*Special thanks again to Ana Cedeno, instructor at Sixth Form Government School in Trinidad for presenting No Wedding No Womb to her students and inspiring them to apply it to their class projects!
â€œThe Growing Rate of Abortion among Teens in my Communityâ€
Lateefa Clinton, student, Sixth Form Government School
Abortion as defined by google.com is the termination of a pregnancy by the removal or expulsion of a fetus or embryo from the uterus, resulting in or caused by its death. An abortion can occur spontaneously due to complications during pregnancy or can be induced. An abortion is usually induced to preserve the health of a pregnant female. It is termed therapeutic abortion, which is legal in Trinidad and Tobago. On the other hand abortion which is induced for any other reason is termed an elective abortion.
My study mainly focuses on elective abortions where females choose to have a deliberate abortion for a specified reason. The issue of abortion is a controversial topic globally, locally but even more so in my own community. Although not it is legal in Trinidad and Tobago, abortion is conducted under the radar; this action has raised numerous eyebrows and it has inspired activist groups in Trinidad and Tobago and also worldwide.
The abortion rates in Trinidad and Tobago have risen drastically; hence I have decided to study this because the statistics have caught my attention. I realized that some of the women who make up the statistics live in my community and are even my close friends or relatives. My topic is â€œThe Growing Rate of Abortion among Teens in my Communityâ€. I intend to observe:
–The common practice of abortion by youths in my community
–Teens knowledge and use of contraceptives
–The reasons for teens having an abortion
The proceeding is my reflective piece it is entitled â€œWhat Ifâ€. It is a short story based on a teenage girl who, like many other young girls are brought up in single parent home with their mothers and their (child/daughter) tend to lack a male influence in their lives, thus it reflects in their lifestyle. The main character â€œMandisaâ€ lives her life as she knows it and when the repercussions (which in her case is pregnancy) come, she has many â€œWhat Ifâ€™sâ€.
The story is written in omniscient narration. â€œIâ€, the narrator knows and sees everything. I chose this style because it allows it allows me, the narrator, to intrude into the characterâ€™s stream of thought. Short story allows me to voice my thoughts very clear and precise, thus I can easily persuade my readers and get their empathy and understanding. I would like to see this story published for the most and for the least, read at youth abortion rallies because youths are my intended audience.
I intend with this piece to get youths aware of abortion because it is a pressing issue. I want to persuade their decisions on sex and the choice they make when in the same position as the character in the short story. I want to also show my view on abortion and the view of others. Mainly the purpose is to persuade youths into the practice of abstinence or safe sex.
Reflective Piece:-â€œWhat Ifâ€
There she sat staring at the dilapidated house as she waited for her boyfriend to call. Mandisa always wondered if Mr.John, the neighbor had gone senile in his older years. Mr.John was a friendly old man who had recently found love and left his beautiful house in the suburbs to go live with his â€œnewâ€ wife in the far, far country. He was a father figure in the community and even so to his house. Now, the house was in a horrible condition since he left, with shattered windows and a crumbling roof. It was now the scorn of the town.
As a child Mandisa remembered that she, along with friends would go to his house to play. He always kept his yard clean; he had the biggest greenest yard in the neighborhood paired with his inviting personality and as children, they always felt like it was another world there. In that world, she felt no pain, no harm, all love and no scorn. As a tear ran down her cheek, she snapped back into reality with the interrupting ring of her cell phone. â€œMandy!!! Yuh kno how long I callin yuh?…steupsâ€, in an aggressive tone. It was her boyfriend; in the words of people in the neighborhood, her â€œmanâ€ friend. Mandisaâ€™s boyfriend Marvin was a 25 year old taxi driver. She was only 15 and form 4 of Melville Girls High School. Her mother knew noting of it.
