Saturday, July 4, 2015
I started a new blog on medium.
One of the first posts on this blog went live on July 07, 2006. The reason for coming on blogger was to muse about anything and everything.
It soon evolved from being a journal of a young woman looking for her place in the world into an advocacy channel. Between January 2007 and January 2012, articles were cross-posted from "Dis Generation," my weekly youth-focused column in the Nation newspaper, one of Nigeria's national newspapers.
With 257,083 pageviews - 651 posts, - 70 followers, this blog and I have come a long way...traveled across the globe on free tickets because of the recognition it brought :-)
Oh well. But we are to keep growing and help others up in the process!
Today, July 04 2015, I'm putting a close to this chapter of my life :-), to start something more beautiful, by the grace of God.
Please keep enjoying all the past articles on here... six hundred and fifty one in all. And the new ones coming on medium.
Thank you very much for all these years of keeping a tab on my works. Many thanks to the guest bloggers who occasionally came to my rescue when I had those writer's block...LOL... And YES! Thank you to my family, good friends, mentors and all those who believed in me and gave me a spot to stand on their shoulders. I hope we'll keep inspiring one another.
Still on blogger: Faith & Books, Research and funny short stories.
What next? I'm at CSJ sharpening my ax! Grace to it, grace to it!
Why? "Remember: The duller the ax the harder the work; Use your head: The more brains, the less muscle." Ecclesiastes 10:10 The Message (MSG)
Where to find me:
- Blog on MEDIUM
- RURAL REPORTERS
- OFFLINE - where exciting things still happen :-)
great oaks grow from little acorns
Sunday, December 14, 2014
One Saturday morning, I was standing in front of our house, a 13-tenant bungalow, when I saw her- the girl who always threw insults at me whenever I passed by her neighborhood. She lives three streets from where I live. But hers was strategically positioned in a way that everyone coming in or going out of our neighborhood always have to pass through her street. That is why our paths always crossed.
There was nothing exceptional about our neighborhood. Most of the streets were dirty and untilled. When it rained, floods danced their way into the gutters that were already vomiting water.
Iju Ishaga, the neighborhood where I first learned how to speak pidgin-English, is not considered a central part of Lagos. But it is a community that has evolved into a safe haven for both the poor and the rich. There was no obvious segregation by economic status. All the children played together as one, except for when there was a personality clash. Like today’s.
I never really understood why. But she enjoyed taunting me. Everyday on my way from school or while running errands, I always prayed not to run into her. Sometimes my prayer was answered. Other times, I fall right into her. She called me names, coloring each with words such as stupid, crazy or ugly. I could never respond because she was always in the company of her siblings.
But today she was in my territory. Unarmed. Unaccompanied. I could do what I liked with her. It was pay-back day.
“Shebi na me you dey abuse every time?” I asked in pidgin English.
She starred blankly at me as she walked past. I followed briskly.
“Eh hen, I don catch you today,” I said authoritatively, in an attempt to intimidate her.
She just kept walking. I thought of what to do. I couldn’t allow the opportunity slide, unutilized.
I certainly didn’t want to fight. She was taller than me. She also looked way older as well. So she might end up beating me in my own territory. That would be a shameful story to narrate to others, I thought to myself.
While I was still thinking up ideas, I saw whisky. A perfect weapon. Whisky was the neighbor’s dog. It doesn’t know me but it always responded by barking whenever I called its name, always from a safe distance.
“God don catch you,” I called out as we both approached whisky’s house- seven blocks [houses] away from where I live.
The dog looked bored. He stood like a guard at the gate of the building.
“Whisky,” I called out.
He responded with two barks. Perfect.
The girl looked at me frightened. She stopped on her track. She was where I needed her to be. In my territory. Unarmed. Unaccompanied. Frightened.
I smiled smugly as I called out to Whisky again. I pointed at the girl as I did so.
The dog walked toward us, away from the gate and kept barking.
“Whisky, Whisky,” I called out again, “Go and bite her,” I commanded.
Something went wrong.
Whisky’s bark became more vicious. Before I could call out its name again, the dog charged at me and I took to my heels.
My short legs couldn’t outrun the angry dog. I tripped over a stone and found myself on the dirty street. Whisky launched at me. Its bite pierced through my trouser. I let out a scream.
Neighbours from different houses soon gathered around us. The sight of a helpless six years old girl and an angry dog must have tore at their hearts. One of them called for the dog’s owner.
No one asked what happened. They all sympathetically looked at me and asked me where I lived. The girl whom I planned to prey on was also there, sandwiched between the adults in the crowd.
She looked at me, pitifully.
That day, I learned an important life-lesson- if you point one finger to haul evil at someone, you have four fingers directing it back at you.
I could not look directly at her, out of shame. I ran home without responding to the inquisitive crowd.
