Desperate Times Season 1 – Part 1

After the burial of my father, I could not stand the sight of my uncle, Rukovo .
I had had enough of his verbal and physical abuse, since my father got retrenched from his job as a driver of People First Bus Service(PFBS).A company owned by the government of Chedombo.

My name is Fadzai Vhudzijena. I am a woman aged 22. I grew up in the rural areas of Nedziwa Province ,in the Northern side of Chedombo.
That is were I attended both Primary and Secondary school.

I remember my father arriving at our rural home in the late hours of the day, on a Sunday in winter.
He only had a suitcase in his hand that had his few old clothes.He looked pearl and weak.

I remember my mother shedding tears as she listened to her husband’ sad retrenchment story,and being sent home empty-handed.

My heart sank when my father told us that he got retrenched for being sick.
He used to drive long distances in dusty roads,exposed to harsh weather and polluted environments,without getting enough rest nor eating healthy .
Hence he contracted TB .

My father coughed terribly,I felt pity for him every time the cough could start , sometimes coughing blood clots.

We were 3children in our family,2 girls and a boy ,me being the last and only surviving child.
My two siblings had died a year apart,
My eldest sister died of cholera due to unclean environment in the city where she worked as a Teacher. Efforts to rush her to the hospital were fruitless as there was no medicine to treat her.

My brother, an unemployed Engineering graduate from the University of Chedombo,died during Protests in the country’s capital.
Eye witnesses said soldiers fired live bullets to unarmed civilians as a way of forcing them off the streets where they were protesting against high unemployment rate and unaffordability of basic commodities across the nation of Chedombo.

Several people lost their lives ,my brother being one of them.

What best could the nurses at our local Rural Clinic do,to help my father get better from TB,that the big Government hospitals in the city where he worked couldn’t do?

I watched my father taking his last breath.
I was deeply hurt and my spirit was broken ,but I had to stay strong for my mother’ sake.

A few weeks after my father died ,his older brother ,Rukovo , became more abusive to me and my mother than he heartlessly was while my father lied on his deathbed.

He shouted at us for no reason, he constantly reminded us that he was the head of the family and our only hope for survival.

Uncle Rukovo was the district Councilor and a member of the ruling party.His wife Porina cared less about my mother and I ,and neither did their children.

I was so desperate to get out of that village.I was so desperate to change my mother’s life for the better.I was so desperate to have freedom.I mean I was so desperate to live a normal life.

My father had managed to send me up to fourth year in high School before he died and I had passed well,but my unemployed widowed -mother couldn’t afford to send me further.

One day ,I decided to leave home for the city.I stole money from uncle Rukovo’s wallet while he was fast-asleep under a tree-shed on a hot Tuesday afternoon.

I knew no one there ,and I wasn’t familiar with the City too.The only thing I knew was how dangerous and fast,life in the city was .I wasn’t neither too courageous nor ready to face it all,but I was desperate ,and desperate times calls for desperate measures.