Know that when the thought of writing this review came to mind, I had an instant headache because I had never written before. So, bear with me.
I will never forget 2014 because a lot of changes happened in virtually every area of my life. It turned out to be 10 times better than I had expected. For someone who is usually the most optimistic in the room, you can imagine how overwhelming it must have been, I promise to try as well as I can to touch a bit of everything.
At the beginning of the year, I had written in a notepad the list of things I wanted improvements on in my life: socially, spiritually, academically and even financially. Needless to say, before the end of February, that list was lost and forgotten. I was now going with the flow (whatever that was), living life as it came, with no plans, nothing.
What has a 15 year-old got to do with finances you ask? Thing is in the past, ‘mans’ has been ‘shy’ to ask for money from the father simply because it seemed too much. Shy nitori Olorun?! My own father? Well, praise the Lord! I worked on that. I also learned the magical art of saving money. *whew*
I won’t lie, I somehow feel that if I had followed a certain plan, pattern or whatever, maybe my year wouldn’t have been as awesome. Maybe I wouldn’t have gone to certain places where I met some amazing people. Maybe I’d have foolishly cut off a bunch of friends as planned. Maybe I wouldn’t have had my first kiss…..okay, next!
I became more conscious of my growth as a female teenager. Every other year, Dolapo, Martha and I would wake up in the morning and go back to bed at night without checking on ourselves. No “How are you sef?” “Come na let me even see how your life is looking” “What is that scar?” “Are you pregnant??” nada. This year I made it a point of duty to meet myself. It’s okay for me to cater for others but I should never lose myself in the process. Every now and then, I stopped to access myself, question certain actions, right my wrongs, GIVE MYSELF BRAIN and most importantly, commend myself for any job well done.
This year, it was my turn to be picked on by mother. The big sister graduated from the university (YAY!!), so in my mother’s mind, she had now completed a major stage in attaining that 100% wife material mothers all over the world dream of. It was now time to transfer all the “wahala” that Nike (My older sister) received while in University to my own head so that I’d be great like my sister now is. I must say I NEVER ESPERRED IT! It has not been easy dealing with or taking on all the stress she’s giving me (yes, stress) but I thank God. I’m thankful because it has helped me learn a lot even beyond my years. I love my mum so much for what she has put into my life and I wouldn’t trade her for any woman in the world, except of course it’s Dangote’s wife… Haha just kidding……not.
How can I forget a major highlight of the entire year?? A WAEC and Jamb result that made my mother claim she always knew I was a brilliant child and father reassured that he has not been investing in vain. I was more happy that they were happy with me than I was about my result. Smh! Thing is, I know I read, yeah? I just don’t think I read well enough for an all (9) distinctions and Post Jamb merit list result. That is how you know ‘Diaris God ohh’ . It could have been the short prayer I rendered before academic year began: ‘Dear Lord, let me not have any reason to check my NECO result this year/ever Amen’. Either way, I am grateful, to God for His never-ending grace and mercies and to Ona for being the greatest academic influence ever. Err.. I actually kinda love you.
This year, I got my first award ever and that is not even exciting part, I mean, I could have been awarded “nicest female” or what not but that wouldn’t mean as much to me. To God’s glory though, I was awarded the “best female vocalist” and it was heart-warming.
Such tears. Very encouragement. Much hope.
I purchased my long time true love, Reva, late into the year. She’s a guitar who I look forward to doing many great things with. Amen? AMEN!
I also went out more. As a girl child living in this era of crazy social vices, I like to think I understand the need for my mother’s overprotective attitude. The good news is that she finally thought it was okay for me to ‘cross the streets’ with my own legs. On. My. Own. No mother, no driver. Hallelujah somebody?
I came out of a cage I had been locked in for most of my life. After 15 years, I finally got to meet my family members one after the other. Uhun. Turns out that my sister is amazing. Mum is lovely. Dad is wonderful. Big brother is my real nigga. Debisi is my naughty son and it’s simply beautiful to watch him grow. Very lovely, these people.
