When I was in primary school I shared a class with a young girl named Tamima. She was a lonely girl with not much friends attributed by how she looks, talks and walks. She had a big forehead and a big skull. She mumbled her words and could not talk quietly. Her voice was naturally loud. Her walking style seemed to confuse most people. She walked slowly and stepped with one leg. This had a traumatizing effect on her because no one seemed to understand. All they could do is laugh and make fun. Teachers were not an exception. In fact they called her kichwa kubwa which translates to big headed. Theirs was a literal meaning of the word which on normal terms was used to mean a child whose behaviour is wanting. Poor Tamima! Did she have to go through all this trouble?
Tamima had the support of her mother –Sandra since her father thought she was a bad omen. At the time Sandra delivered Tamima her father asked
‘‘Haya ni mapepo gani?’’
‘‘What kind of witchcraft is this?’’
He could not stand seeing what Tamima looked like so immediately they came out of the hospital he packed his clothes and ran away never to return or to associate with a bewitched family -as he describes it.
On the other hand Sandra knew the girl was a gift. She is the image of God was what her mother anyone who would ask what the problem is or try to speak ill. These words were enough to get people holding their tongues. Her mother knew it was congenital hydrocephalus (a buildup of excess Cerebrospinal Fluid –CSF in the brain at birth that leads to swelling). She therefore made efforts to ensure Tamima feels human. This made Tamima cling to her mother as a support system and friend. As Tamima would cry everyday explaining what her classmates have told her and how they laughed. All her mother would do was say
‘‘You are beautiful and I love you just the way you are but don’t forget God loves you more.’’
Tamima would look at her mother wipe the tears away, smile and give her a very tight hug.
On one fateful day I fought with my best friend. I sat behind my desk and begun to cry. Tamima who was sited in front of me was singing a song that was in line with her problem and mine at the moment
Mbona? Mbona? Mbona?
Mbona? Mbona? Mbona?
Mbona? Aah Mbona?
Wakati Mungu aliniumba
Alipanga mpango wake
Kwamba Mimi niwe jinsi nilivyo
Mbona sasa hamnidhamini
Mwaniona Kama sifai
Sikuchagua niwe jinsi nilivyo
Nikitembea barabarani macho mmenikazia
Mbio mbio mwaniondokea Mimi ni Kama nyinyi
When I heard the singing I stopped crying, wiped my tears, walked towards her and asked in the middle of my sobs…
‘‘You –can –sing?’’
She did not respond but immediately notices my sorrow and asked
‘‘Why do you cry?’’
The tense in her sentence seemed to implying it was something I did constantly. Then she uttered …
‘‘Pamela I know you, I have observed you and I know it is your best friend- Mary. But allow me to tell you this
Now, we are never alone
Your blood, it makes us strong
Now, there is power to move on
Never, we are never alone
Once I had a heart that just wouldn’t seem to heal
No joy blowing through the wind
Your touch I couldn’t feel
Near my end, I heard Your voice
Speaking comfort to my soul
Saying when you’re weak, that’s when I’m strong
Now I’m so glad I know
No more loneliness
No more cloudy days
No more crying in the midnight, or
The fears that just won’t fade
I did not destruct her. I went out to call my friends to listen and you guessed right they were as shocked as I was. They were surprised to know the person I was mistreating has a big heart and a big talent. It did not stop at that they gave word to the teachers were more than surprised. They allowed her to participate in the music festival particularly a solo performance.
This was her turning point as everyone begun to accept her. Bullying her would lead to suspension. Everyone realized it is not about how you look but what you do and the value you hold to yourself that matters.
i do not own any copyrights to the songs used above