The hot morning’s rays and travelled to the thick thorny bushes of a village in Mberengwa East in search of the family of a Grade Seven pupil from Murongwe Primary School who experienced labour pains during the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) national examination.
The 14-year-old was rushed to Murongwe Clinic where she gave birth to a bouncing baby girl. She was allowed to continue writing the exam from the clinic with two invigilators supervising her.
As we drove through the rugged terrain with our branded company vehicle many villagers whom we asked for directions out of fear for journalists were not forthcoming until one old man helped us.
Along a dusty strip for about a kilometre, before this reporter could inquire further, three napkins that hung from a washing line gave us unsolicited directions.
The family was warm and welcoming and the girl spoke to us as well. With a solemn heart-breaking voice she narrated how she was impregnated by her 16-year-old cousin.
“I am telling my story with the hope that it will touch some Good Samaritans out there who would be moved enough to help me take care of the baby and continue with my education after this mistake. I disappointed my parents,” she said asking for assurance.She spoke about how she came to sleep with her cousin.
“It was sometime in February this year when I was herding cattle with my cousin. He started touching me all over the body and in the process undressed me saying ‘let’s do it once and it’s nice’. I complied.
“After the act we agreed that we should not tell anyone. I kept the matter a secret and even from the time when I discovered that I was pregnant. My mother was very angry when she discovered it the day I gave birth and things turned worse when I told her that it was my cousin who had impregnated me,” she said.
Asked why she had not disclosed her pregnancy to her parents, she said she was afraid that they were going to beat her up.
“At times I would feel the pain and would hide it from my parents and friends until they discovered it the day I gave birth,” she added.
She named her baby Gracious in honour of the sympathy shown to her by her parents.
According to medical cards which this reporter had sight of, the baby’s birth weight was 2,1 kgs.
During the moving testimony her heartbroken 51-year-old mother sat in silence but later opened up.
“It’s very traumatic when certain things come up. This is my daughter and I must take care of her child since she is a minor. I am the one who is doing everything from bathing and dressing the baby and even reminding her to breastfeed.
“It was a shock when the news was broken to me that she was pregnant because she had never complained of any pregnancy related illnesses in those nine months. But the day she gave birth she told me in the morning that she was not feeling well. She lied that she was on her menstrual periods,” added the mother.
What’s interesting is that she’s a prophetess but didn’t see it coming for all those months. Nonetheless, when she was lied to on that particular day, she was shown a sign.
“As a prophetess who always assists other people I prayed for her. The spirit showed me that she was pregnant and when I confronted her she vehemently denied it. She proceeded to school where she later experienced labour pains in the middle of an examination,” she said.
The girl’s mother admitted that it had been an ordeal to admit that that her 14-year-old daughter was now a mother.
She winced as she recalled the day she was told that her daughter had been taken to the clinic after she had experienced labour pains during an examination.
Meanwhile, the girl’s 58-year-old father also shared his torment saying he was still struggling to come to terms with it.
“At first I was hurt but I’m there for her, as much as it’s torture for me, I know that I have to be there as a father. I have seven children and she is the sixth. She is intelligent and I am hopeful that despite this incident she is going to pass her Grade Seven examinations.
“Although I noticed that her body was changing I didn’t suspect she was pregnant. I just thought it was a sign of good health until the day we received news that she had been taken to Murongwe Clinic.
“We have since accepted it and we are happy as parents that she delivered without any complications.
“We would have regretted if we had to learn that she had aborted. As it is now we can’t allow the two to get married since they are related. We have since reported the matter to the police and we are waiting to hear from them,” he said.