The Changing Tides – Episode 1
A Story By Tisa Phiri
“The struggles of life are mostly defined accurately by those that go through them. Every human being passes through some rough patches in life, surprisingly even people who are wealthy. One thing or the other can make them struggle in life. Either for love, for peace of mind or even the desire to be free of their riches so that they don’t stress over them overnight or battle to protect their riches or increase them.
However, other people tend to be unfortunate that the tides of so many struggles, starting from wanting safe shelter, food, clothes. They seem so basic when you don’t luck any. But the ones that can reveal the true pain of lucking a proper place to sleep or a meal to push in their mouths, are those people that have experienced it..
Many are the times that we take advantage of the gift of what we have. we can only come to appreciate it when we experience the cold of the winter night on our skin or hours of hunger. ” Maria thought to herself as she sat in the corridors of Cairo road watching people and vehicles passing. Wondering how it felt like for those she was seeing driving big cars the Windows of their vehicles closed. She imagined that probably they had heaters on as the cold of June was so intense she was failing to grip her mouth from shivering.
Her feet felt cold they were almost numb. She sat folding her legs trying to contain as much heat as her body cold generate.
The night out under the fly over bridge added to the coldness she was feeling even when the sun started coming out warming up the air at 8 hours. The streets were becoming busy as those who sold items along the corridors where putting up their items displaying them for sale and those who sold fritters in plastics walked around trying to catch the morning customers. Other people where passing by going for work of God knows where.
She touched her mouth which felt so dry, she could not tell whether it was due to hunger or the Scotch of the coldness. Leaning her head to the wall of the shop she was resting from as the owners had not opened it yet, Maria thought about her life.
It had been her 3rd year on the street. she had seen all the season’s come and go with her being homeless. Maria wasn’t born on the street. She had parents who had good jobs and provided her with everything she wanted and needed.
Unfortunately, one day when Maria was only 13 years old her parents and her two siblings went out to buy things in town while she was still at school. A tragedy happened when they were involved in an accident along great east road which killed them all leaving her with no family. The only people that attended the funeral where friends and people from church.
Unfortunately Maria’s parents lived a nuclear life and she grew up not really knowing some relatives to her mother or father.
Someone had told her her parents came from copperbelt where they elloped and married each other without the concert of both parents.
Now no one ever visted them. It was like her father was disowned by his parents and her mother who only had a father since her mother died years back, also vowed not to go back to copperbeltaccusing her mother of witchcraft.
So they stayed for years in Lusaka and Maria never came to know of any close relatives. She knew only people from church and some family friends who clearly didn’t pay attention to her after the accident happened.
She tried to stay for a year with one of her mother’s friend but when one of the brothers to the lady started making some advances to rape her she ran away and that’s when she settled in the streets.
She met Dorothy who they usually called ‘Doro ‘ in the streets and they quickly become friends.
They did some jobs like, carrying people’s things from one station to the other or sold some water for some guys who where selling on the street however, the earnings where not enough to sustain them.
Most of the days they would go without food. And in the night they would struggle to find where to sleep, because they were other street boys who where so harsh on them. They spent most of the nights moving from one street corner to another to look for shelter.
One day, Doro decided to start prostitution just to get her self off the streets. However, Maria hadrefused to follow her friends way of life and chose to continue struggling in the hope of one day finding one of her parent’s relatives .
She befriended some leader of the streets who offered her a spot and protection under the fly over bridge in return for a commision everday. Of which mostly was the only thing she managed to make the whole day leaving her hungry and thirsty..
“Hey moved it!” One of the workers of the shop she was resting shouted to her bringing her to the present. She slowly stood, her long dress which had not been in water for a long time reaching her feet. she held it and walked away.
A certain woman walked in heels towards her and she didn’t see her. she bumped into her and the lady screamed..
“Watch were you are going you street kid, you want to steal my purse huh ? I hate these people ” she spat and rubbed off her dress where she had contact with Maria.
Maria didn’t answer.. tears run down her face as she watched the lady walk away her long extension dangling in her back.
“God help me out of here ” she whispered to herself and turned to walk away.
Another lady who was standing nearby watched in silence what was happening and she felt pity for Maria. A 14 years old girl looking so hungry and cold.
“Come here my girl,” she called her out and handed her a K 5 note.
“Go and buy yourself something to eat” she told her.
Maria extended her dirt hands and got the money. “God bless you mam..” she whispered and walked away.
Later that day she worked around the streets and thankfully she managed to make the money to pay for the commision she was owing the gang leader of the streets and she had some few change to grab some left over nshima from the restraunts.Sometimes she become luck when the restraunt owners would give her work to clean their plates or fetch water in exchange for food.
Maria went to her spot to sleep that night covering herself with a thin blanket she had. Hoping that maybe tomorrow would be better. she cried at the thought of how comfortable her bed used to be and how much she had to eat.
Now she had no idea where all that had disppeared to. Probably the friend to her mother had got everything, she thought.
“God protect me and everyone in these streets ” she’s prayed her eyes closed as she felt the cold increasing. It was going to be another long cold night and she hoped a miracle would happen and she could find herself in a warm house.
To be continued