Book Title: “Maya: Initiate 39”
Genre: Genre: Fiction-children, juvenile, young adult, inspirational
Maya was raised single-handedly by her ‘”father,” Samuel, who
divorced his wife, Cynthia, years ago, on grounds of infidelity,
before she turned three years. Growing up in Durban was mixed with the
good, bad and ugly for Maya.
Influenced by Craig, her schoolmate, Maya went into the underworld
endeavors of stealing, drug trafficking and prostitution under the
cover of a very-perverse juvenile assembly, called the Alternative
lifestyle Club (The ALC). She joined the club in the very pursuit of
what she called her “destiny”…
By initiating “39”, what was necessary for the functionality of the
ALC, she became popular among many top-notch Southern Africans.
But, after several disappointments, Maya thought she could use her
“connects” to bite the fingers that fed her by carrying out the
assignments given to her own way- a way of letting the organization
know that she was no push-over. But that was not the case!
Consequently, Craig and Ms. Diana, the active players of the club, led
this juvenile to her doom-they set her up and the police did the rest.
The long arms of the law landed her prison in Johannesburg. It was in
the prison she knew changing for the better would be appropriate.
Through the favor from Van Brussels, a rich gold merchant, school
owner and chairman of the Louisville Shipping Company, whom she had
done some wrong in the past, Maya was released from prison before the
stipulated prison sentence, sent to the United States for Secretarial
studies, worked in his company, Louisville Shipping Company, for a
couple of years and soon returned to her native Durban home in South
Africa with her husband, Daniel Young, to find her ‘father’ whom she
left for years.
Maya became the woman of substance; her fame and enterprise rose to
the corporate ladder. But before then, something really happened….
“Hey! What are you doing outside at this time?! It’s after six and you are still here playing with those N-D-W kids! My goodness! Maya, I told you to stay indoors before I left for work! Here you are playing with them! I instructed you never to come near them, but you refused to listen! They are bad eggs! For goodness sake, when will you learn, Maya? Do you want to be like your mother? Now, at the count of three, go inside the house and wait for me! One…two… and…” These were the words of Samuel, Maya’s father, after he saw her in the company of the so called ‘Ne’er-Do-Well Kids’.
Maya swiftly charged towards home, five houses away from the Kimberly Children’s Play Ground, with every Tom, Dick and Harry taking a stern look at her as she ran home.
Ten minutes later, Samuel decided to mete out the punishment he felt Maya deserved. She sat nervously on the sofa in the living room and Samuel stood opposite to her. Maya knew she was in for trouble.
“Maya, hmm…you failed to listen to my instruction for the third time! I left for work at 7.00am and told you how I expected you to behave. In June, you’ll be eleven years of age. You’re no longer a baby! You’ve reached an age where you should be able to take and follow instructions! You were told not to step an inch from this house. You’re on holidays. For Christ’s sake, I expected you to read your books and watch TV programs. But you chose to play with those useless children! Oh my goodness! Maya, why did you not follow my instructions?”
Maya stuttered, “I wanted….to….stay indoors but I was…”
“So, you want to start telling lies! Who taught you how to tell lies? The N-D-W kids? Those useless kids you play with, right? You’ve suddenly lost your voice. Haven’t you?” Samuel asked angrily.
“No!” Maya replied.
“Then tell me the truth!”
“I’m sorry, Dad, for what I did. I promise it won’t happen again! I promise to always follow your instructions!” Maya assured him.
“I’m tired of your ‘I am sorry’ attitude, Maya!” Samuel said, his words cold and angry. He took a stern look at his daughter. “By what the wall clock says, 8.00p.m. is the time. Your punishment is that you’ll have to write in this twenty-page notebook the sentence ‘I am sorry, daddy’ a thousand times. I swear that if you disobey me a third time, I’ll punish you. Take this and go to bed. Before I go to work tomorrow, I want to see that you’ve completed what I commanded you. Get out!”
Maya tearfully went to her room, glancing at her dad, who ignored her departure. He was already busy watching ‘The News at Nine’ on his LCD TV set.
