One Friday morning , l woke up to pay a visit to my husband ,working in another city .I must say ,it is quite challenging to have to communicate mostly on the phone, from love itself, to expectations and general duties of the house.
It’s even harder to be carrying out his duties as well as my duties, per say, considering the hardships that continue to propel our country such as dry taps, blackouts and price hikes.
Not that l am complaining, I mean, l have adapted to planning a budget without money; having to produce a starch enriched meal from leftovers; and have experienced even more heartaches when l had to travel and work miles from home, leaving behind my then 1 year old baby, newly wed husband, mychildhood friends and my family- to a foreign land where the tongue was new, the values alien.
It was the worst day, the most dreadful months, and the most regretful year of my life, whilst I had to work to at least to assist my partner and keep afloat.
Lately I have learnt not to complain, but rather be grateful for each opportunity l get. As much as the bible teaches us so, and l have seen it too, that when l am about to complain, l always see someone or a situation that is worse than mine.
So why not be grateful? Grateful that l am not the women vending the busy street of Harare and being chased by council police every minute; grateful that l am not a street mother who is sniffing glue in the corners of deserted buildings emitting a suffocating stench of stale urine and feces.
I wish l could stop and ask what their story is. To try and understand the angle at which life always seems to be the worst for them ; but unfortunately, l have no guts nor the room to listen to their stories, because I have my own demons to fight.
Having a partner working away from home has and seems like a norm nowadays or maybe it was always been there: just that it is now more pronounced. Many of my acquaintances also agree and even share their challenges but in the end we all agree that it is necessary, better still that he/she has an income that affords some few basics.
As l travelled over 200km away from home to a new ‘’home’’ where my soul mate resided, l endured the packed bus full of unfamiliar people carrying from the lightest of bags, to the heaviest.
My eyes could not contain-the scotching heat; elegant perfumes and rotten fish like odors; not forgetting the forever friendly bus passengers who seemed to have knowledge on everything politically and economically related.
I listened in awe to some of the interesting stories; some to do with female robbers pretending to be in vulnerable situations, to later rob their helpers. I heard how many have resorted to charms and famous man of gods to attain riches and when bored of listening l drew my eyes to seeing the beautiful scenery.
I couldn’t comprehend. Even memories of past travels found their way in, as l looked forward, depressing images of ghost towns and deforesting areas (perhaps for firewood) caught my attention.
The famous Buffalo Downs was stained by shack looking stores and farms that were once so green with plantations, eroded to bare red soils. l wondered what was happening, where the owners of this place could have gone ?Before l asked any informants, my question was answered. Approximately 500 meters away, l saw many people standing in what seemed like water ponds with sacks, and some through windows selling all kinds of fish , fresh and dried.
Others too, soft drinks, potato crisps, sweets. Many people had left plantations for quick and probably easy ways of attaining money.
l sank into my seat feeling saddened and disappointed at how all the land was going to waste. But who was l venting these frustrations to? Because just like, me these people are also trying to keep afloat; and hustling is a better solution than working on infertile plantations, stressing about the rains, or irrigations, with these impractical load shedding schedules, expensive seed and so forth.
When l reached my destination, l was fatigued for anything meaningful, be it a conversation or ….you know. Besides, the heat was unbearable. Furthermore my little boy had a high fever and thus nursing him, got me retiring to bed quite early.
The next day l woke up very early to spoil my husband to a typical zimbabwean farmhouse breakfast, which no longer came out as such because of limited ingredients.
But l was determined to make it perfect, making up for a month without him; this was a great entrance to confirm that l had arrived.
I roamed around the kitchen rummaging for spoons and ingredients all of which was a puzzle to me considering I was not familiar to the new place, and yet racing to match his 6:30 am departing time. Just as he made himself comfortable in the chair ready for his hot cup of coffee, we suddenly heard a piercing and deafening cry, which began my investigation.
It was not difficult to identify where the sound was coming from as the house is closely knit to ours, such that the sounds and in some cases the aroma of flavors in the kitchen are shared between houses.
I looked at my husband trying to find some answers to what was happening. l thought he was going to simply confirm what I was suspecting , that there is a mad person or one whom a spirit medium possess.
But the silence and puzzled look spattered on his face confirmed new, interesting and newsworthy drama. As he silently drank his coffee, we tried to figure out what was happening since the cries were becoming louder and louder but to no avail, he said his goodbyes and insisted l investigate what was happening and indeed l intended to just do that.
