In everyone’s eyes, I was doomed. In my friends and family’s eyes, though they never said it, it was crystal clear that they felt betrayed by my action. I felt my dreams fading away from me. What was I to become? I felt my friends drifting away from me and my life from a negative perspective. I have ruined my life.
What happened to me can be described entirely in four words: I fell in love. Back then, I was a beautiful young girl, full of dreams and aspirations. My family was poor, and I could see that they were sacrificing every cent they had for me to go to school and have most of the things we needed. I couldn’t say that we had everything, but my parents always did their best for me to have a better life.
All I ever wanted was to make my parents proud and to rescue my parents from the jaws of poverty. Then it happened. When I was doing my form four, I met this handsome, tall guy, who I thought would be my husband. Little did I know that he would ruin my life. We dated for 3 months, and I was head over heels in love with him. He convinced me to do things that I never thought I would do. Then we indulged in unprotected sex. The next thing I knew was that I was pregnant and the guy disappeared from my life. He was gone just the way he had come.
When my parents knew that I was pregnant, they were mad at me. My father disowned me and vowed not to have anything to do with me or my child. The decision was final, so just like that, I was on my own with broken dreams, betrayal, rejection, and nowhere to go.
My child was born in agony, grief, and misery. I was not ready to be a mother. Then it dawned on me that I had no economic capability to take care of the child. Since I have no qualifications or marketable skills, I ended up being a sex worker.
This was not an easy road. It was full of all forms of abuse and stereotypes. I was dying every day on the inside, but I had to be strong for my daughter. So I endured it all; mockery, verbal abuse, even sexual abuse.
My rescue came in the form of AIDS Counselling Trust – ACT. I wanted to quit the life I was living, but I had nothing else that would help me sustain my kid. Then a friend of mine introduced me to a facilitator from AIDS Counselling Trust – ACT, who told me that they were enrolling people in community apprenticeships and I was eligible for one. I hesitated to join but then reminded myself that I had nothing more to lose.
So I enrolled in a baking class. That’s how my life changed for the better. Through that program, I’m now able to bake cakes, bread, buns, and a lot more. I’m not earning a lot yet, but I now have a future, something to look forward to. If you ask me where I will be in the next five years, I’m now able to answer.
I want to thank AIDS Counselling Trust – ACT for this life-changing skill and for giving me a future. If not for them, I would still be in a dilemma, and who knows what would have happened to me?