By Tearz Ayuen
I presume everyone knows that being the world’s newest state, South Sudan is faced with a number of challenges. But what everybody doesn’t know though is what exactly these challenges are and how they came or come about. Some of them are: Christianization—overdependence on others – both individual and national, grinding poverty and vitriolic tribal politicking. In this piece, I will focus on diseases, AIDS in particular.
AIDS is coming on all fronts and it is here to stay. It’s robbing the country of its good men, women and youth. It has already claimed many lives, and many people are living with it. Before, we had war widows and orphans. Now, we have HIV/AIDS widows and orphans. Well, how does this virus gain momentum in the world’s baby nation? The following are some of the plausible factors, causes, theories which possibly bespeak endemicity of the virus.
The first possible cause is depicted in the dialogue below. I don’t know what I should call it. Please be my guest: give it a title.
1. Freedom is not free
Mu’die: Wear your condom, Honey.
Paanriak: No, I don’t like wearing condom.
Mu’die: Why? It’s protective, Sweetie.
Paanriak: I know. Just let me eat you without a condom.
Paanriak: Okay Okay….I will give you more money.
Mu’die: Over my dead body.
Paanriak: I will increase your demand by 100%.
Mu’die: No way.
Paanriak: Okay, 200%?
Mu’die: I said no. I’m putting my G-string back on.
Paanriak: Babe, please stay. I beg you.
Paanriak: Okay, Okay, Okay, I will give you a thousand dollars.
Mu’die: You’re lying
Paanriak: I’m serious. Wait a minute.
(From a small black briefcase, he removes a bundle of 100-dollar bills).
Mu’die: Baby you’re rich (She purrs).
Paanriak: Look: one hundred, two hundred, three hundred, 4, 5, 6,7,8,9, one thousand.
Mu’die: Now come closer. (Mwaaaah)
Paanriak: (switches off the lights).
2. Breakdown of Societal Norms
With South Sudan now at peace, peoples of various cultural backgrounds are importing some practices – both bad and good. Acculturation is visibly driving out African traditional way of life here. It’s unstoppable. A notably inevitable foreign practice is courtship style. Love relationship.
Back in the day, the art of winning a girl’s heart was golden and revered. It was an important rite of passage. It would take a young man a very long long time to talk a girl into his betweens. That’s four to five years or so. Or two lovers would just abstain until marriage. This was meant to give lovers enough time to study one another, to know each other well.
A girl would die to know what kind of a man her groom-to-be is. Is he weak or strong? A coward or a brave one? Is he a son of a witch or respectable woman? Is his mother impeccable? Does he have siblings? Brothers and sisters? Is he a son of a poor man or of a wealthy one? What is his mother’s mother called? His father’s grandfather? Could we be related?
At least a girl would get to know more about her wooer before opening her thighs. Today, however, it takes a blink of an eye for a boy to make his new girlfriend read classical Arabic:
Mony–jooth: How’re you, Halawa?
(Believe it or not, this girl is in abnormal high-heels – the length of her leg).
Mony–jooth: You look familiar. Haven’t we met before, Mrembo?
(They have never ever met in real life – but online, Facebook)
Nyan–thuuk: I can’t remember (she blushes).
Mony–jooth: It’s okay, Sweetie. Come and sit with me at my table.
Nyan–thuuk: No, I am with my friends. I can’t leave them alone. There they’re on the dance floor.
Mony–jooth: No, don’t worry about them. I won’t harm you.
Nyan–thuuk: Okay. But just a few seconds only.
(They sit at a table. And the dude immediately barks orders at a nearby waitress. The girl makes her orders too. Minutes later, the waitress comes back with two bottles of Snapp and tots of Black Label. And an amorous conversation begins):
Mony–jooth: Did you say you do not know me?
Nyan–thuuk: Yes. But I’m not sure whether we’ve met before or not.
Nyan–thuuk: No, wait a minute. (With her mouth wide open) OMG! It’s you Johnnie. I didn’t expect to meet you in a place like this. I do like your Facebook updates. When did you arrive in this town?
Mony–jooth: It’s been three days now. You know this place is so noisy. I can barely hear you. May we please go to some quieter place?
Mony–jooth: Come oooon!! We’ll be back quickly.
Mony–jooth: Come on, my Queen (He stretches out his hand to hold hers. She accepts. Of course, No allegedly means Yes in the world of women. Allegedly).
(Off they vanish into darkness)
Alcohol is a mysterious liquid. It makes wonders. Each wonder is manifested in each drunk. Depending on the level of intoxication, it makes one talk and talk and talk. Some talk sense, others talk nonsense. It makes others violent. Very wild. It makes others dull and boring.
It eroticizes others. This is the worst group. This type is the favorite target of the virus. After a few bottles of beer, one begins to see unseen things – naked women.
He begins to fall for any girl he lays his eyes on. He wants to talk to any girl in a club. If by any chance he initiates a talk with a loose broad, they end up bonking in an alley or parking lot.
4. Prostitution/Influx of sex workers
The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement has attracted East Africa’s sexually independent women. They have come in all sizes, shapes and colors – fat, slim, light-skinned, short, tall, etc. they had to abandon Kampala’s Kabalagala area and Koinange street in Nairobi for South Sudan’s sex-starved men. They operate in illegally legal brothels in Jebel, Gumbo, Konyo-konyo and other markets in Juba. Their clients are majorly soldiers, businessmen and visiting cattle herders.
Soldiers normally live apart from their wives. This makes some of them give in to strong sexual desires by visiting those places. I don’t have an idea why many young cattlemen travel all the way from camps to sleep with these sex workers. Could it be the craving for brown skin? Or is it failure to endure romantically torturous traditional love relationships in which men wait for centuries before tasting the forbidden fruit.
Polygamy is reportedly good. Marry many wives. Beget many children. Gain respect and prestige. But with resource scarcity today, coupled with need for every wife to be satisfied romantically, sexually disgruntled wives tend to seek sexual diet somewhere else. This also makes bad men sleep in hotels with hawkers, knowing that each wife thinks he is in one of her co-wives’ house.
When we were younger, silly and stupid, teachers tried their best to educate us about the dangers of pre-marital sex – mostly Aids. They tried everything, including some biblical scriptures. Fornication and stuff. They also talked about ABCs of HIV: Abstain, Be faithful to one an unaffected partner and Consistent use of condom.
In secondary school, my teacher, an ecclesiastical dude named Mwangi – in a bid to discourage me and my peers from running after female schoolmates and from contracting HIV, said: “If you want to survive adolescence, if you want to celebrate your 40th birthday, assume that every girl there is in this school is living with the Virus.” Mr. Mwangi please!
However, none of those pieces of advice was heeded. We still ran after girls, both in school and outside. We hardly used condoms. I remember the only time we put it on was when one thought of pregnancy and everything else that it brings forth – beating (What do you know about being kicked in the ribs with Timberland boots, by your lover’s brothers and male cousins?), early fatherhood. What helped and still helps us is our minds. We wear condom in the mind.
So, I would urge every single South Sudanese to not put condom on his phallus but his mind. Mind. And I mean to say: Since it is hard, almost impossible, to heed HIV-related advice, go on dipping your thingy into any hole but make sure your mind wears a condom. I said Mental Condom. Mental condom.
Tearz © 2013