized that Jongsaba was in love with the womanizer, she gave her a good sisterly advice to be content with what she had. “This man will play with you like a toy and throw you away. Jongsaba you were proud and praised. You were married as a virgin. Do not allow your condition to be taken for granted by such men. If you continue struggling, one good gentleman would soon come across you by the grace of Allah”, her former class mate told her.
My friend, Jongsaba said, “You have told me a stark truth. But this new life of mine is just going to be a temporary one. If you have nothing people treat you as nothing”, she shyly responded.
But she could not change. She was thinking that the man would salvage her from her present situation.
Few months later, Jongsaba became pregnant and was given a leave by his boss. She was the talk of town in the neighbourhood. In a short while, she gave birth to bouncing twin baby boys.
When this news hit her employer, he gave a draconian warning to all his employees that if they mention Jongsaba and his issue they would lose their jobs. He went to Jongsaba and told her to continue with her indefinite leave.
As the matter became a scandal, Jongsaba’s boss left for the UK where his family is staying. He left Jongsaba without a job, with no means of survival and no one to help.
She could not explain this to anybody.
When the Imam in her area knew that she was suffering, he told his wives to be giving her food.
Jongsaba was so desperate that she had to join the ranks of sex workers. She started roaming between brothels for survival.
She became briefly ill and subsequently died.
Her children continued to suffer. They are now taken to an orphanage by an Afro-American philanthropist.
How many women are dying this way leaving their children in the worst situation a human being can face on the face of this earth?

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