By Agaba lucky
Travelling from Mbarara on independence day; around 5:00pm, a friend of mine calls me and is interested in knowing what I am currently doing with my life after University. We talk about many things including my search for a job. Shortly after the phone call, sitted next to me is a senior citizen or let me call him a sexagenarian, who goes like “our company in Ntinda is looking for an administration assistant, you need a job? Excitedly I go like, “yes! I would love to work.” We then interact for the next five hours of our journey to our common destination – Kampala.
In our conversation, he asks if I am good at oral and written English, managing social media and if I am flexible enough to work in a busy environment, I was honest enough and gave a, “yes I own a personal website and I have been managing social media platforms for my previous organization.”
Silently, I start praying. Silence passes, the elder goes ahead; “Our Company works with Americans and they love flexible people but you will adopt, I know, depending on how I have seen your personality in the few minutes we have been together. You will be trained in what you don’t know, and I am sure you will be able to offer the best; you might also need to start work tomorrow, we need someone urgently.” Excitedly, I respond that I am very ready to start work. Later, he tells me to present myself in office at exactly 8:00am the next day, for a final interview which would be hands-on, after which I would be able to start work immediately.
The rest of the story went to Thursday morning in Ntinda. 7:00am Thursday, found me in Ntinda at a place where I was directed to find my about –to- be employer (and was it an office? It looked more of a hotel). He then tells me,” it’s still very early but we will be heading to the office soon.” The previous night my job had been to research about the company, which I did. What he had said about it previously seemed true according to my findings. He also happened to be one of the big people in the company. Before heading to the office, he asks me to have a chat with him once again to know about my education background before I got to work.
HIM: So after meeting you last evening and you, proving your good skills, you know I told you, you fit the Job, and I would like to make you very happy but you should be able to make me happy.
ME: Yes sir, for sure, I will make you very happy with the work I will do, with my skills I trust, I will.
HIM: Well, I am thinking you will need to pass by my house to make me happy and tomorrow you will be happier-working with a prestigious company without a hustle.
ME: What work is at your house sir? Is your daughter ok? (In our previous conversation in the bus, he had told me about his daughter whom he takes care of.)
HIM: You know what I mean! But well, the decision is in your hands, just a short moment of joy together at my house and you are happy thereafter.
ME: (grasping his concern and disappointed) Right behind me! I would never give my body to you for anything, a job? Never, I am a Christian.
HIM: Then decide; to be selfish or make me happy just like I am going to make you happy.
ME: I decide selfishness as you call it, all the best in your company, send my greetings to your daughter.
HIM: Anyway, I didn’t mean to say, I want sex with you, but you are too principled and rigid, I am not ready to work with a principled person like you. And this job needs flexibility, if you can’t do me something small like that, then, you aren’t fit for the Job. Call me when you have thought about it.
Yes, I don’t deny I was hurt, losing an opportunity that got me fantasizing the whole night, about the new life I was to begin. I had the job for two hours and the rest of the time jobless and broken at the rending fate of the girl child. For the first time, I felt unlucky to be a girl. That evening, I posted this experience on my WhatsApp status and a big number of my girlfriends commented with the response, “you aren’t alone, we have faced a lot and worse and some of us have even fallen victims out of being desperate.”
I am left shocked by the many unlucky stories that are not less the same as mine- save for the few that have fallen victims of the so called flexibility.
Today with many other girls, our disquieting questions remain: what is being too principled? What is flexibility? (Ability to use our bodies in different fields); Do companies need our bodies not our skills and abilities anymore? Should we consider ourselves luckless to be girls? What about those that can’t afford self-employment due to financial inability? What should we grow to tell our daughters? Aren’t they heading for this?
To fellow girls;
It’s quite sad that sometimes we have to put up with the harsh environment. However, we need to learn how we can still thrive, by keeping our dignity of self-respect. There is need for a good foundation for ourselves which is the faith that our creator has the best plans for our lives. From this, we can draw confidence and boldness to rebuke and turn down any offers that threaten our dignity as women. We have to set a standard, which is value based. We also need to understand that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and a sanctuary for our husbands, we are stewards of this. What we would desire our daughters to do and be, we must be it ourselves. God will always make it up to us.
Church leaders, Parents and the Government
My appeal to you, is that just like you invest time and resources in helping check other hostile vices and being in better position of authority to the masses, there is need to help teach young girls to set values as early as primary level, and to help empower them to defend these values even in the overwhelming world of unemployment. There is also need for Government to invest more in girl-child protection. We desire sensitization on how we can deal legally with people in authority at our work places that always look for ways to take advantage of us girls. Like any other citizen,
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