Thursday, September 15, 2016

WHEN…..


When a marriage ends,
If you were threatening to kill said spouse for any number of imaginary reasons,
And there are witnesses to your mental instability, don’t act the aggrieved party,
You can drop the theatrics and swallow your ego and be, just be.
You can begin to enjoy your new life secure in how relieved you are to be rid of stress
You can even halt the stalking and drama when your paths cross,
You can choose to be an adult if children are involved.

When a relationship ends,
You can return my keys so that I don’t have to keep asking for them,
You can stop thinking you will sell your sob stories and get sympathy,
You can choose non-communication as your means of showing it’s over,
You can continue on your search for the perfect person to take your lazy ass.

When a friendship ends,
You can ask what it is that went wrong and choose whatever version works for you,
You can make it about you and refuse to see how love means giving,
Sometimes of yourself and sometimes, up your bad habits and doing better,
You can face up to inadequacies and share a glorious future even when afraid
Or you can keep circling the carcass of an unreal issue.


Mostly, what happens when is up to you.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

This Eid....

So, I had a fabulous time celebrating with friends in spite of my best attempts at a miserable day. 

I’d woken up at about the usual time but was somehow unable to get out of bed. The person I wanted to spend time with was miles away and I just wasn’t happy about it. Never mind that distance was not the only challenge, I decided it was and sulked. Hard. And I stayed in bed reading my current reading material. 

When Lil Miss awoke hours later, all sunshine and brightness, I groaned. She was in such a cheery mood, I was irritated. She immediately announced she was going to get ready so she could go to my friend’s house within the estate and I gave permission but she must have assumed I was speaking sarcastically because she got ready and took to looking in on me every 30minutes or so till I was forced to get out of bed and get ready. 

She wanted to walk there and I chuckled as I remembered how this had been the plan a year ago and how that had worked out. We had resorted to taking the car when the heavens poured dogs and cats the year before so I wasn’t looking forward but I got ready. Then I threatened to wear my new trainers on the native I picked out. 

Finally, we set out and I looked accusingly at the sky and wondered when the clouds would gather and rain would come down but no such luck! Everything was conspiring against me. We took off and as usual got into conversation and teasing and chasing and all. We generally always have a great time together, me and the girls. 

She rounded a corner and I followed and then she slowed and asked why I did not call her back as I usually do and I responded that I had told her she could go there by herself anyway. It was then she believed I was actually granting permission earlier. Minutes later, we were at our host’s very posh house. 

Entering, we saw her husband doing the chopping of the ram and saw how flushed he looked. Obviously enjoying this more than he should. Entering the kitchen, we were engulfed by sights and smells that were beyond divine and last minute preparations to receive guests. It was so nice and warm and cosy. Minutes later, others arrived and soon, the eating commenced. 

The meal was a buffet spread type thing where you use your hand to do yourself. It was amusing to watch accomplished females take charge of feeding their husbands and thought about how that would usually be an ish for some but not these women. I felt so blessed to know them and to be with them. The talk as we ate was mostly about our work space and some of the going-ons there and it was great. The children ran around and the men sat on a porch while we  commandeered the dining table. 

My Professor friend and I showed ourselves as we were subtly reminded of our posh aspirations when we were chomping away at our meal when another friend arrived and placed a mat on the table before placing her plate on there. We blushed blue and purple and asked for mats too! We had so much fun. 

Time to fire up the barbeque for some of the meat and we all pitched in and soon, the designated taster had some work to do.

Finally, the rain showed up but we were safe under the porch at this time and a lively discussion spanning Nigeria, Buhari and finally Telcos ensued. I had to dash home to get suya pepper as the seasoning was declared too sedate for our Nigerian palate by our designated taster and I got drenched so I changed into jeans and a warm sweater. 

The rest of the night passed in companionable talking (and listening on my part as I sipped my tea), seeing friends off and getting food packs ready to leave. We were dropped off at home at way past both our bed times bearing take away food, meat and small chops.  And I can truly report, it was a beautiful celebration.

