Here I was, standing in front of a red door on the 25th floor of an apartment in a high end area of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia…. gathering the courage to knock. This was where life had led me, everything I ever did, ever thought, ever felt, ever experienced had led me to this very moment. I experienced a pang of sadness and had to hold my tears back… I could not go back, I did not own my life anymore!
I resigned to my fate and knocked on the door…this was the beginning of my life in Malaysia !!
See, I was the firstborn out of seven children and I grew up in a small village in western Uganda. My parents were small scale vegetable farmers so we lived day to day with the most basic commodities. I loved school, I had always aspired to be a teacher but unfortunately, there was no money for me to go to college after high school. I had to join my mother in the markets selling vegetables. I did not mind assisting my parents as I knew how hard they worked to put my siblings and I through school but it was always upsetting watching my old secondary school friends go to college.
A few months after finishing secondary school, my youngest sister fell quite ill with leukemia. It was the worst thing that could have happened to my family at that point as we were dirt poor. We sold part of our land and did a fundraising for her but the money was not enough for proper consistent medication. It was so painful, seeing this once young and bubbly girl waste away.
One afternoon as I was walking towards my house from the market, I saw a posh range rover parked outside our house…I was curious, I was very sure my family did not know anyone that rich … who was that? I walked in the house to find my parents in a deep discussion with a classily dressed lady. All of them looked at me as I walked in, my mother with pain stained eyes. I was really curious, what was going on?
I was asked to sit down and in the next hour, I was in this lady’s car driving to the city. My father had informed me that this very generous lady had offered to pay for my sisters hospital bills and in return, I was to work in her supermarket in Malaysia. As I packed, my mother could not stop crying and my father could hardly look me in the eyes. I did not get a chance to say goodbye to my siblings who were in school.
I stayed in this lady’s house… ‘The Madam’ (she asked me to address her like that) for two weeks as she organized my papers and finally flew to Malaysia together. I was really nervous, I had never even been to the capital city back home and now I was in another country with foreign people. A Ugandan man, who I presume was Madam’s husband from their body language, came to pick us up at the airport. Madam had a large house as well in Malaysia. I told myself that one day I would be just like her.
She directed me to a room on the second floor which had three mattresses on the floor. I was happy that I was not going to be alone. She asked me to have a rest and she would talk to me in a few hours. I dreamt of one day having a house of my own just like Madam’s and making my family proud. I would be her very best employee even if it killed me.
The next morning, I was woken up by whispering voices in the room. Two girls skimpily dressed with thick layers of make up and long hair extensions were happily talking about their previous nights’ escapades. Something about the club and a couple of men…. something I was not familiar with. I had never been to the club or even hang out with men, it was an interesting conversation to eaves drop on. The Madam walked in and jolted my thoughts, she threw a bag of clothes at me and instructed on of the girls to ‘take care of me’, looked at me for a moment and walked off. She seemed really cold and withdrawn, definitely not the same woman I travelled with.
The girls had a long chat with me… I could not believe what they were telling me, I wished it was all a big joke and they would finally tell me my real job at the supermarket. I could tell that they were feeling pain breaking this news to me, probably empathizing with me and relieving their own introductions to the business. My life had been a series of bad events but this had topped them all …this I would never recover from.
I gathered the courage to speak to Madam hoping she would change her mind.
Me: Excuse me Madam, I wanted to speak to you about what the girls have told me.
Madam: Yes, and…..?
Me: You told me I would work for you in your supermarket
Madam: (Evil Chuckle) do not waste my time, your parents promised you would do anything I say…. otherwise you give me back the money you owe me
Me: (Tears streaming down) I can’t, I have never……
Madam: Ohhhhh…that is even better, you will be my special one. I am sure you will be able to pay me back soon, the men will love you.
Me: (Barely breathing and crying uncontrollably collapse on the floor)
I remember what bothered me most as I was on the floor hoping to die, was that my first experience with a man would not be one of love. How I wished I gave in to my high school admirers’ plea to have sex…
Find out how her first experience goes in the next article xx