In the past, I developed a habit of swallowing most of my words. Even at home, it was like there was a voice in my head, by default just there to tell me that there was no point saying anything because it was not in my place to say it, I might be woefully wrong or just cos it wouldn’t matter anyway. So when someone else would say exactly what I wanted to, get approval and sometimes praises, I would slap my head in regret like, “Babe, Y U KIP KWAYET?” But this year, I learned to speak my mind whenever I had to. I decided to turn it into a way of learning stuff. I mean, if I did speak and was wrong, I would be corrected, right? Good then.
“Speak your mind even if your voice is shaken” – this quote took me a long long way.
Since ’98, whenever feelings came my way, I tossed them to the side and when my side was too full to contain any more feelings, I’d just sweep them under the carpet. Tada! I don’t know if it was for fear of commitment or my attitude of blatant indifference, my hate for stress or just cos Eleda mi o gba ti feelings. In 2014, I embraced some of these feelings. I interacted more, cared more, loved more and also allowed hurt to manifest in my life when it needed to. Thanks to my friends, sister and things I read, I now know better. No matter how much I try to deceive myself, this heart is #fleshnotstone, it will feel what it will…..and it’s okay sometimes to just let these feelings flourish.
Basically, this for me has been a year of building myself for the next stage of my life and I’m happy about how far I’ve come for now. Finally seeing that’s it’s okay to interact with the world as opposed to sitting in a dark corner. It’s been a year of transition. From:
Timid to bold.
Taciturn to talkative.
‘Skrepy’ to approachable.
Noise maker to singer (lol)
Easily distracted to quite focused.
Boy to Girl. (*sigh)
Regular Christian to a baptized one.
High School to University.
Clueless to not as clueless, and so on.
Here’s a big shoutout to all the people that made my year wonderful. Thanks for tolerating me. Me sef know sey, it takes nothing short of patience and love. My God, my family, strangers, acquaintances, my new friends, “easy cliq” (inside joke) and my lovely old personal people; THANK YOU.
Ready to make each day count rather than just counting the days, all three of us, Martha, Dolapo and I have now boarded this bus that is a one way drive to University. I know it’s going to be one hell of a ride with different folks wey me never jam for road so………wish me luck, yes?!
Thanks for sharing Dolapo, may the force be with you.
2014 was an amazing year. I got to discover some of the things that mattered most to me, the very things that made me happy and complete. All my life, I had lived in the shadow of others, never trusting in my own choices. When I did go as far as making my own decisions, I desperately sought for approval. I’m not saying I’m now totally free of this ‘plague’ but there have been improvements and I’m glad about that. I have watched myself grow this year, coming from years of a huge inferiority complex and a cancerous shyness; my self-confidence is now bordering on Narcissism.
The first quarter of the year was surprisingly the climax of 2014. Thankfully it only got better, with just little bumps here and there. After months of planning, TheMusers finally pulled off an explosive book meet. The idea of the book meet came to me where other great ideas come from; the toilet seat. I remember announcing to my book club members that we were going to organize a book meet, and they were just looking at me like I was crazy. The success of the book meet honestly made me understand what people say about dreaming and believing it would come to pass; in my case it did come to pass. We kept getting the “nobody likes book, they wouldn’t show up” comments, eventually we didn’t even have seats for half of the people that showed up. The icing on the cake was definitely Lola Shoneyin and Kaine Agary’s presence, I almost fainted. The Musers are really amazing people, I really couldn’t have done it without them. Emmanuel Ohiri my co-founder, Lanre my utmost bae, Kenny my boo, Bobs (Bobola) of life, Kelechi, Tomiwa, Isoken, Olamide, Dami, Tolu, Afuye, and Donald.
