Conceived on the riverbank

September 01, 2022

Dear Pastor,

This is the first time I am writing to you but I read your column almost every day. I am a country girl. I don't know my real father but I don't want to know him now.

My mother has six of us and I am the third. My mother was living with a man but she was not very careful. She still went with other men. She was not educated. She used to go by the river and wash. She even took clothes from people and washed them for a fee.

When she got pregnant with me, she did not even know the man very well. Since I became a big woman, I reasoned with her and she told me the truth. She said she was at the riverside washing and she was only in her underwear and her bra when this man approached her and told her that she looked sexy. She chatted with him and then he left and came back and started to play with her. She told him that she didn't have anything at home to cook and he told her he would take care of that. Before she knew what was happening, this man was sucking her breasts and she had sex with him right there on the riverbank. She never saw him again. But he had given her enough money to buy something to cook.

The man she was living with never questioned her. He accepted me as his daughter. My mother never told him that she had sex with another man. Some of the man's relatives told him that I looked like a jacket but he treated me as his own child. My mother told me that he never questioned whether she was involved with another man. This man never got married. He saw me as his favourite daughter. My mother said that sometimes she felt guilty about what she did, but she was in need and didn't have anybody to help her. She asked me never to tell my 'father' what happened at the riverbank. I promised that I would keep her secret forever.

My mother is still alive but my father has died. Before he died, he blessed me and gave me a piece of land. I am building a two-bedroom house on it right now. Please hide my initials.

Initial Withheld.

Dear Writer,

Your mother eventually told you that the man you considered to be your biological father was not. I am glad that she had the courage to explain to you what transpired.

I am also glad that you have not held that against her. Evidently, she had a rough upbringing and she had to fight in life. One thing is evident is that the man with whom she lived loved her and supported her. He did not allow anything to come between his love for her, even when others, including his own relatives, accused her of cheating on him.

Your mother was able to keep this secret to herself. She said she was hungry and a man she did not even know took advantage of that. I wonder how much money he gave her. Maybe it was just enough to buy some cornmeal and flour or rice and mackerel, but it was enough to feed her children.

Your father loved you and he expressed that love and gave you a piece of property. I hope that you will keep the pledge that you made to your mother. Whatever she did was in the past and it should remain there. I wish you well. Be very careful with yourself. You don't care to see your biological father, but wouldn't it be wonderful if he would show up one day even after reading your letter? Bye, my dear, take good care of yourself.


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