Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

23 December 2012

Tanzania: Suicidal Missions

Just the other day my 21 year old cousin pulling my leg informed me that his girlfriend at campus is expecting and that she feared the wrath of her father and he wanted me to advise him.

My immediate reaction was that why on earth were they not using protection and as far as I am concerned another new member into the family was most welcome.

Adding salt and pepper to the story he said the father would kill her. I told him I hardly doubt it as the father would be getting rid of two lives and that after the shock and disappointment has died down their lives would go on.

Seeing that he was not going anywhere with the false story he eventually confessed that in actual fact it was a friend of his who is jobless impregnated a secondary school girl and was seeking advice on how to terminate the pregnancy. I told him that the best the girl can do is inform her parents so that the problem is solved as a family.

My cousin said that his friend is scared of going to jail and I retorted so what was on his mind when he decided to sleep with a school girl? In defence of his friend he insisted but the girl wanted the action! At that point I gave up and told him that many of us went through school without getting up to mischief.

Offended that I was not offering any miraculous solutions to the dead end problem he confided in me that he was told by some 'doctor' deworming tablets would finish off the pregnancy. I warned him to keep that information to himself because if anything goes wrong he would be implicated.

He did not stop there he rattled on, claiming that a few tablets of aspirin would also work. Horrified, I cautioned and too many would kill her as well. Seeing that I was not buying any of his crafty remedies he added the mother of all disasters that same 'doctor' suggested that the girl swallows selected contraceptive pills from a pack about four pills at a go.

I then asked him was he going to stand over the poor girl and ensure that she swallows only those four specified pills and not the whole pack. My cousin looked at me as if I was crazy and quipped the girl could not be that stupid not to follow instructions carefully.

I counteracted and said in a bid to speed up the process she could decide to do so. Fed up with arguing with me he left in huff. As I write I do not know if the desperate girl tried any of the solutions.

But need I emphasis that we parents and guardians need to sit down and talk to our girls honestly and objectively about sexual and reproductive issues otherwise some quacks will be telling them to swallow all sorts of concoctions in the name of curing what could have been prevented.

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