My year sort of quietened from then, final year does that to you. A little depression here and there, but seeing as God always has my back anytime any day, bouncing back wasn’t hard. My birthday was one of my best days in 2014 too. Clocking 21 wasn’t as horrible as I had heard it was, I mean with six cakes and a surprise party, I could really live with being 21 forever. I am forever thankful for the amazing friends God planted in my life from the first day I stepped into Unilag; Teni, Simi, Isoken and Sola. These people make me feel like a leech sometimes, always there for me, even when I don’t ask and it’s not like I have anything to offer in return. Every day I try to understand why they are still friends with me, I haven’t found an answer. I love those guys. I really do.
Being a part of the TedxUnilag team was also a highlight of my year. The members of the team are wonderful people.
TheOluwaTosin; Met this weirdly amazing guy at my book meet, and next thing he was coming at me with this huge project. Thank you Tosin, for making me see myself through your eyes. Never had I dreamt that anyone ever thought such nice things about me. Tosin’s belief in me scares me, but I am still just a baby girl and he doesn’t think so.
Deaduramilade; Gosh this babe makes me want to do more every time. I still don’t believe claims about her age. I swear its football age she’s giving all of us. I see you doing all sorts of superhumanly amazing things my dear Lade. Just keep pushing.
Uche Ani; after stealing the show at my book meet, I knew we were still going to meet again at some point. This babe’s intelligence freaks me out. I’m so glad God found you this year. Can’t wait for the amazing things He’s going to do through you. Really the TedxUnilag team is made up of amazing people.
People were really nice to me this year. Like I had become so used to being the nice one that I didn’t even remember what it felt like to be the one receiving love (Asa’s “How did Love find me” is my jam, really.) Thank you Lanre Ekemode for really caring about me, Sola Akintunde, my darling baby Faith (who refused to let go of me even though I was a horrible mother), Afuye, Bobola, Kenny, Damola and Wura, y’all shaped my 2014. My family members too, my brother Kayode for consistently caring for me and knowing just what to do to get on my nerves.
My relationship status didn’t even shift by an inch this year. At least I had (and I’m still having) the longest crush of my life. Six months of crushing is no small deal for me, with my crush period averaging two weeks per annum, this is huge for me. I’m just glad this proves I’m human..lol.
2014 is almost over. I am ashamed that even though I am now a student at the Nigerian Law School, I still have absolutely no idea what I want to be in future. I really hoped to discover that this year. I have however decided to take life has it comes, and be open to all options, including toilet cleaning services (you’d be shocked at how lucrative it is). Here is hoping I figure out my life next year. I’m excited about 2015, can’t wait to dive in already. Going in on the year with God leading me and all I can think is “let’s do this!!”
Thank you Adesewa for sharing, we wish you a more productive time next year, keep on pushing.
So in preparation for the muser’s Book Meet which you can get more information about by clicking here #TheDarkSkinProblem, Vunderkind and I decided to goof around. You probably shouldn’t read this if you’re having a good day and don’t want it ruined but what the hell, I’m pretty sure you’ve read far more disgusting blogs.
So this is how it all started.
Paetir: Yo We have a meeting with destiny.
Vunderkind: _O_ I like that Babe Destiny.
Paetir: Just thought that’d be a cool thing to say, I’m about to have dinner by the way; Pounded yam and egusi, Gimme a few minutes sensei.
Vunderkind: LMAOOOOOO. Bloody show-off! I’m having the next best thing, plantain with no back up. No rice. No beans. No stew. Just lone, glorious plantain.
Paetir: Loool, Chill, I’m coming
Paetir: Yeah, Destiny tinz
After I was done with my food.
Paetir: FAM I’m done, How the dodo? Make brain abi?
Vunderkind: LMAO, Please don’t be a show-off. Let’s talk bidness.
Paetir: Okay bidness, Open the floor. Say hey Paetir after ‘* *’
Paetir: * *
Vunderkind: Hey Paetir, *adjusts bra*
Paetir: Lol faggot.
Vunderkind: How you doing my man?
Paetir: Nevermind that I just had pounded yam and egusi and you didn’t.
