IN this modern era, most parents discharge their parental duties with diligence and aspire that their children complete school and craft a career in life.
But conversely, some mothers chew tons of betel nut, smoke like highlands fires and gamble the family’s savings to deficit.
And some fathers fall for the lure of sex workers, fleecing their mates, drink their heads off and leave nothing behind in the trough of life.
In fact, it does seem that most parents sit on their backsides and care little about giving their children a decent formal education.
It’s an attitude that leaves their sons at the mercy of whimsical government policy while they coerce their daughters to forage for men with money.
These indecorous parents forbid their daughters to court village boys because they think villagers lack money and will not build a decent future.
“If you marry these village boys you will carry loads on your heads and walk the long tracks to and from the gardens,” they say.
“Your hair will wane and fall. Open your eyes and marry men with money and shop with Save Card, cook with electricity and sleep with a stash of cash.”
Anyhow, the real motive for such sermons is about parental gold digging using their daughters as a bridge to economic capital.
Such parents are misfits who cannot cope with toiling the land like the other hardworking village folk.
One such senseless couple sold their 15-year old daughter in marriage to a tycoon from an economic enclave.
Dessy, the couple’s first daughter was in her twenties and the boys trembled to ask for her mobile number, or what we call ‘like’.
Ailana, the second daughter was only 15 but had already surpassed Dessy in terms of sheer beauty. If Ailana was given a decent education and a few more years, the mere sight of her would make boys skip heartbeats.
But when the parents saw how beautiful their daughters had grown, they started talks with a tycoon for an upfront dowry in order to be given Dessy in marriage.
From then on, the father received cash from the tycoon and consumed unending crates of beer in town.
Word reached Dessy of the imminent plans for her to marry the tycoon. In the dusk of night she packed her clothes and ran off to her village boyfriend, vowing never to return.
When news of Dessy’s village marriage reached her parents, they feared the tycoon’s reaction and agreed that Ailana would take her sister’s place. However, Ailana refused. The tycoon was much older than Ailana’s father and had many wives.
Being heavily indebted, the parents coerced and demanded Ailana take heed and enter the marriage regardless of what she planned for her life.
The stunning Ailana, a girl village boys yearned to hear sing in church and referred to as the Empress of Alimapara, was to marry a stranger.
Before she was led to the waiting five-door Toyota LandCruiser, she pulled a small girl to the side and muttered something in her ear to be passed to Ailana’s village boyfriend.
The boyfriend collapsed when he returned from a village rugby league game that afternoon and got the message from the small girl. His peers gathered around and consoled him.
As Ailana’s parents still feasted on the dowry, news reached them that Ailana - taken away into a far-off land - had been attacked and bashed by the tycoon’s meri-brua (co-wives) who had chopped off her long hair.
A few months later Ailana rang home, sobbed and told her mother that she had been sold into slavery and constantly lived in fear of being slashed and killed.
“You can’t return because you have married a ‘money man’ and he paid a massive dowry,” the mother replied. “Besides, you have to repay me for begetting you so stay put.”
A couple of years passed and recently Ailana returned to Alimapara but she was not the girl the villagers knew and referred to as Empress. She was frail and ill. The symptoms looked obvious, so she was told to do an HIV antibody test and the result was positive.
The parents then cooked up a reason and told of how Ailana had married a tycoon and jealous village folk had performed black magic on her.
The couple refused to heed the medical result. The witch doctors received a stash of cash. They narrated a feel good sermon to the gullible parents.
But fortunately Ailana was identified as requiring treatment. However, she has suffered permanent harm to her health and has been placed on anti-retroviral treatment for the rest of her life. Whatever the witch doctors and the parents cooked up won’t help her.
The gold digging parents have abused human rights and inflicted enduring pain on Ailana, her village boyfriend and Dessy.
We all know there is a better way than this.