|The 3rd, 4th wife syndrome|
|Thursday, 14 June 2012 19:54|
A woman can get married to three husbands in a row in one year and no one bates an eyelid.
I had an encounter with a woman who has five children from five different fathers and claims it is not her fault as she was driven by the need to find a home for her kids.
The woman I spoke to was happy to be identified and here is her story.
“I got married at the age 14 to a tractor driver since he could provide for me. I come from a big family, so I was more than happy to settle down with him when he offered his hand in marriage,” said Shupi Tamuda.
After three months of marital bliss, as she called it, she was pregnant.
“I gave birth the following year and my husband was happy because I gave birth to a baby boy,” said Tamuda.
Her problems began when her son was barely a year. Her husband began to engage in extra-marital affairs and she could not stomach it.
“I told him I was not prepared to be infected with HIV because I had gone to the clinic and had been diagnosed with an STI twice,” she said.
Tamuda moved out of the husband’s homestead with her baby and she was surprised that within a day of moving out, her best friend had taken over her bedroom.
“To say I was surprised is an understatement. My best friend who used to tell me that it was better for me to leave, replaced me in a day.
“She was the source of my troubles yet she pretended to sympathise with me,” she said.
Tamuda said she was hurt and vowed that she would get married to the first man who approached her just to spite her former husband and new wife.
“I did not waste time for by end of the month I was married to someone who had a better job than my former husband. This man was the foreman at a local poultry farm. So he made sure we had chicken everyday,” she said.
But her second marriage faltered in no time as the husband continued to make advances to other women on the farm using the chickens at his disposal as bait. Not surprisingly, he soon made a second woman pregnant.
Tamuda said she could not live under the same roof with the new woman. So in no time she was packing her bags again.
“His new wife was a witch. We shared one bedroom and I could not stomach the noise they made at night, so I just left with my second child,” she said.
With two kids to feed, Tamuda was no longer able to make ends meet. So this third time she had gotten wise or so she thought. She would settle for someone mature, even an old man who would give her a roof over her head.
“This time around, I just needed someone old enough even the same age as my father. What I required now was just a roof over my head and my children’s security,” she said.
Tamuda’s prayers were answered when the local witchdoctor who was “treating” her asked her to become his third wife.
“The n’anga promised that my health problems would become a thing of the past if I moved in with him. I was desperate and needed a place to stay so I agreed and became his third wife,” she said.
Soon Tamuda could not withstand the heat in the polygamous kitchen and in no time she was kicked out by wife number four.
Today Tamuda is a mother of five kids with five different men.
She has been on antiretrovirals for the past three years, implying that she was already HIV positive by the time she moved in with husband number four.
At just 21 she is a heartbroken mother to five innocent kids whom she does not know how to bring up. But worse still, she could be a victim of super-infection.
Last week this paper carried a story about a man has married 11 times. He was in court to seek a protection order against the 11th wife whom he accused of beating him up each time they had a quarrel.
The woman told the court that the man was used to abusing women and that 10 women had left before her. She vowed that she was staying put.
The wife alleged that the source of their bitter quarrels was that the husband, Admire Chivhunga, was taking ARVs behind her back.
There appears to be a trend where people who already know their HIV status are getting re-infected, deliberately or otherwise.
This is worrisome! Programmers need to get back to the communities and teach them of the dangers of second time HIV infection, which is termed super-infection.
Super-infection may accelerate disease progression.
In view of what is happening in our farms, not to mention the the red light districts where commercial sex workers often dispense with protection in exchange for a higher fee, there is no doubt that super-infection is occurring right here at our doorsteps.
This calls for behaviour change, recounselling on those already living positively that there is no gain in loading one’s already compromised immunity with other HIV strains.
With the rate super-infections are occurring, this points to lack of disclosure and a shocking revelation that even after testing HIV positive, someone has not changed their behaviour.
It therefore does not take a rocket scientist to realise that the country’s stated goal of the three zeroes, that is: zero new infections and zero Aids-related deaths will not be attainable.
May you get correct understanding?