“You came begging for employment and now you want to steal my husband?” barked Chimimba’s wife the day she fired hers.
â€œBut… madam… but…what if I had not reported?” stammered the 15-year-old orphan as Madam Chimimba threw her tattered clothes on the doorstep.
“No buts and ifs. Just pack your rags and leave. Husband snatcher! Snake in the grass!” roared the woman.
With a few slaps and sour remarks, she ‘humbly’ requested the sobbing girl to leave immediately as onlookers murmured about her future, for she was working to raise school fees.
“Did she err to tell the woman that Mr Chimimba wanted to rape her last night,” asked a spectator.
“But the girl is stunningly tempting…” said another, staring at the girl’s exposed thighs as she bent to collect her bits and pieces.
“What temptation? Are we so headless to start unzipping for our lastborns’ agemates when we have more stunning partners of our age?” interrupted yet another.
Despite the argument, the housemaid was evicted. We were only happy that unlike most of her likes, she did not leave after being impregnated by the man of the house.
Dumbfounded, Chimutu and this Zikathankalima left to join our bottlemates in the pub just behind the Chimimbas’ house.
There, we sipped our cold ones convinced the maid had no future wherever her parents were buried.
“These maids are doomed if they refuse to go between the sheets with their masters, but giving in can also open a floodgate of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV and Aids,” said Chimutu, the storyteller who sells sex scandals for beer
“Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. That’s the maid’s dilemma. Bartender! Three crates!” said a chain smoker by the counter.
“We are all allergic to competitors, particularly those already proven so tempting to our sexual partners,” chipped in Chimutu, begging for booze.
“Of course, Mrs Chimimba should be thankful that the maid refused to tango with her husband,” responded the tobacco slave, pinching a sixth cigarette in the ash tray.
“Those competing for our lovers have no place under our roofs. We all want to appear unshakable and hate to share our precious things with the underclass,” argued Chimutu.
He patted me on the back and started selling Chimimba’s story to the smoker for a beer.
I bought him two bottles, but he did not stop seducing the tobacco addict with tales.
“The wife was away when Chimimba crept into the servant’s quarters where the housemaid had slept after her daily hard labour.Â “He swiftly dived into her threadbare beddings, but she screamed as if he was a snake.”
“The whole him?”
“The same potbellied man. He threatened the girl with a dismissal and offered a salary increment, but she refused to risk her life and to betray madam because of money.”
“Mistaking her rebuff for green lights, the man rushed to his house to get condoms.Â On his return, he found the girl on his phoneâ€” telling madam that Mr Chimimba wanted to rape her.”
“So where is Chimimba now?”
“Still at large.”
“You mean he is afraid of his own home?”
Chimutu turned to me and said to the smoking drunkard: “The man is smoke [scandalous]. In fact, the big man has slept with nearly all teen girls that work at his house. If he sees you with one, he will make sure your wife knows about it.”
Temporarily, I thought about the housemaids in time of HIV. Are they safe from the virus if they accept their masters’ moves?Â What if they are positive, would they not infect the masters and their spouses? What about the partners they are going to marry?
I left, weeping for all housemaids and hoping the so-called bosses will stop stripping willy-nilly. Aids is real!
I am a Canadian volunteer in the HIV /AIDS sector. I enjoy Cultural Ride column, the latest beingÂ 990: Sex for Freedom (March 20 2011).
Statistics from the National Aids Commission (NAC) show people with the highest prevalence of HIV+ status are the sex workers, next are female police and not far below are male police officers.
All are much higher than the national norm.Â I suspect that male cops are infected by sex workers in the ‘sex for freedom’ context and they in turn infect the female cops.
I respect gutsy journalists. Keep up the good work!Â Malawi needs you right now.