Like every parent to a teenage girl, Mama Alyssa will tell you that one of their biggest fears is their daughter engaging in sexual intercourse that may lead to venereal diseases or unwanted pregnancies.
Alyssa had been warned by her parents several times about it.
“Focus on your studies and leave the rest, otherwise you will end up poorer than us.” Mama Alyssa often told her fourteen year old daughter.
Alyssa planned to do everything her mother said. All her life they had known nothing but sheer deprivation. She was the first born of four, so she had to set example for the rest. There would be no messing up. To Alyssa’s family, education was the very key to a better life. It was the only option.
And the heavens favoured Alyssa, she was a brilliant girl. Her teachers loved her for her diligence and desire to perform better. But there was one problem, Mathematics. It was Alyssa’s weakness. While she achieved A’s in all the other subjects, she scored C’s in Mathematics.
To solve the problem, a solution presented itself. The Mathematics teacher. He said he had noted Alyssa’s poor performance in Mathematics with keen interest. Failing Mathematics would be detrimental to her dream career, to be a doctor.
“She can come over to my house for extra coaching every Saturday.” Her teacher generously offered. “For Alyssa, I can spare some few hours to help her.” Mama Alyssa felt indebted at the magnanimous proffer by the teacher.
“How shall we repay you Teacher?” She said holding her hands in a prayerful pose.
“No, no, I am doing this just to help so that Alyssa can have no excuse why she should not soar high.” He replied and the studying sessions started.
Mama Alyssa had nothing to worry about. Mr. Xavier was a married man,with three daughters, his first being almost Alyssa’s age. He was a man of good repute.
Xavier and Alyssa had their studying sessions but the latter, later discovered that the generous offer would be coming at a price. Her Mathematics teacher ensured that nobody would be around when he taught her. He sent his children for errands and he set the lessons at a time when he knew his wife would be meeting her friends for chama meetings.
When Alyssa refused to go and study with Xavier one Saturday, her parents were furious.
“You must go and study young girl!” Her father roared, “You want to start being lazy!”
Alyssa wanted to say something but her mother yelled at her, forcing her to run to the monster her teacher had become. That evening, as usual, she came back with a sack full of goodies. The kilo of sugar, a loaf of bread and three kilos of corn flour made Mama Alyssa tearful with gratitude.The teacher had blinded them with his munificence.
Three months later, after no concealment could work any more, Mama Alyssa discovered her daughter was in the family way.
“Are you pregnant?” She asked in disbelief. The young girl bent her head in shame. Her father passing by, heard his wife asking the abominable question. He sprang in the kitchen breathing fire. One look at his wife and daughter and he knew his ears had not failed him.
She knew she would get a thrashing and her father went hammer and tongs at it demanding to know the father. But Xavier had warned her viciously, yet the aches from the beatings became unbearable until she screamt out his name.
There was pindrop silence in the smoky little ironsheet house. Then a deep breath.
“He has to be reported. You will accompany your mother tomorrow to the police and tell them what you have just told us. He will pay for taking advantage of you.” Her father finally spoke when Alyssa explained everything her Mathematics teacher had been doing to her.
Little did they know that they had put so much faith in the justice system.
“Mama, do you have any idea who Mwalimu Xavier is?” One police man asked cockily. She looked at them inquiringly.
“That man comes from a connected family. His father is a former provincial commissioner, one of his brothers is a police man too, a chief inspector in our neighbouring town, his sister is a top lawyer while their eldest brother is the assistant county commissioner.” The police officer announced to the pair who realized that this was a war they lost before they reached the battlefield .
“My advice is, settle this issue amicably with the culprit because this is not a case you will win.” The other police officer said with a concerned tone. The two went back home with heavy hearts, both wondering why life could be so unfair to some people. They knew their father would not help much. In a corrupt society such as this, only those with money and power have a voice.
The next morning, they were graced by unwelcomed guests . Three men jumped out of the government landcruiser and walked towards the six members of the family who apprehensively waited outside of the house. The three stood a few metres from the family.
One of them was the cocky policeman Mama Alyssa and daughter had met the previous day at the police station. The other was Xavier while the last man who had a very conceited look on his face was unfamiliar to them but he resembled Xavier too much one would have concluded he was the brother.
“I am Chief Inspector Mabaya.” He announced proudly. “I hear this family is spreading rumours about our brother here.” The man spoke on , pausing dramatically and looking around the compound disdainfully.
Then he came close to Alyssa’s father’s face and continued, “If I get wind of such slanders going on about our good family, I will personally tear this family down, one by one and there is nothing you will do about it but just watch. Do you understand me, my friend?”
It was a lion facing a kitten. The kitten at the lion’s mercy. Alyssa’s father, the meek kitten nodded and as if that was what he was waiting for, the man turned around and left, clicking his fingers at the two to follow him. And the van veered off, leaving a cloud of dust whirling around the poor man’s compound.
Alyssa’s father sat on his stool with a heavy defeated thud. Mama Alyssa took a stool too and her head fell on her hands. The three siblings sat on a sack lying around leaving Alyssa standing, her baby bump now showing as she leant on a pole, her hands crossed , tears flowing at the humiliation that she had just witnessed caused on her family.
They decided to let it go. A kitten cannot fight a lion, it will end up being wounded badly or even be killed. They resolved to keep mum about the issue, it was safer for them all. Alyssa would discontinue her studies until she gave birth, then her parents would take care of it as she resumed her studies, they agreed.
Back at school, a teacher was concerned. Madam Joslene noted that her best student had stopped attending classes. Word had it that she was pregnant. Madam Joslene thought it hard to accept that Alyssa would engage in careless sexual activity. She had known Alyssa as a conscientious girl, so she knew something was amiss. She decided to see the headteacher about it, Madam Lisbeth.
