Posted on

A beautiful African tribe and birthdates

A much-cherished friend told me this story of a very beautiful tradition within an African tribe. I hope that it will raise an awareness of the singular responsibility we carry as women.
Of all the African tribes still alive today, the Himba tribe is one of the few that counts the birth date of the children not from the day they are born nor conceived but the day the mother decides to have the child.
When a Himba woman decides to have a child, she goes off and sits under a tree, by herself, and she listens until she can hear the song of the child who wants to come.

And after she’s heard the song of this child, she comes back to the man who will be the child’s father and teaches him the song. When they make love to physically conceive the child, they sing the song of the child as a way of inviting the child.
When she becomes pregnant, the mother teaches that child’s song to the midwives and the old women of the village, so that when the child is born, the old women and the people gather around him/her and sing the child’s song to welcome him/her. As the child grows up, the other villagers are taught the child’s song. If the child falls or gets hurt, someone picks him/her up and sings to him/her his/her song. Or maybe when the child does something wonderful or goes through the rites of puberty, then as a way of honoring this person, the people of the village sing his or her song.

In the Himba tribe, there is one other occasion when the “child song” is sung to the Himba tribesperson. If a Himba tribesman or tribeswoman commits a crime or something that is against the Himba social norms, the villagers call him or her into the center of the village and the community forms a circle around him/her. Then they sing his/her birth song to him/her.

The Himba views correction not as a punishment, but as love and remembrance of identity. For when you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.
In marriage, the songs are sung, together. And finally, when the Himba tribesman/tribeswoman is lying in his/her bed, ready to die, all the villagers that know his or her song come and sing – for the last time that person’s song.

This is a very beautiful tradition and when my friend told me the story, it set me thinking. Wouldn’t it be nice if women from other climes and tribes picked aspects of this for our societies too?

We know that women y their very nature invite spirits into their homes and thus they are responsible for the nature of the child thus invited.

What should we do? Have we done our job properly, can we just shrug and say we have done our bit? This is addressed to women. Please search within the hidden places in yourself, Give yourself this question and answer, when you went to bed with the father of your child as you procreated, what was the most urgent question and request you made to the Creator? That you just want the pleasure of his body? Or in a desperation to get him to pop the question, you get pregnant not bothering what type of child you are inviting into your home?
Who was the guest you gave permission to incarnate?
I am hoping we will ask ourselves this question when we sit down to think about the growing violence in our relationships these days. In as much as I can’t understand the arguments of a rapist and an abuser, I remember this unfortunate fact, unpalatable to me as it may be.
It is that every hero, saintly person, thief, rapist, the pedophile was born of a woman.
That is the bottom line and the tribe of the Himba may have offered the woman something priceless

Posted on

Do parents interfere in the love affair of their children?

I ask this question today, Do parents interfere in the love affair of their children? As a parent, will you just sit back and allow your child to choose her love interests or will you interfere? You have seen, heard or at the very least you have read of arranged marriages. My question is thus very relevant. Do parents interfere in the love affair of their children? When should parents retire and allow their children to live their lives and come to a maturing?
It is argued by some parents that they interfere because they love their children. It is a very good emotion, to love your child. What type of love do you really profess?
When I started the series on effective parenting, I made quite a few assumptions:
1. That we understood what parenting is and when it stops
2. That we all needed to be effective as parents
3. That we might consider retirement as a parent sometime
When your ‘child’ is 45, still single and you shop around for a bride for him, are you still a parent?

I hope you understand thus why I asked the question, do parents interfere in the love affair of their children.
A friend stared at me horrified when I asked her that particular question. She looked at me and dismissed it as a silly question. She explained that in this modern age, parents do not bother themselves about the love affairs of their children. Her daughter came in and I noticed the casual questions she asked the daughter about a boyfriend.
The questions sounded casual but she was very keen as she listened to her daughter’s response. When her daughter left, my friend gave a very loaded sigh. I asked her what was on her mind and she gave me an instinctive answer. How do I tell her that her boyfriend is a no good boy who will never amount to much?
I kept quiet as I pondered. It was none of her business I thought to myself. The boy was seen as no good because he did not have the right connections, sometimes faith is weighed by the parents as a factor.
‘Wish them well, she may know what she is doing?’
My friend snorted, ‘In this day and age? you must be joking, she is only 25 and all she needs is money, cars, and an assured future. I have not suffered for some many years for her to waste our money on that boy’
I had a sad thought, are we not interfering with the legitimate dreams of our guests when we dream on their behalf? Are we not meant to retire from interfering?
There comes a time in the upbringing of these welcomed guests when we should step back and allow them to get on with their own woven tapestries of fate.

