|Parenting: It’s no stroll in the park|
|Saturday, 01 September 2012 00:00|
WITH beads of sweat almost streaming into the stewpot, an old lady donning sunbaked apparel and a tattered homemade apron called all her children for lunch, but no one responded. “Tafi, Tafi, Tafadzwa . . . Titi, titi, Tinashe, Handireya,” she shouted, but the young men ignored her, choosing to continue playing draughts with colleagues.
The gap-toothed woman, with a furrowed brow, tried to threaten the youngsters, but all was in vain.
“Can’t you hear your mother is calling your name,” an astute friend advised before he was stared with an eye pregnant with scorn.
The smell of kapenta, commonly referred to as matemba or same-age boys in street lingo, had driven the teenagers away from the kitchen. And inviting them over to down the underage fish with sadza was asking for too much.
Kwaitenge kuedza vadzimu nesengere.
Elsewhere, the father of the house was also going through a lean patch.
Samaita, as he is affectionately known after his totem, had spent the whole working morning hurting himself with the tools of his trade owing to absent mindedness.
He neither had bus fare for the trip back home nor a dollar to buy platefuls of undercooked beef soaked in vegetable oil sold by coarse and unpolished vendors near his workplace.
Despite his age, the father of four had to contend with playing soccer to kill the hour-long lunch break.
When all was said and done, he footed home and bought a bundle of vegetables for supper. Peanut butter, a bit of curry and salt would make the greens tastier. Kudya, kudya hazvinei kuti wadyei.
Gentle reader, the tale of this ghetto family is not isolated.
People are going through hell in the communities in which we live.
The battle for survival and a quest to afford children one of their basic rights, education, has not made their plight any better.
Vakuru vakataura, kuwanda kwakanaka,
Kwakaipira kupedza muto,
Handina kuiteerera tsumo yevakuru iyi,
Iye zvino mhuri yandiwandira,
Vana vanomwe kumukuru, nevashanu kumudiki,
Chandakadya chamuka, sang the legendary Biggie Tembo and the Bhundu Boys.
True to the song, the more heads you have under your roof the more the pocket feels the pinch.
Food that is being served in most homes as people prepare for the third term of schooling is hard to believe.
While a few are still enjoying meat, a good number of families are making do with pumpkin leaves, black jack and sweet potato leaves.
Mashizha embambaira arikufaya heavy.
Those lucky to be living near wheat farms are having mice for relish though high are chances of having rats finding their way right into the stewpot.
People who rear chickens are enjoying roaring business selling these populous birds on credit.
Trouble however, comes when it’s time to pay back because some people by nature are never short of excuses.
Everything will be okay while they borrow, but when payback time comes they will either be sick or busy attending funerals, kurova guva, kuroodza mwana wemuzukuru and kugova nhumbi dzezimbuya mukande remumhuri.
Each time a new school term beacons, those believed to be in better economic circumstance than their friends and relatives will be getting all manner of sob stories.
“Please if you do not act here we will be very embarrassed. All neighbours are looking at us. They want to see if we will manage to do it this time around,” you are told by shameless people keen to place their burdens on your shoulders.
The scheming fellows, will chase away their children on account of unneccessary squabbles which will however, be swept under the carpet the moment they realise an idiot somewhere has played their role.
When schools are about to open gentle reader, landlords have trouble getting rentals from their tenants.
“Lodgers are a big problem. They want to first finish paying school fees for their children forgetting that I rely on their payments to meet my obligations.
“Some lodgers have the cheek to buy their children new school uniforms when they know fully well that rent comes first. Being an understanding person can be ruinous I tell you,” I heard some landlords saying in a bar last weekend.
“Being authoritative is one way to ensure your lodger never plays fu tricks with you. Vakomana vekuseri havadi kutombojaidzwa kana zuva rimwechete. Never allow them to taste freedom if you want to lead a good life under your roof,” they purred while taking turns to dip their lips in opaque beer in a council beerhall.
As I commit pen to paper gentle reader, some couples are not on talking terms because of fights associated with the need to raise school fees for the children.
Some women are now making it their business to know what money is in their spouses’ wallets and the uses thereof.
“Baba vemwana, muchikwama menyu manga muine US$20. Ko yaenda kupi imi musina kana kumbotitengera chingwa nevana pano. Murume mukuru asinganyare. Kuraiwo mhani,” you see men being told straight in the eye.
Visitors are least welcome during this time of paying fees.
The more they come, the less time there is to run around chasing for the goods children usually need to have around them to make their tuition better.
Some fly-by-night companies purporting to offer fees assistance to those in need are not as handy as they want unsuspecting clients to believe.
They charge interest rates of up to 40 percent and hand their clients 10 percent less than required to cover “administration costs.”
A good number of credit houses that offer fees assistance also require obscene amounts as collateral security.
For a loan of US$1 000, one is required to surrender a car worth well over US$6 000.
If ever you protest, you are advised to seek assistance elsewhere.
If you have children out of wedlock, this is the time such stories come out because of the demand for fees and a bit of cash for subsistence.
The opening of the new school term also coincides with the need to pay rent, leaving those of the mean sort between a rock and a hard place.
So much happens during this time of paying fees and let’s ensure we do it amicably.