“Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.”—Albert Camus.
In order to get better, three girls embarked on the quest for freedom. Join me as we see how went their journey…
I have been bestowed with motherhood responsibilities since I was twelve. I was forced to cater for my siblings and myself. No, I’m not an orphan like you think, I have both parents but they were as good as nothing. My father was a drunkard, who spent his little income on women and alcohol. My mother sold alcohol and pepper soup somewhere not far from home. Just like my name implies—Adamma, meaning beautiful first daughter, I am the first child with other three siblings. We lived in a one-room apartment; my father could not afford something better.
I had a fast growth. By age eleven I had developed full grown breasts, big butt and a nice shape. The problem started the day one of my mother’s customers slapped my buttocks. I slapped him back, mama got angry and told me never to disrespect her customers. I tried explaining but she refused to listen. Mama’s customers took pleasure in touching me, and after they would give me a token, I wasn’t happy but the money made mama happy. I was furious at her but there was little I could do.
There came a day mama sent me on an errand to deliver a plate of pepper soup to one of her rich customers, propularly called chief. I dropped the container containing the soup on his table in his sitting room without wasting time as I wanted to take my leave quickly. Suddenly he grabbed me, pushed me onto a chair and raped me severally. It was a painful experience. I went back home weeping. Guess what? Mama gave me a serious beating because I wasn’t available for her customers to touch at her shop. I explained what happened to Mama and I was shocked at her response.
“Listen well, I can’t be feeding you and your siblings, I’m not your slave. Use what you have to get what you want.”
“Mama how?” I asked in my confused state.
“You are beautiful, you can also start making some money and use it for yourself and your siblings.”
“Mama, I’m just twelve!”
“Shut your mouth, so if I hadn’t arrange with chief to sex you, you won’t do something about it yourself?”
It was heart breaking to find out it was a planned work between my mother and chief. I wonder the amount he must have given to my mother. I wept bitterly. It was unfortunate for me to have this kind of parents.
Truly Mama stopped fending for my siblings and myself. Papa on the other hand came home once in a blue moon. I was left with no choice but to dance to my mother’s tune. I allowed Mama’s customers to have sex with me; each time I made good amounts Mama was always happy and made sure she had the money, while I suffered in silence. Mama would squander the money and tell me to get more money through sex.
I decided not to give Mama the money anymore but to use it wisely. I paid for my examinations and that of my siblings in school through prostitution. With time I became a hole anything could enter. I finished my secondary school and sponsored my younger ones through sex work. I had a change of mind when I discovered Chioma, my immediate younger sister was being influenced by Mama to go into prostitution. Then I knew I had to run with my siblings far away from Mama if I didn’t want their lives to be destroyed like mine. I took my three siblings from my parents and went to a far away land.
I decided to start afresh. It was painful and hard to make a living, but I made up my mind never to use my body for money anymore. I started doing some petty jobs, Chioma and Obi joined me also as they were through with their secondary education; it was remaining only Favour. Things became so hard but I never gave up.
Favour won a scholarship to study medicine abroad, this gave my life a positive turn around. Chioma and I invested into a business which earned us some profits. Within three years we became okay, though not rich, but we could afford two meals a day. I made sure all my siblings went to the university, while I worked to sustain them.
Though it was hard but I had my freedom, I got free from Mama’s bad influence and I could make something meaningful out of my life.
The saddest day of my life was the day I was escorted to Alhaji Musa’s house as his sixth wife.
I am Fara, an intelligent girl with the dream of becoming a lawyer. At age thirteen my dreams got shattered. My father handed me over in marriage in order to pay off his debts. I don’t have anyone to blame but poverty.
Looking into my mother’s eyes I saw her agony as tears fell freely down to her cheeks.
“Faro, my intelligent daughter, I wish I could change your father’s decision, but I can’t. I know you are a strong girl and will grow up into a strong woman. Be of good conduct at your husband’s house. I pray Allah to grant you favour,” my mother said with tears. I felt it was all a dream until I got to Alahaji’s house and was welcomed by his five other wives. Then it occurred to me that poverty has sold out my destiny.
As the latest wife, Alahaji Musa was to make love with me that night. My mother never told me sex was painful, no one explained to me how I was supposed to go about it. I kept screaming and pleading with tears as Alahaji kept thrusting his extra large manhood into me. The pain got unbearable as I began to hit him, this didn’t stop him instead he got angrier and gave me some heavy beating as he continued with the act. By the time he was done I was terribly injured, I couldn’t even walk properly.
“Yi hakuri, Fara,” the oldest wife said as she was tending to my wounds. I kept crying because it was painful. Alahaja Aishat took me as the daughter she never had. She taught me all I needed to know as a wife. She was Alahaji’s first wife and from a rich background but was not educated. Her passion for knowledge made her love me more as I began to teach her the little I knew. She asked me a question one afternoon “Yar, do you wish to go to school?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Alright,” she said as I continued to help her plait her hair.
Four months after I got married to Alahaji, I got pregnant. Another thing my mother didn’t tell me was that pregnancy was a painful stage in a woman’s life. Alalaja Aisha was always there for me during the trying period. Then came the day of the delivery. Kai! It was hell for me.
Alahaja was with me, she kept encouraging me. Finally the babies came out, they were two beautiful girls. Breast-feeding was another challenge, but thanks to Alahaja who put me through. I hated the life I was living and wanted to be free. I expressed my desire to Alahaja one day.
“I wish I can run away from all these and have my education, I want to become a lawyer,” I said childishly.
“Yar, I’m impressed with your determination, you can leave your children to me to care for them. I have some jewelries my mother gave me, selling them with earn you enough. Run as fast as you can and never come back until you achieve your goals. Trust me your children are mine, I will take good care of them.”
Alahaja Aisha gave me an offer my parents couldn’t. I felt recluctant to leave my children at first but seeing how much she cared for them gave me an assurance that they were safe. I took my leave early in the morning. I went far away. I had a fresh start and also enrolled for sound education, thanks to the jewelries she gave me.
I know leaving my children wasn’t the best but I had to in order for them not to pass through same agony as I did. May Allah bless Alahaja Aisha Aameen.
I have money, wealth and everything a girl of my age could possibly want, but I wasn’t free. I am Adesua a princess of sixteen years old, beautiful and brilliant. You think I have it all?
No, I don’t, my freedom was taken away from me since I was little. I was forced to always act like an adult while in real sense I was a kid. My father, the king, has no time for me, though I know he loves me. My mum on the other hand is business freak, loves her gold more than her family. I wasn’t allowed to play with other girls. The whole of my sixteen years was spent with the maids. It was like I was caged. I can’t move all by myself without bouncers following me, though they said they were only protecting me, but it seems more like they were stalking me.
I want to be like other girls, climb up the trees like other girls, swim in the river like other girls, make friends like other girls, dance at the market square like other girls and finally I want to meet my Prince Charming just like Snow White did. It sounds funny, right? You never know how precious your freedom is until you lose it. You might think I’m an ingrate for wanting all that when my parents offered me luxuries. The protection was more like an imprisonment.
Finally I had my freedom. You want to know how? My grandmother visited the palace, I narrated how I felt encaged and she ordered the guards to free me. I had the liberty to mingle with other girls, I made friends with Ewa and she made my life an adventurous one . I also met with Ola, my first love.
“The only real prison is fear and the only real freedom is freedom from fear.”—Aung San Suu Kyi.
Do not allow fear, fear is the worst cage ever!