Hours later, knowing that his daughter was probably asleep, Samuel couldn’t help but ask himself, “Am I actually playing the role of a father to her? How will she feel when I eventually have to tell her that I’m not her biological father? How do I tell the story that led to her birth if she asks me some day? In this life, anything can happen! Left to me, I don’t intend disclosing anything about that infidel! But how would she feel if I decide to tell the story of her mother’s lifestyle? How would she feel if I told her that her mother was a jump-around? Am I really disciplining my precious pearl the right way? One day, she’ll ask me where her mother is. How do I explain to her that her mother and I have been divorced since she was three years old? Oh, how I wish Cynthia and I weren’t divorced! If we were still together, would raising Maya be such a mental challenge? God help me overcome this life’s hurdles in future, I pray.”
He went to bed after taking a sip of vodka.
Seven a.m., and it was time to leave for work. Fully dressed and prepared to go, but having forgotten what he had told Maya to do the previous night, Samuel reminded her: “Remember, this is the time you ought to be awake! I have trained you to always be awake at this time when you are on holidays. But when you’re going to school, you should be out of bed by 6.00a.m. I have to go to work now! Make sure you stay indoors and never ignore my orders again!”
“Yes, I will dad.” She smiled up at him.
Maya had served her punishment, almost filling her notebook with ‘I Am Sorry, Dad’. But Samuel had forgotten as he was getting ready for work.
“Last night, you told me to write ‘I Am Sorry Dad’ on my notebook. I did,” Maya reminded him. “I have it with me…you can have it.”
“Oh…I forgot! Okay…let me have it,” he requested.
Samuel glanced through the pages of the notebook handed over to him.
“That’s my girl! I want you to behave well and be the Maya I’ve always thought you to be,” Samuel said, patting her on the back. “From now on, are you assuring me that I’m going to be proud of you?”
“I’m the good girl you‘ve known me to be! Daddy, I am happy having you as a father!” Maya said gladly, with smiles written all over her face.
In a haste to leave the house, Samuel quickly hugged her, saying, “I believe in you, Maya!”
She saw her dad to the front yard, where his Cadillac was parked. As soon as the engine roared to life, Samuel waved ‘bye’ at her. A corresponding wave of ‘bye-bye’ came from Maya as she saw him drive off to work.
The holidays were over, and for Maya, it was time to resume school…
To her, it meant spending time with her fellow pupils. Maya couldn’t wait to see her friends Elizabeth, Tara, and Maria, especially during school break time and after classes got out. In the next three days, Samuel had to make plans to ensure that the beginning of Maya’s school year went smoothly… It was successful, and went as planned–a new Adidas designer child-sized bag, a pair of shoes, stockings, and the payment of her term’s school fees were put together by Samuel two weeks before resumption.
St. John’s Baptist Primary School held a special assembly to start the New Year. The pupils, teachers and other members of staff were ready to get to classes and to work, and the school drummers were on hand to usher them to their appropriate places after the various announcements. After the school’s and country’s anthems were recited by the pupils, in a twenty-by-seven space arrangement, with each teacher present standing opposite each column of pupils (except for one, who stood behind the principal), the school’s next activities were announced by the principal, Mr. Dean Herbs:
“We are glad to welcome you back after a two-month-long break. How was your holiday? I hope you spent it well with your family. Did you enjoy your holiday with your family? I believe you all did! As for me, I enjoyed mine. And I hope the same went for you, the teachers!
Now we are here to resume for the term. Class 5 has a new head teacher. She is standing right behind me, and will introduce herself properly when the classes begin. For this term, each class will have a total of twenty-eight students. On my list are names of pupils who are members of Class 5 of 1991/1992 session-our senior class. They are Spencer Hill, Makalele Thompson, Maya Isaacs, William Grants, Elizabeth Tate, Shan Craig, Tara Cole, Van Gore, Pierre Decamps, Maria Russell, El-Mohammed Raheem, Tanka Arawak, Bode Da Silva and Carlos Santana. I took my time to mention them because they are the ‘special ones’. They are the ones you, their juniors, should be looking up to for academic excellence.
In the next two weeks, we will be calling out on this ground names of those who have yet to pay their term’s tuition fees. Therefore, ensure that you inform your parents about this so that they pay before or on the date. The date will be Monday, next week. To avoid being shown the exits of the school, please, do not forget to tell your parents and guardians at home about this.
