At 19, Shalom got a boyfriend who was 18, and they started living together. She tells the story: 2013, when I was still at school and got into a relationship. I was scared of the boy’s advances and tried to avoid him, but he persisted. Shalom says the boy would follow her to fetch water, given the well was far from home.
Being from a low-income family, she was tempted by the little money and small gifts the boy used to pursue her. She eventually became convinced and agreed to have a relationship with him. Unfortunately, she became pregnant, and at this point, her parents were angry and denied her access to the home, preventing her from spoiling the young ones. Traditionally in Africa, when a girl was pregnant while still with their parents, it was considered taboo. Some cultures still do these things, especially in the north.
Shalom refused to disclose the boy’s identity when asked about the owner. This made the parents more angry to the extent of expelling Shalom from home. “It was total darkness for me because even the boy had no place he calls his home,” says Shalom.
She says she could see child marriages, but she never imagined this could happen to her. She finally went to be with a boy who immediately started busing her about how foolish she was to have accepted and conceived. “Life became so hard, and I thought of committing suicide and abortion,” Shalom laments.
“I only stayed with him for three months. I couldn’t manage the torture and abuse. I asked my mother’s friend if I could stay with her. To my surprise, she agreed,” Shalom said.
All my dreams failed; nothing like the support I get from the boy that is just there on the mercies of God. I cannot even afford soap and clothes for myself and a child. JFM supported her with food and little money. Thank you so much, donors, for your selfless love for this great work. God bless you.