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The Boy In The Special Class

General, Parenting November 14, 2016

I attended a government school which was classified as a B school meaning that it was a sought after school by parents from middle to low income families. It was one of the rare cases when an affordable, actually, very affordable school still had good infrastructure and outstanding pass rates. I mean we had a functional swimming pool and a hockey team with sticks and fairly new kits so it was an ok school. I belabor this point and if you continue reading, you’ll understand why.

I started attending this school in grade 3 and on the very first day of school I was told to stay away from the boy in the special class… They said he had been rumored to chase girls into the girls toilet and press himself against them. I didn’t know what that meant at 8 years old but it sounded terrifying so i complied. Only to realise that this rumor was based on a single incident on his first day of school, a few years before I got there, where he mistakenly went into the girls toilet instead of the boys. Needless to say that the story had a pinch of salt added to it as it was retold to each new coming stream over the years.

At break time i saw the older boys form a circle around him. Taunting him till he screamed with frustration and chased them but because he couldn’t run as fast, the boys got away. Jeering and calling him names. This happened on most days until I finished grade 7. They made him the bad guy, the outsider, the laughing stock. Prefects didn’t help him. Teachers didn’t help him! They avoided him like a plague, like he was contagious. I wanted to know why. It just didn’t seem right! I’d also been told to avoid the special class. No-one really knew anything about this boy and his condition so their ignorance increased their fear. Students who shared the same corridor with the special class, would go round the block to get to the other side so as to avoid walking past that classroom. In fact it was a dark and dingy storage room turned classroom right next to the toilets!!!

After asking around I found out that the boy had Down-syndrome and that there were other children with different special needs in his class. I had always thought he was the only only one in the whole school and that was because the others were scared to come out of their classroom. They were afraid to be seen. Afraid to be treated differently and rightfully so! I also found out that there were children of different ages in that same class and this made me ask myself a few questions…

  • Why did the school that could afford to keep the swimming pool running, not have a decent classroom for children with special needs?
  • Did the school really teach children with special needs effectively if this boy who seemed much older than I was, was there when I got there and still there after I left? I understand that Children with DS develop at their own pace but surely putting him there with children much younger than him didn’t do much for his progress. This made me ask the following…
  • Did the teacher teach each child at their personal level or did they just do blanket lessons regardless of the child’s capabilities?
  • Could they not afford to hire a few more teachers skilled in teaching children with special needs then dividing the class accordingly?

The sad reality is that they could afford it but they chose to focus their funds elsewhere because it was just not a priority for them!

There is a serious need for workshops in schools that educate both students and teachers alike about various conditions affecting students among them and how best they can be assisted. Knowledge should lead to better integration. If you know of organisations in and around Zimbabwe or anywhere in the world that work with children who have special needs please comment with their details. We would like to have a page on our website with that information to help spread awareness! Also if you have any suggestions on how schools can improve services for children with special needs or if you simply want to share your experiences with us, feel free to comment below.

Blessed Single Mom of 2

Occassions June 20, 2015

Nothing on earth could have ever prepared me for the period in time that made me realize that my oldest boy was not a little boy any more. After turning 13 and starting high school, I thought it was time to introduce my son Jay-yuh to some deodorant. I decided to get him the Nivea brand of products, and so I bought him a set containing deodorant and some roll-on. I was so proud of myself and got home thinking that I would definitely get a big smile and a hi-five. The hugs were getting kinda scarce so I wasn’t going to hold my breath for that; but I was hopeful all the same. After the greetings and usual pleasant enquiries of each other’s day, I pulled out the fancy little gift bag containing the gift and handed it to Jay-yuh, whose eyes immediately lit up upon seeing the package. After inspecting the contents of the gift bag, his face screwed up into a frown. He looked at me and in his just broken, man voice, said to me, “Mom. Where’s the cologne?” I was dumbfounded to say the least and still laugh about it to this day. My lil’ boy, not so little anymore! I then told him that he would buy his own cologne when he made his own money. Ha ha ha!

