“Tota gatwe o ngwana wa ga mang?’’ (Who’s child are you?) This is a question that I asked my son the time I realised he was not who I thought he was.
Even though I do not have the fortune of being wealthy in life, I have done all that I can to provide for my children and we have never had a day go by without food.
I have always emphasised the importance of education to my children because I want them to succeed where I was not able to and lead a life that is much better than what I experienced as a child.
From primary school I have always been an engaged parent interested in knowing how my children perform at school and encourage them to do better at all times.
I have lived with my children Neo and Thabo in Gaborone since they were born.
Neo has always been the trouble maker of the two and mostly performed average in school.
I was constantly worried about her unlike Thabo, my little star, a genius in the making.
Thabo grew up as a quiet and humble child, mommy’s boy.
At home he did everything that a parent could ask for, mild mannered and never raised his voice to his elders.
As if that was not enough I always held my head high whenever I went to collect his report card, it was always shining with As and A*s.
Prize giving ceremonies were the highlight during his school days, I would ululate till my voice gave in as we scooped awards all day.
Thabo was my pride and joy and I always wished Neo was more like her brother.
I had such high expectations of him and rightfully so, he had limitless potential.
He passed his form 5 with an impressive 46 points and was admitted to study Sciences at the university.
The first time I saw Thabo drink alcohol was as a first year student and I thought he was just enjoying the fruits of his hard earned success.
This happened a couple of times so I confronted him, he promised me that it was an occasional thing and did not affect his studies.
Thabo started disappearing from home for a couple of days and when he came back he claimed that he was busy with assignments so he was sleeping at school in order to get more work done.
One night after disappearing for about 2 weeks Thabo came back in the early hours, I got up to find him in the kitchen trying to look for a place to hide.
He was sweating and restless, I asked him what was wrong and all he kept saying “They want to kill me”, I asked who but he did not reply.
He started throwing anything he could get his hands on and breaking windows.
Neo called the police as we ran outside in fear of our lives.
Thabo ran away before the police arrived.
He came back home in the afternoon and was surprised to see windows broken, we informed him that he was responsible but he insisted that he does not remember anything that happened during that night.
He told us that he woke up in a trench and did not know how he got there.
Thabo admitted that he has been smoking marijuana and ‘ma-dyna’ (crack cocaine) and believes that it was the reason he acted the way he did.
He explained that he started using when he was struggling at varsity and was told they will help him focus, instead he failed and has not been attending school.
I did not believe this was my child, my Thabo was too smart to fail in school and definitely too smart to use illegal drugs.
But this was the current reality that I had to face.
We ended up finding BOSASNet to seek help and Thabo was admitted in the Programme and as a parent I was supported to cope with the situation as well.
If you are a mother who has a child who is abusing substances, support is available.
BOSASNet offers counselling support services to co-dependents and those include services education, individual, family and group therapy.
Please contact BOSASNet on 3959119 or 72659891. Find us on Facebook or visit the BOSASNet website @www.bosasnet.com, for more information.
* The names used in the story are fictional and do not represent BOSASNet clients