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Sunday, January 1, 2012

THE LIFE SERIES 2; CHIOMA


My name is Chioma. I am thirteen years old. I am pregnant. I was not promiscuous. I have had nowhere to stay. I roam the streets of the city and sleep wherever I find at night. During the day, I beg for alms and food. Today, I have made up my mind to keep the baby. It is not as if I have the money to remove it, I do not even know where they do it. I feel like my body has been invaded. These days, I feel so hungry but there is no food. Last night I slept in a broken down car, two men dragged me out and raped me. The pain is something I am used to, so I did not fight them at all. I have been raped repeatedly since I started roaming the streets. I was pregnant before I started living on the streets.
It started two years ago. I was in the village that Christmas. My parents are very poor. My father is a shoe repairer and my mother sells roasted plantain in the town, I have a brother. I was playing in the stream with my friends when my little brother came to call me. When I got home, there was a car parked in the compound. I had seen cars in the town but I had never seen one very closely. The car was very big. Inside our house, were a big man and a woman who had trousers on. My mother always told me that no respectable woman should wear trousers. Her breasts were very big. At eleven, I looked fifteen. All my friends were envious of me. They stared at me as I walked in. Papa said I would follow them to the big city of Lagos. I was delighted. I saw Lagos in the home videos and Amaka my friend has been there before. She came back with so many nice things and stories.
We set off for Lagos the next day. Mr and Mrs Okafor had no child of their own, they told me. The journey was exciting. They bought me everything that was sold on the road. I was so filled up and excited. They had told my father that I would go to a big school in the city. I was always first in my class. I could not wait to lead in the new city and make friends. I love mathematics and I wanted to be an engineer in future.
I started school and I loved it. The only thing was I had to wake up by four and clean the house, which was a duplex. I set the table for breakfast. Oga and madam leave for work before seven a.m. me; I get to school by seven thirty a.m. I walk to school. When I get home, I continue with the house chores. Oga comes home by eight pm. madam comes home very late. I do not know why. There was a day she came home by midnight. I have to be awake to open the door for her.
One day, I was in the bathroom when the doorbell rang. I tied my wrapper and rushed to open it. It was oga. As I took his briefcase, my wrapper loosened. I covered myself up immediately. I apologized and brought out his dinner. The next day, oga and I were at home alone. I was in my room reading, when my door opened and oga came in. He had a nylon bag in his hand. He gave it to me; it was filled with matching pants and bras. I thanked him, thinking he would leave but he stood there. He told me I should put them on, that he wanted to see it on me. I said I could not, he threatened me. I pulled my clothes; he was watching me with a look in his eyes. I tried the first pair and then he jumped on me. I was crying, begging and fighting him. He was on top of me and he was too heavy and strong. He tore the underwear. I can still remember his breath on my face. He squeezed and pinched my breasts, it was painful. I felt something, hot and long on my thigh. Then it entered me, it was so painful. I felt like I had been torn into two. He was moving on top me, with his hand over my mouth and he squeezed my breasts with the other. He made an animal sound and stood up. I could not move, the pain was too much for me. He threatened to deal with me if I ever told madam. He said madam would never believe me that the last girl had tried. He told me I would enjoy him. I cried throughout the night, I could not believe my virginity was gone without my consent. He came every night even during my period. On those days, he would make me put that thing in my mouth. It was so disgusting, that I vomited on him one day. He now bought me things every time. I was meant to be enjoying all this but I could not. I knew he was using me. There were times I wanted to tell madam but she was always absent. Months later, I noticed my period did not come. I was always tired. One day, madam took me to the hospital for a test. The doctor told her I was pregnant. She took me home that day and she and oga queried me on who was the father of the unborn child. I could not say anything because oga was threatening me with his eyes. She beat me and told me I was going back to the village, the next day. That night, I took my things and ran away. I have been on the streets for two weeks but it feels like two years. It is almost Christmas. There is joy and laughter everywhere but I cry. My life is over. My dreams of being an engineer are gone. This afternoon, I had met a woman from my village when I was begging for alms. I had told her what happened. She said, she and her family are leaving for the village tomorrow that I will follow them. We are in her car; she is taking me to her house. It would be nice to have a hot meal and sleep on a real bed. I would rather face the shame and disappointment from my parents than roam the dangerous streets. But really, how do I face them tomorrow?
This story is fictional. Be kind to that child that lives with you. She is human and is someone’s child. Treat them as if they ARE yours and not animals. HAPPY NEW YEAR WITH LOVE!

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