Am Just A Gal Not Yet A Woman..#EndTeenagePregnancy

11 Nov

Jenny was just 16 when her father abandoned her and her young brother. Jenny was just a girl with dreams to touch the sky, take her mother and young bro out of their two roomed house to a better place. However, all odds were against Jenny’s father had lots of women and Jenny’s mother was just a number to him. He didn’t care about the well being of Jenny and her young brother, he had no idea which class she was in or even which school she went to, whether she had sanitary pads, he only came around home when he needed sexual satisfaction from her mother. Jenny never felt safe at home, she didn’t have any assurances about the future nothing was guaranteed, she wasn’t even sure of her next meal.

Jenny’s mum contracted HIV from her father because of his open zip policy and further plunged her life in misery, Jenny had to look after the family since her Dad decided to go AWOL. She had to take care of her sick mum plus her brother while she went to school, something had to give and Jenny ended up dropping out of school she was going to pay for sins she didn’t commit with her future.

Through this misery Jenny’s mother decided to go to Juba to try her luck  since Uganda had only left her with scars, she had to find a way to fend for her 2 children. This meant Jenny was left as the head of the household, having to deal with thieves in case they broke into their house and also find the right stories for the landlord.

In all this drama Jenny met Allan, Allan was also just starting out having left the village a young boy. He had found his footing owning a washing bay and boda bodas. Allan was doing well for himself, because Jenny had never known anything better for the 1st time in her life she felt safe. She didn’t need advise, she had become her own mother and father she didn’t think otherwise when he proposed love. Allan guaranteed her at least 3 meals a day and those landlord rants became history. She felt safe, in return Allan wanted children and a family, Jenny was going to be a wife at 16, she had to become a woman when she was just a girl.

At 17 Jenny became a mother, she had to quickly learn on the job, juggling changing diapers to cleaning the home and looking after her husband. She had settled for a life she hadn’t desired, her cousins same age as her were still in school and used to visit to tell her stories about school and love letters. She missed this life, she wanted to be in school too, she wanted to learn about Napoleon, she wanted to receive mail through yellow pages or atleast receive a success card.

Her daughter Malaika is now 2 years, but at 19 Jenny thinks of how life has been unkind to her. She speaks with so much pain in her words, she traded places with her parents especially her father who abandoned the family when she was only 15. Her mother even with her poor health is so far away in Juba trying to ike a survival for her children.

Jenny never got the chance to be a girl but was fast forwarded into being a woman, she missed out on alot of things a teenage gets to do. She has started to attract the attention of other men but she cant afford the flirting because Allan doesn’t like it. She has failed to find a job that can give her some pride because her education level is so low, her only option is to stay at home and watch Malaika grow up while she waits on Allan to provide for her and her young brother.

Tears stream down her cheeks as she sees girls her age walk past her as they rush for evening lectures at UCU, that could have easily been her. If only her dad had been Man enough to take care of his responsibility. If he had just given her the protection she so much she desired, if he had cared a little.

Many girls are in a situation that Jenny finds herself in, broken homes and absent parents. Fathers have run away from their responsibility and child headed households are very common. Children are forced to take up the roles of their parents and face life head on with no one to guide them. Girls are more vulnerable than boys for the consequences in their case damage them forever. Jenny she was stuck in a life she wasn’t happy to be in but when life gives you lemons you just have to make lemonade.

Jenny doesn’t dream of going back to school again because she will not feel like she fits in anymore but desires to make the most of what is left of her. She would want to join a vocational school, learn something that will help her make use of the free time she has. Allan is supportive in her idea of finding some kind of employment, he is willing to help her find a vocational school. He knows he is her father and husband now, therefore he needs to find a balance between the 2.

The Youth Enterprise Model (YEM) project supported by UNFPA/Packard Foundation and implemented by Straight Talk Foundation(STF) and Reproductive Health Uganda(RHU). The project aims at increasing access to sexual reproductive health information and services among young people in business in an innovative way. The YEM project targets young people through three points of access namely; the community (young people in business), the institution (financial institutions and Vocational Training Institutions[VTI]) and the Health facility (In the catchment of business enterprises and/or organized health programs.

Jenny has a story to tell and through her story a girl who is lost can find her way.

Throughout the month of November and December a team of bloggers will be sharing such stories, follow the hashtag #EndTeenagePregancy #Twefugge.

We want to hear from you, use the contacts below and get in touch.

Straight Talk Foundation Plot 4 Acacia Avenue, Kololo.

P.O.Box 22366 Kampala-Uganda,

Tel: 0312 262030/1,

email: info@straighttalkfoundation.org,

Website: http://www.straighttalkfoundation.org

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/STFUganda

Facebook: Straight-Talk-foundation

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