I will never forget the day I held him in my arms for the first time. After 12 hours of labor, in December of the year 1999.  My second little guy, Jay-oh, came along 4 years later, after 2 and a half hours of the worst physical pain I have ever experienced. The moment he was out, he cried and I cried too. The nurse walked into the room to find both mother and child crying hysterically. I’m sure I provided her with some good humor for the day. The pain was soon forgotten when I looked upon his beautiful face. I fell in love again.  Though his arrival was celebrated, it heralded the end of my relationship with his and Jay-yuh’s dad. Not only did he leave us but he decided to move to another continent altogether. Nothing had prepared me for that emotional pain, and to lose my dad the following year and then my mum a few years later was an even bigger blow in my life. Living at home with my parents had been the one thing that had given me strength to move on after the break up, and now a few years later my pillars of strength were gone. I was now mother and father not only to my two little boys but to five innocent young ladies, who were my 2 late sisters’ children.

Fortunately I had a steady job working at Edgars Stores. I remember at Christmas Aunt Ptime I would make sure everyone got something new thanks to having an account at Edgars, this I did even knowing I would have a huge instalment after that. I also remember crying at times that my kids did not have the privilege of spending Christmas with both their parents like I had growing up. But with time God has comforted me through His word that all things or situations work out for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose.

I am proud to say that despite having the boys with me full time and it seeming like a difficult task, they seem to be turning out fine. I hear a lot of parents complaining about boy children being naughty and unruly. That for me is foreign. Jay-yuh was a prefect in grade 6 and then head boy of his school in grade 7. There also have been no calls to the headmaster’s office for any unruly behavior ever since he started high school. My little guy Jay-oh is the most caring and helpful being on the planet. He is in grade seven this year and already he is playing provincial basketball. Medal already in the bag. He is always ready to share his food with anyone and everyone. Watching out for the little ones around him, and whenever he is asked to do a task, he does it speedily and with a smile on his face. Jay-yuh on the other hand when asked to do something will ask you 50 questions why??!!! Sure the task will be done, with a too serious and almost angry face on.
I remember one time after ordering Jay-oh to take a bath, which is not his favorite thing in the world, I decided to sit down and watch some television. I got so engrossed in the flick that I tuned the rest of the world out and could not hear him calling out, “Mooom!” for my help. I was then startled back to reality when I heard a little boy’s shout, “Priscilla!” I was like waaait! Did this boy just call me by my first name?! After a few seconds of shock I burst out laughing.  He had definitely gotten my attention alright! Being with them has helped me realize the differences incynthia their characters and to appreciate and nurture their strengths while working on their weaknesses. I love them both the same with all my heart and life, and I would never trade this experience for anything in the world.

I used to worry a lot that maybe they would develop some feminine tendencies because of not having a father figure, but God knows His plan and has allowed my 26 year old nephew to come live with us for now so the boys have a man around them to do guy stuff with. Things like playing video games, talking about cars and, they get to watch Top Gear together. With me, we have the occasional pizza and ice cream outing. It’s something the kids and I do together and always look forward to. Praying and reading the bible together has also helped us to bond. I am so grateful to God for these wonderful gifts in my life and I know that ALL THINGS WILL WORK for our good, as long as we keep our eyes on God our Father. Peace and grace to all the single moms out in the world. Happy Father’s Day mommies!

Written by:
Cynthia Priscilla Chieza

Proud Single Mom

Occassions June 19, 2015

 

THE DISCOVERY OF MY SUPER-POWERS!!!

I have decided to hide my identity for the sake of my son who has a good relationship with his father and although I would like to share my story with you, I would not like it to negatively affect my son’s feelings towards his dad despite our negative experiences. My story goes like this, I was a 28 year old graduate, working for a local mobile network company at one of their branches in a town that attracts a lot of tourists. I was single and with no prospects for marriage in sight you can imagine that my parents and extended relatives began to worry that I would not get married and not give them grandchildren. I on the other hand, was not really bothered at all. I was making good money and I enjoyed having the freedom to travel as I pleased when I was off work. Closer to my 30th birthday was when I starting getting a bit concerned but not to the point of settling out of desperation. I did not want to be stuck with someone I did not love just so I could be called ‘Mrs’ so and so.

