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Friday, 31 March 2017 00:00

Weep no more girls

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Weep no more girls

By WanjalaWafula


I received the request to visit Malawi recently and my enthusiasm blinded me from the realism that lay before me. I have been traveling extensively in the last few years but a sense of uneasiness overwhelmed me as soon the plane touched down in Lilogwe, which is the capital city. I was in Malawi for fifteen days to work with traditional chiefs, human rights activists, boys and girls on eradicating the child marriage monster that continues to shackle girls as young as twelve to bondage, destruction, hopelessness, disease, illiteracy and even death. I need divine inspiration to complete this piece because I cannot control my tears now.

My picture with some of the girls in Karonga-Malawi

After two days on the road from Lilongwe, through the scarcity ravaged vicinities and a transitory layover at Muzuzu, we ultimately reached Karonga, a small town on the shores of the expansive breath taking Lake Malawi in the North. Like numerous visitors before us, the exclusive Mikoma Beach Resort was a pleasurable distraction from the human dishonour that typifies life in rural Malawi.

After enjoying heavy breakfast that included a taste of the universally acknowledged Chambo fish, I could not help but notice a number of girls still in their teens playing about at the Hotel. Some were idly siting at the swimming pooland gazing at the water, seemingly lost in their thoughts. There was also a group of them by the beach engrossed in play and chit-chat as the rays of the sun pricked through the fresh waters of the lake from the Mozambique side.

As I strolled to the parking lot to meet my friend paramount Chief Kyungu, I come across a distraught girl struggling to calm a baby clutched on her back. “My name is Joana Mulekeni”, she quickly responds to my greeting. “I am fourteen years old and this is my son. They were twins but one died just two weeks after being born. I was twelve when they married me off to a seventeen year old boy from my village. They paid one cow and twenty thousand Malawi Kwacha. The boy that married me disappeared from the village just after a few months because he could not provide for us. I also decided to find help and I am now supported by an organization that provides me and the baby with some food and medicines. I always wanted to be a Journalist but my family made me useless”, we both stared at each other, speechless.