Certain laws of Life made them our temporary guests. For certain time we are permitted to live together as parent and child. However, there comes a time in our respective development that we may part ways and the relationship takes on a different meaning and interpretation.
A child is retired as a child when she has been evinced as mature enough to take independent decisions. Our human laws recognize that and support that understanding. We call it the coming of age.
Why should we not recognize the same thing for parents? Why would a parent not see that real retirement starts as a parent?

It should be a personal thing between a child and the parent. You do not have a reason to subtly, overtly or covertly interfere in the love affair or otherwise of your former guest. The tenancy expired spiritually when the child walked across the bridge and left her childhood behind in the castle.
I will be back soon. Do let me have your comments

Posted on

Whenshould you retire as a parent

Retire as a parent? Do we really retire as a parent? Are there retired parents in the sense I am writing about? I am sure you are wondering if after all that long silence, why do I come back with this?. Now is the time to think of myself as a retired parent. The loneliest thing I can think of right now. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean leaving paid employment. I am writing about stepping back from your responsibility as a parent and taking on the unpaid post of irritating adviser.

When do you stop agonizing over your child and simply let them get on with the experience of living? How do you watch them make mistakes, fall down on the job, and struggle to get back up? There comes a time when you just sit there and just pray. Get ready with the towel when they are about to spill it, but you must allow them to learn how to hold it.
Retiring as a parent is the toughest part of the job, it is your own final examinations. It is a nail-biting time, sleepless nights, when you bite back the words that jump through your mind but must not pass through your lips. Let’s play a bit of catch up so you know I have been through the game myself.

Remember all those times you dreamed about raising your own family? Yeah, you started with loads of enthusiasm. You did not mind the morning sicknesses when you had to evict almost your intestines because the new tenant in your life can’t stand water. Remember those dreams when you held a silent wistful conversation with your unborn child? I did, endless nights when I planned endless outings together just me and the child. It didn’t matter whatever sex, I was positive we were going to be the best of friends forever.
I remember infancy, the sleepless nights, feeling the anxiety of every ache, learning to croon to a child who was in pain and you had done everything. Doctors, nurses and your husband all assuring that the angel was going to be okay but your heart still raced.
You imagined all types of scenarios each one terrifying and then he closes his eyes and you notice he is sleeping and smiles in his sleep. You take a deep breath and utter thanks.
Do you remember school days? When you wondered why the teachers are determined to make your son think of you as some kind of idiot. I mean how could they call that subject mathematics for goodness sake? Those figures are for men planning to go to the moon. Your son takes pity on you and explains to you. Then you fall in love with him and quietly visit a teacher to give you private lessons, so you could help him with his homework. You get another education.
You have become used to being the center of his world until that world shatters when he starts talking about ‘her’. His eyes have a glow that signals the beginning of the end of the love affair. He is on his way out of the nest now.
Is it going to be an honourable retirement or is it going to be a stormy one?
Our children are offspring of a lot of combinations but most significantly, they are guests in our lives. We are guests too of the Creator in His Creation. That has nothing to do with whatever religion we pretend to have.
As parents, we have a set of rules we are to abide by, teach the child the working manual for creation and place him there capable and ready. Do we understand that bit? Teach, prepare and allow the child to get on with his own life? That is the job description really and there comes a time we are expected to retire as a parent.
Our success or otherwise is how much we have prepared the child. We note that the emphasis is on the preparation to live as a separate entity, not as an extension of ourselves.
What happens today?