Vunderkind: It’s all good. God compensated me with a girlfriend.
Paetir: She light skinned?
Vunderkind: LMAOOOOO. The girl I’m dating in my dreams, yes. Actual girl, neh :(. Which is why I don’t @ her on Twitter (._. )
Paetir: Lol Eeyah, God will provide. So we here today to talk about the darkskin problem.
Vunderkind: This Discussion is proudly Sponsored by Dencia and Whitenicious
Paetir: We outchea peepz, So seeing as I’m an intellectual somebody I figure there are two words of interest in our topic ‘Dark skin’, ‘Problem’
Vunderkind: Aha. Oh. Isn’t that thre…..
Paetir: Leave it yeah? What is a dark skin?
Vunderkind: I thought it was Da and Rk.
Paetir: Sir vundie?
Vunderkind: Silly me 😦
Paetir: Eeyah Brain too, God will provide along with gehlfren
Vunderkind: Well to quote a revered manuscript from back when philosophers spent their time asking “what is life?” in the day time and corrupting the youths in the night, “a dark skin is a sad manifestation.
Paetir: Sad manifestation?
Vunderkind: Er. Mistake.
Paetir: Ha vundie just subbed the dark part of Africa. Damn political correctness
Vunderkind: To quote the Encyclopedia Britannica…a dark skin, to the untrained eye, might look like an overload of melanin pigmentation on the sufferer (where sufferer is used in the same tone as you would, say, someone dying from cancer) but a darkskin transcends dermal colorations to connote deeply troubling social, economic, spiritual and psychological depth.
Paetir: Jesusssssss Professor vundie HAS SCATTERED THE FLOOR
Vunderkind: Let us pack the floor together back before landlord return. Rent is difficult as it is.
Paetir: But wait.
Vunderkind: When you are born dark-skinned, you’re technically the last person in a line-up for a 400m race. Only you’re not even on the line-up. You’re stil at home, in your tracksuit and the race has begun.
Paetir: Are you not dark skinned?
Vunderkind: It is not I who is dark-skinned, but Christ shines through me, making me light-skinned. Amen somebody?
Paetir: Amen but I don’t know for all these girls looking for bleaching cream everywhere
Vunderkind: The bible says “GOD IS LIGHT, AND IN HIM THERE IS NO DARKNESS AT ALL!” Even the bible subbed the darkskins.
Paetir: More evidence. So the search for bleaching cream is the beginning of wisdom?
Paetir: Are you saying that light skins are nearer to God than dark skins?
Vunderkind: Depends on who we have at the front of the bleaching product.
You should probably skip this..
Vunderkind: No person in his/her right mind should buy a bleaching product with Rachel Oniga in front of it.You know Rachel Oniga? Yes. Flee creams advertising her skin tone.
Paetir: She’s a bad example sha, light skinned hands, dark skin legs, latina coloured torso. Don’t ask how I know that.
Vunderkind: LMAOOOO of course you shouldn’t be asking a yoruba actress who her cosmetologist is if you’re serious about making it in life.
Paetir: Plus some wise sage who lives on some mountain in Tibet once said and I quote – ‘No matter how you bleach rish, toetoe no dey shange color’
Vunderkind: Paetir, I see you’ve been rolling in the deep
Vunderkind: *adjusts glasses*
Paetir: No Adele bro. Get it? Rolling in the deep no Adele? God I‘m a genius.
Vunderkind: I wonder why you don’t feature in scholarly articles more often, tbvh. It’s because you’re yoruba.
Paetir: Guy my genius is misunderstood
Vunderkind: And dark-skinned.
Paetir: 😦 And yes h factor
Vunderkind: In the words of the great Oritsefemi, paraphrasing the great philosopher Fela, “double wahala.”
Paetir: This is what my Yoruba pastors call – double gbosa
Vunderkind: Hof course hit his mishundastud.
