Celebrating East African Writing!


Written By Titus Tunduny

It is slightly before dawn. It is two a.m. I lie on the edge of the wooden platform, the slim, worn out mattress doing little to reduce the pinch on my rear. I am exhausted, and in need for some overdue rest. The platform and mattress, my bed and beddings. They do not give one the comfort of enjoying beauty sleep. But here I am, like a captive. I feel a dry cough rise up to my throat. My lungs burn with pain. Hot searing pain. My back aches; the remnants of the many hours of heavy carrying during the day, and domestic chores for the better part of the night.

I toss around, turning to get a ‘better’ position for my back. It’s littered with painful sores from the lashings I got from standing up to my tormentors-accompanied by weeks of starvation (no scraps), and hails of kicks and blows which left me partly toothless.

I left my mind wander back to Karatina, when I had the little control of my life. My siblings and I toiled and tilled the coffee plantations during the school holidays. Days when that was the only source of income. There were days when my only concern was school and having a boyfriend. These were not hard for me, all from my humble background and beauty. Beauty like my mamma.  Poor mamma! A soft sob emanates and I struggle to swallow the lump forming in my neck. I regret going against her advice-but it was only once…

It was a few months ago when I met him. A middle-aged gentleman in a pinstripe suit. We were attending a symposium in Mombasa. He approached me with an offer I couldn’t resist – a job at Qatar airways. How could I refuse, while other girls from the city were not being considered? It was a lifetime chance.

Had I known better, I’d have known something fishy was up. I was to go to Saudi Arabia pursuing a course in hospitality on a FULL scholarship. Naïve as I was, I fell for it.

Wind howled outside the window of my closet sized room. I pulled down my flimsy dress-one of the two that I owned. I hugged myself to keep warm. Going back home isn’t an option-with no pay and an unconcerned government. To them, I was merely a piece of statistics, on the great relations between our two countries.

If I ever went home, would my mother recognize me? The beauty was no more. In its place ugliness. But mamma loves me no matter what. I console myself.

Heavy footsteps. A switch being turned. Blinding lights. My night is over. It is only three am.

©Titus Tunduny 2012


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