My physiotherapist cancelled again! That’s 2 days in a row! The pillows and the walks aren’t helping currently and painkillers are now a no-no. Besides, they aren’t prescribed, just over the counter painkillers that aren’t really working, the pain disappears for less than an hour.
How did the back aches start by the way?
Initially I thought it was all due to stress but over reflection I am not quite sure anymore. There was a time in my life when nothing was a walk in the park. Am sure most Zimbabweans would relate with this.
During the 2008-2010 era, like many others, I left my home country seeking greener pastures in neighbouring countries. I was quite young, not responsible for anyone, had a bit of money as I had traded all my belongings for the bag full of dreams that I carried with me on this new ‘adventure’.
My first trip to South Africa under the impression that life would be so much better there than here and the insistence of a family friend; on my first night there, I realised what dangerous ground I had landed in. The ‘family friend’ did not show up but at least she sent a friend. I was advised to book lodging for myself as there was nowhere for them to offer me accommodation for that night. I didn’t mind much as I thought maybe she had a busy life but the options for accommodation I was given eventually made me think otherwise.
I checked in, just as I was about falling asleep before midnight, I had a loud banging on the door! A man was insisting on coming into the room. The door sounded so weak against the robust knocking, I was so afraid it would suddenly burst open and that would be the end of my life, there in that room, miles away from home with probably no one to miss me. The man went away after a while but I was too shaken to sleep, I couldn’t get into bed again. I bundled myself in a corner, drifting in and out of sleep. The knocking resumed but it seemed to be a different man. I thought of all the horror stories of rape that I had read… Morning finally arrived.
I had to think of a plan pretty fast. Efforts to reach the family friend were fruitless. Close to lunch time, I had gotten in touch with my uncle in a different city and he had given me instructions on how to get to his house. I was relieved to say the least. I braved myself to ask for directions and get there in one piece and I did!
It didn’t take long after settling in that I realised there was a greater possibility of not reaching the dream. I didn’t lose hope though. My options were to get a job as a waitress or to become a door to door vendor and basing on my uncle’s income, I opted for the latter. My uncle earned close to R30 000 through sales and I figured with the amount of money that I had, we would be equal or at least I would most certainly clear half of what they earned thus I would be able to invest and make the changes that I sought.
We would be up by 6am making what we termed ‘bloom pots’. The term was colloquial and described the use of the pots. Basically they were artistic flower pots made from ice cream sticks. We would sit for 4 days to a week, mostly on stools without back support as ‘full’ chairs wouldn’t be able to fit in the room we worked in. Low light most of the time because there wasn’t enough light filtering in and sometimes the landlord would fuss about having the lights on during the day. There were fun times during these processes though. I got to watch all the Prison Break series with my uncle while discussing varied philosophical things regarding life. He valued my opinion on any subject and that made time fly by.
Selling days were hectic, usually close to month end as most got paid early hence they would be able to put deposits on the goods. Having someone take the goods, even without a deposit was exciting because it was a promise that money would come. That was always better than returning home with goods. Sometimes we would walk only 5km and all the goods would be sold but that would mostly be in new areas that people would be seeing the goods for the first time otherwise; we would walk an average of 15 to 20km a day for about 3 – 4 days carrying sacks with at least 20 pots a day at R150 each. Collection days were the worst because sometimes these trips would be doubled as we had to wait for customers to return from work or their day’s trip hence we had to walk these distances twice a day.
When writing down these amounts I swore my life was going to be a breeze and soon I would have to stop selling and go back to school. That day never came. For 2 years, I laboured, hoping to give birth to this life that never came. It was a pseudocyesis from the beginning! Between paying the bills, transport and hoarding new material for production and the biggest problem of all; customers who wouldn’t pay for the goods they had taken, I never had more than R200 left to spare and that would be spent on days that we weren’t working or waiting for selling season. I lived a fairly minimal life however, the harsh winters always reminded me that I needed more.
So, I think those days are the root of my back problems. I had bouts of back aches then which stopped when I stopped selling. Stress might have triggered their return and ooh did they return!
Or maybe it’s my boob size that isn’t proportionate to my small frame.
Either way, I am pissed the therapist cancelled again!