Paetir: Like FAM its art whrenching
Vunderkind: My hosofagos cannot take hit henimor. Hai Kent brett
You can continue now..
Paetir: Now let’s talk about why Africans seem have inferiority complex.
Vunderkind: Lol they ‘You’ve gone to sell kidney for Malaysian citizenship’ abi?
Paetir: Are we backward because of our dark skin or are we dark skin because of our backwardness?
Vunderkind: LMAO This is a deep philosophical question. Almost as deep as Did the Chicken Orgasm Before the Egg or The Egg Before the Chicken.
Vunderkind: The question lies deep within the layers of Michael Jackson.
Vunderkind: Yes. He will make good study material. Was The Great Moonwalker Backward while he was dark-skinned? How did he perform when he became…translucent (for want of a better word)?
Paetir: He was a freaking superhuman. Two different races in one lifetime.
Vunderkind: He did the moonwalk, which is technically backward, in both state of racial/dermal registration. No further comment
You’re probably wondering what the hell is going on here but don’t worry it gets better…
Paetir: So let’s move on, Why do dark skins always jealous light skins?
Vunderkind: The smartest guy in my class was light-skinned.
Paetir: Lol you lie. We all know that’s a lie. You can’t be light skin and have sense.
Vunderkind: Lmaoooo why are you subtly bringing Tonto Dikeh into this? That’s one light-skin with dark-skinned senses. Sorta like TI.
Paetir: Plz behv yourself. Who iz bringing that one into diz?
Vunderkind: LOL. I read somewhere that dark-skinned man (Africans) make houses for themselves that have no structural complexity divergent from that of a cane rat.I cried Lupitishly.
Paetir: You mean like this?
Vunderkind: They said any cultural, technological and for that matter, cultural ascension we’ve made in the last century is owed to the light-skins (whitefolk) #TearsForMamaAfrica. But, like you asked, deep question.
Paetir: Lmaoooo So black is stupid? Is this what you sayeeen?
Vunderkind: I didn’t say it. They did. But I disagree with ‘em.
Paetir: Civilization did start in Africa though. But the Egyptians are light skinned so wrong turn…
Vunderkind: Bruh. Dead end:(
Paetir: But wait, while Alexander the great was conquering nations, what were your forefathers Chukwudi and Adebayo doing?
Vunderkind: Bruh. My ancestors were praying to a creatively-designed rock for rain. What is it about being darkskinned(female) that makes you want to make a blood-red weave, wear a yellow top and purple leggings and green shoes, top it with orange lipstick, upload to Twitter and trend for the wrong reason. Why are black people, by default, so wrong? 😦 and light-skins so awesome?
Ok now I promise we’re done.
Paetir: No idea. Remember #Bisitwerks? She was light skinned and skinny while her roommates were polar opposites, dark skinned and fat and we all faked surprise when the video ended up on YouTube. See what I’m saying? Jealousy
Vunderkind: I stil have the video. For…cold nights.
Paetir: Of course you do. Lord wankadoodledo
Vunderkind: Dark-skins are jealous of light-skins, not because of the direct beneft of the skin tone, but because folks like you only ever ask light-skins”bebi gimme ur PIN. Also, if a light-skin curves, y’all retweet like hell. If a dark-skin curves…LMAOOOOO!!!!! no, but wait – doesn’t a dark-skinned person have to be approached before she can curve?
Paetir: Social dilemma. The society praises light skins but shoots down darkies. Its sad
Vunderkind: “Society.” LoL Because you absolutely ADORE darkies.
Paetir: All my girlfriends have been darkies. Honest
Vunderkind: Your palms are dark. Of course. You had me confused for a bit there. Talmabout “all my girlfriends”
Paetir: Lol wait….I’ve never…..Moving on
Vunderkind: LOOOL. Next question?
Paetir: You’ve hurt me, I shall go cry now.