But how was I to? Who would l ask? Where would l go? I was new to this area, l didn’t know anyone, and my nephew and wife were not around to furnish me with the details I desperately and curiously wanted to know. So l stood close to the window in silence.
Waiting… ‘Someone will come’ l thought, and in that moment the voice we had once heard roared, but this time louder. l piped through the window, to see woman pacing across the house , her dress pulled up right above the knees , chanting words not so familiar to me. She languished so hard “wandirwadzisa!” (You have hurt me).
‘She must have been abused’ l thought,’or maybe mad.’ l struggled by myself to pick the best term for the act l was seeing. Three to four ladies followed through, tears flooding their faces and one of them answering her phone narrated what was transpiring, to someone at the end of the line “Yes Charles azvisungirira .
Anga ari kumba kwegirl friend yake …” (Charles committed suicide at his girlfriend house) .
At that moment l began to understand the middle aged lady l thought was mad or spirit medium possessed. She of course was overcome by emotions of hurt, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion and being mother of the boy who had been pronounced dead.
I didn’t want to feel anything immediately. l wanted to have full details of what was going on, of who Charles is or was, of what made him kill himself, of who the girlfriend is … l needed it all and of course my feet were already complaining so l grabbed the kitchen stool , positioned myself comfortably in this odd situation and gathered more.
I sat and watched many people starting to gather around and as they left each had a different account of what took place. I listened to the many voices crying, but one kept lingering even now as l write, the voice of a BROKEN MOTHER, who couldn’t hide her pain even when people started giving societal expiations such as how a suicide does not deserve, mourning, gathering or preparation of food .
The body is not to be displayed overnight in the house and so forth. In simple terms the deceased is not dignified and should be made known to anyone who cares to listen and see. l felt hurt too, angry to this dead man who had decided to end his life.
Over the reasons l heard, made me disown him even more. (unfortunately l won’t share the details of his life nor his reasons for death, just because l don’t have the families permission)l thought of many people suffering in hospitals ,sick ,some on death beds and still fighting, praying to have a life but not .
Yet this boy was healthy and full of life, a father, a brother, a bread winner, a friend, and a son to someone, and yet he still decides to cut his life short with a rope, choosing a gruesome and despicable death.
A death that even funeral insurance companies do not regard and society not approve. He disgusted me. l felt he was weak; a failure who must have been troubled or haunted by a spirit at least. l had to find reason, some kind of explanation for his actions, and unfortunately even as l listened, seated behind that curtain, nothing made sense.
The voice of his mother concerned me; l saw a woman who had lost her only son, her apple of her eye, her bread winner. The very person who was supposed to nurse and eventually bury her was the one she was mourning that very day. i imagined the troubles l had encountered with my own son , the sleepless nights when sick .
The hopes l have of him and yet he is still little. This must have been the same with this woman and better yet she had succeeded so far as this boy was all grown. So what went wrong? Why now?
That l don’t have answers to… even today, l opened the bible to verses on suicide l found one of Judas Iscariot and the other in 2 Samuel 17:23 , and just like society has no room for these kind of deaths, so does the bible except people were “buried”…fast as a matter of fact.
I let myself wonder around contemplating what was transpiring right behind the window, and the country as a whole. It was not the first time l had heard of suicidal deaths .No. But the rate of suicide has since pronounced itself and is alarming .Before l had travelled ,l had read of a pastor who jumped off a building; a vendor jumping in front of a haulage truck; a father who killed himself and his family to save them from hunger.
I thought of the sadness it brings to those close and the shame the society is attached to . I wonder if they are no symptoms, signs- to those who eventually commit suicide. Is it the will of God? Is it cowardice? Is there genuine help that one gets and how? I definitely have more questions than answers.
As l stood from my stool to attend to my boy, l felt deterred, wondering what a world we had created, full of hopeless people whose answer is on killing themselves , l wished lf l could see Charles and many of his caliber. l would ask if he was happy with his decision.
If he was happy to see his parents languish for him, the whole community mocking him. If now he had peace. That moment l realized the window l had opened was a door to many social problems, where we choose to fold hands and not act.
I have decided otherwise. l will talk even with the weirdest of strangers , for in being weird there is a voice crying out for help ; to give an ear and maybe save his/her life. We can…