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  • Volunteer Stories

Am I Safe, Are We Safe?

Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Eliza Chanika

Am a kind of my generation
Many call me a young lady, some prefer a girl
But I have a name
Am a sister to someone
A daughter to someone
An aunt to a few children
A nephew to my mother’s brother
And a potential wife to someone so they say

Am I safe, are my kind safe ?
I pause deep in my thoughts
At night, I have scary dreams  a man Chases me in my dreams
And I cry my eyes out sometimes
Again and again I ask my self questions
“Will I make it back to school after this corona virus pandemic or will I be sold like my sister in 
chinua achebe’s novel “looking for a rain god?
Questions without answers
Thoughts without ending
Am I safe?

I saw a car outside  our house yesterday
I heard voices, yes Voices! Three deep voices having a conversation backing up were two sweet
Entering into the house, slowly parting the ragged curtain that separates the sitting room
from our room, there I saw my mother, father and two strangers
“Tawina come meet your husband to be
Mother said as she saw me through the wholes of the curtain
Tears all over me I ran, ran, ran as fast as my legs would carry me
What do I do? where should I go?
A cry of a broken girl
Is she safe?

I feel empty inside
I see myself inside a little  bottle
Will my voice matter?
Will my decision be respected?
Will it not be seen as disobedience?
Will I not be scorned for denying fathers words?
But I don’t want to be married off
Am not yet done with school
A cry of an average girl
Is she safe, are her kind safe?

Am I safe, is my kind safe
A thought of million thoughts
Cry of thousands of girls
An emotional torture to hundreds of girls
I worry many of us will not make it back to school
I fear many will be pregnant and married off
I cry for my kind
Are we safe, are they safe?

Many women tell me l am of age
Many say school will not benefit me
My uncle says he needs goats and cattles
“You need to find yourself a man that can provide for you and your siblings, we are tired of
feeding you”
Often i hear this phrase
What should i do?
Am just a fifteen  years old orphan with six siblings to look after
who will i run to, Should i listen, should i get married?
A cry of a broken orphan,
Is she safe, are others safe

I am an intelligent girl
I dream of becoming a pilot, a doctor, an accountant perhaps an engineer some day
So stop forcing me into relationships and early marriages
I want to save lives, design tallest buildings, invent new technologies
So support me during this pandemic
Protect me, cover me, look after me
I want to feel safe again.
A plea of a girl child.

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