School days are the best days of your life? I think not! I remember the year, 1993 it was sometime before Christmas. My parents told me that I could write up a list of friends I would invite over for a party and I was delighted. I used to have a birthday celebration each year but it was always with my siblings and hardly ever with my friends so you can imagine the excitement. A few days later I was informed that we were going to Marondera and I didn’t read much into it. My grandmother stayed there and we visited her often so for me it was just another trip to see Gogo(grandmother). I was wrong, we were moving and no one even cared to tell me.
It was only when we arrived in Marondera and we didn’t go to Gogo’s place that I realised that something was amiss. I was shown our new home and what was going to be my new bedroom and I was not amused. You see, when we were in Chinhoyi the house we stayed in was tripple the size of the one I saw before my eyes. The neighbourhood was completely different, I knew no one except my cousins who stayed I didn’t even know where because we met when we all went to Gogo’s place. I was devastated. I actually cried buckets and told my parents I wanted to go back to Chinhoyi and be with my friends, my school and everything that I was familiar with. Mothers back then didn’t take tantrums lightly and my mother would whoop my ass for being dramatic. I cried myself to sleep so many nights, I missed my friends. I missed home.
I had to attend a new school and as you can imagine I felt like an outsider. Making friends was a real mission. I loved sport, I could swim and play tennis but I didn’t make it to the team because the school already had their set of students they had already “chosen”. I remember taking up hockey instead and I struck some luck there and ended up being in the team. Even after trying to make friends through sport people didn’t seem to like me. I was bullied and secluded. The one time all the girls in my class called for a meeting and sat me down. I don’t remember what it was about but I remember walking home in tears and wishing I would either go back to Chinhoyi or die. Children can be really cruel and to date I don’t understand why they treated me that way.
At home my father never wanted me to leave the house. I was always under lock and key. The only time I was allowed to play outside the gate was when I went out to ride my bicycle. That was one of my favourite things to do. A few weeks after we moved my bicycle was stolen and I was left with nothing else to do with my time. Eventually I was allowed to go and play with children my age but only till a certain time of day then it was back to being under lock and key.
I still have memories of having to sit outside during break time by myself because the other girls were “punishing me”. Was it because they had already established who their friends were and I was messing up things for them by being the newbie? Was it because I loved to take part in sporting activities? Was it because I didn’t know anything about the town? I had and still have so many questions because I can’t imagine why people would have such a strong feeling of dislike of someone they really didn’t know.
I never looked forward to going to school. I hated every minute of it. I remember telling my parents about what was happening but they brushed it off. There were a lot of incidents that happened that I won’t dwell on because as it is I am typing this and crying at the same time, the wounds are resurfacing all over again! I grew up telling myself that once I am done with school I am never coming back to Marondera if it’s the last thing I do. I hate that place, it has so many unpleasant memories. Each time I travel and I start feeling home sick it’s not Marondera I will be thinking of, I will be thinking of my home here in Harare. It was only yesterday that it dawned on me that this is the reason I never enjoy my visits to Marondera, the place haunts me…