A week ago a strange number called me and on the other end it was a female speaking,”I am concerned about Maria’s progress.” And she hung up leaving me with more questions than answers. I had to call her. “Hallo your call was brief what seem to be the matter and which Maria are you referring to?” That’s when she introduced herself as Clare saying she had gotten my number from Maria’s phone and decided to call since I was the only one she seemed close to. She went ahead and explained how Maria had became detached from everyone without a sole reason for that. Healthwise she lost a lot of weight and most of the time she spent her time sleeping and sometimes crying. I promised to go see Maria if time allows because I was revising for my end semester exam and this morning here I was knocking at Maria’s hostel door.
The door flung open and an average height light skinned lady opened the door. She had put on a sweat pant most probably she uses it as a pyjama. I greeted her and all she could do was roll her eyes and said “Poa” and went ahead and sat near the window. The room was occupied by a strong scented lady perfume odds are the cheaper ones because just a single whiff you felt life throwing up. I heard another voice from behind,” Sasa,umemake kukuja at last?” And without much thought i recognised that voice,the one that had called me a week ago.”Eeeh ndio nimekuja nimekua busy kiasi.” I quickly surveyed the room from the purple coloured curtains to the red carpet that had neatly covered the floor.” I am Clare na uyu ni Ciku maroomie wa Maria” and I nodded suggestively as if to say I knew your names, funny? Huh.
Up until now I had not seen Maria who was the main reason why I was here.”Mmejuana na Maria for how long,” Clare asked. And before I answered the gloomy looking Ciku added “Are you two dating?” And finished it with a smile the first time I had seen her smile all that time.I told them how we had known each other since first year ” All those years mkidate there is love really nakuambianga Clare husikii.” Madam gloomy jumped in with that statement but I quickly interrupted “I have never dated Maria we are just friends wazuri.” And they all smiled like to suggest I have just lied to them. Just when I was about to ask where Maria was the door opened and she got in and in that instant I knew something was amiss with her. She smiled at me a fake smile which had some lines of weakness and sadness and came over and we hugged each other.
“Yaani hamuwezi pea mgeni wangu breako?” Maria asked. The gloomy one concentrated more on her phone while Clare fixed her eyes on the make up kit she was applying to her face. I moved in and told her that if I was really angry I would have asked for breakfast myself. Maria said it was a surprise to get a visit from me and that statement made Clare to wink at me suggesting to keep her name out of the visit. I had to invent and told her I had felt it was good to come and say hi to a friend. She quickly prepared tea and some snacks and served them to me and that time the two roommates bid me and Maria good bye and went out and it seemed like they were going on a date it being a Saturday and how they had dressed. Being the only two of us in the room I swang in and asked her “You seem out of touch and quiet what is the problem Maria?” She came into her own defence and told me end of semester exams were the reason for that which I held my ground and maintained something was wrong.
I had known Maria since my second week in campus when I had gone for a C.U fellowship and she had struck me in the crowd. At that time I was the innocent dude who would go to fellowship and church service and so did Maria. After the fellowship she took me to her room and gave me some juice and snacks while conversing about our high school and our general lives. She was doing B.Sc(Acquatic) and she struck me as a very intelligent lady and that explained coming to such fellowship as opposed to house bashes which had alcohol and all sorts of drugs. That time we exchanged numbers and we could talk time to time until second year when we lost touch but still maintained each other’s number.
Maria finally opened up and said its true something was bothering her.She told me how in her first year second semester level of study her roommates who were also first years started bringing liquor and drinking them in the room. This behaviour bothered Maria and being a staunch christian she often excused herself and sometimes even sleeping in her friend’s house but it wasn’t long before the roommates started luring her into drinking. They would tell her how now she was an adult who would make her own decisions “Apa uko campo sahi si ati unaogopa mzae atakupata akuchape.” She recalled one of the roommate telling her that. One saturday the roommates bought some “mzinga” and found Maria reading a Bible and they told her that she had to taste liquor that day. “Ii mzinga tumebuy ndio ukunywe na tutakunywa wote.” One of the roommate by the name Flora had suggested. After much protest she finally gave in and tasted the liquor and it was bitter and she recalled asking herself how drunkards find drinking enjoyable.
The only thing she recalled was her roommates dancing and she blacked out. She could hear faint voices “Uyu amechew mbio aje tumbler moja pekee?” She woke up the next day at around noon tired with a severe headache and swore never to drink again not knowing this was the beginning of a habit that would be hard to stop. In the coming couple of weeks the roommates kept on bringing liquor to the room and Maria would drink until she became a master. She immediately stopped going to Church but I aslo recalled at about that time I had also stopped going to church. Through all this escapades Maria was introduced to bhang smoking and she recalled the first time she took a puff “When I took the first puff it felt like the smoke went straight to the brain and started a windmill,my head was spinning and felt like I was floating mid air. Nilijua apa Maria umeenda kabisa!” They were habits that pushed her deeper into trouble as her performance had started plummating.
Through this behaviours she had started hooking up with different men and while some broke up with her for her drunkardness behaviour other just took advantage of her and left her. “Men would take me to the pub,buy me liquor and slept with me without my consent.” She could not stop this behaviour because she was a beneficiary too interms of the free booze and weed. All along the way she had gotten pregnant and being unable to identify the father she would abort it in an instant and go back to sleeping with the same men after getting free booze.
Then one day when everything would change her life for the worse. She was invited to a finalists bash.
“Ii bash singeweza hata everything ilikuwa apo pombe,weed,shisha and men too.”
They arrived a little bit early and so they were served with liquor by a charmy lad and they immediately carried on with their drinking. They drunk,smoked weed,shisha and danced after all it was the final. With all this content in her system she started feeling dizzy and as fate would have it someone spiked her booze with a viagra pill and suddenly she turned vigorous and started stripping infront of the “mafisi sacco” and that night she was gangraped by three men and when she woke up in the morning she sure knew something happened.
A friend took her to the hospital as a precaution of being raped and everything went south. It was required that she be tested for HIV/AIDS, STIs and pregnancy. After about an hour of testing the doctor was ready for the results. Maria was found to have HIV/AIDS and worse the doctor found out that in the course of procurring the many abortions she had damaged her womb and that meant she could not support a pregnancy. “My whole world turned dark I could not see the doctor nor my friend who had accompanied me, I tried waking up to run but my legs had lost strength I just sat there tears rolled down my cheeks my life was over.” She was given some counselling and told to be coming more often.
I looked at Maria she was sobbing and I felt the pain deep down and we embraced but the crying did not stop. As I was still consolling her Clare and Ciku got into the room and they took over the consolation and that time I got a chance to get out and go to my room.
That night I sat down and thought about the predicament Maria was going through and how many innocent girls have found themselves there and how many will find themselves there. A world full of pleasures full of enticing things but one miss-step and you plunge into a deep sea of misery sadness and even death. All you have to do is take life slowly and not fast.