First times are usually quite memorable. whether good or bad. The first time I got on a plane, the first time I drove a car, the first fight I had with my bestfriend etc. I remember all those so well. The first time I watched TV, on our 24-inch TV with a big behind, after months of not watching TV is a memory that will forever be engraved on my mind.
My family and I had been living in a house with no doors, no windows, no running water and no electricity for months. By this time, I had become used to the reed mats covering our living room windows, walking to fetch drinking water and using a kerosene lamp for lighting. I say “become used” because this was not something I had known my whole life.
My family made a very sudden move from the house we were renting because my mom couldn’t deal with the ridiculous rent increments she was being given every month by a landlord who I remember being bald headed. Family friends would ask why we were moving and why we couldn’t just wait a few more months for some more progress to be made on the house.
“As long as we have a roof over our heads and front doors, we are moving and we will be safe,” my mother would respond.
The whole experience, what it did for my social life, how it helped me grow and develop confidence in who I am as a person is a story for another day. Today, I’m telling you about what the first time watching TV after a long time was like.
My mom, my brother and I were driving back from wedding rehearsals. My uncle was getting married in two days and my brother and I were so excited to be on his line-up. We were driving back from the Showgrounds hall, the wedding reception venue, around 8pm. I could hear my mom talking in the background but her voice was slowly fading out as I was falling asleep.
“I have a surprise for you,” my mom said, “we are going to find electricity when we get home.” I paid her no mind as I thought it was one of her jokes.
“Really?” my brother questioned. I sat up because I was curious to see how long this joke would last and what role I could play in making my brother excited for nothing.
“Yes, really,” my mom responded.
“Wonani! There’s electricity at home!” my brother exclaimed. At this point, I was fully awake. I could hear the sincerity and excitement in my mother’s voice too. The only thing I could think about was our 24-inch TV with a big head behind it.
Was there electricity in the entire house or just some rooms? Will our fridge be working? What will we watch on TV? Who will be in charge of the remote? All these are the questions we swarmed our mom with. Not forgetting the worst: What happens if the TV doesn’t work anymore? Would we be able to buy a new one?
That night, what was usually a 20 minute drive home felt like 5 hours. I couldn’t wait to get home. I wondered if I would finally be able to watch Hannah Montana like all my friends at school.
“We don’t have DSTV,” I reminded myself. That was fine. I didn’t mind watching Franklin Mutubila reading the news. I wasn’t sure if he still did but I was curious to know.
“Mom, what time will we reach home?” an impatient Wonani asked her mom for the fifth time. My mom just laughed and said nothing.
Finally, we approached the house and the car was silent. I can only imagine the thoughts running through my brother’s head. I, on the other hand, couldn’t think in that moment. The sight of a lit house blew me away and brought tears to my eyes. Tears of joy, of course.
“Mummy we have lights!” I yelled excitedly.
“Yes, we do,” she responded.
As soon as the car was safely parked in the garage, I stormed out of the car and ran into the house. I was greeted by the sight of my dad and my cousin watching the 24-inch TV with a big behind. I couldn’t believe it. I was full of joy. Pure joy. The TV worked after all. We didn’t need to buy a new one.
I sat on the couch and just looked at the TV and looked at the lightbulbs which were, by the way, lit. I smiled to myself. The 9 pm news was on and I had never been more excited to listen to the news and just watch ZNBC.
That day marked the beginning of something new for me. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t have to almost burn my school uniform while ironing it with a charcoal iron. Those irons needed a lot of skills.
Despite the house looking and feeling different, the day our 24-inch TV with a big behind went on will remain one of my favourite days. My whole family was happy. I will always cherish the memories we made in the dark and I’m grateful for those we have made, and keep making in the light.
It is day 1 of the Afrobloggers Winter Blogging Challenge 2022! We are officially welcomed to winter. This is the first time I’m taking part in the challenge and it’s actually winter where I am. This week’s theme is Stories of Home so I will be gladly bringing you to Zambia, my home.
Winter ABC means a new post every weekday for the month of June. I will do my best to follow through with this. I hope you stick with me and have just as much fun as I will have.
What are some of your most memorable firsts? Let me know in the comments! I would love to hear from you.
*Some parts of the conversations have been altered for the story.