Friday, May 11, 2012

Not With Flowers But Our Thoughts

(This is from the May issue of Up Nairobi. Of course with an editor the voice and style is different. Between Monday and Wednesday I answer all questions, email and all else. And hopefully I will be gone forever)

"Some of the most vicious fights on the Street have happened when mothers are invoked. Say when a girl swears by her mother to teach another a lesson. Or when one insinuates that a girl has learnt the ways of the Street from her mother. The latter always results in a heated exchange which ends up in a physical fight. For mothers hold special places in the hearts of the girls here. Though common reasoning has it that a child's upbringing influences her adulthood
decisions, the logic here is that being a sex worker is an own choice which has nothing to do with the parents. Girls tend to say “My mother gave her best but I made the final decision to sell my body”.  For instance if a girl is on the Street  supposedly because her mum could not raise enough money to educate her and subsequently help her acquire a good job,  then the blame is on the government and not the mother. And if not the government then the father is to blame.


Yet the male clients too don’t want to have their mothers dragged to the filth of the Street. Its always an ugly scene when  a girl as much as suggests that a client's mother has something to do with his uncultured manners, say his reluctance to pay or his use of demeaning language.

On the other hand as much as mothers are protected from the Street “My mother" keeps popping up in our conversations. Not so much in praise but in fear and anxiety. The fear of what would happen if our mothers came to know what we do for a living. And the anxiety of waiting for her next call, thinking that during the last visit one said and acted in a way that was contradictory enough to give her a clue of our true work, and not the hotel job one keeps telling her about. The anxiety is not expressed directly but more in efforts to bribe the mum to ignorance. For at the bottom of their hearts many girls suspect their mothers know what they do and are only giving a blind eye.


.......On the Street any day marking a special event or honoring a group of people passes without notice if it does not translate to any monetary gain. Mothers’ Day is no exception. But here we honor our mothers everyday. Not with flowers but our thoughts. Read the rest here.  "

Happy Mothers Day. 


8 comments:

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