The young man is no longer a child, but we don’t see that, we plan for him, call all our friends hunting for the elusive job for him, we plan the girl he is to marry, run his own household for him, in fact, we might even plan his thoughts for him.

At what point do we retire as parents and allow our children to get on with the business of being viable member of the community of Earth dwellers?
I am not done yet, I will be back.

Posted on

Men suffer violence too

gentlebeatz / Pixabay

He is tall, slim, played a good game of basketball. He was even thinking of going to the states to seek the golden fleece… in basketball. In fact, he is also a good actor and the Film industry was paying him close attention. He is every girl’s dream, however, the joke is akin did not have a girlfriend and I used to wonder.
I felt something was not just right, I even wondered if he was gay, but he didn’t show any mannerism that would indicate he had such tendencies. Akin seemed closed into himself. Always friendly but he subtly resisted being close to anyone in the Rest House.

The Rest House was the place that victims of any form of sexual violence always came to and I am one of the volunteers. Maybe I would tell you how I got to be a volunteer there. I am telling you about Akin today I could break that wall of protection he always had around him until one evening when Mrs. Roberts brought in an eleven-year-old who had been battered by his uncle.

Akin’s eyes opened wide on seeing the boy and he unraveled right before our eyes. He dropped on his knees and held the boy tight as he whispered fiercely if the pastor had done anything else. The two hugged each other and the young boy just wept as he dropped his pants.
We watched in stunned horror as the boy collapsed in tears too. What was going on?
Akin rolled his eyes and bunched his fists. Mrs. Roberts asked me to take Akin to the inner room. Akin followed me, sat and looked at his bunched fists for long seconds obviously fighting for control. Then he spoke in very measured tones. What he told me chilled me.

‘I know that boy, I have been trying to trace his mother because I was worried what the pastor was going to do with him and to him. You see, he is my uncle and I had planned to find a way to castrate him. I have been keeping tabs on him since I learned he had opened a branch here. His wife is the owner of a church while he is the secretary. He does everything she wants as she claims to see visions. It is a crazy and sick circle.’ Akin fell silent looking into a personal hell then he continued in a soft tortured voice.
‘He is a henpecked who is too ashamed to own up to the fact that he is abused by his own wife, so each time his wife either beats him up, he takes it out on the boys in his church. He strips himself and then abuses the boys, re-enacting the abuse he suffers from his wife. I was a victim until I threatened to tell his wife and then ran away.’
The room was silent as Akin stared at his hands. He looked at me then ‘I want to help him but how can I tell him anything? He is abused by his wife sometimes and I knew nobody will ever believe my story. Are there human beings like that? How can he approach the Father almighty? Who will break the circle?’
‘He very rarely washes, he has a bad smell and then he asks you to come and take your punishment, he says. Then I find that he breaks down sometimes and cries that the devil should take his soul’.
I had to make a silent prayer to know what to tell him. I explained to him that he would have to accept that his uncle should seek help and get out of such a horrible situation. I did not have the answers but I explained that Akin himself needed to seek help as much as the young boy that Mrs.Roberts brought in. Now I understood why he was loath to have any type of relationship with girls. When I asked him that question and where his sexual orientation lay, he gave me a startled look. He was quiet for a while, then said he might like girls but how was he going to know she was not going to turn out a terror like his uncle’s wife?

You know we hear talk about violence against women, but there is violence against men too? The shame of confessing to abuse by women may turn a man into something more horrible.

Posted on

Stupid girls on dates get raped….really?

‘It started with the looks, not extraordinary, maybe I was just anticipating it. I was however not mistaken about the quiet anger. It showed in her actions. She was brusque when she talked to me and frowned even when I had a bath.
Gradually the horrifying realization dawned that she was angry. She was not just angry but outraged with…me. I died literarily when I realized that. My mum was angry with me because I had been stupid enough to get raped. he let that slip one time, she said only stupid girls get raped’.

