While Anglophone parents worry about political alienation and its strike action sidekicks by teachers and lawyers that has made for epileptic functioning of schools since November 2016, another front seems to have been opened by high rate occurrence of teenage pregnancies in the Northwest and Southwest Regions.
Annettte Eposi is a teenage mom who cannot even take proper care of herself but as a result of idleness and peer pressure, she got engaged in a sexual relationship that resulted in an unplanned pregnancy. Eposi is now forced to go the extra mile not just to take care of her “green” self but her new born baby as well. She said it wasn’t easy for her during the period of pregnancy; it has not only affected her education but traumatized her a lot since almost everyone rejected her. She furthered that, her family and friends isolated themselves from her and regarded her as a bad child. “It limits your chances or slows your ability to follow your dreams and ambitions. It demoralizes you and you find yourself in a dilemma, confused if to keep the pregnancy or get rid of it.You feel like your world has come to an end,”averred Eposi in regret.
Off hand research has proven that the level of teenage pregnancies in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon has highly increased, due to socio-political instability in the two English speaking Regions since last year. Many youths, especially, girls indulge in sexual relationships as a result of idleness, leading in most cases, to unplanned pregnancies. Some vulnerable teenagers also found themselves in their present state because their parents could not afford their needs as a result of the “ghost towns” which has critically crippled the economy, with most business people left to suffer. When rich men show up, promising to give these vulnerable teenagers money, they are left with no option than to give in since their financial burdens would apparently be taken care of. Comparison and the need to show up cannot be undermined as a reason why teenage girls get pregnant, since they want to be like their rich friends or to look better.
Atabong Eunice, a teenager,believes that teenage pregnancy is on the rise during this period of tense state of affairs in the country.Using the adage which says “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop,” Eunice said because of idleness, teenagers are giving room for negative thoughts which have long lasting effects on them. “We visit friends a lot and share emotional thoughts and feelings about boyfriends and sex. Cajoling and convincing each other to have a taste of sex all because there is nothing to keep us busy.”
In order to avoid and reduce the high level of teenage pregnancy, a woman in Mile 16 [Bolifamba] in the outskirts of Buea, called Mami Colette lamented, echoing that if parents give timely advice to their girl children the level of teenage pregnancy will reduce in these two Regions, the current crisis notwithstanding. She said that girls need proper sexual education and orientation.
“Most parents are negligent; they do not spend time with their daughters and try to find out about their social lives. It is also good to give your daughter pocket allowance so as not to predispose her to chasing men in order to get money. Also, try to always make her feel she can trust you, be her best friend,” Mami Colette advised.
According to Njock Sylvester, teenage pregnancies are wont to change the destiny of a child because not every man will like to marry a girl who already has a child for another man. He advanced that, sometimes because of an “urgent pregnancy” they are forced to get married to the man responsible for her predicament or even driven out of home in cases where the one responsible doesn’t admit. To this effect, Sylvester is restless to have the problem solved and for schools to resume quickly so that the high rate of unplanned pregnancies among youths, currently, be reduced.Whatever be the case, parents should engage their children into some activities to keep them busy like learning a trade.
Speaking by way of counsel, Mpeh Vanelle, a teenage girl has advised her peers who have gotten pregnant to go close to their mothers in times like this and it shouldn’t hinder them from achieving their dreams and goals in life. “They should stop lamenting and pick up the pieces of their lives and continue like nothing happened to them,” Vanelle recommended.
By *Tabi Efundem Kelly
*UB Journalism Student on Internship