It was a sunny and frenzy weather, and as Desmond would have it, that very day being a Saturday I was meant to be around. Our relationship had not been up to a week but I could tell how well he needed and longed to see me.
I had just arrived newly into the town and found it lovingly peaceful even with the cow dung around the streets, it felt peaceful and warm, the vegetation and hilly mountains this place was another home for me, toppled with the fact that I’d found Desmond a crush my one good crush in secondary school, and now here we were like the chapters of our past meeting in links and in lines.
We got to write yet another perfect story of each other again, here, in ZamHills, actually Zamfara state; a place I’d least expect to be yet a place I find so comforting and reassuring and if not only by the help of Mr. Abdul who secured a job for me at the FIRS (Federal Inland Revenue Service), I would have been wallowing in Enugu selling drinks and pepper soup for Aunt Nneoma which was rendering my certificate useless as first class student of Economics.
Well, all thanks to Aunt Nneoma cause through her I met Mr. Abdul and through Mr. Abdul I’m here in Zamfara a state I love and a state where I met my long loved crush Desmond. The weather was perfect for a hot egusi soup and “anta” as Desmond loved calling which meant liver in Hausa.
I was going to prepare his favorite, so and yes he had to escort me but then he had to go see Mrs. Rachel, his boss who needed him urgently for a brief meeting with the construction workers, bank managers and directors from the inspectorate department. Walking so close yet swaying our hands with the breeze flowing round. We were so into each other, smiling sheepishly like I could see the road to the store In his eyes, but then he had to stop a bike promising he’d be back as soon as soonest. Oh how much we loved each other. I’d gotten all I needed for the soup except for Palm-oil and onions, which indeed were essential for the meal to be crowned a delicacy.
“Good day Ma, “inawuni”, Lafialo”! I answered as I’d been taught to say, “Mai-kikeso” which I guessed meant “what do you want to buy”. I told her I needed some “red oil” and onions. She replied “Babu maija”.
“No Oil”? (Waving my hands to the left and right for her to understand). She answered, Eh! I was already about to leave frustrated at the fact that I couldn’t speak Hausa and also at the fact that Desmond might not meet the soup ready because of the delay in getting the palm oil, then I heard a familiar voice” Yarinya! “. I stopped turning to the owner of the store, there she said “ki shiga Wanan Gida”, pointing directly to a small gate. So I entered.
As Frenzy as I thought the weather was, it wasn’t anymore. The house was a mud one and looking far into the distance, I saw a boy playing recklessly with his stick as a donkey. I smiled at him but then I came here for palm oil so I shouted “Good day Ma! Please I want to buy red oil O”! The room seemed dark but I knew there was someone there, then I shouted again and finally she answered “E na zwa”.
I waited staring at the environment which looked clean yet missing something, contemplating on what it was, the child, slim fair, tall, with a piercing of rings on her nose smiled and said “Na wa”. It sounded strange because as she turned, I saw her infant child holding tight, sucking his mom’s breast, trying so hard not to show my disbelief I pointed at the largest tins on the floor close to the yellow gallon. She went close to the cans picking it up and trying to shake the red oil. Noticing it was sticky, she tried melting before pouring into the cans, and went to the next room calling.
There again, a dark slim young looking girl came out, she was a dark beauty, no pierced nose but with a golden tooth. She smiled at me and said “Wait…. she melt it, and sit down, she fast now” I knew she meant sit while she melts the oil sitting slowly I wondered, the dark girl must have tried going to school but something stopped her, and the other girl or child would have made a perfect beauty model for a skin care product; but here she was with two kids, she barely spaced them maybe three months or five. but why? I’m sure she hasn’t even clocked 17, Future gone, dreams shattered, deprived of freedom, deprived from civilization, deprived of her own self esteem, ego, principles, choices and values. Oh why?
I wondered, forgetting hunger, forgetting the egusi soup, forgetting all but this girl child, who has been handicapped by marriage, a forceful one at that to breed and be enslaved with the beauty of procreation… YARINYA!
Awakened by the voice, I collected my oil and gave her the money. There and then, I noticed what was missing was the light of freedom and happiness of Education. Walking out of the gate, I muttered to myself “A stop to child marriage must be made”! And deeply, it sunk and rang with every step I took forth.
Good Luck Ogri Mathilda Sarah !
An interesting story!
Beautiful Infusion of native dialect!
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