“I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”~~ Ecclesiastes 3: 11-12
A time for everything…
Once again, a reminder of how nothing good or bad lasts forever. The scripture talks about ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Watch as the fire burns, its glowing ambers and the heat it emits, take note that when the fire dies down all that remains are ashes. A reminder of what was. It is its time to die.
Falling in love was easy and the courtship was great. The wining and dining that led to the wedding was out of this world. The honeymoon was to die for. It was all good until things got sour. Like lightning the husband was gone and in his absence she does the best she could for the sake of her children.
Malawi is pregnant. Unlike the previous pregnancies she is alone with this one. It is supposed to be her happiest time when one dreams of the child’s future and what sort of adult they will grow up to be. Will it be the African Obama? So many questions but no answers. Her only hope is that the child will be more responsible than the father.
There’s something beautiful about her, she glows inside out, from the rounded belly, the flawless skin to the plumpness of her body. She gives that baby all her love. In the father’s absence the love inside her is being polished into anger, the enemy, as history gets in the way of her memories. How could she have been so blind missing all the signs of the liar he was? He came bearing all kinds of gifts, whispering sweet nothings in her ears, how naïve she had been and what a fool he must have taken her for. She wonders how he feels now that he has violated her and abandoned her.
“Wapakati” [pregnant] as in one is at a crossroads, it could be a situation of life or death. That’s what they say of the pregnant woman. Malawi is an expectant mother left to deal with the pregnancy alone. She has an important job of giving birth to a beautiful baby. However, in order to do so, please excuse her as she screams her head off, hits someone if necessary, and squeezes the life out of anyone who dares to help out.
The noise comes with the territory for if she doesn’t shout how else will you know that she’s alive or has feelings? The anticipation of the arrival of the bundle of joy brings forth mixed emotions. The pain so intense she hides it even from herself. As they get stronger and stronger she wants to scream but is stopped in mid air by the stares from the midwives.
“Hush, an African woman is not supposed to cry!” they say. Is this what she’s been reduced to? Another robot forced to feel no emotion and just take in the pain and only reveal it to itself? Why hold in the beautiful experience of bringing another human being into this world? As with any excited mother her hope and prayer is that the child has all toes and fingers, a fine nose and that everything is normal.
Like a roller coaster, life has not been easy for her. Long were the sleepless nights and the long walks to the hospitals for checkups were unbearable. Riding the minibus was not an option. She had no way of paying for the high fare due to the fuel crisis. Dry taps welcome her at home with water pouring out when it pleases. As for the hospitals, well, the empty medicine cabinets, lack of supplies, and now lack of staff.
The echoes of the empty corridors bear witness to the hard times. Never thought the day would come when expectant mothers would be asked to bring their own candles in case there was no electricity at the time of delivery. One wonders if you can come out of such an institution alive. It is only by God’s grace that anyone comes out alive. The cries inside the ward are just as bad as conditions outside the walls of the hospital.
Times are hard. Her wish is for the child to grow up under different circumstances. That is the reason why she refuses to keep quiet. The blame is not the governments alone. The people are to blame too. Corruption is rampant from the policeman at the road block to the head honchos in the government. If she can afford to send the child to school he will face the quota system of education upon entry to the university. Tribalism and poverty will be the order of the day.
As any mother she is somewhat prepared for this. You see, though the people have not been good to her, Malawi is blessed with so many natural resources. The beautiful calendar lake, uranium, bauxite, coal, limestone and of course the one highly recommended by the first husband as a source of income in the form of farming, arable land.
Some good times were had in this arable land and the money that came from this ground is what molded the woman you see now about to give birth yet again. The fruits of the land once took her to different lands where she was respected thanks to her first child. He wanted nothing but the best for his mother. Hardworking, his vision transformed her. She was never naked, well fed and her house had no leaking roof. Though she was illiterate it was never a problem for him. He took her to countries far and wide so she could see how others lived. His emphasis was on “kuyenda ndikuphunzira” [you learn more when you travel]. He built schools, hospitals and roads since he knew how to live within his means.
After he passed on came his crafty brother full of promises which he never kept. His idea of taking care of the family was dolling out money so instead of encouraging self dependency, financial empowerment. Confident as Malawi was, he gave them the younger brother hoping to control him and he laughed at those who opposed his continuing to take care of Malawi. It is how we arrive at this juncture.
Those on Malawi’s side have prayed for a wise leader in whom to trust. They have faith he will be born soon. As to when, no one knows. It could be today, tomorrow or the next day. Whatever the case, people are anxiously waiting for this new born baby with high hope that it will be wise enough to take them from rags to riches. “Kubereka mwana nkulemera”, let’s just hope that this child will not steal from the mother as the other children did.
It’s time to for rebirth. As Malawians we need to gather in one place and work at rebuilding and mending what Satan has undone. It will not be easy but through laughter and tears, as we reminisce of the good old days, we will surely make it. Throw away the hate and embrace the love of this nation knowing that in uniting we are healing and on our way to a free and peaceful tomorrow. Let the mourning be less for we shall be dancing to a brand new song.
A brand new day, a hope that this child about to be born to us will be the future we have been longing for. Happy New Year to all. This too shall pass!
*Mbachi Ng’oma is a Malawian blogger and social activist writting for Nyasa Times
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