I stared at her in shock, her mother and my friend had asked me to have a talk with her. She didn’t give me details, now I knew why.
‘I am right you see? You are kind of quiet’. She stood up abruptly, about to flee and I had the presence of mind to hold her just in time. The tears came in torrents and my blouse was wet from her tears and mine.
Bimbo was raped two months ago by her boyfriend. She had known him and everybody in their circle was expecting wedding bells anytime. They went to the same church, were in the same choir together. One evening after choir practice, they had gone to his flat and very strangely for Lekan, he had asked her if she truly was a virgin. Bimbo had been shocked by that answer as Lekan was her first real boyfriend.

She answered in the affirmative thinking that was the end of that. He had then said, since they were going to get married anyway, they might as well make love so they would be familiar with each other’s body. Bimbo said no in very firm tones and stood up to leave only to find Lekan had shut the door and had the key in his pocket. She stared at him in shock and asked him if he was feeling unwell because that was so out of character.
Lekan simply smiled and reached for her and she told him to stop fooling around but to open the door as she needed to get dinner ready for her parents who were out. Lekan simply pulled her into an embrace which she resisted. Her resistance gave him some strange strength as he held her in vice grip and dragged her to his bedroom.

Bimbo said she went suddenly still in fright and tried to calm him down. But the devil had gotten into Lekan His eyes were wild as he tore at her clothes, pinned her down, forcibly tried to kiss her and when she opened her mouth to scream for help, Bimbo got a resounding slap. She blacked out from the slap a few seconds recovered in time to sob as Lekan raped her.
Minutes later, Lekan sobbed beside her as she silently tried to staunch the bleeding from Lekan’s rape. He begged, prostrated, wept and said the devil got into him. He said his friends had told him that Bimbo was lying, that a twenty-six-year-old graduate could not possibly be a virgin.
Bimbo borrowed a shirt from his wardrobe and went home in a taxi he got for her. She went into some kind of shock and was running a temperature by the time her parents came home. She was curled tight on the bed in a fetal position shivering. The effects of the bruises were now evident on her.
She was taken to the hospital and the doctor confirmed to the stunned parents that Bimbo was raped. Her mother had instinctively sent for Lekan not thinking that Lekan was the rapist.
Lekan came and prostrated begging for forgiveness, saying he had every intention of marrying Bimbo. Bimbo’s mother had to physically prevent her husband from committing murder that day.
That was two months ago, and according to Bimbo, it has been two months of horror. Her dad had insisted she was to break up the relationship.
As far as Bimbo was concerned, she just wanted to be left alone and then she noticed in horror that her mum blamed her for the rape. For her, that was the last straw and she came to me.
What do you think?

Posted on

Please what should I say to her? Rape 2

She looked at me puzzled. I stared back in shocked surprise. Elegantly dressed, a lawyer and very incisive in her comments.
‘When you look at me, you assume I have got the best of both worlds right?’
I nodded wondering what was coming and unprepared for her next sentence
‘I wish I have the nerve to kill myself, that is after I have killed him’
I asked her softly why she wanted to kill anybody in the first place including herself
Then she talked.
At nine years old, she was not sure she was going to get an education at all. Her mother was one of three wives and her father had declared that the wives were to look after the girls they had given birth to.
‘He called us apprentice witches who had taken after our mothers’
The women did the best they could either appealing to their own siblings, eking out something from their petty trade. According to Yemi, there wasn’t much to expect from her mum so her uncle was called to help.

‘ the First day on the farm, he asked me to come to the pepper patch I understood what he did then as some form of sexual assault. He had not progressed to actual rape. He said he liked me and if I kept my head, he would ensure I had a fair deal in his house. I was too awed by his big frame and his armpits smelled awful. I slept badly that night.
Next morning, he took me off to the local authority school and registered me in kindergarten one. I was almost 10 years old. The teachers taught I was a joke. Most of my classmates in a kindergarten class could speak better than me. I was the class giraffe, the fool, the errand idiot. They laughed but I was silent. I was finally in school. My mum was over the moon and she thanked her brother over and over again.
‘Two weeks of school, Uncle got drunk and I got my first rape’. Yemi went on talking in a matter of fact voice as if she was giving the facts and potentials of the case she was about to defend in court.
My heart sank as I listened, what was I going to do? Nothing much I realized as I listened to a woman who had learned to keep her own counsel and had in some fashion maybe come to some peace.
As she got older, she was able to run away and come to the city. Yemi read privately as an external student to do her WAEC. She got a job as a cleaner in one of the banks and gradually went for more courses and was able to pay her way to read the law.

