If I were in her shoes, I doubt I’d do the same.
My background is so different, my customs not the same.
If I were in her shoes, I would just call the law, to help with the abuse, the crime, the polygamy, and loss.
But culture has no limits for on how many wives one has
or on the way he beats them and steals food to feed his habit.
The family elders call them and sit them down to talk,
but not too long after that chat, he starts again to hit her.
She runs away to family, in nearby villages
yet, always he will find her and persuade her to return to him.
Her family, though they love her, will also send her back,
for the bride-price has been paid and she belongs to them.
She farms alone to feed her kids, and works a job to help with costs.
He sneaks into the store room and sells flour for but another cup.
There is not punishment for him as he chooses how he lives,
but for her and all their children, the burden is so great.
Fast forward several years, to find when he left home,
in search of wealth and fun, while the family enjoyed the calm.
Word came through village gossip, as fast as a wildfire,
he took another wife, who ran a bar and fed him well.
This new wife, was a widow, and her story was well-known.
The deceased has died a long, slow death of AIDS a year ago.
What was he thinking, that new husband?
Why take a wife with AIDS?
Do you not know the consequences of such a choice you’ve made?
Meanwhile at home, the peace was nice, no fighting or abuse.
But as the word spread of the choice, my friend began to dread.
When he comes home, what will I do? I do not want him in my bed.
I must refuse and lock him out, no matter what will surely be said.
And after more than two years passed, he did return to his first wife.
He tried to sleep again with her, but she refused completely.
This began more fights and fights, until one dreadful night.
He trapped her in the kitchen and threatened her life with an axe,
not once , nor twice but thrice!
The next day they called the government leaders to help with the abuse.
Their answer: you must divorce him, we cannot do anything else.
So the process began of divorce and no one knew how it would end.
Finally, she had freedom to not be his wife, but the fight began over the land.
she built the house, she farmed the land, she raised the kids, and she fed him.
So they both became stubborn and fought for the land,
he slept in the kitchen and she in the bed.
Finally, he grew tired of the fight and moved back to the second wife
Where he stayed for a couple more years.
Again those at home, were relieved that he’d gone
as peace once again was now known.
Fast forward again to not long ago. When the man returned back home.
His second wife grew tired of his laziness and bickering, and kicked him out of her home.
With no place to turn, this parasite returned to his family whom he never cared for.
Wife One, feeds him food, but makes him sleep in a different house.
His kids all have grown and taken over the jobs that a man of the house should do.
This time now is different, for he is quite sick. In fact there is little hope.
Each month passes by and he grows weaker and weaker. As he sits there, waiting to die.
His “ex” is compassionate, as our Lord would be. And never refuses him food. She cares for him as she would a close relative, and the kids are all there with her too.
He knows that his body is weak and won’t last,
he tells everyone who visits that He made a bad choice
No longer will he drink or abuse them or wander. His choices have come to fruition.
While he nears his death bed, she continues to serve him
food and a blanket and clean clothes.
Yet, I often wonder, if I were in her shoes
would I have compassion or hatred.