While we spoke as we ate, some important talk came up and I received some insight that I was very glad to get. I know great women. They are as dissimilar as they come but in the over 20years now that I have known them all, their uniqueness is never a disadvantage. Always, they do a little here and there but they constantly do their bit and THAT is what life is about. I savoured this knowledge and it tripled my enjoyment to think that in perhaps 20years hence, we will sit around and the tiny bits will still be making a difference. So awesome.


So, how was your Eid?

Saturday, July 30, 2016

OUR DEVICES

The inspiration for the brilliant idea for this blogpost has to be shared between @habukia and @moverick.

I was going to re-activate my Spectranet internet service as it falls due on the 29th and they usually disconnect at 0:00am so I meant to do it around 11pm on said date. As is usual, when I send the girls to bed, I rest for a few minutes in bed but recently, my days have been such that when I rest for those few minutes, I wake up hours later and so I woke up around 2am on the 29th and was mentally kicking myself for losing the 24G of data I had left that I thought I now could not roll over. All day, it preyed on my mind especially as Spectranet also kept up a steady stream of e-mails and texts advertising the promo about getting twice the volume of data for whatever price you paid. I was reminded that I had 2days more to take them up on the offer and as I lamented to Padi Mi about the loss of the 24G, I decided now was as good a time as any to re-activate the internet.

 Imagine my delight and surprise when I opened my Spectranet Selfcare and realized it had automatically updated and I now had 62G of data!

I had tweeted to lament earlier in the day about my 24G loss and so I found that tweet and updated about my new plenty G status and ‘Miss Trobusome’ (aka @habukia) responded and I told her about how that will not last very long with our 8 always-on devices between the three of us.

Also, I had been doing beggy beggy for a new phone on Twitter but I have mostly poor people as friends or they want me to think they are even though I know different and had had no takers. And I was mostly begging for cheap phones oh! Tecno Camon C9 and such like. Nothing iPhone-ney oh! Anyway, one who I badgered into agreeing to send me a phone then said I could send the one I had and was bored with (don’t let the kind gentleman who bought it for me hear oh!). So, I then was telling him about all the devices we have here and got the idea to do this blogpost as I thought you’d like to know about them too.

1. There’s lappie, this one, current champion and fave. My touch screen Acer laptop bought me by my sister and her nice husband (sis can be nice on occasion too but she's Ijebu! Though much better than me). I had asked for a laptop and my brother-in-law had gone to the store around the same time and seen this at a steal so I had got a laptop for free even though I was doing shakara that the money was in my offshore account. El-oh-el!

2. There’s my old laptop, my Dell that was bought with American Government money when I arrived Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2011 for my Fulbright experience. Mayowa and I had gone into BestBuy to get it after we had gone in and bought the first that didn’t power on after taking it out of the box. It is mostly domiciled in the office nowadays and mostly used as a desktop as the battery does not hold any charge anymore. And that is actually the second battery as I had ordered one through Seyi years ago.

3.There’s my tablet, mostly for reading books. My Samsung Galaxy that I got one nice gentleman to bring me when he was coming into Nigeria for some literary thing one time. I had driven to where he was to pick it up and had paid for it later on. I bought it as replacement for my Kindle that packed up one day after I was frustrated by the offers BestBuy was giving me to replace it.

4. There’s Mov1’s Innjoo tablet that I had sold her netbook to buy cos I felt she really could get all she was doing on the netbook done on the tablet. Plus everytime I saw that netbook, I wanted to slap a certain someone. First for making me leave it when I was going to the US to enhance communication with my daughters and which was never so used and for being his tool to gain access to my social media platforms. @#!&%!!! 
The Innjoo tab is one of the shortest in lifespan devices we have ever had as she took a tumble down the stairs in heels holding it a week after she got it and it only houses her pictures. That reminds me, need to get those pictures off and dispose of it.

5.Then her Innjoo phone, I had decided she needed a new phone to cheer her up at some point and had bought her that one. During a visit to their other parent, something went down and Mov2 is said to have cracked its screen, I generally don’t hear things like that. I still don’t know its screen is cracked even though it’s plain to see.

6.There is my Infinix Hot Note. Perfect but I am ready for something else. I badgered my friend for the money for it and he sent it to me less 500naira (evul man!) and I bought it but he held its charger ransom for several months. Some people cannot do you any good, they must sha squat down with it ni….