She never told her mum about the pepper patch rapes. She said she did not see what good that would serve. It was payment for the opportunity to be able to read and write.
Her mother passed away when she was in 300 level in the university. When she met Bayo, she went through the motions of an excited bride and was relieved when she got pregnant. But still had nightmares of the rapes
She had a perfect excuse to keep the physical side of their relationship to the barest minimum. She had also learned to control her rages
‘I did not like all that romance stuff he was into, did not like undressing, did not want any male looking at my body so I was happy being a born-again wife. However I had developed a crazy mannerism, I would bathe at every opportunity and would perfume my body all over. If Bayo touched me I would go stiff as a board and freak out. At first, Bayo found it amusing and thought I was just shy’
‘You never told him about your uncle’?
‘Are you mad? First, he will not believe me, then that look will come into his eyes and he will watch you every minute, or he will start asking you every tiny detail wondering or teasing that you probably enjoyed even a tiny bit of the rape’.

So what do you want to do? I asked when the silence was beginning to stretch
‘Bayo wants to visit my uncle to thank him for the education, If I lay eyes on that uncle, I will have to kill him and then kill myself to stop the torture of years and misery. Will you get someone to stand for my child?’
Please, what should I say to her?

Posted on

Rape….the human disease and shame

It was raining heavily and Tinu, driving in the rain felt the beginnings of a headache coming on. She sighed and the phone rang, one cursory look confirmed it was Banji on the phone. She stretched out her hand to pick the phone, saw the girl and stopped.

The girl was obviously lost as she seemed oblivious of the rain, gathering her tattered clothes about her. Her blouse was torn, eyes were swollen and as Tinu stopped, got out of the car, she knew it was much worse than being lost. The girl had been beaten and she bled.
Tinu simply took the girl into the car and drove to the doctor. She was enraged and had a murderous glint in her eyes.

Thirty minutes later the doctor came back to the consulting room. Tinu gave the doctor a questioning look, there was also an appeal in those eyes as it silently asked for answers.
‘Rape my friend, by more than one person, she doesn’t seem to know the assailants. They dumped her at the bus stop when they were done with her.’ The doctor replied her silent query grimly.
Tinu unclenched her fists and asked to be taken to the ward to see the girl.
‘Now they dump them in the streets’ she said through clenched teeth as she narrated the story to her husband Banji much later.
Anike, the girl who was raped had been lured by the promise of a job in a neighboring town so she was completely lost and didn’t know where to go when those who called her for an interview simply grabbed her.
Are you shocked? That is just one scenario, there are several. I will share as much as my anger, disgust and bewilderment will permit
Where do you place your sympathy, in the midst of the calamities befalling the human race?
That is not the end of Anike’s problem you know. Her mother simply refused to accept that Anike was not to blame, and there was horror at the mere fact of letting the law enforcement agents come into the picture. She felt she would be blamed because she had not been strict enough with her child.
In the African tradition, a good child belongs to the father and any misbehavior of the child is placed at the doorstep of the mother.
Where does that leave Anike? Nowhere.
What kind of parents are we? Is there any form of support system in this country that helps someone like Anike? She sits and stares, I heard she was given a rape kit, a government lawyer came to talk to her and after much persuasion, her mother went with her to the police station. The officer gave her a lewd look and yawned.
She has refused to make further visits to the Police, the lawyer says she is busy and there is growing terror in the eyes of Anike as I watch her each time I visit.
I read the book of Robert Uttaro TO THE SURVIVORS’ and I ask myself questions.
I ask you now, Rape has been an issue right from Biblical times. Are we as humans so defective that we have been unable to resolve this type of murder?

I read from the good book that the commandment said clearly Thou shalt not kill.
We murder or we are accessories to the act before and after when another human being is raped. We take without permission the fundamental human rights of another human being in the act of rape.
There are so many types of it and starting from today, each week on this day, I will send you posts about rape.
Why?
I hope you will help in your own way to raise a voice against rape, and domestic violence.
Let’s do something, please.

