03 January 2012

What It Could Have Been Like, v2.0

A happy new 2012 and all the best to my readers back in the States.  Just the word "twenty-twelve" is enough to make me happy, it's so euphonious in its alliteration it just kind of rolls off the tongue.

As last year's first post of the year was a hit with so many, I'm going to try to recreate the mystique of that experience again, this time putting myself in the shoes of a young girl in St. Kitts.  Please bear in mind that while all the descriptions and scenarios are inspired by the socioeconomic situation here in SKB, none are based on actual events or people.  The story is entirely fictional, and meant to inform and encapsulate the average struggles in the Federation, and not meant to disrepute any person or group of people.

I got home from school yesterday to find Greyg, my stepfather, drunk and yelling at my mother.  He had spent the afternoon at the rum shop across the street, and had imbibed too many Caribs before five o'clock.  I had witnessed this abuse one time before from him, and so I knew that there was nothing I could reasonably be expected to do to stop it.  I went to my room instead.

My room is a bedroom shared with Paul, my 12-year-old younger brother, and my younger step siblings.  My name is J'recia, and I'm a 14-year-old second form student at WAHS.  I was born in New Jersey, but can only remember living here in St. Kitts.  I had an older brother, but Shakim was killed in a gang altercation 2 years ago.  Mom believed he was going to be the first in our family to graduate from secondary school.  Due to my entering secondary school pregnant, the honorific of "first high school graduate" simply bypassed me and now lays with Paul, who is still in primary school.  My son, Skimbo, is now 6 months old, and represents the primary reason for my contemplating dropping out early, in spite of what the guidance counselor at Washy was trying to convince me of yesterday.

Skimbo, like a gift from God, came to me as a bit of a shock.  My family has always been friends with the driver of the bus Too Fast, so about the time I began seeking trans around the city to visit my friends from school, I preferred to use his services, since he didn't charge me.  One night, however, after the last patron was dropped off in the country, we took a detour from heading back into town, where he raped me.  I carried out the resultant pregnancy to term, as my family and pastor said I had to, and now my mother and I have an additional 6-month-old charge.  While I resent having my body and honor taken advantage of, I don't hate the man, and still see him in town frequently.  Mostly, I'm thankful for my beautiful son, and dutiful to bring him up in this warm corner of an otherwise cold world. 

As I lay down on my pallet contemplating these things, Paul comes in after me, seemingly undisturbed by the cacophony of Greyg's shouting outside the door.  The smell of dope wafts around him.  When I inquire, he says he doesn't partake, but he was hanging around with a group of older boys who were smoking.  He says it with the ease of someone with no guilt, so I don't press the subject; he hardly has a reason to hide anything from his older sister.  Instead, he continues on about the boys, clearly and profoundly impressed.  The hair starts to raise on the back of my neck, and just as I open my mouth to confront him, he beats me to the punch:

He says he wants to join their gang.

I hope you enjoyed/were moved/learned a little from my story.  Leave a comment if you were.

I'm due to start back at work on Wednesday (I think), and so am looking forward to getting back into a routine.  Carnival has been good this year, with a much more relaxed feel to it.  I have been able to take part in the activities I wanted to, with full knowledge of what to expect ahead of time, which has made it far more easy-going for me.  In fact, the longer I do this, the more I agree that a two year term of service is a very good length of time to be immersed in another country.  Granted, it is a very long time, but in the end, just long enough to ensure that one has taken part in everything one can in a calendar year.  So thanks, Peace Corps, for that.

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