by samson tare ekiyor
Published on: Oct 21, 2012
Type: Experiences

The African Child: the story of the pregnant 10 year-old

By: SAMSON T, on November 18, 2011.

She (name withheld) was young, innocent looking with an unusually protruded stomach; she came rushing towards our vehicle when the government bus we traveled with broke down in one of the villages (close to Madina in the Tonkolili District) on our way from Kono. She carried a tray load of some rather malnourished looking bananas for money of so diminutive a value that one cannot understand the essence of her ordeal in ensuring that the bananas sell. She walked on barefoot, had shades of what could be called clothing; carrying pale eyes and gloomy facial expression.

My, and the interest of many of those I traveled with grew as the kid drew nearer with her banana outfit balanced on her head; aggressively marketing it to disembarked passengers. In my mind, I could only fathom that it was one grand opportunity to do her sales and so she had to make hay whilst the sun shone. Taking a curious look at the girl and her protruded stomach the first thing that came crawling into my mind was that: this child may be considerably suffering from malnutrition of some sort of abdominal illness.

But I was wrong as a very experienced woman in her mid 50s soon cut through my bewilderment when she remarked: is this girl really pregnant? I had to break forth a very heavy sigh releasing the pressure that mounted in me in burning anticipation for the confirmation of what the big lady has just said. She was shy, further examinations on the young girl were made as more and more people grew interest in knowing as to whether the Banana Girl as young as she was could get pregnant. But I still took it to be a joke for in my insubstantial knowledge, I knew it was imperceptible.

Soon my doubt was cleared as an older girl who came with the Banana Girl broke the doubt in confirming that indeed the girl 10+ was nursing a 6 month pregnancy with no known father. The next words that involuntarily came stumbling from my lips was “is she a virgin:” I regretted my question but was nevertheless answered-NO and the next words from the older girl told the sinister story which left everybody who listened in near tears: “she was raped in the bush and abandoned for three days, after her recovery, it noticed that she was pregnant.
The saddening side of the Banana Girl story is that ever since that tragic occasion in her life, when her virginity was painfully taken away from her, leaving her to battle with the consequent pregnancy, she has been ostracized one way or the other. No body cares for her anymore, her father died in the year 2000 during the end part of the brutal civil war in the country and her mother died shortly after giving birth to her; she had since not once attended a clinic of any sort.

She now sells banana and other assorted fruits to passing vehicles on the high way. My frustration mounted after hearing this repulsive side of the story but my spirit was at the same time lightened when in no time people in their Sierra Leonean generosity put together a package of Le. 50,000 ($12) for the poor girl who looked on with remarkable glee.

As I put these thoughts to paper, I am not clear whether this small girl that got caught up is such tragedy that could be put to bed safely. I think about the fate of the child’s baby, I think about her fate too; who will help her when delivery day comes; only God Knows.Â

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