7.There is my former phone, the Hauwei that I went to buy with Tolu, I was very determined to get a new phone that day. I was even going to pay 50k or so for a Samsung that I liked and then I entered that new Play store and my eyes locked on the Hauwei and Joke had been talking about it before I left the UK that year on holiday. And it was 20k less. The Ijebu in me had an epiphany and walked out with it. 
Mov1 has it most days, for what, I don’t know. She usually just has it with her.

8.Then there is that phone I bought Mov2 when she passed like I desired her to. She had promised to work harder and I saw her trying and it was enough for me. We had walked into the Etisalat store at the mall together and she picked it after I asked for phones in the price range I was willing to shell out for a phone for her.

9.There is my BB that I bought to replace the one that I bought to stay in touch with le ex. I had held that old one one day at work outside my office and had the thought that it might drop out of my hand. Now, considering my office is on the 4th floor, I knew it would not end well and drop it did. And it died, so I went to that phone store at the mall where some guy is always rude and condescending and got this one. Lately, I have desired to use just one phone and so I have mostly abandoned the BB. Moved my bbm onto my Infinix and enjoyed the experience.

10. Mov2 uses my brother’s old phone, a Tecno, when she has a need to communicate via phone, which is usually sparingly. She mostly uses her phone for the radio. She has several of those and promotes them into use and disuse as she wills. She has a very eclectic taste in music like my brother and I and so she enjoys his music when not using his radio.

I think that about sums up all of our devices. I remember asking my sister to skype recently and she told me she doesn’t really use Skype since moving over to the Apple side of life and I wonder if ever I will. I do not begrudge those who own those devices, just not my thing. I am however very grateful for all devices as I like to keep in touch with family and friends and I do have a rich mix of both spread all over the world. I am thus thankful for technology that enables me stay in touch with everyone and to 'see' so much more than my tiny Ibadan flat ever could.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Primary School Graduate

My Lil Miss...

She started school pretty early although she was lucky that I had a nanny as well as a maid when she was born and so she started later than her elder sister who started at 3 months  (I also had a maid then who attended school; Glory). She was however unlike her sister, loving it. She never cried, was always happy to go and happy to return. She welcomed you with outstretched arms but always left with a wave. 

She started out at a day care center that had done only that exclusively for years and that I felt was best at this particular service. In about a year or so, the day care center got the big idea to transition into a primary school and while I didn’t think it was a bright idea, I had no serious misgivings.

My work was easy then, I worked at the hospital, I was Principal Vet Officer and there were not that many cases but I had that heightened sense of duty that made me rush to work early and refuse to leave till the time I was supposed to. Which is how I began to feel the effects of rushing around in the morning, dropping big sister off at All Saints’ and rushing back to Bodija axis to drop her.

I was alone at this time as the other half was away getting a degree overseas so I reached the end of my strength one day. I wanted to pay fees and rushed into the Day Care and no one paid me any mind. I waited a while and when someone eventually came to attend to me, she couldn’t find the receipt booklet. I had actually handed over the money but was uncomfortable with not getting a receipt right away so I collected the money and left to go and get big sis from the other side of town. 

On getting to the school, I was led to inquire about pre-Nursery there and they apparently had just finished fixing a place to start and that is how I walked to the Accountant’s office and paid same fees to All Saints’ Church School for my younger daughter.

She is such a carer that upon resuming, she always ensured everyone is settled before settling down to her day in school. This earned her the nickname ‘No Bumbum’ and a prize at her first Speech and Prize-giving day for ‘Most Caring Child’.

She needed encouragement to do her work but she was a hard worker and was making steady progress. I noticed that she struggled a bit with the simplest words but aced the harder words and she could sing songs verbatim after listening to them once. She also loved to dance and had great rhythm. Whenever she was upset and I couldn’t calm her, all I had to do was spin her around and the giggles would appear. Such a happy child. With a fierce tongue but immensely kind heart.

