She exclaimed: “Eh! at your age you seek family planning services!” She ordered: “You are prostitutes and do not deserve this service because it will be promoting immorality among youth and contribute to the erosion of our values. Get out of here!
I was 17 years when I started dating with a 15 years young girl. For all we were students we decided to use family planning methods. We went to Mawenihopital (Kigoma regional hospital) to ask for advice and family contraceptive services. A nurse who received us scared and discouraged us, and finally chased us away with words full of stigma and discrimination. She exclaimed: “Eh! at your age you seek family planning services!” She ordered: “You are prostitutes and do not deserve this service because it will be promoting immorality among youth and contribute to the erosion of our values. Get out of here!”
With shame and despair we returned and began to have unsafe sex. Unfortunately, my girlfriend got pregnant. Fearing the pregnancy to be discovered both at school and home, we decided to drop out of school first, and then have an abortion because we were not ready to have a baby. Although we heard that there are doctors who helped women at Mawenihopital, we didn’t return there fearing to be disclosed and ashamed again because we are still young. We therefore went to a traditional healer who gave her some roots and leaves. The pregnancy was terminated after 3 difficult days and my girlfriend got sick near to death.
Fearing that situation…I decided to join groups of marijuana smokers and sellers. Finally, my girlfriend’s parents discovered that their daughter was ill because of an abortion of a pregnancy of which I am responsible. I was arrested by the police [and spent 2 weeks] at Kigoma central police station but was finally released after some arrangements. After my release, I continued dating with my girlfriend but this was not sustainable because I [had become] a Marijuana addict. I continued that bad life until Kividea brought me to their rehabilitation centre where I’m living and learning different skills now.
In Tanzania the law prohibits abortion under all circumstances except when the mother’s life is in danger. (CRR, “The Worl’s Abortion Laws 2012” http://www.worldabortionlaws.com/map/)
Kividea provided accommodation for Samuel at their drop-in center, and provided counseling about drug abuse, HIV/AIDS and STIs, and unwanted pregnancy prevention methods. Thereafter Kividea empowered him with sewing skills and donated him a sewing machine so he could be self-employed. Now, Samuel has his tailoring shop and is the head of the Sport and Leisure department at Kividea.
As a youth organisation, Kividea has a drop-in centre where young people acquire different life skills, as well as comprehensive sexual and reproductive health counseling services. Kividea is a safe space where young people can discuss different matters affecting their life.
DEMAND ACCESS TO SAFE AND LEGAL ABORTION NOW!
(Image: Faviana Rodriguez, This is an Emergency zine, http://abortionconversationproject.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/creativity-will-save-the-day-3/)