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If it glitters, it comes at a price Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Julie, Kenya Jul 15, 2008
Maternal Health & Child Mortality , Health , Human Rights , HIV/AIDS   Short Stories
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This is the story of Rita, a young woman whose life took a turn when she was seventeen years old. Rita was a high school student living in one of the slum areas of Nairobi called City Carton. She was in her final year, waiting to do her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination, when she met George, a 26 year old man.

George seemed respectful and educated- unlike the disrespectful men that she was used to seeing since her family had moved into the new neighborhood. They were surrounded by drunkard neighbors, all of whom lacked respect and were always talking about sex. Rita’s pride would not allow her to stoop so low as to be “caught dead” socializing with them. This was not the case with George; he was soft spoken, always sober and avoided discussing a subject if Rita was not comfortable with it.

Rita’s family had been reduced to abject poverty and forced to move from a maisonette into a mud house in the slum area after her father, Mr. Odhiambo, lost his job. Rita was struggling to go on with her education since her parents could not pay her school fees any longer. Sometimes she would be sent home for the debt, but she would sneak back into class a few days later. It was pointless waiting for the money at home- they did not even have enough to feed the family of six children and two parents. Being the first born of the Odhiambo family, she set a good example by performing fairly well in class despite her hardships.

George had just moved in to the neighbourhood. He met Rita on her way to the shop one day. He seemed interested in her and asked her out. On that wonderful June afternoon, Rita got to go on her first date- to a cinema. “Ooh! How romantic and styled up this guy is,” was all that naive Rita could think. After all, every girl in her class had a story to tell about her boyfriend, and she was feeling kind of left out. Almost immediately, they were talking freely. Soon Rita was spending most of her time with George when she was not at school.

The girl had a split personality: she was very confident in school and took part in public speaking and debating contests, but when it came to socializing with people she wasn’t used to, especially members of the opposite sex, she would shy off. With George it was different. She would pass by his house each morning on her way to school, and in the evenings she would go to him to share the day’s miseries and joys. This was a sure distraction from her fears and worries about her future and her education. George seemed to be a very good listener too.

One day, he dropped the bombshell: he asked her for sex. She was not ready for such a commitment, yet she almost felt obliged to give in. This was someone who had always been there when she needed a listening ear. The request had come as a surprise to her and she had reacted impulsively by walking out on him. Amid confusion that evening, on her sofa-bed, she tried drafting a letter to apologise and to explain to “Romeo” why she thought it an inappropriate time to engage in such an activity.

While writing, she was also reasoning within herself: this was the only person who had shown her the love that she desired. He had bought her all sorts of gifts and was the first man to confess to her that he loved her. Every time she tried to put her thoughts in black and white, she ended up tearing the paper- this was just not coming out right, and she wasn’t prepared to share it with anyone in her family. So, she decided to take the bull by its horns and confront him with the issue.

The next day was a Sunday. She went to church as usual, in the company of her sister Gladys. On her way back home she passed by George’s house to discuss the matter. Rita found herself trying to defend herself against the accusations which the sly gentleman was heaping on her. Among the accusations were that she was inconsiderate and that she had not acted like a grown up by walking away. Rita felt she had to make things right, so she just apologised and things went back to normal.

My grandmother has often told me that, “If you want to catch a chicken, throw small pieces of bait at it till it’s in a place from which it cannot escape, then catch it.” George made this very calculation accurately. Now the prey had been trapped. The two discussed sex. Rita gave her reason for not wanting to have it as wanting to maintain her virginity and avoid pregnancy. George, however, had many convincing points as to why they should have sex. He claimed that he wanted to confirm that he could “perform” before he married her, among other arguments.

That evening, Miss Rita Odhiambo “became a woman”. Before the act, she remembered what had become common in the advert world- the condom. So she told him to use one. The problem was that she didn’t know how to use it. During the act, George removed the sheath and continued with his job. Afterwards, he told her he had removed it and that, “Whatever is in me, is in you and whatever is in you is in me.” The daft girl did not get the point, but she also did not want to appear stupid so she let it go without explanation.

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A 25 year old lady who's a Journalism student at Daystar University. I am also a HIV/AIDS peer educator in Kenya. I am a strong believer of evidence based information to young people, in curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS. "We can not fight an enemy if we lack all the skills to win."

Dear Julie
Hafiidhaturrahmah | Oct 2nd, 2008
Dear Julie... I love ur story. It was so inspired. U are right Julie...many girls did like Rita did. ANd..I couldn't imagine in the end of story that HIV already infected Rita--not because her silly things but because "blind love" I hope you could share more this with me Julie. I love to discuss HIV and find the best way to prevent it (It's difficult to change habits right ^_^) Nice to find u here with ur amazing story Julia Warms, aViS ^_^

Ute oduol | Oct 2nd, 2008
Sad but true. I think the only way to move forward is to keep educating people on everything to do with sexuality. Keep up the good work!

maxamed | Oct 13th, 2008
What a good job your doing right julie !, I do agree with you that education is the best preventive way of fighting the enemy keept it up doing. I cannot describe how inspired I am.

saman karim | Oct 14th, 2008
hello julie thanks for your story

saman karim | Oct 14th, 2008
hello to the members in this site i want to be a friend with you can you contact me please

You make the world a better place
Adelusi Oluwafemi Temidayo-Don | Oct 17th, 2008
This is absolutely educative and touching with a bid of call to consciousness. I must confess i really enjoyed myself while reading through the lines and paragraphs therein, nothing missing and nothing untold. Just keep up the good work because it has the ability to change the world. All the good lucks!

A lesson and guidance
Yussuf A. Mohamed | Oct 19th, 2008
Hi Julie, In fact, your story is a guidance and a lesson to many teens. Please, keep writing. Regards, Yusuf China

teaching the world
Kanyiri | Nov 20th, 2008
hey,i think you are teaching the world especially the youth a lot.In third world countries at the moment I think people still don't know the importance of condoms so go on with your great work!

Tshepo | Feb 15th, 2009
Your story is what is happening to our African sisters.The way you tell the story makes it easy 4 me to relate.You doing a good job.Wish u all da best

Contact the Great Mother
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