Padi Mi, Lil Miss & my mum circa 2010


She had Mafioso tendencies though. I once watched her command her troops.
Lil boy: ‘can I carry your bag for you’
Lil Miss: ‘no, you carried it yesterday’
another lil boy: ‘you promised that you would let me carry it for you today oh!’
an older girl: ‘why are you the one who always wants to carry her bag, we nko?’
Lil Miss: ‘ehn, okay, let her carry it today, you will carry it tomoro, okay? Shey you won’t start crying?’.
I happened upon this conversation once when I went to pick her.

There was that one time when a boy tried to beat her when she was in Primary 2 as well. She gave a good account of herself. Unlike her sister who had required coaching to deal with kids who attempted to bully her, my Lil Miss had no such problems. This boy who picked on her got a thorough bashing and ran ‘under the shed’ (afterschool waiting area) to wait for his mum so he could report her. When the mum arrived and heard he had been beaten up, I heard she demanded to meet the opponent and when the boy went to my daughter and she saw her size, she asked again who had beaten him as he had started to cry again. When he confirmed that it was my daughter, she slapped him and told him if he ever embarrassed her like that again, he would ‘see pepper’. Said boy was twice her size and in Primary 3 or 4.

The period of time I was away in the US was a difficult one and it caused a change in her. She became disinterested in reading altogether and it probably set us back a few years. She was told too often that she was ‘too like her mother’ and she in turn had a response for every cruel behavior she witnessed. She did not believe like her sister in towing the path of least resistance, she fought but she was only a tiny 7 year old at the time.

In the past 3 years, a lot has changed. Quite a lot and I am happy to report it has all been for good. My baby has re-discovered reading and learning and has blossomed. She is inquisitive again and soaking up knowledge. 

I remember visiting the Zoo and Aquarium during our last holiday and how she knew more about the animals than my Veterinary self. She watches The National Geographic Channel incessantly and asks questions that task me daily.The most gratifying thing is that recently, she wants to be a Vet. She asks questions and imagines scenarios. I guess she had seen enough to convince her that this is what she wants to do. Only, she also wants to be a ballerina and go to space. 

In all, I am too grateful. See, the thing is she graduates from Primary School today and this ends my relationship with All Saints’ Church School as a parent. It started as a rich experience and then, only a strong sense of fortitude saw us through to the end.

I am super proud. I made the decision to have her study Primary 6 cos of the issues with her reading. The spelling bees, the reading contests we had, the writing she did, all convince me she got an education. And this is the sole reason I am partaking in this….this…this….graduation whatsmacallit.


Yup! My baby did the work! She passed through Primary School and Primary School passed through her and she came out tops! Congratulations babes! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Party and its lessons.....

I was invited by my twinnie, Dupe Killa, yes, I finally admit she is my twin abi who nor like better thing? She is fine and she says I look like her so its fine by me.













She asked me to attend her folks’ 50th wedding anniversary party and I was immediately intrigued. 50th?!  Wowzers! I had no immediate plans but attending Padi Mi’s Academic Day & I had been footdragging on that for several reasons so I immediately committed to the party.

I am not very social savvy so the first thing I agonize over when I have a party is what to wear and how to appear as effortlessly cool as possible. The invitation said a ‘best touch of yellow’ so I was immediately sorted. Never mind that I then left the yellow gele at home but this one turned out okay becos I had a great time and was among friends so I was not acutely worried as usual.

I arrived at about 11am and realized that I was too early, the invite said noon. This, despite leaving Ibadan not at the stroke of dawn but at about 9:45am and with Sunday at the wheel, I was comfortable enough to relax & engage in my favourite pastime, daydreaming. 

When I finally walked into the venue, it was tastefully and beautifully decorated and looking around, the ambience was just too perfect. I found a table labeled ‘Dupe and Jide’ and soon, the ‘Killa girls’ started to arrive.

I need a minute to catch my breath. These ‘girls’ are fiiiiiiiinnnnnnneeeeee!!! First and second generation of them. They came in a gold/yellow outfit topped with a pink headwrap dotted with pearls for the first generation and a variation of this with intriguing and interesting hairstyles for the second. In all, I thought….’this is class’.


Come and hear English! I settled into my seat doing my second favourite thing…observing. There were lots to see and I saw. The pecking order between the girls and how the second generation of children is comfortable with all of the first generation; obviously a close knit family.