Posted on

DO I HAVE SIX STOMACHS?

It started innocently enough, one of my girls insisted I love one of her sisters the most of my children and she really lashed out in pain. We always argued and I tended to keep asking her to get her act right. Then she told me I was trying to put her in a mould and very sharply told me she is different. ‘Do what grandma told you, have space in your stomach for me but not in the same space with my sister’

My mother had always said she had six stomachs, that is where the stomach talk came from.
I remember staring at her stomach often. How can you have six stomachs?

I did not understand for a long time until my understanding of my language made it clearer that what mum meant was that she had six different understanding of her six children r did she mean love or favour?

Can parents favour one child over the other? I really do not want to answer that question even for me. But I understand my mother after I had six children myself. Do I favour one child over the other? Please don’t ask me the question again. I am reluctant to ask myself and I refuse to answer because you see, I really don’t have an answer
In my race, we tend to check for the origin of an incarnation, so we might understand the manner of invitation or mission of the child thus invited. I remember I wondered about my first son and knew well ahead about the others some part of the manner of their incarnation. No I am not being fanciful.

How do you see your children? Could they really be friends?. I watch my friends sometimes when they try to impose a religion on their children and they generally support these impositions with plentiful quotes from the good books. So how did I become such a rebel?

I hate being pigeon-holed and generally leave an association once it begins to stifle me. Almost all my children have picked these traits.

Do I have six stomachs? Do I view my children differently?, rate them differently? Yes of course, because they are six, uniquely different from each other. Then I understood mum. Yes you can have six stomachs. Yes you love them differently. Equally? Ergh, can we compare love by volume? Quality? Love? That serves, nourishes, strengthen? I doubt. What is the measure?

Some nights I just lie awake agonising over a child who seemed to me to be so different from me that I wonder how we happen to have woven a thread that necessitated us sharing another incarnation together. I wonder, agonize and sometimes am at pains to understand. I am not the only mother who does that you know.
It was one of the reasons that helped me talk to my mother again. I could finally understand and empathize with her confusion over me. I think I gave her the most cause for headaches. I was so different that we hardly could have a meeting point.

Now as a parent and grandma, I remember and sometimes nod in silent acknowledgement of my mother’s comment over six stomachs. I probably have six stomachs too.
How do we navigate the parenting waters and be able to bring each child to shore safely and move on without leaving scars or scarring them too negatively?

I do seem to have a lot of questions right? And you must have assumed I have forgotten all about parenting.
The invitation is still open to visit the parenting forum on the site and do let me know what you think.
How many stomachs do you have?
Talk soon

Posted on

Let us be sincere

Let us be sincere with the children too.
A lot of us tend to boast as parents that we were picture perfect children tour own parents. We tell our own children how butter never melted in our mouths and how we were model children.
A parent sent me this and I read through carefully looking for the logs in my own eyes first. I thought I should share with you. Parenting apparently has been an issue since from the time of Adam and Eve.
Tirukkural by Tiruvalluvar (a Tamil poet/writer) was written more than 5,000 yrs ago. It’s one of the ancient science on Human Behaviour, which has not changed in spite of modern education & technology!*

*SOME GOLDEN THOUGHTS OF THIRUKKURAL:*

1. *If your child lies to you often, it is because you over-react too harshly to their inappropriate behaviour.*

2. *If your child is not taught to confide in you about their mistakes, you’ve lost them.*

3. *If your child had poor self-esteem, it is because you advice them more than you encourage them.*

4. *If your child does not stand up for themselves, it is because from a young age you have disciplined them regularly in public.*

5. *If your child takes things that do not belong to them, it is because when you buy them things, you don’t let them chose what they want.*

6. *If your child is cowardly, it is because you help them too quickly.*

7. *If your child does not respect other people’s feelings, it is because instead of speaking to your child, you order & command them.*

8. *If your child is too quick to anger, it is because you give too much attention to misbehaviour & you give little attention to good behaviour.*

