If there’s a next life,then I’d prefer to come to this world as poor and ragged as I first came but not living the life of a prostitute as my mother wanted.
Boma was a village for hopeless people,there was no life there,the people there lived their life like there was no future,giving birth to kids was the only known achievement in Boma,the roads were terrible,nobody from the city was interested in building houses there,if anyone had a phone,every one would go to the person’s house for a feast to celebrate the arrival of the new phone,this was where my mother and I lived. When I turned fourteen,my mother encouraged me to sleep with men to earn money, ’eh？prostitution’, I said and wham！ one hot slap landed on my face, ’is me you is call a prostitution,is it not what I feed you on？, I say sleep with men,not prostitute on them’, yes, that was my mum,I wouldn’t say she was an illiterate,she could read out the letters in the alphabet and she also tried not to speak pidgin like the rest of the women in the villiage.
‘Your father leave us since,I feding you,you are big girl now,bring money into the door of this house,no food for an idler’, she yelled almost every morning before we left for her shop where she sold ‘ogogoro’ ,when it was getting dark,she would send me home with money for food,then she would come back extremely late at night. I had no future in that village,I was fourteen with only primary school education and then, I didn’t know that primary school education required lots of teachers to take different classes,we just assembled in the village hall, with long benches,no books or pencil just recitation of the alphabet and making sentences with simple words,we were taught only that one subject by one teacher. Speaking of school,there was this guy I was in a relationship with in primary school,he name was Dayo,Dayo and I would go home together after school,we sneaked into each other’s homes when our parents were away from home,he mostly sneaked into my house at night when my mum was not around and somethings would play out, we didn’t go past our waists but we touched every other parts of our body,it was ecstatic,I was planning give birth to kids for Dayo when I grew up, until we finished primary and his father could afford to take him out of Boma,he said he was going to live in his aunty’s house in the city, I was not really happy but he promised to come back for me and so did some of my peers go too but I remained,I had no father who would work tirelessly and send me to school. I thought he was dead.
I learnt that my father was not dead when I was ten years old,all those while,I didn’t know he was Bankole the palmwine tapper living with his two children and wife that lived four houses away from mine. He impregnanted my mum and denied it,so I was born out of wedlock and my mother was left to fend for me,the only brother she had whom she helped to move into the city had forgotten about her.
I was even grateful that Bankole did not claim me if not my mother and I would get the beating his ‘legitimate family’ received whenever he got drunk.
I was still looking for what to do in Boma till I turned seventeen,with only ”primary school education”, most jobs there were for men,I couldn’t be a farmer without assistance from my mum,I couldn’t be a hunter,I couldn’t be a fisherman,I had no idea about that, the norm in Boma was for women to stay at home and wait for their husbands,if they didn’t have husbands,they resorted to ”sleeping with men”. My mum’s pester to work was driving me crazy daily,even if I decided to go with her idea, is it those old men with beards,that stunk of liquor with money or those good looking youths who didn’t stink of liquor but had no money？,I was really tired of following my mum to her shop,despite our hardship,I wasn’t skinny,I was a bit chubby,had wide hips and well every other part of my body fell in place,so those drunkards in her shop would oogle at me without shame. My mum was threatening to stop feeding me,I needed to think of something and fast. Well,This was just a brief history of how my life had been so far.
Strecthing on the mat that lay on the hard cold mud sand was me Uwanah that morning inside our incomplete house,I looked outside and it was getting bright,I was getting tired of Boma,I wanted to leave,I turned around to the left side and saw my mum beautiful face,she was still asleep, though she had offended me by saying she would not care for me,I still loved her and hoped that I would be able to fend for myself and her,we would get up any minute from now and go on with our daily routine so I stood up, took out the little soup we had, to heat it up on the firewood. My mother got up a while later and urged me to make preparations as we would be going out soon.
My mum left the house before me complaining about how sluggish I was so she left in anger that morning. I was on my way to her shop,I passed Dayo’s house as I did daily and I remembered him immediately, I asked myself if he would ever return to Boma,just as I was thinking, the wind carried words to my ears from the direction of their house,I heard mama Dayo calling, ’Dayo！,Dayo！’, I was shocked,could Dayo really be back or is his mum yelling out for him because she misses him？No！, ’I must check’, I said to myself and walked in the direction of their house, I moved closer to their door and called softly Dayo twice, I heard a voice answer, ’yes mum’, the voice sounded nice,not like the Dayo I know, ’when did he start answering,’mum？’, ‘I no call you ooo’, I heard mama Dayo say, ‘then,who did？’, I heard the voice again.
I was really getting curious,even if it wasn’t Dayo,I just wanted to know who it was, this time I decided to call out loudly, ’Dayo’ ,and the opened the door,I saw a tall,dark skinned,handsome guy,it was Dayo！
Dayo indeed but more handsome,the clothes I wore were nothing compared to the new clothes he was putting on,I smiled at him with everything in me but his reaction was something I never expected.