Life has been unfair to me right from the start. Born into a family of ten: 3boys and 5girls plus mum and dad, survival had been a struggle. My father was a palm wine tapper and my mum was a petty trader who dealt in foodstuffs. We lived in a remote village somewhere in the South-eastern part of kenya.
My father’s palm wine tapping didn’t earn him much and even after combining with the proceeds of my mum’s petty trading, my parents still couldn’t afford 3square meals to sustain the family. I was the first child; followed by a male then females before the two last males. I never went to school even for a day. None of us did.
Then disaster struck. My father went for his usual palm wine tapping business and never came back. On dispersal of a search party, it turned out that he fell from the palm tree and died on the spot. This sudden death of my dad launched my family into more terrible hardship and my mum couldn’t cope.
Things grew worse after my dad’s burial and it became necessary for my mum to send us out to live with different people in the city. At that time I was 15years old and my immediate younger brother was 13. It was my late father’s sister that brought up the suggestion to my mother and my mother quickly bought the idea and soon had me introduced to my madam.
In a matter of days, the whole arrangement was concluded and I followed my madam back to the city of Nairibi. The first few days, I was treated well maybe because it was my first day of arrival.
I was shown around the house, taught how to use some of the appliances, I was also shown the little room that was to be my room and also the small mattress that was to be my mattress.
Then I settled in my new home with hope that things would move fine and my madam won’t have any reason to send me home prematurely…
A severe lash of cane sent me hurrying to my feet the next morning.
“So you’re still sleeping?” My Madam asked looking ferociously at me. “So you’re still sleeping by 7am?” She repeated lashing out two more strokes of the cane. “Who are you waiting for to clean up the mess in the kitchen and sweep the house?” She asked.
“I’m sorry ma,” I sobbed.
“Come on, go and do your morning function!” She barked as I ran out of the room and into the kitchen.
It wasn’t my fault that I woke up late that morning. I had overworked myself the previous night clearing up the dishes that was used in preparing and serving the meal for the night. By the time I finished and went to bed, the night was far gone. I sobbed as I washed the remaining dishes in the sink and swept the entire house.
“Make sure you fetch water after sweeping that thing,” my madam’s harsh voice reminded me from the bedroom.
“Yes ma,” I replied hurrying up.
The buckets I used in fetching water were those big saclux buckets that were so heavy that I never attempted to fill them to the brim.
I was to fill one very big drum in the front verandah with another at the back. For more than 3hours I ferried the buckets from well to drum and back. By the time I finished, I was very hungry and exhausted.
My madam gave me two slices of bread and a cup of mixed water in the name of tea. The mixed water was tasteless, hot and almost burned my tongue in the first sip.
My madam was married to a well to-do husband and they already had 3kids the last of which was very tender. It was obvious that she was the one I came to babysit.
The other two – a boy and a girl – were much older but still needed certain degree of babysitting like bathing them and washing their clothes and even feeding them as at when due. But then the tender baby gave the biggest trouble. She cried a lot and more often than not always put me into trouble. With only two slices of bread and mixed water in my tummy, I carried the baby about trying as hard as I could to quell her cry.
“Why is that baby crying?” My madam asked walking into the sitting room.
“I don’t know ma,” I replied with terror.
“Gbawam!” A very hot slap landed on my right cheek and I nearly dropped the baby out of pain.
“What did you just try to do now?” My madam asked advancing ferociously towards me.
“Please I’m sorry ma,” I pleaded sobbing.
The raised voice of my madam coupled with the sound of the slap further increased the baby’s crying and my madam took her from me.
“Come on, go and put hot water on the fire for her pap!” She thundered and I ran into the kitchen in obedience…
To Be Continued Tomorrow… Watch out!!!
I hope you guys will enjoy this new episode. “Agonies Of A HouseHelp” This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents and dialogues are products of imagination and are not to be constructed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or person is entirely coincidental. All right reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission of the copyright holder.
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