9. *If your child is excessively jealous, it is because you only congratulate them when they successfully complete something & not when they improve at something even if they don’t successfully complete it*

10. *If your child intentionally disturbs you, it is because you are not physically affectionate enough.*

11. *If your child is openly defiant, it is because you openly threaten to do something but don’t follow through.*

12. *If your child is secretive, it is because they don’t trust that you won’t blow things out of proportion.*

13. *If your child talks back to you, it is because they watch you do it to others & think its normal behaviour.*

14. *If your child doesn’t listen to you but listens to others, it is because you are too quick to jump to conclusions*

15. *If your child rebels it is because they know you care more about what others think than what is right*

*Pls fwd this to Parents who care to read this!*
*IT MAY GUIDE OUR MODERN PARENTING!*
*Positive Parenting!*

Posted on

What should I tell mum

I came home after seven years, I still looked fresh almost untouched. I really didn’t know what to expect, even why I came home. I was tired, emotionally tired, spiritually empty. It was time to go home.
I really had not factored into my spirit what my mum was going to say. Seven years is a long time to have stayed angry and rebellious. Seven years was the time it took me to look in the mirror. Really look in the mirror to look for me. To look for my definition of me, what it means to be me. I am not making any excuses my friend. I just got tired of it all, suicide even lost its attraction. Tried it for the first time after the physics teacher ran his hands all over me in class just before lights out. It was the same night the principal had called me into his office and asked me to sit on his lap and something hard kept sticking into me and I struggled to move away.
Yes those silent struggles, in his office his long beard and his pants, it was the reason I asked my mum to sew khaki shorts for me and I zipped them up my belly, to stop those wandering hands. I would scrub my body every night trying to take his smell on my body off. I was scared, I did not know who to ask the questions. Then I looked in the mirror then, saw my staring eyes and despaired .
Subuola would in rage insist I was after her boyfriend, first time I understood the import of what she meant, we had a big fight. It was Kola who in sheer mirth explained that I could make men commit sins. I asked him to explain, but he simply laughed and shook his head. He said my dimples and those bewildered eyes were a dangerous combination.

But that explanation came years later after two suicide attempts. But back in those days, I only felt shame, dirty and sad. Why would the principal do this things, and the physics teacher. I never had good grades in that subject, I could not explain why my brain will close up just seeing the subject written on the board. I was in constant state of terror just seeing him. He would pinch my breasts ( it was just coming up) very painfully. Hold me very tightly and rub himself hard against me. I would whimper and struggle, gradually my shame changed to anger and developed into a rage.

Seven years ago I timidly asked my mum why men were like that, and she lost it. I had never been so severely beaten. My backsides ached, mum checked my innermost places almost with a torchlight and there was no name left to call me after six hours of verbal abuse. I felt like nothing. The mat was so hard, and when it started raining, I embraced its cold sharp stings. It was better than all the abuse. I didn’t know when I started walking that night. I did not remember if I met any masquerade, I just walked, and walked.
The morning found me in the city, and the call of the conductor brought me sharply awake. Ikoyi still had a park in those days, so I guess in some fashion. I got there. Slept in the grass for a long time. Then this family approached me and asked if there was anything wrong. I remember saying very simply that I was missing and needed a job. Those were strange days. No telephones then, so I stayed with them for a while being a nanny to their child. Took my ‘A’ levels as a private student, rekindled my dream to be a human being.

I discovered later I had been damaged by the silent abuses, my mum’s lack of understanding made me a very bitter person. I closed my heart , kept the keys but refused to communicate.

I started teaching and loved the children particularly one sad eyed angel called Tina. She always sat quietly in a corner. Rarely went to breaks with the other children, never got her clothes dirty until one day another tiny one mistakenly splashed her with the drink she was having. I saw the terror that came into her eyes and how she trembled uncontrollably. Suddenly I knew what was wrong with her. I picked her up and rocked her as my own tears finally burst and we both cried helplessly.

Hours later, when the storm was over, and the wretched house girl who had been abusing Tina was arrested. I went to my clean, over clean spruced flat and looked in the mirror again
Now I am on my way home to talk to Mum.