I sat down by the gate of a small rural high school in Rarieda Sub County eagerly waiting to talk to some girls who had received scholarships from the equity group of scholarship. Dressed in a checked green and white uniform, 15 years old Achien’g sat next to me. Her dress had blue, yellow, green and red patches everywhere. Barefooted, I could see huge breakages on her heels and there were cracks on her legs as well. Telling from the look she had not applied Jelly. Her dry lips were dry and she kept licking them now and then. Noticeably, she hadn’t had anything since that morning.
I started by asking question about school. What she loves the most, the teachers she likes the most and then to her future plans. And when her lips parted, tears split over her cheeks. She looked about to the playing ground, to the nearby hills, to the empty distance, to the tall trees which were being blown softly by the breeze emerging from Lake Victoria and started crying. She told me from the time she was 13 her father has been winningly trying to marry her off.
Achien’g lives in constant fear of being married off to an old man “my father is a fisherman and he goes to fish all throughout the night in the midst of the storm. It is in countable days when he peeps in with three small fish which he would sell.” And now seemingly oblivious of my presence, she continued, “he would then give my mother small amount for sukumawiki and save the rest for the bad days.
The oldest of eight daughters Achien’g, carries emotional burden weighing her down and totally excruciating her. She is recalling all these tears rolling uncontrollably down her chicks. “My father always tells my mother that he can’t afford to educate his children when feeding them is a problem. His motive is just marring me off. “No, No, she must learn,” my mother would insist. He would always say there is no need to educate a girl when after getting the so called ‘education’, she gets married and wash the dishes in someone’s kitchen. He don’t want to support her education just because she is a girl.
Her mother was married to her father when she was only thirteen and she do not wish for her daughter to go through what she went through herself. The pain of being a young bride and a young mother. No. Not her daughter. She doesn’t want that for her. “My father keeps insisting with the marriage, he would tell me that after I am married, he would take care of my siblings with the dowry. I don’t want to get married. Not no,” she said tears falling freely down her face again. Achien’g at her tender age, dreams of finishing her studies and finally becoming a teacher. She wants to enlighten her society by educating girls from poor background like her and at absolutely no cost.
“I have a dream that one day, every girl will have a say and a right to education to levels they want.” A colorful soft smile drew curves on her cheeks. Unaware of me being there once again, she let herself get lost in her own world. Her determination and strength made me see into her future, and guess what? It was beautiful.
2 thoughts on “Achien’g lives in constant fear of being married off to an old man”
There is so much I need to learn. After becoming an old man, I will learn from you.
tell me more of what you would want to learn from me because as it is, I have more to learn from you now that you are older.