LOL So sorry you had to endure that, if you read this to the end, I just want to let you know you deserve a lollipop. So y’all really have to be at the musers book meet come 24th of may, it promises to be something you’ve never seen before. If you need more information on this event #clickhere.
To reserve seats, send your name and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your time and see you there saturday.
Valentine/ ACS Culture Vault 2013
Sings: *Lost without you, Can’t help myself. How does it feel to know that I love you baby *
But What Is Love? Ladies & Gentlemen You Do Not Answer Me?
WHAT IS LOVE?
When I asked myself this question my thoughts ran amiss.
So I decided to ask around, did a little survey…and it’s only opinions
So feel free…disagree with what they say.
PARTICIPANT 1 said: LOVE IS LIMITLESS
Now Ladies, I do not mean Bradley Cooper from the movie,
But I’m sure we could all learn to love his deep-set blue eyes limitless…if life was a movie.
I believe what participant 1 meant was that:
Love is a phenomenon that is persistently permeating the perimeter of its participants like a circle.
I believe what participant 1 meant was that:
When you are in love with someone, time strolls briskly by. Oxymoron,
Because you’re ecstatic in every moment & time flies before you know it.
And in her own words : “One cannot fall out of love”.
PARTICIPANT 2 said: LOVE IS RESPECT
Sings: *R-E-S-P-E-C-T . Find Out What It Means To Me*
I will listen, because I respect you.
I will not cheat, because I respect you.
I will let you lead , because I respect you.
I will pray everyday for your success,
Because…I respect you.
PARTICIPANT 3 said: LOVE IS TRUST
Now we’re all familiar with this one
Trust Issues. The infamous sing-song.
But. Nah, I ain’t even talking about that female dog that drop your man a text at dawn.
I trust that that when I fall back, you’ll be there to catch me.
I trust that we don’t need a label, because its just you and me.
I trust that you would never intentionally hurt me,
I trust that when you do,
You will do right and apologise to me.
PARTICIPANT 4 said : LOVE IS TOGETHERNESS
Now I do not believe that togetherness necessarily refers to a physical presence.
I mean we all love to sway in our lovers’ arms,
On Summer’s eve on that old rocking chair with the crooked arms.
But…how do you fare
When your love is not near?
Is the current in your love circle constantly flowing like in participant 1’s circle?
Or is distance your fuse?
Your low. Resistance. Resistor.
That goes *poof* when you can no more inhale your lovers scent?
And you can’t even Skype.
Time difference. One’s all hype when one’s spent.
Sings: *Wherever I go, Wherever you are Baby Baby you’re never far away You’re always on my mind*
Love is when you’ve always got them on your mind,
And you wanna tell your friends that joke they said that one time
But no one else gets it, so never mind.
See, I do not believe that Love is Blind
Although, it may have selective amnesia.
Keep the good ‘days of our lives’ together on ‘baywatch’
Forget the ‘criminal minds‘ from ‘home and away‘ that put together that first ‘monster date‘.
And when you love your lover, ensure that you love them in the way that they love to be loved.
You see, love is hard.
So if you want something easy,
Tell the world, “I am in Strong Like”. Not “I am in Love”
Respect, Forgiveness, Trust, Togetherness…there is no ‘1’ definition of love.
But I assure you,
Love? Love is a Choice.
*Disclaimer: All images courtesy of Google.
POETRY/ SPOKEN WORD
Every Other Week or so, I wait for a pinch
Because My Thoughts get too grave by about an inch
So, as usual I’m looking for the easy way out
Waiting for a “My friend, wake up we’re going out”
Many times I can’t believe how my life’s played out
Whether I was completely there, these last 4 years, I doubt
Don’t get me wrong though, I’m still young
Younger than you’d think with my feigned smile,carriage or dressing out on the run
But I’m feeble, fearful and flawed inside
I need someone to talk to
But I’m too ashamed, too soiled, I can’t bring myself to
So, I reduced the make up, maybe it’ll help others see me better inside
The people I pity the most are family, you know
The only ones that really love me; or the ones that love me the most
And I can’t confess to them because they’d warned me “Guard your heart jealously”
No one REALLY knows me,not even me; so my closest friends don’t know the whole story
The feelings of guilt have gotten harder to sweep aside.
