Volunteering has its quirks. Most beneficial of them all to me is the somewhat different status I have as a not-employee. You see, while my bank account is steadily depreciating, I can got to ‘work’ and feel like I’m at home. That’s minus the part that I can’t lounge all day in bum shorts and nothing else but; jeans and shirts, sweaters and pants… you get the idea. Most important of the work-home affair is that I can have my ears plugged in all day with the best music streaming to my medulla, and have no one go bossy on me. So every morning I get to the office, switch on the computer, log on to the internet, and let the office fizzle to beats and lyrics. I did that everyday. Everyday, that is, except today.
This week is for data processing -my most music-needy work ever- but my partner today was a green horn, so after I tired of interrupting songs too many times to answer his questions I decided to work without music. As we worked, I tuned out of the questionnaires to the dialogues in my head until a ‘debate’ distracted me. I caught the heated middle of it, having been attracted by the raised voices.
Each desperate to prove a point more valid than the other’s.
I smirked at the naughty voice in my head, but by the next minute I wasn’t so smug. You see, unlike what I’d thought, what they were in fact doing was evangelizing the same point to our little gathering of coders. Apparently, one of them had been arbitrarily coding all respondents who had answered that they were at a clinic for family planning services as “married” until someone had noticed and stated that she had made mistakes in many. According to her, it had just “not occurred to her” that unmarried people have sex, let alone access family planning services. The person who had brought the mistake to her notice had laughed… his mistake. She had been morally offended, and felt the compulsion to state that “only prostitutes open their thighs before the wedding night”, sex is a holy covenant solely designed solely for procreation, and giving unmarried people access to family planning is encouraging pre-marital sex.
With every increased decibel of her voice, I watched people acquiesce to her view, tongue in cheek. Then she turned her stare my way, asked why I was silent and if I supported “sinful living”. I merely told her that if she was right then married people should also not patronise clinical family planning, since there are natural methods to control child spacing. I also told her of the high rates of unwanted pregnancies in the years before clinical family planning. Then I pondered aloud what ought to be the option of people who had been forced into sexual experiences. Puzzled, I asked if availability to family planning had placed her on a bed with her then-boyfriend between her thighs before her wedding night. I couldn’t help but ask if the only times she had lain with her husband was when they were trying to conceive. Lastly, I stated that she probably ought to officially declare the meanings of “prostitute”, noting that most of the world’s dictionaries are awfully deficient in their definitions.
Her voice screeched as she proclaimed me Bathsheba. I smiled as I said she was deluded.