As I end the announcement, I want all of the pupils of class 5 to march to their classes in a straight line. Then, Classes 4, 3, 2 and 1 will follow in a similar and orderly manner. If there are any further announcements, your head teacher will communicate them to you.
First, I will take my leave, and Class 5 will go next. Others will follow suit.
Drummers, play the drums as we all sing the song ‘For Learning is better than silver and gold’.”
Immediately after the principal took his leave and headed straight to his office, everyone marched enthusiastically to his or her classroom and office, singing the song:
“We are going to our classes with clean handsome faces
To do as what we are taught
For learning is better than silver and gold
The new head teacher went with the principal to get the lesson plans for the class. Meanwhile, the Class 5 pupils were all settled, awaiting the arrival of their new head teacher.
She eventually came through the door. The moment she stood at the front to go into the business of the day, the class captain, Maria Russell, said sharply, “All stand and greet!”
“Good morning! You’re welcome to our class!! God bless you!!!” were the remarks made to the new teacher by the rest, who were standing after Maria’s “All stand and greet” command.
Amazed at what she saw, the new head teacher couldn’t help but clap her hands as a way of recognizing their conduct.
“Please, do have your seats!” she pleaded, seeing that they were all standing at ease, staring at her. “This is my first time coming to this class. But you’ve made me seem like I have always been here. I’m so proud of you!”
As the pupils sat back down, she continued, “Before I go into what we have for today, I would like to know something about each and every one of you. I will call you out from your seat to where I am standing and you will tell the class your name and age. I want to identify your faces properly. After which, you will return to your seat. So let’s get started! Starting from you…” Her right hand pointed at Maya, then the rest of the pupils.
“I am Maya Isaacs. I will be eleven years of age two days from now.”
“Great!” she exclaimed. “That’s good to know. I look forward to celebrating your birthday!!”
“My name is Maria Russell. I’m ten years old.”
“Okay,” noted the new head teacher.
“I’m Elizabeth Tate. I am nine years old.”
“I go by the name Tara Cole. I’m eleven years of age.”
“I like your confidence. I think you’ll make a better class captain!” the teacher observed.
“I’m Van Gore. I am ten years old.”
“My name is Pierre Decamps. I am nine years old.”
“I’m El-Mohammed Raheem. I will be eleven next month.”
“It’s good to know I’ll be celebrating your birthday with you!” the teacher remarked.
“I am Spencer Hill. I am ten years old.”
“Makalele Thompson is my name. I am eleven years old.”
“My name is William Grants. I am nine years old.”
“I am Carlos Santana. I’m ten years old.”
“My name is Tanka Arawak. I am eleven years old.”
“Bode Da Silva is my name. I am ten years of age.”
“I’m Shan Craig. I am nine years old.”
After ensuring that all were seated and settled, the teacher told the class, “I’m the happiest woman on earth! Do you know why? I know that I have brilliant students who will understand what I have to teach. Again, I’m very proud of you all! I’m happy to be at the best primary school in Durban, and I am happy to be a teacher here. And I know for sure you all are happy to be here too.”
She looked down at her papers. “I will be your Elementary Social Studies teacher. Let’s go straight to what I have to teach you today, since we are short on time. I want you to take out your pen and notebook from your bag and place them on the desk.”
The pupils did as instructed. They were prepared to write what she had to offer them. But one thing still kept them in the dark; she had yet to disclose her name.
Realizing that they were not really settled, she decided to open up. “Before I start to write on the board, I know you are wondering who I am. Yes, you deserve to know the name of your head teacher. I go by the name Miss Sandra Brooks. You can address me as Miss Sandra. Having said that, let’s go straight to what we have today.”
They were settled and prepared to listen to what Miss Sandra had to teach them. Taking the marker in her right hand and directly facing the board, she wrote the topic, “What is Marriage?” Miss Sandra turned to the class the moment she was done writing.
“Write this topic in your notebooks, and then look up here,” she told the pupils. “Today, we will be discussing ‘What is Marriage?’ I want to know who amongst you know what marriage is.”
Six hands were raised. Spencer, Elizabeth, Maria, Pierre, Shan and Makalele had their hands all raised to answer the question. Maya, however, did not. She thought she knew all there was to know in the world. But she was confused that she wasn’t able to answer the question.
