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The Throes of Polygamous Marriage

Dec 19, 2008, 5:43 AM | Article By: Isatou Dumbuya

Dear readers, this week I have decided to delve into polygamous marriage and its effects. Most of us, if not all of us, must have seen how polygamous marriage has driven many women to insanity and girls to desperation and even destitution. In the following story we will see that the heroine is a young girl in her teens and how she reacts to her way of living and how she overcame her fears. I have dived into this girl's soul and brought out her worst fears. I am very glad to share this story with you.

"Give me my share, Dodou, it's not fair, give me my share I say!" Aminah shouted at her younger brother with all the anger she could muster. Her younger brother Dodou, who was full of mischief, was heedless of her as he took another mouthful of Ebbeh. She angrily demanded again, but to no avail. When she couldn't stand his greediness, they fought over the food. Before she realised what happened, he intentionally spattered her clothes with some of the food. It wasn't just her clothes; it was her best Sunday wear! She grew hysterical and started crying. Her cries drew their poor mother from the kitchen to the house with her tattered clothes on. Dodou was past the beating age for Aminah, so all she could do was to call the attention of their poor mother. When she asked what the matter was Dodou manoeuvred the story in his favour.

"Hey Aminah, Dodou is your younger brother you should give him the food."

"Yes I should give him the food and I will stay hungry, mother. Yes I deserve to be hungry am I not human?" Retorted Aminah through sobs. She was soaked to the chest with her own tears.

"No I don't mean that, you know with the little food and money."

"Yes mum as always. Why can't we live like other families? When people were busy making money for their families you and father were busy making babies," she cut her mother in mid-sentence, "and now five of us excluding my step siblings, you say that I should starve." All the while looking at her mother straight in the eyes.

"Don't say such things Aminah, in case you have forgotten let me remind you that I am your mother." Ya Awa was standing akimbo and dumbstruck at the words her eldest daughter was uttering. She expected her among all her children to understand the situation they were in, truth to be told; she regretted her early marriage with their father without any prospect of a better future for their children. And now Aminah was standing in front of her raining abuse on her when she had worked her fingers to the bone all those years to give them her best. God! She could stand almost anything except Aminah blaming her.

Aminah rushed out of the house before she could say anything else. She went to the corner of the house and wept her eyes out like she had never done before. She felt deserted, rejected and unloved.

Aminah was the kind of girl who kept everything to herself. It wasn't like she wanted to talk to her mother in that harsh manner. She didn't know what came over her, but all her pent up aversion to their way of living came flooding from her mouth like water from the Guinea Conakry falls. Just like the Wolof saying 'hol du dohot'. Their living in poverty was getting unbearable and Aminah couldn't stand it anymore, No, not when she went to school and heardSaffiah talking about her holidays in the United States. One couldn't imagine the way she gaped and opened her beautiful eyes to twice their size upon hearing about DisneyLand, and when Saffiah added that she shook hands with Barrack Obama during his campaign for president of the U.S. She couldn't believe her ears. Obama the man himself! In all her wildest dreams, never did she imagine ever shaking hands with OBAMA. Or when Halima was being brought to school in an Escalade which was one of the hottest cars in town. The cost of that car could feed them for a year, she grudgingly accepted that. She could feel herself turning green with envy at the thought of that.

Why can't her parents give her the life she and her siblings have always wanted? The life full of merriment, peace and security. But instead her father was the man with the motto 'women before wealth'. He now had three wives including theirmother. They always fed from hand to mouth. All that their father knew was making babies, beating their mother (which was obvious since she was the first wife and no longer young to gain his favour like before) and folding his hands to leave his wives to bring in money to feed his children. She, her siblings and their mother stayed in one room together. There was hardly any space for privacy, not even from the sometimes-prying eyes of the sly fox, Dodou.

Imagine the other day, when they were sleeping, he silently crept from his other side of the sleeping mat and slowly tip-toed to were she was with the intention of raising her lappa to see her nakedness. Suddenly their mother made a loud snore, which scared him out of his wits and sent him back to where he came from. A few days later when she was putting on her uniform to go to school, he pretended to be picking his pencil from the floor when his ulterior motive was to have a peek at her knickers.

A sob caught in her throat and she coughed to spit it out. That reminded her of her father again with his potbelly and round face, and her eyes welled up with fresh tears, again they streamed down her face. She, her siblings and their mother never seemed to gain his favour nowadays. Especially their mother and recently herself. He was always harsh towards their mother talk less of being caring. And Aminah could bet her last butut that he was all loving and caring when he was wooing her. Men, men, she said to herself.

Her eyes grew smaller when she thought of his open hostility toward her. "With the speed you are going you will soon be pregnant, I tell you no lie!" He nearly burst a vein in his neck when he said that. "You just wait and see."

In reality he was afraid of the age his daughter was in and he had to admit that she was growing into such a beauty soon men would start flocking around her. She would one day have her pound of flesh from him, she swore to herself. She would do so well for herself and her family in the future that he would eat his words. Let him just watchand see her climb the stairs of success. That would be anytime soon, she told herself. He would be dumbfounded with surprise, because that spoilt little girl would soon make it in life. She believed that the mills of God grind slowly and thoroughly. She suddenly felt inclined to do something. Something very bad. Her eyes roved around the compound and landed on the kitchen roof. There were Dodou's best plastic shoes. An evil thought came to her mind. Tomorrow was school and when she shredded his shoes to pieces he wouldn't be able to go to school and that would cut him to the quick. The corners of her mouth lifted into a smile as she went to carry out her mission.