Written by Rejoice Igbinovia Aluy
Looking at the faces of everyone I knew something wasn’t right,,,
“good afternoon uncle suleman “I greete
where is your mother? he asked instead of answerin
she’s inside, they all sat down ,mom and dad too were present ,,,uncle suleman cleared his throat and started,,
Fatima, why do you want to destroy this family, why are you such a bad mother,, answer me, Fatim
“I don’t know what you are talking about, I am not a bad mother and can never destroy my own family,,, “shut up your mouth, I do not blame you,,it’s my brother who gave you the liberty to have a voice in the home,,,, Fatima, what use is a female education, infact let me ask, are you educated yourself, are you not a wife today ,,if your parents had sent you to school, it would have ended in my brother’s kitchen” aunty sai
the fact that I am not educated doesn’t mean my child should follow same path,,,the prayer of every parent is that their children will pass the level they reached,,so I want my child to be educated even though I a……
“shut up your stupid mouth, uncle suleman and other elders shouted,,,,so you want your first son to die,,when the solution is in your hands,,Allah would never forgive you, you are such a foolish woman,,,,you want to stand as a blockage to the blessings Allah is sending to this family through Alhaji Usman,, ZAINAB must marry Alhaji Usman and that’s Final. I turned to father, but he looked away….
They would be coming few days from now, prepare ZAINAB into the jonuery of womanhood and motherhood….they said and left…
That night, mama went to baba, knelt down and begged, I was not sleeping I could here the pain in Mama’s voice as she pleaded
Maji na (my husband) please, you can’t do this to our daughter, ZAINAB can not marry such an old man, you can not ruine our daughter’s futur
Fatima,stop this, look at the bright side of all these, we shall have a better life, we have suffered enough, let us enjoy life a littl
“maji na, what is there to enjoy at the detriment of our chil
come oh Fatima, you are talking as if Akeem is not our son too, he needs Medical attention,, we can not allow our son to die like a chicken, when there’s a simple way before u
a simple way, you call slavery simple, haven’t you heard about the fights that goes on in Alhaji’s house everyday, our daughter is just a child, she would be maltreated ,yes Akeem is my son, same is ZAINAB,, let us find another way, we can not hurt ZAINAB to please Akee
yes yes she will, but when she’s older and married to the man of her age she loves, not a grandfather,
Fatima, I have been too gentle in my approach to this matter,,,I don’t want you to ever repeat this topic, ZAINAB is getting married to Alhaji Usman and that’s Final, baba said and went to bed.
Mother sat on the floor, weeping,she was so helpless,I thought about my life in school, my education, my dream and wept bitterly,,I couldn’t believe baba has giving up on me and my dream,,I decided I was going to plead with him the next day, I opened my eyes for a long time before I finally fell asleep in the early hours of the day….
The next day, I served baba his food, when he had finished eating, I knelt before hi
baba! you know how much I love my education, and my dream to make you proud, please baba, do not give me to Alhaji Usman I beg of yo
“oh ZAINAB my child, baba said to me, you know I value your education, but my dear, marriage is the pride of every woman, not education, you have gotten to junior high school, you have made me proud already, because no one in my family can speak or read like you do, but my child, it’s high time you faced responsibility, and do the needful,your brother and family needs your help,please my child,agree to marry Alhaji Usman, to save us from this poverty,and give your brother back his health, I am asking you this favour as your father, please ZAINAB…
I looked at him, indeed my brother is dying, and papa has never asked me anything in my life,,I agreed to marry
Alhaji Usman gave my parents the needed sum for Akeem’s treatment,and my brother was getting better after been taken to the big city for treatment,,,when he was back on his feet, Alhaji Usman and his family gave a date that they would be coming to pay my bride price, my mother was very sad, so was I..
My classmates in school weren’t making the whole thing easy for me,I was always mocked by them when ever we met, so after all your so called intelligence, you are going to be the sixth wife of your grandfather’s age mate,,this would always break my heart, the more the date drew near, the more I hated the idea of been a wife to Alhaji Usman,,I didn’t want this, but what can I do, this man has given my brother his life back,,,I and my family were indebted to him….
Soon it was a day to the supposed marriage ceremony,,I was very scared, mother was not happy either, that glow the mother to the bride give during their daughter’s marriage ceremony was far from her…while I was lost in thought, just then an idea came to me
It was the said morning,some women were already cooking and assisting mom ,,I could see some tears drop falling off mother’s eyes at intervals,she was indeed heart broken,,she was really surprised at how happy I was on that day and day before,,,when I noticed everyone was busy,I took my bag and ran to Aminate’s place . She was very happy to see me,,,I told her all that has been happening with me so far,,,
oh my God,this is serious,so what do u plan to do now? she aske
I don’t know for now ,,but one thing I am certain is that I can not marry my grandfather’s age mate,,
its okay ZAINAB, calm down and think, because this is not going to be easy,she added,,, thinking again I realised she was right,,,it wasn’t going to be easy,,where do I go from her house,,thank God her parents had travelled,,at least I will have sometime to think of where to go or what to do with my life..
