Caught up in washing dishes and cooking chicken,
Can’t get no schooling because,
Auntie’s using you to be the maid.
Did you not have dreams of what you wanted to be,
When you became a woman?
I bet it wasn’t to cook or clean,
I bet you wanted to be great?
Why can’t they see,
That you are a child too, an innocent at 8 years old?
Why do they made you cook and clean,
While your cousins go to school?
Madam Auntie has made you a wife at 14 years old,
Doing all the things she should do,
While she goes to get her degree,
And her husband’s eyes look at your ripening figure.
All you want is a little love and praise
And at the market they admire your figure,
Atieno innocent flower,
Has her flowers plucked.
Your belly is growing.
A baby is coming,
They lied when they told you,
That you wouldn’t get pregnant.
Your body’s bleeding,
Too young to deliver a big baby at 14 years old,
There is no cry when the baby comes,
But weeping as you bleed to death.
Another one’s come to take your place.
The feasting of things you never ate, at your funeral.
Overworked in life, Rest in peace
Little Cinderella, Atieno yo.
©Rayhab Gachango 2014
Based on a poem by Marjorie Oludhe-Macgoye of the same title. For all the cinderella Atieno’s out there, denied a chance to go to school, their only hope working for others to make some money, watching other children go to school, while their dreams turn into dust.