I’ll have to find something good to have beside
I am too young to be engulfed by such pain within
If anyone can, please help. I’m A Caged Bird Singing.
Caged Bird by Oyindamola Johnson (inspired by Maya Angelou)
I am a prisoner of circumstance, a prisoner to life and I kept hoping that any moment he would open up the door to allow me my freedom. Escape isn’t an option and even if by some freaky stroke of fate I see a way out, I still wouldn’t be able to save myself for I am too weak to fight. I feel so cheated, deprived and unloved, I feel like a thief, a robber of happiness that has stolen from my parents again and again or so I have been accused. I can hear the rustling of the leaves outside as the cool evening breeze caressed it and the echoes of the other kids call as they fell into the rhythm of our nightly games and disturbing memories threatened my sanity. With nothing to do other than to stare hopelessly at the thatched roof of a room I soon began to associate with as my prison, memories of the good times flashed by in quick succession like it was but a blur in the distance, only to be replaced by memories of the mental and psychological abuse suffered, tortures and cruelty meted on me and the very fiber of my existence shook as I wailed in torment, like a broken soul.
Tonight I must lead the village of Nsukwu to where I have hidden it, for my crimes and the suffering of my parents must end. Desperately I listen to hear of my missionary teacher’s return, the “Onye ocha”, the only person that stood by me even when my family and village forsook me. But he was a tardy too late because I can now hear the sound of approaching feet and whispers as the time for my reckoning arrived. And my broken soul yearned for solace as I saw the inevitability and hopelessness of my situation.
I still remember the day it all started with so much clarity and intensity that it brought tears to my inner eyes. It was in the rainy season of the year after the missionary had come into our village, Nna had come home angry after he had consulted with the oracles about my constant illness. It was revealed to him that I was an “Ogbanje”, an evil spirit who has been bringing pain to them by tormenting and dragging them through the rigorous rituals of childbirth, only to leave them shattered and heart broken by dying. The oracle claimed that my mission was to rob them of all their happiness by dying, watching them mourn and then coming back when the scars have almost healed to give them hope only to shatter it again.
Is it my fault that three others of the same gender and likeness have died before me? Is it my fault that we all were afflicted by the same mysterious illness that eventually took their life and would eventually claim mine? Was it my fault that I was never as strong as my peers and even now lay sick and weak on my bed? All these I asked myself as I was being carried away to the dibia’s shrine where I would hence forth remain till I revealed the whereabouts of my “Iyi-Uwa”, or the rites of “Ibe-Ugwu” would be performed on me because it was sometimes thought to get rid of the “Ogbanje” too.
All these accusations I could have lived with if my sweet and loving Nne hadn’t shied away from my touch when I cried out and tried to reach for her as they carried me away. That singular action from her brought down all the bitter tears I had struggled to hold back because I could accept Nna deserting me to the verdicts of the gods but not Nne. That sweet loving woman who stayed up and sang to me in my worst nights, Nne that cried with me when the pains of my illness had become nearly unbearable for me, the same Nne who carried and bathed me when the rigors of my illness had ravaged my body had looked the other way like I was an “Osu” and that singular act of betrayal burnt so deep in my innocent soul that it left it forever scarred.
I could understand my Nna and Nne trying to find answers to their problems, but why blame me an innocent child for a misfortune that was not just theirs but also mine? Aren’t they emphatic to my plight? Don’t they know that I go through the most heinous of pains and suffering during my bouts with this mysterious illness? Or do they think I would want to put myself through that kind of pain and suffering just to make them suffer? Where is the sense in that? The gods should answer me please. Are the gods really watching over us? Are they seeing my predicaments? Is their no justice in this cold world? Are the gods responsible for this? Or are the gods laughing at me now as they break “Oji” over my sufferings? All these I bitterly asked myself as they battered me with incantations and forcefully made me drink different herbal concoctions just to reveal where my “Iyi-Uwa” was buried.