Shaking her head, she answered â€œMarvin, oh gosh!!!â€, â€œWam girl?â€, Marvin snapped, â€œone setta ah damn call me and credit me request girl, wat happen tuh yuh?â€ . Totally annoyed by his tone but not wanting to start a quarrel, she paused and exhaled, then replied â€œWe need to talk, wey u?â€, he replied with an impatient grunt â€œOn de road wukin taxiâ€¦.steupzz!!â€. She looked at her cell phone and rolled her eyes in a way that one could swear Marvin would see. She then answered â€œ could you please pass fuh meh around 4 oâ€™clock, we need tuh talk!!!â€ he replied in haste â€œYea, Wateva!â€ and hung up immediately. With a sudden a turn of the stomach Mandisa dropped everything she had in her hands raced for the bathroom.
She had been feeling this way for weeks, sick, tired, vomiting, insomniac and sheâ€™d just been brushing it off, but she knew to herself what it was: she was fifteen and pregnant. She was terrified and confused, involved in a relationship with a 25 year old man who treated like noting. And then there was her mother who tried to make the best life for her. How could she disappoint her? But Mandisa didnâ€™t know better. Her father left her at the tender age of 3 because he wasnâ€™t ready to be â€˜tie-downâ€™. Those were the exact words her mother used when Mandisa asked about him when she 7. Her mother tried to track her father down but it was like an episode of â€œWithout a Traceâ€. When she turned 13, he called to wish her â€˜Happy Birthdayâ€™ not knowing that her birthday had passed 4 months ago, maybe not even caring.
It was half four and Mandisa, being nervous, paced up and down the bedroom corridor in the apartment, mumbling to herself. She was startled by the impatient honking of a car horn. She flew to her bedroom seeing it was Marvin; she was both excited and nervous. They drove to a secluded park found the bench farthest away from view. When seated, Mandisa let out a heavy breath and started to bite down on her nails. Marvin looked at her annoyed and said sternly â€œgirl stop dat shit nah, waiz yuh problem? â€¦rite now yuh cuttin out ah meh wuk time!!!â€. She looked at his face and seeing an expression of annoyance and ignorance. She exhaled heavily and said â€œMarvinâ€, she paused reaching for his hand and rattled out â€œah tink ah pregnant!!!â€ He pulled away his hand immediately and buried his face in his lap, and then he got off the bench and tried to walk it off. Mandisa just looked on. He sat back down biting down on his bottom lip as if trying to maintain his composure. He asked calmly as possible â€œWah yuh mean yuh tink?â€ Mandisa replied â€œah mean ah miss meh periods and ah vomiting, every minute, everything ah eat ah bringin back up but ah ainâ€™t take no pregnancy test yet.â€ As she raised her hand to touch him he batted her hand away. Angered by his reaction she shouted, â€œWat d hell u getting on so for, iz your chile, becuz only you ah doin ting witâ€¦.steupzz!!!â€ she rolled her eyes and turned her back to him.
There was a silence between them as they both tried to calm themselves. Mandisa exhaled releasing the need to scream at Marvin and wanting to cry at the same time. She asked nervously, â€œso Marvin wah we go do now?, suppose mom find out?!â€, turning away he retorted â€œMandisa yuh sure you pregnant girl?â€, â€œLook, I now tell yuh Marvin, ah tink!!!, daiz why ah need money tuh go an find out.â€ she shouted. Marvin flew off the bench in a rage and shouted â€œlil girl me ainâ€™t giving yuh no money tuh go an check if yuh pregnant. Is tuh get rid ah it!!!â€ Mandisa said shocked â€œYuh not serious man Marvin?!â€ Enraged, Marvin grabbed her by her arms and shook her violently shouting â€œYuh have tuh take ah abortion girl, yuh have tuh! Ah really not able wid dis so yuh takin dat abortion!! Yuh hear meh?!!â€ Broken by his violent reaction she sagged back onto the bench and turned herself completely away from him and then in the silence she heard his footsteps going father away then complete silence again. Reality was really starting to hit home. She was young, pregnant and confused. Still shaken by Marvinâ€™s behavior she walked, trembling in every step, to the taxi standâ€¦