My birthday fell on a Friday that year and I was always extra happy and extra made up on my birthday. Why not? It only comes once a year after all. Working in customer service did tend to get repetitive and boring but nothing was getting me down on that day. As I was going about my work this customer walked in wanting to have a line registered and so I assisted him with that. The conversation was extra friendly and when it was time for him to leave, he told me he had been served by friendly customer service agents before but none of them were this welcoming and he asked me why I was different. I told him it was my birthday then he nodded and said it made sense. He asked me out to dinner to celebrate my birthday and without a moments’ thought, I agreed as I had not made other plans yet.

He called me that evening from his newly registered line and we met for dinner at the hotel he was staying at. We talked for hours and he told me he was into construction and he was overseeing a building project nearby. He was so warm and inviting, also very gentle and sincere but I was not jumping to any conclusions too soon. He brought me lunch the next day and we had dinner again after which he told me he was leaving the following morning but enjoyed my company so much and wanted to see more of me. We started dating shortly after that and although he lived in another city, he came twice a month to check on the project and closer to its completion he came every weekend which meant that we got to see each other a lot. About a year went by and the project was complete. I was anxious as to what would become of our relationship if he no longer needed to make work trips to my little town. He left the next morning promising that he was going to make time to come and see me and that when I had time off work I should visit him.

We tried this for a few months and I was hopeful at first but it was not the same. He got really busy with other work projects in other towns and I did not get time off as much as I wanted to. Not being able to see each other really put a strain in our relationship and although I was still willing to try to make it work, I had even put in a letter requesting to be transferred to his city and was just waiting for approval. He had already started entertaining other options without my knowledge then eventually decided to leave me. I was hurt but not totally shattered because I thought to myself, if he was not willing to work for our relationship as hard as I was then maybe he was not worth it. It was two months after the breakup when my world seemed to fall apart.

I WAS PREGNANT!

I knew it was his because I had not been with anyone else since we had separated. I thought ok maybe if he still loves me I can forgive the past and we can move on and raise the baby together but when I called him to tell him the news he did not pick up. I then decided to send him an inbox on Facebook saying that we needed to talk and that he should return my call. It was then that I saw his picture with another woman. This was the first time he had her on his profile, believe me, I used to check! And a status update that said “Soon to be dad”. I was like, “huuuuh???”

I called him repeatedly until he then finally picked up with a cold, “Ndeipi?” (whats up?) I was furious. He had been seeing this girl months before we broke up and I went to see himproud single mom during that time that he was with her but he did not have the decency to free me. After telling him that I had just found out I was 9weeks pregnant and that it was his, he went quiet and then after some time said, sorry I have moved on but I will take care of the baby if it’s really mine. No apology for cheating on me and stringing me on! Our child was made during that time that he was carrying on with his other woman. Had he just been honest about his feelings and let me go instead of trying to keep his options opened. Nxa!

ANYWAY, my son is 6 years old now and so is their son. They got married. He lives with me and visits them on school holidays. I just praise God that his step-mother is a godly woman and that she takes good care of him when he is there because I have heard horror stories about step-mothers abusing step-children and initially was reluctant to take him there. I am glad that there is no animosity between her and I because that would affect my sons chance of bonding with his dad premarin generic. My son is still young but I know there will come a time when he will ask me why he has two moms and why he can’t live with his father. I pray that I have a sufficient answer for when that day comes but for now, I am working hard to make sure that my son does not lack anything. Out of my mess came my purpose in life. My best friend and little, strong defender. He is my number 1 priority and I would not trade the special moments that we create daily, for anything else in the world. As for marriage, well, if I ever find someone who my son would agree to sharing me with and chances are slim (LOL) then maybe

Written by Anonymous,
Zimbabwe

Against All Odds

Occassions June 12, 2015

I don’t cry anymore and the pain gets less and less with each day that I hold my head high, trusting in God and believing that He is my source of strength. I am a single mother to a beautiful young girl aged 2. My boyfriend and I had been dating for 3 years; he was my high school sweetheart. We had made plans to get married after we graduated from college but when I got pregnant in my first year we decided to fast track our plans and get married right away. We loved each other and there was no doubt that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. It was just happening much sooner than we thought but that was alright.