Miss Sandra was very efficient with her time, so she chose to find out what they had to say about the topic, one after the other. This would give them information to talk about quickly.
“I can see six hands raised! The six of you will answer the question, starting with you. Spencer.”
“Marriage is the union between a man and woman, when they become husband and wife.”
“That’s a good definition, Spencer,” Miss Sandra remarked. “Elizabeth, it’s your turn.”
“Marriage is an institution that has a man and woman being united for life as husband and wife.”
“Class, give Elizabeth a round of applause!” Miss Sandra instructed. As the clapping sounds died down, she went on. “Your turn, Maria.”
“My dad taught me that marriage is a name, where a man is actually called a ‘MR.’ and a woman called ‘MRS.’”
“I have not heard of this definition before,” the teacher said, somewhat amused. “Your dad must be a typical marriage counselor.” She smiled at Maria, then said, “You’re next, Tanka.”
“Marriage is the meeting point where a man meets his choice of woman, only to be called husband and wife.”
Miss Sandra exclaimed, “You kids are amazing. You are the most brilliant pupils I’ve ever taught.” She moved on. “Next is Makalele.”
“Marriage is a God-given opportunity for a man and woman to carry out his and her obligation to give birth and avoid immoral behaviors.”
“Makalele, who taught you this?” she asked in utter amazement.
“It’s my mom and dad who taught me in our Church in Soweto,” Makalele replied, feeling happy at the way Miss Sandra nodded her head in agreement.
“They must be indeed Christian counselors. I am beginning to learn from you all, especially Makalele’s outstanding definition,” she said. “Last but not the least—Pierre.
“Marriage is the togetherness between a man and woman to become husband and wife.”
Maya kept staring at them because of how they each answered the question, and how Miss Sandra applauded them. Answering questions from previous class teachers wasn’t new to Maya, but this time she wasn’t able to answer Miss Sandra’s question like the rest. That got her concerned. This husband-and-wife idea… Questions welled up concerning ‘the missing link’ of her life…her mother.
“Good!” exclaimed Miss Sandra, who liked the simplicity of his definition. She continued. “To be honest, you have made me proud and my teaching very easy. No wonder the principal was very particular about your class. Give yourselves a hand!”
After the applause died down, she instructed those who had answered, “Please sit down now. You’ve correctly defined what marriage is. Now, let’s do a little activity. If you live with your father and mother, stand up.”
Spencer, Maria, Pierre, Tanka, Elizabeth, Bode and Shan stood up. Miss Sandra knew that their parents were still married, to say the least. She said, “So, there are only seven pupils living with their fathers and mothers. It means that half of the class is living with their fathers and mothers. Okay! If you are living with your guardians, please stand up!”
Tara Cole, El-Mohammed and William Grant stood up. Miss Sandra believed that they were the only ones in the class who were exceptions.
It became glaring that Maya became the odd one. At first, she thought Maya’s parents were either divorced or separated. However, all she wanted was to know whom she was actually living with. She asked, “Maya are you living with your father or mother?”
“I am living with my father. I don’t know who my mother is or where she is,” replied Maya.
Miss Sandra felt like she had just dug the ground for them to be swallowed. She knew it was embarrassing, from seeing the look on her face. But in order not to let the rest of the class notice, she picked up the marker and a notebook she kept on her table, and faced the board.
“Class,” she instructed, “please write down what I’m putting on the board.” She wrote down three different meanings of marriage:
Marriage is the union and agreement between two people, primarily a man and woman. It is an agreement which is brought about by the oath of togetherness sworn at a special altar. This is to be binding by law and by the belief system the couple is identified with.
Marriage can appear in the following ways:
1) Monogamous Marriage
2) Polygamous Marriage
This is a form of marriage that involves a man marrying ONLY one woman. In this marriage, a man is only allowed to marry one woman and is expected to live with her for the rest of his life till death parts them. Christian marriages are typical examples. A Christian man is mandated by the law as interpreted as an oath of togetherness at the church’s (or temple’s) altar.
This marriage permits a man to marry as many wives as he wishes. Provided he has what it takes to take care of the women he wants to marry, he is not restricted to marry ONE woman. A Muslim man is entitled to more than one wife only if he has what it takes to care for them all. This may include money, clothes, feeding, shelter, care or attention and time.