On arriving home, she pushed the door exhausted but shocked to see her mother home so early. Her mother bore the signs of weariness as she dozed on the couch. Working two jobs wasnâ€™t anything easy to do. Awakened by the jingling of keys, she straightened up her position on the chair and started â€œSo leh meh hear, wey you comin from dis hour chile? Is ah school night an ah kno ah tell yuh dat yuh cah go no-way on ah school nite!!â€ she raised her eyebrow. â€œAh went down de road to get ah book from Shani deyâ€ Mandisa replied, looking down at the floor. Rising from the couch to shake off her sleepiness, her mother walked over to the kitchen where Mandisa stood. â€œEh heh! Yuh went fuh ah book?â€ Mandisa shook her head â€œso wey de book Mandisa ?â€ confused by her own lies, she stuttered â€œAmmâ€¦..well Mammyâ€. Highly annoyed, her mother stood there and pointed her finger in her face. â€œMandisa try yuh blasted bess eh, I tired ah yuh shit!!â€
Mandisa looked away. â€œDe whole neighborhood talking bout you an dis man. Ah ask yuh bout it de oder day an yuh bawl bout yuh doh do nuttin! Rite here, rite now, ah want tuh kno de truth!!â€ she shouted. â€œMammy is jus ah frenâ€ she said flicking her fingers nervously. â€œAh fren? Ah fren Mandisa, since wen children does hav big man fuh fren, eh??â€ she asked angrily. Mandisa screamed â€œOh gosh Mammy!â€, â€œStop seeing dat man yuh hear meh!!â€ her mother shouted back at her. Mandisa stormed off and slammed her door, she lay on the bed trying not to think. She let out an audible sigh and began to rub her stomach. She felt trapped and she knew her mother would kill her if she knew she was pregnant. She closed her eyes trying not to think.
After hours of tossing restlessly in her bed she got up and walked like a zombie to the kitchen. She walked over to sink and looked into it, her mind was as empty. She was torn; she didnâ€™t know what to do about her situation. She knew what her mother wanted from her, but she didnâ€™t know what her plan was for herself. She sighed; she became resigned. She knelt, opened the cupboard below the sink and reached for the bottle of weedicide her mom had just bought. She gazed at it and without any second thoughts gulped down half the bottle. Mandisa felt the burning sensation and she began to froth uncontrollably. She fell to the kitchen floor, not before hitting her head on the dining table. Her mother rushed out hearing all the noise and was weakened by the sight of Mandisa lying on floor next to a bottle of weedicide, frothing at the mouth. She rushed to her side but it was too late. She held Mandisa and cradled her in her arms crying as she watched her babyâ€™s life slowly ebb from her dying body…
The piece was a short story written in omniscient narration. It was about a young girl named Mandisa who is only fifteen, living in a single parent household with her mother. The main communication in the piece, which I intend to analyze, is between Mandisa and Marvin.
In the communication between Mandisa and Marvin when looking at their communicative behavior it was found that it was always aggressive or annoyed. This is seen in the first dialogue between them, as â€œhe barked in an aggressive toneâ€ this shows the characterâ€™s harshness and short temperedness toward Mandisa. Further into the piece we see more of Marvinâ€™s irate behavior, â€œMarvin snappedâ€, â€œhe replied with an impatient grunt â€œOn de road wukin taxiâ€¦steups!!!â€ Also when analyzing Marvinâ€™s behavior, it was found that his expression was always one of ignorance and annoyance, when Marvin and Mandisa were at the park having the conversation about her being pregnant, his expression suggested impatience. Mandisaâ€™s behavior suggested she was always somewhat nervous in Marvinâ€™s presence. â€œMandisa let out a heavy breath and started to bite her nailsâ€. Marvinâ€™s expressions tend to be very aggressive, every time he speaks to Mandisa he does so angrily and aggressively and he also shook her angrily. However, Mandisa tried to keep her composure and remain calm. In the story she inhales and exhales audibly to keep her calm before responding to Marvin.
When analyzing this piece I looked at the dialectal variations used; In this story, the writer uses Trinidadian Creole Mesolect as the only form of communication. It is a form a particular language spoken by a group in that language community; they also use their colloquial terms. The writer uses the mesolect, which is a form of creole generally spoken (mixture of the 2), it is English spoken with informalities. The writer used this to show the level of their relationship, they are very close and know each other personally. Their relationship is informal (so is the register used). The choice of dialect also shows their cultural and educational background, in the story only the mesolect register is used.