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Crossroads - THOMAS MUTONONO

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Publisher

BY THOMAS MUTONONO

Fairfield Press

ISBN 978-1908690-33-3

Published by Fairfield Press, an imprint of Belontos Books, Middlesbrough

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© 2016, Thomas Mutonono

The right of Thomas  Mutonono to be identified as the author of this book has been asserted by him in accordance with Section 77 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form, or by any means electronic, mechanical or photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the express written permission of the publisher.

A CIP record for this book is available from the British Library

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank my family for their patience, support and understanding, especially my wife for the idea of 'My Child Your Child.' This story is  partially true. Most of all I would like to thank Sarudzayi Barnes and the team at Abba Press for all the help and support in the making this book. Keep up the good work.

CROSSROADS

-1-

It was raining hard.

Saturday early morning, 5.30 a.m. Due to the thick clouds, it was still dark. Many people were still in bed, soaking up the warmth of their blankets. Tambudzai Chirikure woke up suddenly. She looked in the dark room. Her husband, Abisha Chirikure was in bed next to her. Everything was normal. She sighed with relief. But, the uneasy feeling that had woken her remained. She got out of bed, walked to the window, parted the curtains a little and looked out. The road which was close to the houses was deserted. Beyond that there were trees and a bush, then a small stream, which filled with water in the rainy season only. After the stream there was a durawall, which went round a pre-school or crèche for children.

As Tambudzai was about to close the curtains she saw a movement. She looked closely. A dark figure came out slowly from the direction of the stream, stopped by the bushes, behind a tree. The figure looked furtively, then came out running quickly and dashed to a house two blocks away. It was a woman. A young woman, Tambudazi could not recognise her. It was still too dark.

What was she doing out so early and  in the rain? Tambudazi was puzzled. She closed the curtains and went to bed. She could not sleep. She kept thinking about this girl or woman. Highfield was a high density area, that is, a highly populated suburb. It was for Black people, a ghetto in the terms of the American Black people. Highfields, an area in Harare, was a suburb full of activity. There were several night-clubs, a stadium, supermarkets and various indigenous businesses. Each individual did his/her own thing. People moved about anytime of the day. There was nothing unusual about that.

Tambudzai was about to put  the issue of the young woman at the back of her mind when she heard a cry. Surely that was a baby crying? Tambudzai thought. She got out of bed again and went to the window to see what was happening. The street was deserted.

There was that cry again.

What is the problem, Tambu? Abisha asked from behind.

Tambudzai was startled. She had not heard her husband get up. She explained about the young woman, now the cry of the baby.

There it was again.

Yes I hear it too, agreed Abisha Chirikure. It seems to be coming from those trees near that stream.

That is where that young woman came from. Do you think....? Tambudzai left the question hanging.

I think so, answered Abisha. The young woman might have dumped a baby. Let us go and check.

They put on their raincoats, took an umbrella and went out together. The cries became louder as they approached the tree near the stream. They came to the tree and there, on the ground was a bundle in rags and covered with paper. Tambudzai picked it up, opened and there was a baby, crying. She looked at her husband, her eyes full of shock.

Dear Lord why us? whispered Abisha.

Abisha let’s go into the house quickly, this baby needs to be covered with something warm.

They went into the house. Tambudzai took some winter sheets and wrapped the baby after drying it with a towel.

What do we do now? asked Tambudzai rocking the baby and looking at her husband

We tell the police and let them take it, Abisha answered, looking at his wife and the baby in her arms.

Yes, the wife agreed. But....I want to keep this baby.

Husband and wife looked at each other.

I don’t think that is possible. The police will not allow that.

Tambudzai was quiet for some time. Abisha phoned the police. Finally she said, We will see about that. This child is ours, given to us by God. After all the years we have prayed to God for a child, this is his answer. We will officially adopt this child.

Abisha finished talking to the police and put the phone down. They are on their way. They sat in silence. Each deep in thought.

Abisha was thinking of how much they needed a baby in their home. They had been married for fifteen years and had no children of their own. They had tried almost everything possible under the sun to have a baby when their doctor  told them that they could not have children. Husband and wife had finally accepted this with a heavy heart. Over the years the pain had become less and less. They had many nephews and nieces from their  brothers and sisters who they regarded as their own children, as was the custom in their culture. Now the wound was re-opened. It was painful for both of them.

The police arrived ten minutes later. They asked what had happened. Abisha and his wife explained everything that had happened up to  the time the police had arrived.

Okay, Constable Alois Dikita said. Let’s go to Machipisa Police station where you can make a formal statement. In the meantime, we will look for the mother of the baby.

I want to keep the child, Constable, is that possible? Tambudzai asked.

Constable Dikita looked at both husband and wife. Realising they were serious he said. That can be discussed at the police station. They all got into the police truck and went to Machipisa Police Station. It was now 6.45 a.m. At the station, statements were made, a contingent of policemen was sent to hunt and investigate the culprit who had given birth and dumped the baby.

Tambudzai and Abisha were now sitting in the office of the man in charge of Machipisa Police Station. Constable Dikita had just finished relating the morning’s events to his superior, Ignatius Pfende.

Firstly, began Ignatius Pfende. I would like to thank you for all that you have done. You have saved the life of a child. The police will do all they can to arrest the culprit. He paused. As for your request to keep the baby, that can be handled by the Department of Social Welfare, in conjunction with Chengetai Children’s Home. We can put in our recommendations, but the final decision comes from these two organisations. You can only be granted custody of the child if the mother of the baby is not found. There was silence in the office. Finally Abisha said, Okay, we will speak with Social Welfare and the children’s home. We want to really look after this child. To us, it is a gift from God.

Tambudzai agreed.

After some discussion with the Member-in-Charge, the couple returned home to prepare for the visit to the social welfare offices on Monday.

It was a long weekend. The mother of the baby was