I saw Dupe and met her daughters; I could have picked them out without introduction, naturalistas and fashionistas both.  

And then my heart stopped. Ma and Pa Killa danced into the hall flanked by family and friends and it was so beautiful. Come and see Mummy! The dance steps were ethereal, and what a smile?! They both danced so beautifully and I watched, mersmerized. It was very beautiful to watch and I was moved almost to tears.

A beautiful party but the take-aways for me were very poignant
-love is real
-love endures
-the Killa family rawks!

There were beautiful segments of the party that I thoroughly enjoyed and I think they are a testament to the beautiful couple we were celebrating.

The remembrance of a son gone to rest was important and appreciated for one who has experienced similar loss of a brother.

The grandchildren (ie the second generation) rendered songs taught them by Pa Killa and I knew none of them. They sounded reminiscent of songs of Brazilian extraction. Like something Daddy had learnt while rawking Isale-eko as a youth. The beauty of having taken the time to teach his kids and then his grand kids was just too lovely.

There were slide shows of what appeared to be the entire family wishing the happy couple a good time and another by Dupe’s fabulous older daughter in impeccable English.

 A friend and in-law also spoke about Pa Killa, he shared how the children had sent the couple to a hotel for days before the event to cool off. Sigh. *Goosebumps* That is such a perfect way to celebrate one’s folks! And I loved the man’s redirect for one of the MCs. There were two of them and while they did entertain, they also grated on occasion.

I had a personal drama of mine going on. I pride myself on being instantly recognizable but mayhaps that is to myself becos twice now, I have been in gatherings and assumed I would be easily recognized but it has not happened. I have interacted online with a lovely lady of mega troublesome quotient and upon seeing her, I flashed what I hoped was a 1000watt smile. After 2seconds, I realized she was blissfully unaware of my existence and immediately shut the window of my mouth. 

She swaggered up to the table where I sat and planted herself opposite me as I welcomed another friend and his wife. I proceeded to watch her and imagine who would break the news to her. As with that Igbo boy who sells phones, I decided, Twitter should help and tweeted about her. In an instant, she looked up and recognition warmed her face. I truly enjoyed that bit.

The best bit of the party for me though was when Ma and Pa Killa were asked to speak. Oh! My! I see why Pa Killa was smitten. Ma Killa just kept giggling like a 16 year old in love…ah! It was so cute to watch. Pa Killa had asked her to a party and when she arrived, she discovered she was alone and she kept asking,  ‘where *giggles* are *giggles* the others*giggles*?’ and as she recounted the story, she kept looking at Pa Killa. 

I honestly, at that moment, felt like a pervert watching two lovers make out. It seemed to be such a rich and private and awesome part of their history together, it seemed nothing more needed to be said to describe this couple’s love story. Sigh. It was all so beautiful.





















I met Dupe’s husband and enjoyed a meal and left. Never mind the one who saw me off to ensure I truly left (OluwaKwami) and the cute side love story that was developing with Buky and Oriade. 













It was a very beautiful party and I still carry a glow from remembering as I write.


I met up with a friend before leaving Lagos and every time we are together, its achingly beautiful and makes the truths I saw come alive for me. It was more of the same. A rich friendship that has survived some dark paths and refuses to ebb. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Terorists (2)

She came to and saw the man who called her name, who recognized her. She felt this meant her nightmare was over. She remembered how many times she had dreamt of the moment when she would be rescued in the early days before days and nights of exhaustion and frustration made her give up such silly desires. She remembered how she always escaped in her mind to this day when her Soldier used and brutalized her and pretended this was her choice. She remembered her son and looked around in panic but saw that he had slid down to her stomach and was sound asleep. She looked around for her Soldier and saw that he was now bound hand and foot and was already in the back of a truck she hadn’t noticed before. He seemed to be struggling to say something but he had been gagged as well. She felt nothing for him; no love, anger or even pity. She had long ago decided that he was a misguided youth who followed orders of that mad man and while she did not hold him responsible for her misfortune, she had no absolution to offer him. She looked away and he seemed deflated that she was not screaming for him. She wanted nothing more than to be reunited with her family, her mother. Oh!!!

