“My mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive; and to do so with some passion some compassion some humor and some style. I was chewa but I grew up in the bemba land my mother was bemba .

mummy I have a sore but its not paining its just bleeding " I cried

bleeding "she asked

yes see my all pant is red " I said

my mother smiled

mummy its not funny " I said

my daughter you are now a woman" she said

woman " I asked

yes go bath am coming " she said

I found her with bana chansa(mother to chansa)

nabakula ba Jenny(jenny has grown)" bana chansa said smiling

mummy am done " I said facing down

bana chansa was given a chitenge (wrapper) and she cut it into pieces she showed me how to use them in my time we didn't know how to use these pads we used cloths for our monthly periods ..I was kept in the house for 1 week were I was taught how to behave ..

don't let a boy touch you or you will get pregnant " bana chansa said

I nodded

you have heard huh" she asked

yes aunty " I said

don't talk to boys anyhow or play with themthose days you used to climb trees are over " she said

I nodded

I was a fan of being in trees and boys were my best friends ..

tomorrow you have to dance in front of a lot of people " she said

people" I asked

yes " she said

I can't " I said

that's tradition when a girl becomes matured you have to dance in front of people (a large number of people) " she said

I became nervous people will see me dance no I can't ..

i was woke up in the morning and was taken to a river to take a bath to my surprise I wasn't the only one we were about 5 we took our bath and we went to a small hat were they prepared us for the dance ..we only wore wrappers around our waist and our small breasts were exposed they put beads around our waist and neck ..our faces were painted red we were showed how to dance ...

we went out and dance afterr that we went to our homes ...

dad was busy arguing mum I had to know why there were arguing

bashi mutale(father to mutale) let the girl get married that's tradition when a girl becomes matured she is ready for marriage " mum said

bana mutale she is only 15 what can a 15 year old do ?" dad asked

she will be taught everything " she said

like what

how to take care of her husband " he asked

yes she knows all the house chores " she said

bana mutale I want my daughter to be educated " he said

educated women don't get married these days " she said

There were was some awkward silence for a while

who is the man or boy you want my daughter to get married too " he asked

chansa " she said

chansa who " he asked

wait bana chansa now chansa? " he asked

yes " she said

not in this lifetime and not ever that irresponsible boy nono" he said

when he gets married he will change " she said

so bana chansa has been feeding your head with this nonsense right " he asked

no am mean yes no " she said

no yes what ? My daughter is not getting married to anybody final " he said

look she is my only daughter I want to see her husband before I die " she said sounding emotional

look mwansa (my dad doesn't call my mother's name unless he is upset ) don't put me in a bad mood you have 5sons go pressure them to get married " he said

I heard footsteps and I ran to my room being the only daughter of the house wasn't great since I was the youngest and my brothers were home most of the time..

Jenny " mum called

yes mummy " I said kneeling down

sit " she said

we sat on the mat and she looked at me

Jenny you are my only daughter and I want to see you happy " mum said

I know mummy " I said

jenny when a girl becomes matured she is ready to be a wife " she said

I don't understand " I said

I mean you are ready for marriage " she said

I jumped from the mat I acted like I was surprised ..

Jenny please do this for mummy " she said

I don't want to get married mummy I just passed my exams " I said

jenny school will not take you anywhere " she said

mummy I want to be rich " I said

she laughed very much that I got irritated ..

rich kah" she said

yes mummy I don't want to die in this village " i said

Jenny you will get married whether you like it or not " she said

I don't want to get married " I said

why do you hate me " she started crying

my mother was good at emotional blackmail but I never get into her trap cause I know her very well ..

mummy I have gone to sleep " I said

Jenny you are not a good girl " she said

okay mummy " I said getting up

I went inside and found mutale

hey ba mutale "I said

kasuli(last born)" he said

what time did you get back " I asked

5 minutes ago I saw mum talking to you so I didn't want to interfere " he said

I clicked my tongue

what was she telling you that got you in this mood " he asked

she wants me to get married " I said

what does she know what I go through to raise money for you so that you go to school " he said

I shrugged my shoulders

you will not get married hope you haven't accepted to get married " he said

no I want to finish school " I said

good girl " he said

my mother was the only person against me going to school but the rest wanted me to be educated


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