This is a form of marriage that permits a woman to marry as many men as she wishes. Unlike polygamous and monogamous marriages, where men are expected to pay the bride price, women pay the groom price for the men they want to marry. This marriage form is practiced in Tibet.
There are different kinds of religious marriages all over the world. They include Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, and others. Religious marriages vary based on beliefs and rites. In Africa, the three most common religious marriages are Christian, Islamic and traditional. A Christian marriage has to do with the union of a man and woman as husband and wife, using the Holy Bible, while the Islamic marriage has to do with the union of a man and woman (or women as the case may be) as husband and wives according to the Koran. Traditional marriages vary, depending on culture.
As she finished writing, she noticed the time. “Oh!” she exclaimed, and quickly explained to the class that she would have to leave early. “Ensure that you copy what has been written on the board, read it at home, discuss it with your parents, and bring it back in the morning.” She dropped her marker, grabbed her lesson case, and headed towards the Staff Room.
Maya and her classmates had other subjects the rest of the day. And at the close of school, Maya and her colleagues waited at the school’s garden for their parents and guardians to pick them up. It wasn’t long till her dad drove by. She ran towards him, squeezing and hugging him tightly as she shouted excitedly, “Daddy, how are you?!”
“I’m fine! How was school?”
“School was fun!” Maya answered. “I learned something I have never known before. It’s about marriage. We got a new teacher and she is good! Daddy, she gave us an assignment that I have to discuss with you.”
Maya was looking more than happy to tell him all that happened at school, but Samuel wasn’t concerned with what she had to say—he had had a stress-filled day at work. Maya’s delight met with Samuel’s ‘there-is-no-time-to-waste-here’ look.
Not minding the look on his face, Maya started, “Dad, school was…”
“Let’s go home,” Samuel interrupted, “We’ll talk about it when we get there.”
They both got into the car and left for home. Two hours later, Maya took her notebook and was reading. After observing his usual afternoon rest, Samuel joined her in the sitting room. Seeing that his daughter’s attention was buried in what she was reading, he was drawn to what was so enthralling. Letting her know that he was in the sitting room, he said aloud, “Very good, Maya! I am glad to see that you are doing your assignments. You told me you were going to discuss with me what you learned in school. You also mentioned that you now have a new school teacher. I’m available to discuss with you what you’ve learned.” He smiled at her. “To start with, who is that new teacher?”
Maya was happy that her father was interested, and she responded, “The name of my new teacher is Miss Sandra Brooks. But she told us to address her as Miss Sandra. She asked us our names and ages. It was fun! We introduced ourselves. She was impressed at our conduct. Then, she went to the topic of the day, ‘What is Marriage?’ By the way, she is our new Social Studies teacher.”
Maya gave her dad a troubled look. “Daddy, I wasn’t able to raise my hand because I didn’t know the answer. There were only six of us that knew what marriage was. I was the only one who stood up when asked if I wasn’t living with our fathers and mothers. Daddy, I want to ask you–what is marriage?”
At first, he looked disturbed. But he summoned the courage to tell what he wanted her to know. “My dear, marriage is a point in life where someone has to decide to be with one man or woman for the rest of their life as husband and wife. In marriage, you have to know how to live happily with your man or woman so that things will go on well as planned.
He paused and sighed. “I’ll have to stop here because you are too young to understand this.”
“Daddy,” she asked, holding tightly to her notes, “Who is my mother and why is she not living with us?”
Shocked to the marrow, Samuel held his breath for some seconds and looked around, wondering what to say. He could not think of anything. But he knew he had to answer the questions. He had no choice!
With Maya’s eyes staring at him, craving answers, Samuel wasn’t able to think of a clever answer.
He answered, “Hmmm…,” scratching his chin. Then he continued, “Maya, you see, your mom and I are not living together for some reasons that are beyond your understanding. Your mother, I believe, is alive and she is somewhere around Lesotho or Zimbabwe. She’ll be coming soon! In fact, sooner than you expect!” He saw that his reply satisfied her, which brought him a temporary sigh of relief. However, he knew that Judgment Day was just around the corner. Samuel knew that if he didn’t tell her all she needed to know about her true self, and soon, his world would be in shambles in the future!
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