The truck she was placed in separated from other trucks after about an hour of rough driving. She wondered how some of the men on the back of the truck remained there as they only held onto the truck with one hand, they all had rifles in the other hand and seemed to be scanning the horizon for something or someone. She thought she recognized where they were but could not be sure. So many landmarks were missing and some of the houses appeared damaged and so she was unsure. But as soon as they hit a dirt road, she started to shout, she knew this road like the back of her hand. Had trudged down it too many times running errands for her mother. To her Aunty’s house, to the grainseller’s house and also to the provision store which she instinctively turned her head to look at but only emptiness greeted her eyes. It appeared word had reached her homestead as the first person she recognized started to shout and the shout was taken up by others as the truck pulled up to her father’s compound. She reached for the handle of the door as if to jump out and only the slap the soldier sitting there gave her hand prevented her from opening the door and running as fast as her feet could carry her to her mother. Her mother! But the soldier would not let her out. The soldier who appeared to be the team leader and sat beside the driver in front stepped out and walked into the compound and was gone for about 5minutes. Those 5minutes felt like an eternity and then a man she knew well appeared and the sign from the team leader magically released her from the truck and she was flying, baby and all into his arms but still she looked behind him for her mother and then, warmth and ……..home! She wept then, hot scalding tears of pain and hurt and stuff she just could not put into words.

She showed her mother the baby and started to curse its father but her mother covered her mouth with her hands and took him from her and blessed him. She looked up in confusion and her mother’s smile said so many things. Before she could respond, the team leader Soldier appeared and apologetically told her mother she had to leave. She screamed in confusion but her mother assured her it was for a short while. The government needed her and she had to go and be famous. None of it made sense and she asked if her mother could accompany her. The terror she felt at being taken from her mother again can only be imagined but no one was mindful of her panic. Everyone felt her use to the government was more important than anything else and she was not consulted. She wished she could have left her son with her mother and her father could have accompanied her. As the truck pulled away from her father’s compound, she felt panic and started to shake. The soldier on her right offered her a jacket but it smelt too much like her Soldier’s and she realized it must have been his and was taken off him when they had been found. The next couple of days were a difficult blur. 

First to the capital city and she had to meet with a kind elderly man whom she later was told was the Governor of her state and then being handed to some women who were kind enough but asked painful questions. ‘Is that your BH son?’ ‘Are you going to keep him?’ ‘ You look at him so lovingly, why?’ They all became quiet when the lady with the gentle face came in and she it was who offered her food and asked if she could hold her son. This lady brought the essentials for her and her son in a big travelling bag and for the first time, she was able to feed him milk to his satisfaction from a bottle. He looked at her with such grateful eyes and she started to cry. The women she was handed to wrinkled their noses when she went by them and she was grateful to the kind lady when she found divine smelling soap and a change of clothes in the bag she had left for her as well. She was grateful for being rescued but she did not want to be around these women.


She hardly slept and was brought awake by a fresh set of women in the morning who seemed nice enough but were totally insensitive as they discussed the #Chibokgirls. She knew she had been one of them and so found their talk very hurtful. She heard bits and pieces of the conversations and understood even less and was becoming even more frustrated at not knowing what was going to happen next. She was brought water and asked to be ready soon and she set about cleaning her baby and dressing him in the new clothes she found in the bag. She struggled with diapers and saw the women watching her and giggling. None of them offered her any help and tears of frustration stung her eyes. She was ready when the kind lady returned again with some more things for her and told her excitedly that she was to be taken to meet with the President. She cringed and asked, ‘when can I go to my mother?’ The kind lady looked offended and she felt guilty. She was grateful for the things she was given but she was exhausted and confused. She knew no one and no one asked her anything and everyone talked at her and about her. As she had come into the sleeping quarters, she had heard her name and seen her face briefly on the tv screen. She wished she could have listened for a few minutes but had been ushered into the room she was now in. She felt acutely alone and lonely. And very sad. The exact same emotions being with those terrorists evoked.