The two agreed to visit Alyssa and seek for answers. They implored for an explanation because the family seemed to be reluctant and afraid to tell their story. Then Alyssa, out of a gut reaction, decided to drop the bombshell.
Alyssa’s story knocked off their socks. Coming from any other person, one would have their guts for garters for maligning Mr Xavier’s name. They knew him as a man of good standing. They knew that their colleague came from an influential family but he had always been so down to earth about it. But this accusation came from blameless Alyssa.
“It’s sad that people with power use it to trample on those without. I know that even I , as the head teacher cannot win this battle, however hard I try.” Lisbeth said feeling crushed and helpless.
Joslene took them all by surprise by smiling amidst a sombre atmosphere.
“I have an idea. I have seen it working before with other issues, let us use the power of social media to get justice.” She said, her eyes brighter at her eureka moment. The rest stared ar her unable to grasp where she was heading to with her seemingly big idea.
“What I mean is, let’s publish your story on every social media platform, then ask every woman to share and forward it to everyone that cares until all that trends will be #justiceforAlyssa. I have a feeling that help will come from this.” She said excitedly but Alyssa’s father shook his head vehemently drowning her excitement.
“Father please,” Alyssa spoke up. Her father angrily reminded her of the threat they had received from the Inspector. But Alyssa knew her father, she knew he would agree with enough pleading.
“Ok, go ahead, I hope it works because if it does not we are all dead.” He said and left them drafting up the events on Joslene’s phone.
“And…press post!” She said as she pressed the button on her phone showingly, then closed her eyes and said a short prayer.
“I suggest you guys should hide , you can come to my house, it might get messy.” Madam Lisbeth said as the family of five packed a few things quickly and got in the headteacher’s car with Madam Joslene in tow.
Madam Lisbeth welcomed her guests with hot cups of tea. The three siblings started to play around as Lisbeth, Joslene, Alyssa and her mother were left to discuss Xavier’s shocking behaviour. Joslene kept checking on her phone but there was nothing to tell. She was starting to feel guilty for misleading Alyssa’s family and her boss.
Then the school secretary called her boss, Madam Lisbeth.
“That’s Philomena, she says media reporters have been calling endlessly for the last three hours asking about Alyssa.” She announced. The women yelled in elation.
“What? It already has reached the media?” Mama Alyssa asked surprised.
Then Joslene frowned at her phone. She glanced at the women confused.
“What’s wrong Teacher?” Alyssa asked anxiously.
“Your father has been arrested and your house has been burned down by unknown assailants.” She said with dejection.
Mother and daughter wailed in despair.
“I knew this was not a good idea!” Her mother said pacing up and down.
“Teacher, start another hashtag, #releaseAlyssa’sfather.” A resolute Alyssa said. Joslene typed quickly hopeful and anxious. There was tension in the room as everyone sank in deep meditation. Even Alyssa’s siblings had stopped playing and come in to watch the unfoldings. After a few minutes of disquiet, Joslene picked her phone, read through it and gave a cry of triumph.
“Switch on the TV!” She screamt. The national TV had stopped normal programming and were live at Kapuka Small Town, outside Alyssa’s fire consumed house.
“They are at our home!” The five members screamt as others jumped up and down. Then Madam Lisbeth hushed them and volumed up the TV.
“My dear viewers, this used to be the home of the poor innocent fourteen year old girl who was severally defiled and finally impregnated by her teacher who used his family connections to silence her and her family. The neighbours tell us that five hooded thugs blazed it up when the family members ran for their lives to God knows where. My dear viewers, witnesses also tell us that her father has been roughly picked up by a police van while he was buying some cigarettes from a local shop.”
“I cannot believe this, it’s happening too fast!” Alyssa wailed.
“I know! See, female celebrities and politicians are up in arms against Xavier, urging for justice for you! It’s a revolution!” Madam Joslene replied with equal enthusiasm as she scrolled down her phone.
The two teachers and Mama Alyssa’s family looked on, in disbelief. Then the TV channel announced that the Director of Criminal Investigations Officer had issued a press statement about the Alyssa issue. She ordered an immediate release of Alyssa’s father. She also authorised Inspector Mabaya to step down for further investigation and an immediate arrest of Tr Xavier.
Then another surprise happened. The rusty two roomed ironsheet house that had been burned down moved well wishers to donate money for them to build a better house. They found Joslene’s number and entrusted her with the money that endlessly continued to trickle in. It started with thousands then hundreds of thousands and within no time, Alyssa became a millionaire.
Life changed for them all. Alyssa’s family build a four bedroomed house. The rest of the money, her father wisely invested in livestock farming. The struggle to pay fees for the four kids and even have a plate for all in the evening was gone.
Madam Joslene became an internet influencer with companies paying her handsomely to market their products. She now has two jobs.
Madam Lisbeth won the prize of head teacher of the year. She retired a happy and proud teacher.
On the other hand, the Chief Inspector was fired for abuse of authority and obstruction of justice. The rest of Xavier’s family members distanced themselves from the evil two after condemning their despicable actions. Xavier’s case, because of public follow-up, was hurried up and handled by the no nonsense Judge Iyata.
“You have taken advantage of a child, who had trusted you to guide her as a teacher. You are therefore sentenced to twenty years in jail and a compensation of one million shillings to the victim.” She said with finality and striked the gavel on the sound block sternly and picked her files leaving two sides with different emotions : one side grateful that justice had finally been served and another side acrimonious that the selfish acts of one of their own had not only besmirched all of them but also tangled up all of their lives forever.