I was told an “Iyi-Uwa” was an object that bound my spirit to this world and caused me to return to my Nne after I have died. The dibia also revealed that the oracle has shown him that my “Iyi-Uwa” was a piece of coloured stone and I must show them where I have hidden it, so that they can destroy it and thereby put my evil spirit to rest. So I was faced with either showing them my “Iyu-Uwa” or face the excruciating pains of the “Ibe-Ugwu” rites [circumcision].
I am merely a blossoming fourteen year old girl who had dreams of becoming a teacher in the missionary school someday, but I have already experienced eight years worth of pain and suffering. At one fell swoop I had lost the affection of both my parents and my friends to the verdict of the gods and nobody in the village cared less. Even my childhood friend Iheoma abandoned me to my fate, but still the memories of Iheoma and times we spent which now felt like a figment of my imagination almost brought a smile to my face. Iheoma and her penchant for mischief, Iheoma and that twinkle in her eyes when she was up to no good, The fun we had together on the days my illness loosened its grip on me, the times we spent in the forest day dreaming when we were supposed to be at the stream, the days we helped Nne fry garri, our quarrels and our love. All those cherish-able memories marred by the injustice meted on me.
I remember the day I was too ill to participate, let alone attend the dance festival of my age group in the village. I remembered the pain I felt knowing that Iheoma and my peers would be out there jiggling and shaking their small rotund buttocks while I lay on my bed hapless and helpless. I cried my soul out that day like I am doing now, as I am being led out to find my “Iyi-Uwa”. The only difference is that today the gods are crying along with me and as the intensity of my tears increases so did the out pour of the rain outside. It was like the celestial bodies were mourning the iniquities of my life with me.
The search is about to begin and I am surrounded by a handful of the villagers but I am surprisingly filled with renewed vigour because of the sacrifice I have decided to make today. Deep down I know I won’t survive the night for I most surely would die from the long trek into the forest, but I would rather die than face the painful rites of “Ibe-Ugwu”. I go light hearted and with hope because of the promise my missionary teacher made to me. He was the only one who vehemently fought for my release, he was the only one who came to visit me throughout the two weeks I spent in the dibia’s shrine and he was the reason I agreed to take them on this wild goose chase for if I hadn’t, he would surely have been harmed for interfering. His explanations that my Nna and Nne were the reasons for their predicaments fell on deaf ears, he tried to explain that there was something in both their genes that made them incompatible and therefore led to them birthing sick children but that only further infuriated Nna and the elders for they were willing to use the gods to blame an innocent child for nothing she knew about rather than accept the blame.
I remember his last words as he left my side;
“Anyuli I will do everything in my power to help you because I know that this isn’t your doing. I leave you now not because I want to abandon you but because I want to gather help and save you from this hell, and with the support of the mission I will forever put an end to this abomination. Wish me God’s speed and wait for my return,”
Tonight I pay the ultimate sacrifice for others like me out there so remember my names, “Anwuli” which I was named because I was supposed to bring happiness along with me, that same happiness I have been accused of robbing off my Nna and Nne. “Okwukwe” which I was named for I had brought hope to my parents, the hope they have lost in me and that I am now giving to others like me out there, and “Ifunaya” which I was named because of the love I had brought along with me into this world, the same love I have lost from everyone and now showing to you all by sacrificing myself. Please weep for me, please remember me.
- Nne- Mother
- Nna- Father
- Dibia- Witch doctor’
- Osu- Outcast
- Ogbanje- An evil spirit that deliberately plagues a family with misfortune
- Iyi-Uwa- an object that binds an Ogbanje to this world and caused them to return after they have died
- Onye Ocha- White man
- Oji – Kola nut
- Ibe-Ugwu – Female Circumcision