PS- Happy Children's Day to all children everywhere! The needs of a child differ from those of an adult. #justsaying

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Terrorists (1)

The sounds were shocking as she came awake. She looked around in confusion. Were these not....men? In the hostel...? What is going on?! Her friend slapped her awake and asked her to stay still as a pair of rough hands grabbed and pulled her from the bed. Her wrapper fell off and she saw the leering look the man gave her. She felt confused but felt her friend tug at her to wear a dress she was handing her and to come in the opposite direction to which the man was pulling. Her friend screamed to alert the other men and they turned and herded them out into the trucks waiting outside the hostel. 

She saw so many other friends and the noise....she could barely hear herself think. She felt this was another in the line of punishments for attending boarding school, she was becoming used to them now but she then heard the distant rattle of gun fire in the distance and several chants of something she thought might have been 'Allahu Akbar'. A cold chill went down her spine as she watched her hostel being set on fire by these men. 'What the hell is happening, she pondered'

After travelling a while, they arrived at a camp of sorts and were asked to alight. She did with questions in her eyes, confusion making it hard to move as fast as she wanted. She tripped and fell and one of the men rushed forward to help her up. She looked up and saw the same man who had grabbed her from her bed in her hostel. He smirked, you could not call it a smile and it made him look even more sinister. Where are we and what is going on?

Its been a month and we have settled into a routine of sorts. Wake up, get food ready for the men, chant some prayers and whatever takes the fancy of the Leader ( she was of the personal opinion that he was not all there in the head but she had never shared this opinion with another). The soldier who had grabbed her from her bed had since appropriated her and had kept her for his personal use. He was close to the Leader and allowed to do what he liked mostly except when he infringed on the Leader's perception of Lord & Master. She called him her Soldier in the catalogue of events she kept in her mind.


The days turned into months and she despaired of ever seeing her family and friends again. She was tired of always packing up and running, especially since her belly started to swell like her friends'. She was tired a lot and her Soldier man helped by rubbing her back but it hurt! Oh! How it hurt! All she wanted was her Mother. She could imagine her Mother telling her ways to make this burden easier as she had done for very many women in the village where she lived but she was too scared to even ask her Soldier Man if that was a possibility. She had seen him in a rage once when some of her friends had escaped in the early days. She didn't want that rage directed at her. She kept a low profile and prayed that birthing her child would be easy and without complications. She had watched her friend labour for days on end to birth hers. She really hoped hers would be easy. She truly wanted her Mummy!

The days were easier now even though it was harder. She had her son. She loved him to bits and cared for him as best as she thought she should. The men were scared and running. Food was scarce and this was an added strain as her son did not get the memo. He always wanted milk. Sometimes she had not had anything to eat for days and still he suckled but she was determined he would be fine and so she fed him. Whoever was responsible for the anxiety of the men, she both loved and hated them. The soldiers huddled and talked more often and there were more fights among them which usually ended with one of them getting shot.

Another rousing from the bed to gather the meagre belongings in a wrapper and run for it! She knew the drill now and was good at it. She reached for things in order of their importance to her. First, her son whom she usually strapped to her front rather than the back as she saw the women of her village and other women do. Then his feeding things, usually, some dried grains which she soaked and pounded whenever she could to supplement the milk she made which was becoming truly inadequate to feed him with. He cried often and she knew it was because her milk was insufficient but recently when she asked her Soldier for food, he screamed and so she ate sparingly herself. 

The sounds were really close. She had a bad feeling about this time. And her Soldier was screaming at her. He grabbed her roughly and she was transported back to that night. The night of her abduction from her bed. Only this time, she had her son to protect so she could not be afraid. She had to be strong. For him. She decided to leave her other things. Some of the places she had fled from, she had returned to and sometimes, she found precious items that made up for the loss of things she called hers. she was not particularly attached to any item. Not since her abduction.

Stepping outside their makeshift hiding place and she said a quick prayer for safety. She stopped short! A man just called her name! Her given name! Not what her Soldier called her. And he had a gun pointed at her Soldier who looked sadly at her. He called her again like he was asking her a question. She looked up and recognised him instantly. She remembered him from meetings with her father about the village security. She stumbled towards him and disbelievingly asked when he had joined 'The fighters', he responded that he wasn't one of them. He was part of the Village security force that had been expanded to help the Army. It took only 3seconds for the import of what he said to sink in. Then...............she screamed!