Very early the next morning,,,I and Aminat were still sleeping,when a knock woke us up, are you expecting someone? I had aske
oh no,not at all,,,getting to the door low and behold, it was my father and some other men,I was very shocked to see him,,how did he find me,I had never seen my father that upset,,he ordered one of the boys to carry me on his shoulders,, getting home,I was given the beaten of my life,,uncle Suleiman hit me so hard,that I had soiled the family’s name,,such nonsense has never happened in the history of this family,that a mare woman has a choice to choose who she will marry,you are such a disgrace,the little books you have read has really made you sturbonly mad “uncle suleman sai
Uncle I don’t want to marry now please,I want to go to school I cried,, shut up that mouth of yours,,,,my mother stood watching me been beaten,there was nothing she could do after all, and that broke her heart,,, another date was fixed for the marriage ceremony,,uncle suleman made sure I was locked up in a room like a prisoner,I ate, and drank there,and if I needed to use the restroom uncle suleman accompanied me,,I was a prisoner in my father’s house..I soon found out my class mate from school were the ones that told baba that I am most likely to be in Aminate’s house,,those girls really don’t like me,and they want me out of thier way..
The day finally came,Alhaji Usman had come with his kins men,my bride price was paid,and I was accompanied by some women to my husband’s house,like a ram to the butcher,as the women sang my praises,I was lost in thought,as to what fate has in store for me,and what my life will be like in the house of Alhaji Usman, been that he had other wives and children that could be my parents age mate,,,I was dieing inside,I so wished I wasn’t in that mess,I wished my parent weren’t poor,I wished I wasn’t the sacrificial lamb,too many wishes..
Soon it was night ,I couldn’t sleep,then I saw Alhaji Usman come into my roo
He was smiling towards me,I didn’t know what to do,,he had started pulling off his trouser and shirt,soon he was done,and standing before me was a naked Alhaji Usman,with his big pot belle,and brown set of teeth,,, he held me and was trying to have his way with me,,,I struggled and struggled, but he shouted at me,that I was being stubbor
“you are now my wife,stop this,I know it’s your first time and I will be gentle,,do not struggle,just relax” he sai
“baba, please I can’t do this, please I can’
“ohhhh, don’t call me baba, am I your baba?I am your husband, call me Maji da,,,,he tried to have his way agai
“please baba stop this,I cried again,,,but when he didn’t seems to listen ,,,I had to li
baba I am on my sacred tim
what? he stood up dressed himself and left angrily,
I was very happy that it worked, but I also knew it won’t work forever because I can’t possibly be on flow Everytime.
I woke up late the next morning, because I couldn’t sleep,I had so many thoughts running through my head,I finally find sleep in the early hours of the morning,,,
when I finally came out, it was already bright,,,the very first person I saw was Halima, the fifth wife,,, she gave me a disgusting look and a long hiss,,, Halima was a young teenager like me, she was 17, but she was very proud to be Alhaji’s wife,,she was the one that lured her way Into Alhaji’s heart as rumour had it,
you think you can come into this house and steal my position in Alhaji’s heart, I use to be his favourite and most loved, I get more of his attention, you think you can change all that, I am going to make life miserable for you in this house before you even think of it,,,, if only she knew I hated been there, imagine the time you are waking up, who do you think will do all the house chores like , sweeping,washing ,and cooking, who eheen, answer me “Halima shoute
I didn’t know what to say to her,, while she was shouting big Mama came in, she is the first wife of Alhaji, a woman of 50′
Ina kwana mama “I greete
“how are you matar aure,(junior wife
I am fine mama, thank yo
“and you Halima, why were you shouting at her? she asked Halim
“Ina kwana babbar Mata,(good morning Senior wife) Halima greete
Ina kwana Halima, why were you shouting at ZAINAB? she asked agai
babbar mata (senior wife) she’s just coming out of her room now, who did she expect to clean and cook for her “Halima sai
“Really Halima,,are you the one saying these or it just fell off your mouth,,, ZAINAB is our new wife, she deserves to rest ,there are other five wives who can do all those you just mentioned ,,I can still remember vididly when you were newly married into this house,,almost a year, you were treated like a queen,you won’t do anything,,,you even gave us orders on what you wanted to eat,,,why can’t you reciprocate the giestures to ZAINAB… Halima, Halima, Halima,take your time “our senior wife warned,,, ZAINAB, she turned to me, I know you are very young,and you miss home, but this is your new home,and am just here, if you need someone to talk ,or if you miss your mother,I am here for yo
thank you very much big mama “I said and hugged her..Hi peacemaker +2348037873157 to be added you to the platfor
Mama Aisha,the senior wife who I call big mama,was the only one who loved me,the other four didn’t like me, but the worse was Halima the fifth wife,she was really making my everyday in Alhaji’s house a living nightmare. Alhaji didn’t disturb me for some days, because he felt I was in my sacred days as I had said. But on the sixth day he came again,and I was out of excuse,,, Alhaji Usman had his way with me,all my pains, crying and begging fell on deaf ears,I was deflowered by a man my grandfather’s age…
My mother was always coming to check up on m
“are you okay ZAINAB, she would as
yes mama, I said but a mother is a mother, she sees pass my voice and fake smiles and see my weary heart and eye
“if you say you are okay,why then do you look so thin and troubled? I didn’t want to add to what she was going through, because I know she was finding it difficult to accept my dreams were gone,,if I told her I was maltreated by the other wivies it would have made her very sad,and have another reason to worry,I decided to keep mute on that..
