Mulenga arrived at the gates of, ‘House of love orphanage centre’, on a thunderous morning. If not for elder Margarets routine of opening House of Love’s gates to the needy on the daily, Mulenga would never have survived the rains. Even without a note attached to the chitenge that kept Mulenga warm, Elder Margaret rushed the child into safe shelter. Worse still, Elder Margaret thought the child was dead, as Mulenga slept soundly through the treacherous thunder roar and only awoke long after the thunderous rains had past.
The only thing Mulenga had on her besides the chitenge was what seemed to Elder Margaret as two unusual copper rings in the girls ears and a tattoo of a complete ring with similar markings on the top of her sternum.
That was nearly 15 years ago, elder Margaret reminisced to herself as she watched the children play through her open window. Ever since Mulenga joined the mixed martial arts gym where shes been impressive especially with the discipline being considered a difficult sport. So much talent that the gym started funding the orphanage, believing that Mulenga was a protégé.
“Mulenga will be 15 in a week, what sort of gift for a 15 year old, says we love you?” Elder Margaret discussed with Chileshe, her assistant, even though the official position read ‘Vice President’. “She’s never been fancy, she just always wanted some clue as to who she was” Chileshe said knowing Mulenga so well over the years. The topic was a sore one, forcing the two ladies to look on where Mulenga interacted with her fellow kids, seemingly oblivious to the world around them.
Mulenga found that her body changed between high intensity activities and activities of no physical intensity. She would feel surges of power during high intensity activities. This brought her mind to the last fight, while attempting to roundhouse her opponent, she felt her body get fast mid jump, without disturbing her balance, and her right leg felt stronger during the swing. Too strong she felt she’d injure her opponent. Her round house was misjudged making her completely miss her kick but the force was enough to knock her opponent down. Her opponent was knocked out with a miss cue, Mulenga was nearly disqualified, however no one could explain what had happened, making Mulenga the winner via knockout.
Those events still played in Mulenga’s head weeks after the fight. They plagued her mind with questions however, she had no one to ask, how can you ask for help, when even you’re uncertain what to ask. The very next day she was in the gym practicing, testing her full strength against a punching bag. It would take her a full month of intense training before she could feel a surge of power similar to the day she knocked out her opponent for championship contender. She rationalised with everyone that she was now a championship contender and slacking was not going to make her champion. Truthfully though, she was afraid of the sudden surges in power and not being able to control her body’s strength made her scared.
Mulenga was in the midst of tag, and she was it, sprinting and chasing her friends about having too much fun she hadn’t felt the shift in her bodies power. Rising within her as adrenaline and competitive instincts, she was too focused on catching her friends she took no notice over her body. Nearly knocking Yande, her best friend, over with all the sheer force placed into her pat on the shoulder. If not for the ringing of the bell to symbolise lunch, Yande would have been laying on the ground in a heap awaiting medical assistance.
Mulenga however, felt the sensation of power claw back inside her, almost as if turned off by a switch. She looked towards Elder Margaret’s window, behind her past the now empty park, on the second floor. As soon as Mulenga spotted Elder Margret watching through the open blinds, she took off running, away from the Elder and towards the closed gate. With full intent to jump and climb the fence, Mulenga was surprised when her jump caused her to scale the entire fence in one single leap, landing safely on the other side.
With the added surprise of her jump, Mulenga took off down the streets of Kabwata, running in the direction of her gym. One thing was for sure, no matter the sturggles she had growing up, the gym always centered her and all she wanted was to be centered, especially with all the uncertainty she faced within.