She lives a living hell. Between drugs, prostitution and HIV/AIDS, the mother of two children regrets her choice. One of them was a teenage love which is now a huge trouble for her…
Tears streaming down her face, Anusha (name changed) opens her wounded heart. The gentle breeze of happiness that blew early in the relationship with her husband soon turned into a storm. Here is her tragic story…
Her childhood was marked by domestic violence. “Mon père était alcoolique et ma mère l’a quitté parce qu’il était violent. J’avais dix ans lorsque ma mère est retournée vivre chez ma grand-mère,” says Anousha. Her mother rebuilt her life by marrying again and got two daughters after the marriage, Anusha says.
She was only 16 when she met her future husband – 39 years old today – who worked as a bus conductor at that time. They were both from the same village found in the South and they immediately fall in love. Anusha says having repeatedly skipped school to meet her prince charming and she was in Form IV.
Two months after they met, she abandoned her studies to cohabit with the bus conductor. In the early years, Anusha is thrilled as she enjoys every second of happiness. Two years later, when she got 18 she married her lover.
The first hard days
The years go by, Anusha who is only 22 years old gave birth to their first child. Meanwhile, her husband fell into the hell of drugs. The young woman on the other hand projected into domestic violence. The many scars she carries on her arms are witnesses, one on the left cheek which she describes as a souvenir, ” Enn ti kado mo mari sa.”
She also admits to having tried cannabis with her husband, before moving on to heroin. Very quickly, Anusha becomes dependent on the drugs. “Mo mari inn gagn travay dan Porlwi. Nounn demenaze lerla. Isi gagn ladrog pli fasilma. Nounn kit mo garson avec mo granmer letan nounn vinn res Porlwi.» Sometimes mason sometimes truck helper, the husband earns a living with odd jobs.
But money is not enough for their daily dope. To have easier money, her husband asks her to sell her body. “Koumansman, li amenn bann kamarad ki kas yen ansam ek ti pe vann mwa ar zot. Apre linn amenn bann kliyan taywane ek osi dan enn baz dan Grand-Baie. Li mem negosye pri ek asir mo sekirite ek bann kliyan,” she said.
At nights, it is at the Nicolay road or La Compagnie garden that the young mother can be found. But there, she said, the competition is fierce and there is too much competition between prostitutes. Anusha therefore prefer to go to Grand Bay at night where as her goes back and forth to prison for drug offenses. Moreover, it has been eight months since he is in prison because he has received a sentence of three years.
Insults and physical violence
Each day Anusha feels alone after her husband has been jailed. But she continues to prostitution. “A sak fwa li sorti, li rod kas ar mwa.” Physical violence, insults and fear are part of her everyday life. “Li pran tou kas ki monn ramase, li al bwar ek droke. Pa kapav dir li nanie. Kout kuter gagne ar li. Kan linn koup mo figir, mo ti al dormi lopital de semenn,” she said.
Only five years ago, another blow in her life assailed. Anusha did a blood test at a testing campaign on HIV/AIDS conducted by an NGO at La Compagnie garden. The test was positive. “Mo ti kone ki enn zour mo pou atrap sida. Mo sagrin me mo pa kapav fer nanie aster. Dan sa mem period-la, monn tom ansint ek mo zanfan osi finn ne ek sa. Me li fer tou so tretma medikal ek mwa osi,” says Anusha.
She says her husband, who is also HIV positive, hid his illness. For the young prostitute, her life is a failure. “Si mo ti kapav revinn an aryer, mo pa ti pou fer sa erer la. Mo regret boukou pou mwa ek mo zanfan. Mo finn fer enn move swa dan mo lavi. Mo dir bann fam reflesi byen avan zot fer enn swa dan zot lavi,” says Anusha.
A social worker: “Certaines monnayent leurs charmes pour faire bouillir la marmite”
Often prostitution is associated with drugs, says a social worker who operates on the ground for years. “Elles le font pour des raisons diverses. Mais pour la plupart, il s’agit d’un moyen leur permettant de se payer leur dose de drogue quotidienne. Dans plusieurs cas, les maris ou les concubins sont les proxénètes. Beaucoup d’entre elles vivent un enfer. Ce sont des mères de famille qui monnayent leurs charmes pour faire bouillir la marmite et se payer leur dope,” he says.
Some of them have sexually transmitted diseases and have no purpose in life, says the social worker. He said he knows prostitutes, aged under 21, who have a dozen of clients to satisfy daily. “Les nouvelles attirent davantage de clients. Ce qui crée une rivalité avec les anciennes. Leur quotidien est rythmé par la violence, la drogue et l’alcool,” he concludes.