Alhaji Usman kept all his promises though,he was taking care of my family,and that was my only consolation.but deep down my heart,I knew I didn’t belong here,and my heart was far from her
Life at the Alhaji’s house was very different from what I had at home, though there was enough food to eat, one very important thing was missing, which is love and unity, I prefered my home that we had little or no food to eat, indeed no place like home. it was one more day some more troubles,there was always something to fight about at Alhaji’s house, the second, third, fourth and fifth wife made the house a battle ground, it’s either they are fighting about the children or on who’s to grace Alhaji’s bed, big mama the senior wife is the referee, she’s always there to make sure peace reigns, I really admire her, she’s indeed a mother to all, she would always address the issue without fear or favour, and then resolve the issue, she was the pillar of Alhaji’s home, her children were grown and married, she was the only one who understood me,, she would always call me to her hut whenever she thinks I was sad, and some how ,she always finds a way of making me happy when ever I was worried..
Months on, I will was beginning to add weight, very lazy and always feeling sleepy, big mama was the first to observe as I was vomiting one morning,, she came to me out of car
“ZAINAB Menene(what is it)she aske
big mama, I have been feeling weak ,dizzy,and lose of appetite these days,,,,she checked my eyes, and breast, and she smile
ZAINAB you are okay, you are only experiencing your way into motherhood, you would be fine, you are pregnant that’s all, she added with joy written all over her fac
preg what?,big mama that can’t be possible, I can’t be a mother no
“may Allah forgive you, how can you say that, it’s the dream of every married woman to have a children for their husbands and you are saying it can’t be possible for you to be pregnant, please do not repeat that,, don’t worry ZAINAB you will be fin
okay big mama” i said and went into my room,,
From that moment big mama began to take proper care of me, she won’t allow me do anything that would be difficult for me or my baby, she was there for me and of course this really made Halima the fifth wife to be angry. it was unbelievable to me as my baby bump grew everyday which indicated i had a little human growing in me
I was coming from mama sukurats place, the village medicine harbalist one day when I saw some of my classmates returning from school,, I really wished the ground could open and swallow me, but it didn’t happen, as we came closer to each other their laugher increased, I was so ashamed that I ran away, Aminat come visiting on Fridays and gives me the note she had copied for the whole week, i was studying myself, just so I am not too backwards in school’s work…Hi peacemaker +2348037873157 to be added you to the platfor
So soon it was nine months and I was ready to bring my child forth, Alhaji had gone out, I had to call big mama, I was feeling pains around my waist, I could bearly lift my own legs, it was the most excruciating pain I had ever experienced,,I cried my eyes out, I called my mother repeatedly, I called on Allah to help me, I needed all the help in the world, Soon I managed to get to mama sukurat’s place,, she checked me and said my baby was coming, she asked me to push, I tried and tried, but my strength was failing me,, mama sukurats gave me a slap when I was falling asleep,, it was hours, the baby hadn’t come, I was finding it very difficult to push, I cried because the pain was too much,,
Haven waited for some time and my baby didn’t come, mama sukurats gave me some concoctions, I drank, but it was still difficult for me, meanwhile mama was here already, she had been told I was in labour and she hurried down, she was really of great support for m
“ZAINAB my child, please you can do it, push out your baby, my grandchild needs to come out, she held my hands, with pains in her eyes, she really wished she could take the pain away for me, but there are certain things parents can’t do for their children, and birthing a child was one of those…
Nothing happened all through that day, the pain was fustrating, worse Alhaji didn’t show up at the herbalist house,, he said he wanted to hear the good news and doesn’t want to experience the stress,,,can you imagine, my mother stayed the night with me, big mama came early the next morning, I was still in labour, I would have preferred the community health center, but of course, that was not functional,,
After all the pains of labour, my baby came out towards evening, it was a boy child, but a stillbirth (the baby died
chai what a pity 😭😭