He made plans to travel to his rural home to inform the elders of his plans to pay roora/lobola (bride price) and to inform them that we were already expecting a child and so payments needed to be arranged timeously. Closer to the set date of his travel he started to hesitate and give excuses for wanting to postpone the trip. At first he said he had assignments due the following week, then said he was worried that they would not raise enough money to pay the bride price and after that he said he had a bad feeling about the trip. I was confused, angry and disappointed because I thought he was having second thoughts about the marriage but did not know how to tell me. Eventually he decided to go, to prove to me that he did love me, but I was not prepared for what was to follow. The commuter omnibus they were traveling in burst a wheel, veered off the road and smashed into a tree. He died on the spot!

I was in denial when I got the news. I didn’t even give him a proper goodbye because I was upset that he seemed not to want to go. I greeted his uncle with joy thinking he had come back with my soon to be husband in order to make concrete plans and yet he was bringing tragic news, basically telling me that all our plans were going to be buried in 3 days. I cried bitterly, I was so consumed with pain that I got very ill and was admitted into hospital for weeks for my sake and the sake of our child. He never even got to feel her kick or hold her. My pregnancy was a painful reminder of true love lost without warning or explanation. People tried to comfort me by saying that the baby would give me a chance to carry a piece of him in my heart forever but the thought of living without him, the pain of losing him made me want to forget him. To forget the beautiful memories. It just hurt even more to think that they would only be memories.

I contemplated abortion, although illegal and against my beliefs, because the reminder was too painful. I cried every single day! I decided to carry her to full term then find a family who had been struggling to have a child and give her away. I just wanted to forget.  I actually knew a couple in our church who had been trying to conceive for 5 years with no luck. I approached them and told them of my situation and they were very happy to adopt my child once she was born. They actually paid for the remainder of my antenantal visits and scans as I could not afford to attend them all and had missed some. They even booked me into a private hospital for the delivery and bought all the clothes for preparation which was again a welcome relief. The feelings of bitterness towards my child because of the pain she reminded me of started to fade as I began to look at myself as carrying a blessing for a family that so desperately needed it. It felt good because I felt like I was doing them a huge favor.

Time passed and I began to speak to her and to actually enjoy when she kicked and moved around. I would tell her that everything would be ok and that she was going to a family that would love her very much. A month before my due date of delivery, the couple contacted me and said that they wanted to meet. I thought they wanted to check on our health and make last minute arrangements but that was not the case. They had just found out that the wife was 6 weeks pregnant! They no longer wanted to adopt my child. I was back to having to keep this reminder in my life but this time, it didn’t hurt. I wasn’t angry or disappointed. I accepted the news with joy actually and a glimmer of hope as I had begun to bond with my baby. The couple told me that I could keep all the goodies they had bought and that I could still give birth at the hospital they had booked despite the change of plans.

2 weeks later I was lying in a fancy hospital with a beautiful angel in my arms. I guess she was too excited to join me so she decided to come early. I kept thinking, “Jehovah is this me, receiving quality treatment and this amazing blessing?” none of which I paid for. I instantly fell in love with my healthy and gorgeous little perfect angel. She is 3 years old now and though I miss her father dearly and wish he was around to watch her grow, I know he is smiling down on us. My mother helps me a lot by watching over her during the day and I have gone back to college to finish my studies and prepare to build a better life for me and my little girl. I thank God for her life every single day and I continue to trust that God is leading us to a brighter future!

Writing this article has actually provided the outlet I have longed for over the past 3 years. I hope that my story encourages other single moms out there also playing the dad role not to give up. Do your best to provide a safe and complete home for your little ones. God has an amazing plan for us all.

 

Submitted by Anonymous

Malborough, Harare