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Published:March 13th, 2006 02:22 EST
A Journey Cut Short Child Abuse

A Journey Cut Short Child Abuse

By Juliet Maruru

 

The girls sat giggling on a slab which had been left over from the construction of the new classroom. The classroom was a gift from the local area`s Member of Parliament to the community. It was the primary school located  in Barani, which is in the Kilifi District. The classroom would be the homeroom for the standard eight grade class. 

The girls were excited about their new classroom. It was the beginning of the last term of their final year of primary school. In a few months time, they would be entering a new phase of life, life in secondary school. Alongside all the excitement of moving forward, there was the excitement of growing up. The girls were acutely aware of their newfound power as females in a co-educational school. The boys were mesmerized and the girls knew it. They giggled as one of them related her recent escapade with one of the boys.

Kadzo Charo was not sitting with the rest of the girls. She stood at a corner of the classroom looking out of a window at the rest of the girls, barely able to see them as thoughts and emotions whirled inside of her. She was angry, sad, terrified, confused but most of all she was in despair.

Looking at her, no one could see any reason for her pain. At 13 ½ years of age, she was a gifted child. She had proven herself easily as the smartest kid in school, with extraordinary high grades. She was agile and sporty, a regular outdoors girl. The teachers as well as her classmates loved her.

However, on this day, she had no reason to sit, read, or go out and laugh with the other girls while they were ogling at the boys. It was not long before classes began. Kadzo went through the motions of the school day. By the time the bell rang to go home, several teachers and students knew something was wrong. Mr. Dzombo the Geography teacher could not let it go. He approached her and enquired if something was wrong. She smiled- he could tell it was fake- and insisted that she was just fine. He could not find a way to draw her out. He decided that it was just a blue day for the young student.

Kadzo friend, Terry always walked home with her, but when it was time to go, Kadzo was nowhere to be seen. Therefore, Terry walked home with some other girls and boys that she did not like as much. She wanted to pass by Kadzo`s home but she knew she had to hurry home and help collect firewood, fetch water, and prepare dinner. She decided that she would leave home early the next day and pass by Kadzo`s home, so they could walk to school together.

Terry kept the promise she had made to herself. Early the next morning she was hurrying down the path that led to Kadzo`s home when she was forced to pause at the sight of people milling in Kadzo`s home compound. Someone was wailing. Terry`s heart stopped for an entire second, and then she cautiously advanced towards the house not daring to breathe. By the time she reached the house, she already knew.

They said that Kadzo had killed herself. At first, no one could tell why such a young promising soul would end her existence. Then the rumors started milling. Soon it was common knowledge. Kadzo had been raped by her own father. She had not been able to bear the pain.