I wish to respond to the story, “Exploited as a house girl, village girl ends up as a sex worker”, published in Sunday Times on September 15.
This story really saddened me, but I also liked it because it addresses some of the horrible things we might not know are taking place in our midst. I’d like to thank you for these kinds of stories. We need more of these very often.
I think that this problem is more complex than we may think, that’s why I call upon The New Times to one day run a thoroughly detailed editorial specifically about it. Maybe concerned governmental institutions will wake up and address it.
I live in Nyamirambo and I’m a neighbour to a woman who lives with a young girl still in primary school — even though she looks a little bit older for someone of her age. Before, I used to think that she’s her mother, but I was appalled a few days ago when I asked my maid about her. I did because I saw her struggling to lift a heavy jerrycan of water on her head while she was coming from fetching water some kilometres away from her home (as you might know, it’s been months since we last had running water in Nyamirambo).
The maid told me that the young girl doesn’t have any relationship with the woman she lives with and that she’s an orphan who lost both parents. In other words, she’s living in a foster family.
She wakes up every morning to clean the house, cook for the woman who’s supposed to care for her, before going to school. And when she comes back, she goes directly into the kitchen to cook. When there’s no water — as it is almost the entire month — she takes a big jerrycan and goes to fetch for it in places so far away from home.
I’ve since learnt that she never gets enough time to revise her books, and that she’s always on the bottom of the class. I almost burst into tears when my maid was telling me all that. For an orphan at that tender age, she’s suffering and her heart is broken. I tried to put myself into her shoes and felt like hating people.
This is the reason why concerned institutions must make a survey to find out children living under such unbearable misery. Those are the people we always say will build the next generation of Rwanda, but it looks like there’s no one paying even a little attention to them. There are many children who are becoming sex slaves, enduring harsh domestic work within our communities.
For Jackie Uwimana, I wish you right now start saving for the future so that you’ll eventually quit the sex work and start a new life from scratch. With this kind of hard life you went through, I believe that you’ll succeed.
Remember also to always wear protection any time you engage in sex. I firmly believe that you will one day find the love of your life, the man who will make you enjoy sex once again. That day, you will be happy to raise your daughter, care for your husband, all with unmatched determination.
I wholeheartedly thank The New Times for giving a voice to such people. We, the readers, are hungry for many more of such social stories in the future.
Mutara Intore, Kigali, Rwanda