They were a family of three, with one mind and one direction. Managed by their mother Nambewe, the little she earned could not afford to send both of her children to school. Moreover, Dongwasi, Nambewe’s first born, was done with his secondary studies and desired to study further. Tertiary education was not on the cards as their financial status could not allow him.
Nambewe was known in their neighbourhood for the little super market she owned. The business woman was the breadwinner for her family and helped to maintain their upkeep in the town. She was selling mandasi and okomani and their whole livelyhood depended on the business and nothing else.
When he finished secondary school, Dongwasi thought it wise to at least search for a job so that he should help his mother. His young sister, Dorothy, was in the last class of her primary school which meant she was about to leave her free primary education and was expected to join secondary in a few months.
This, to Nambewe meant more money to spend. When Dongwasi told his mother of his idea to seek for work, she was pleased. In fact, she already had planned to convince her son to go out and find something to do so that he’d be helping her in providing for the family. Now she didn’t have to convince him anymore but only encourage him not to lose hope for their day was probably around the corner.
The job seeking process had begun. Dongwasi, with his childhood friend Elias, were ready for anything. The two had been good friends since they were children. They had been together through all their school days, from primary up to secondary school. They grew up playing together in the same neighbourhood and they knew each other very well. Dongwasi and Elias were best friends who counted on the other once in need. It was very difficult for the two friends to survive in the world of market where employment opportunities were scarce.
They sometimes walked long distances, sometimes with the sun at its peak till all their energies depleted.
After a lot of struggles and coping with the hard situation, to their luck, an opportunity fell onto their hands. They got a job at a certain plastic manufacturing company. Things were then showing a positive result. Nambewe could positively see her son helping in providing for their family with the little he was earning. Going to bed with hungry was now becoming history and all the debts were cleared. Smiles of real joy were drawn on their lips. The family could now see possibilities that Dorothy might end up in secondary school level whereas there was no such hope before. Being punctual and hardworking was what Nambewe taught and encouraged her son to be time and again and these became a part of him.
After sometime, as things were progressing in the right direction, business went down. Both businesses, at the company where Dongwasi was working and his mother’s business, started to suffer. This brought sadness to Nambewe’s family as well as to the workers at the company, for rumours of retrenchment were heard. Both Dongwasi and his friend Elias were anxious and were just hoping that they would not be among those to be fired.
In a few days, a list with names of people to be fired was out and everyone went at the notice board to check whether his or her name had appeared. Happy faces were seen and sad faces were among them. Fortunately, Elias happened to be one of the happy faces but unfortunately, Dongwasi’s name appeared on the list. He was fired and went home with a very sad face.
Sad faces welcomed him home and the struggle for existence rose again.
All the newly found hopes were shuttered for Nambewe’s business was still not doing well as well. Even though things were tough, Dongwasi did not fold his hands and sit down, he went on looking for another job. One day, as he was at home thinking of what he could do, one of his friends, Joseph, came to him with good news. He had heard somewhere that a minibus conductor was wanted and so thought Dongwasi should go and try his luck there. Fortunately, Dongwasi was taken as a conductor and with the very little he was earning, he helped his mother in providing for the family.
Dorothy also realised that she had a talent for knitting and both her mother and brother encouraged her to keep on knitting. Now that the three of them were helping each other. The family tried all they could to survive. They resisted the idea of begging so they invested all their efforts in what each one of them was doing. At the end of each month, they would gather all they had generated and made plans based on what they had.
Many times, Dongwasi was travelling in different directions and different places and this enabled him to meet with different people. He associated with people of different cultures and languages which made him to understand different cultural values and he could also speak different languages.
Whenever Dongwasi would pass a school campus and see pupils, some of his age coming in and out of the school gates, his desire for school would grief him the most. He would remember his old school days when his late father was alive, when he would shine in uniform with his friends thinking they’d go straight to work right after finishing their studies. He never knew such a time would come when his father would pass away unexpectedly, making his school journey very difficult.
He remembered when his late father’s brothers came and took everything that his late father left behind, leaving them with nothing. His mother, sister and himself cried bitterly for they had nothing to hold on to. Had it not been for Elias’s mother keeping them until the time Nambewe begun her small business, Dongwasi didn’t want to think of where he and his family could have been by then.
Dongwasi did not go to work one day and his friends, Elias and Joseph came to see him. Elias had been convinced by Symon, his colleague at work that Symon’s uncle was looking for some knowledgeable boys of their age. They had no idea what kind of job this would be and of the exact time to go see about it, but they were told that they’d know everything once they arrived.
After some days, Dongwasi was convinced and they set up a date to meet Symon’s uncle. The day arrived and as planned they went to Symon’s uncle who took them somewhere where he said they were to be interviewed.
It was a large and beautiful compound with tough security. Its structures caught the boys’ minds and gave them hope that they’d really get something out of the process. They were taken to a small, long structure which seemed like one room. One of the compound workers looked at them with a very sad face, almost pity, as they went to sit on chairs facing the structure. There were seven of them and after they were fed, they were told to enter the room one after the other. They were told to wait five minutes after one had entered and the exit was at the end of the structure.
All of the boys had entered and Dongwasi was the last one. Having been told not to go back to where their friends were after coming out of the interview room, Dongwasi didn’t have any idea of what kind of interview he was to undergo. It was his turn and he entered the room.
To his amazement, there was blood all over and two vipers were all he could see.
He tried to get out but the door wouldn’t open and screaming didn’t help. He regretted coming there and thought of his mother and sister back home filled his heart. He thought of his friends who had already passed the room and wondered where they could have been.
He managed to pass the snakes and got out of the room without being touched by them. Soon, he realised that the long structure was divided into rooms and there was another room right after the first one. He entered the second room and saw different kinds of snakes all over the room. They were coiling him up as he was passing and he got bitten on the left leg as he was coming out of the room.
There was yet another room in front him. He took his time thinking what he’d meet when he entered. He entered and oceans of blood were all over. He was trembling with fear and his trousers were wet with urine. He couldn’t believe what his eyes were seeing. He tried to wake himself up thinking he was having a nightmare but indeed this was reality.
He could see his friends in the room, Elias, Joseph, Symon and the others. He could only identify them by their heads for they were the only remains that were left. An outstanding dragon was facing him. Dongwasi knew that a full stop to his life was about to be declared. He approached the big, mysterious dragon and it came near him. It licked his whole body and he could smell death. To his surprise it retreated. He found a small space to the door and he got out.
He remembered and praised God for there was no room after. He quickly went home and not to Symon’s uncle as they were told. His mother took care of his wound and he spent a day without eating and saying anything. After he calmed down, he explained everything to his mother and sister and they all praised God for his life. From that moment, they all sought the Lord’s face and went back to their respective jobs. They were content with the little they had and they worked extra hard to keep and maintain it.
Tell us what you think: Have you heard of places like this, where people are lured with the promise of jobs?