She had noticed that her daughters were behaving strangely of late. She had allowed them to undertake economic adventures and she wondered as she had not wondered before if business dealings really transformed people. Perhaps money changes people. She was beginning to see the real side of her daughters. But no, they had not yet even succeeded in their respective fields. Lita only came home with fifty percent profit which was not bad. Nukwita on the other hand, had reserved her specialty as far as business dealings were concerned having been rejected by the prestigious hotel.
Nukwita claimed that her job demanded that she utilizes her phone to the maximum. She had, unlike the old days refrained from any verbal dialogue with her and her sister. The completed its rounds and her daughter was glued to the phone. On several occasions, she had burst in anger once disturbed in her technology world.
Mama Lita’s mind travelled to the good old days. Nukwita had been as obedient as a sheep. She recalled the day they first stepped into Nakawa town. She was 17 and her breasts were budding, almost perky. ‘Mama, why do those girls dress like that?’ she had asked on one of their trips in the market.
‘Maybe they want to show off.’ She had replied shrugging. When her daughter had kept quiet, continuing to gaze at the skimpy dressing, the almost revealing attires of the town folk, she asked, seeking to burrow into her daughter’s mind. ; Do you also want to show off?’ ‘No!’ the girl had exclaimed.
Mama Lita could vividly recall the girl’s facial expression when she exclaimed the negative. It had been a mixture of shock and disgust. But what was happening now? The single mother wondered. The girl was slowly embracing what her ancestors had called ‘bad dressing.’ It was impossible to force the girl to abandon the phone. It had become her drug.
Lita on the other hand had been acting strange. She had lost appetite and her favourite food lumonde no longer appealed to her taste. She had would come from work disappointed as her face showed but her profits were rising daily. She would wake up with signs of having struggled in futility to get some sleep. Her mind seemed to be as far away as one can imagine. Was she worrying of the future? What was happening? The once jolly, happy Lita was now gone. It was now a dull, thoughtful and few worded Lita. The mother of two was getting worried. Had the girls discovered the truth behind her single motherhood and that’s why they were paying little heed to her? Had they seen their father? Had they…
‘MAAMA LITA…!’ called a woman’s voice outside the shop. She suddenly was shaken out of her reverie, her mind staring at the aging face of her best friend and confidant. She was dressed in a faded orange kitenge and a huge dirty top that did little to conceal the state of her sagging emaciated breasts.
‘Oh Yes come on in.’ ‘Have you become hard of hearing?’ quizzed the lady. ‘I was thinking…’
The woman waved her to stop and sat on a seat on a senile stool inside. Once she was settled, she spoke kindly, almost as a mother.
‘Tell me what ails your head.’ She said after Mama Lita had settled on a high legged stool that allowed her look out for any customers.
‘Something is amiss Beth.’ She said, addressing the woman by her Christian name. ‘Tell me- what’s the matter?’ Bethany eyed her keenly.
‘It is my daughters.’ She began, eyeing the noisy boda bodas outside. She knew Bethany was an epitome of wisdom. She had given birth to seven children and although her husband bit the dust early, her family, whose house was only a stone’s throw away from the shop was doing pretty well.
‘My daughters are avoiding me. I wonder if they have known about Robert.’ Thoughtfully revealed Mama Lita. Bethany looked on. It was evident that she understood. Robert was the father of the children.
‘The younger one is always on her phone. She never has time for me anymore.’ Lamented the woman. Bethany shook her head slowly. ‘Lita is quiet and withdrawn. She lost appetite.’
Bethany looked up and thought for a while. ‘She was not like that before she joined business. Something must definitely be wrong.’
‘Definitely.’ Echoed mama Lita. Bethany turned and turned her brain to attempt to guess the reason of this unfortunate development.
‘Girls of that age, if you give them these big phones. Said Bethany. ‘They will spend all their life on the phone.’ ‘What is so special about those phones?’
Bethany suddenly laughed for a while then became serious again. She leaned in to whisper. ‘Stupid things.’ When Mama Lita looked confused, she whispered again.’ Adult things.’ ‘No!’ exclaimed Mama Lita. ‘Impossible!’
She had heard of the adult content that can easily be accessed on the big phones. She had heard that these were extremely addictive and could transform young girls into harlots and sluts. She however knew that the big phones enhanced communication through platforms like WhatsApp. She hoped that her daughter had not been usurped into the negative side of technology.
‘But Lita’ continued Bethany. ‘Could be in love.’ Mama Lita laughed hysterically. She knew Kita was not the type to develop feeling for any tone folk. Lita had said it herself. She regarded the townsmen as perverts and if she was to marry, she would get married to an mzungu. She admired the westerners so much that she had adopted some of their talking styles. ‘Be there.’ Bethany warned and made to leave.
‘Won’t you have some kashera?’ asked Mama Lita who understood that the aging woman was addicted to the drink especially prepared by herself.. ‘No!’ ‘Just a little…’ “Okay!’
It was a bright Friday afternoon where the clouds had evaded the sky, revealing the blue surface of the heavens. The sun glared wildly out of excitement at the Kampala land. It was unusually quiet as people had retreated to their houses to evade the sun’s fury. Lita was for the first time in her life genuinely enthralled. She was, as her norm since she started her business preparing Irish Potatoes that she would later slice to get chips. She sat outside the one roomed rental as her mind retraced it steps to Mr. Dangote’s offer to take her to an outing on Friday night.
This was the day, she thought happily, that she would go to a date like one of those dates she had seen in American movies. She had only heard of takes of girls who were actually penniless but visited VIP hotels and moved in luxurious machines. Would she be one of those? She thought.
There were also tales of girls being sexually abused, while others gave in willingly to the men that invested in them. Was Mr. Dangote one of those immoral vagabonds? She shuddered at the thought that he subscribed to the heartless group. Her mind managed to persuade itself that Mr. Dangote looked too handsome, even innocent to take advantage of a girl like herself.
‘It is alright.’ Mr. Dangote had said. But Lita was still not contented with her dresses she had most of which were two years old. On consultation with Nukwita who had no idea of her sister’s plans for the night, and cared less but her phone, Lita begged one of her neighbors for a dress.
Achayo, one of her neighbors was the most disliked due to her ‘slay queen’ mannerisms that were described as disgusting by the neighbor-folk. Her dressing never went beyond her mid-thigh except if it were tight jean pants.
‘Lend me some of your dresses.’ Implored Lita after the formalities on entering her room, which she rented with her mother. Achayo eyed her from head to foot, with eyes she rolled around like they were under some demonic influence. She then laughed at the thought that the innocent Lita was going to also embrace the ‘Queens life’ as she called her day to day dressing. She did not talk much as Lita had expected and instead lent a hand to the girl.
After numerous trials of red, orange, blue, white dresses in all kinds of colors, Lita settled for an ebony dress that stopped at her mid-thigh. It was one of those dresses that brought out the female body build in all its glory. The backside protruded, and then curved majestically back to her thighs. Satisfied, Lita packed the dress, carried her chips as usual and hurried to work with her brain singing. If you saw my man in a Benz, If I see you shooting a gaze, Your home shall always the gauze. For he is my man, And you are just a poor woman, Oh Winds, to the town girl run, Tell them that I, his woman sends warn, To the town girls that fancy my man. He had said he would come early, at nine am. Lita reminisced as she approached her stall.
........To be continued......