Joseline (not her real name) sits on a stool outside her house worried and full of misery. When I greet her she accepts the greeting with a nod.
Dressed in rappers that are commonly known as bitenge, she looks old but she is young and still looks fresh. After all, it’s not long since she was married.
Looking at her home, you would wonder why a woman like her would be miserable. The grand house has almost every accessory; a maid and a good compound to relax in.
I thought that every young woman would be the happiest living in such an environment. Not knowing what brings me to her, Joseline enters into conversation with ease, trying to smile to hide her miseries.
But when I tell her why I have come, to talk about men who leave their wives at home while they look for high school girls, Joseline looks at me with a questioning stare.
“Who sent you boy? Who told you my story?”
I explained that I had indeed come to hear her story. After some persuasion, she promises to tell me on the condition that her name, her husband’s name and where she lives do not appear in the paper. I comply.
“After all people know my story with my husband. They know the fights in this home and the reasons behind,” she starts.
A husband’s betrayal
Joseline’s man loved her so much when they were just married. He came home early from work. But this began to change.
“After our first two kids, my man started to change. He started giving me excuses of having a lot of work that resulted in coming home late.”
Joseline explain that her man leaves the house very early in the morning and she does not see him again until midnight. He returns looking tired and longing for bed.
He hardly talks to Joseline until morning when she is busy preparing the shower. At first, Joseline used to think it was his work load but later when it worsened, she couldn’t stand it any longer.
“Our love disappeared. Whenever I could bring up an idea, he could ignore me as if we had never engaged together in such talks.”
Joseline says that this went on for so long until she was tired and started pressing for change. He promised he would change and tried temporaily but it only lasted for one or two nights.
“I couldn’t wait any longer. I went to a friend who advised me to try and find out what he really does after work.”
“I discovered that my man moves out with other girls, who are young whom I hardly believe have gone up to university.”
“I wonder what men are up to. I do not know what they need on this world. I tried to do everything for my man but all he could do is to start hanging out with young girls,” laments Joseline. I too wondered what makes men search for young girls leaving their wives at home.
Outside the school gates
I headed to a secondary school and brought up the topic. I was astonished by what the young students told me. A girl at Kabuga High School who declined to reveal her name says that the topic can’t hit the headlines because it’s as old as the school itself.
“Men come in pretence of being parents. When the school authority insists on not letting the student leave, the girl calls the man who comes in pretence of a parent and takes the girl without much resistance from school authorities.”
Asked for how long they go, she poses a rhetorical question: “How long does a person take to heal? The least is two days and they claim they are getting better. The next day she is the richest in school.”
Andrew (not his real name) says that his ex-girlfriend is very rich at school yet at home her family is very poor.
Andrew says his once girlfriend’s mother, who struggles to raise her children alone, can only afford transport and basic needs.
“I tried to find out how she used to get the money with which she sometimes used to buy me eats at the canteen. I was astonished when I found out that she had a man in the trading centre that she goes to for logistics every weekend. The man has a relatively good shop where he picks whatever she needs on top of money and gives it to her.”
This was a bit amazing yet absurd to Andrew: A girl using the money she got from her sugar daddy to feed her boyfriend.
The whole story was becoming interesting. I decided to talk to more girls.
“We won’t tell you our names since you are a journalist but we can handle the talk,” one of them said before I had even finished introducing myself.
“Ehhh! Why would one suffer at school without money yet there are those ready to part with some penny on the much they possess. We need a decent life at school and over the weekend. Do you think parents can foot this too, or our fellow students? Of course not, that’s why we opt to use these men who know how to give,” one of them said.
Mackline (not her real name) says that whilst they are only in secondary, they are not young as people think.
“We are old and only delayed in school due to the effect of Genocide. But we would have finished school long ago and even married. So having such men is not a big issue because we know what to do.”
Pregnancy and HIV
“We know what we do. We move out in a group and come back in a group. We like men who want only to spend time with ladies but who do not push them for a pay in kind. But if it so happens and you find that you are in a net then an agreement is reached between the two of you,” says Mackline who refuses to tell me what she meant by agreement.
When I asked them why men leave their wives home and come to secondary students, Chantal says that men marry when they find their wives fresh and attractive. But this ends with time especially when a wife gives birth. So men decide to search for young and fresh looking ladies, who they can have a good time with.
“Girls in secondary are a bit cheap and less problematic as they do not demand a lot. They are not too ambitious and only need small amounts to use at school” says Chantal.
Eugenia Nyirabaruta says that poverty causes all this. It’s very common to find girls that cannot afford to buy simple necessities such as sanitary pads.
Men take this opportunity by providing money. She further says that some of these girls are too weak to defend themselves. They are shy and end up giving in to these men.
The law is not dormant on such matters. It cracks down on those who lure young girls from secondary schools for sexual reasons.
Recently a man known as Mustafa Munyawera was sentenced to 30 years in prison by a court in Gasabo district.
According to prosecution, Munyawera used money to lure girls to a house he rented. He would then sell their services to other men.
Parents of such girls, who filed a case against the man, were delighted with the court ruling. A parent of one of the girls, described the man as a monster.
“All such men ought to be brought to justice.” She said.