Oh! I didn't wonder for too long why the dog came after me. I figured it out.
(c) 2014 Jennifer Ehidiamen
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Moreni knew no other night would pass until tonight's mission was accomplished. She could see the determination in the eyes of the little old woman everyone called Iya wa , which means our mother. The two hefty men that served as Iya wa's body guard walked Protectively behind the girls as they traveled through the dark forest, all engrossed in their troubled thoughts. "They know this is wrong" Moreni thought quietly to herself as hot tears rolled down her chubby cheeks. "This is not about right or wrong" Iya wa's deep voice echoed in her head. The full moon was a custom the people of Abule village strongly adhere to. A time when teenage virgins were usually selected from every home to be circumcised. To indicate their readiness to be married to any man who could afford the bride price.
The Earth is cold tonight. No warmth came from the fire that blazed at the center of the compound. The motherly moon positioned its round figure over Iya wa's hut. The drummers and singers took their seat at the entrance of the hut, ready to sing and dance to Iya wa's favorite rhythm as Abule village awaits the pruned flowers to return home in pride, oblivious of the pain inflicted on these girls and the scars they are left to nurse into adulthood. How generations suffer from lack of knowledge.
Moreni helplessly watched on as the first girl was led into the hut. Her innocent look and breastless chest, revealed her vulnerability to the full moon. Suddenly, a cry of pain rang through the night. Moreni felt her heart race in fear. Just one more girl and it would be her turn. The small courage she had left was dashed when the first group of girls came out walking with their two legs wide apart. "Oh mother!" a girl screamed from the hut. Although the door was shut, everyone could hear Iya wa commanding the girl to lie still. The singers began to hum mournfully, Iya wa came out, her white wrapper soaked with the red blood of the innocent. She stared into the night and announced without remorse "she bled to death" before leading Moreni in.
The only source of light in the room came from a small lantern. The floor was untilled and a blood-stained mat was spread at the center of the hut. A small bowl of water and Iya wa's handbag were the only items in sight. Iya wa gestured towards the mat, as Moreni made to lie down, she was shocked to see a lifeless body on the floor. She took one look at Iya wa's cold face and ran out of the hut. "come back here!" Iya called out to her. She heard heavy footsteps behind her, perhaps Iya wa's bodyguards in pursuit? She had to keep running! "Moreni, the full moon is for your own good, It is the pride of every woman in Abule village" Her mother's untrue lines pierced sorely into her heart. No one mentioned Death, or the blood or the rust knife Iya wa used for her operation!
She couldn't tell how far she must have ran, the full moon remained still in the sky. Moreni knew she couldn't hide from it! "Freedom, here I come!" she screamed in excitement. Someone pulled at her shoulder, she turned to find Iya wa's bodyguard behind her. Dogs barked in a distance and a mournful silence fell on Abule village. Everyone knew the fate of any girl who tried to defile the full moon.
(c) Jennifer Ehidiamen
In the heart of all men lies a burden of words of their feelings tied together in a knot, waiting to be let loose. I am fifteen years old but I feel fifty, my bones crack in protest each time I move my bulging stomach, my pillow cry out to be relieved of my weight upon it. I sit in idleness every day, counting the minutes as it crawls into hours. I come from a “humble” home; my father is a poor man who makes a living from washing other people’s clothes. This he uses in feeding his wife and six children. I am the second child, the only girl in my family. I hungered to see my family’s poor state reformed, it was this hunger for a better life that made me wander away from home, into the hand of a boy whom fate has forced into a man.
Truthfully, I thought Hassan had what it takes to make my future bright in a split second, at least that was what he used to tell me each time I met him after school. He boasted about his father’s wealth, this led me into giving myself freely to him without thinking twice about the consequences. I knew there was no turning back the day the Doctor confirmed that I was three months pregnant. I simply packed my bags and fled from school, into the home of my lover and friend. Hassan welcomed me with open arms thinking it was for the usual Night of bliss, but after I let the cat out of the bag, he lovingly stared into my eyes and begged me to abort the child. “Bisi, you are too young to be a mother and at twenty I don’t think I am ready to take up the responsibility of a father”. Hassan said sadly.
“But I thought you love me and you promised to give up anything to be by me”. I cried until I had no strength left for tears. I was perplexed. Did my parents look for me? Only my mother did, my father had no room for unconditional love.
Today marks the eleventh month since I left home, to me, it seems like a decade. As usual, my Mother is babysitting my daughters, Hassanatu and Halimatu. “A twin brings healthy wealth to all who loves them” she keeps telling my broken heart. Hassan is out working and I am supposed to be resting. Rest? I know I will never find it. The devil with his long tail has used me in destroying the future of a young boy who has now been disowned by his father for rubbing his name in the mud of irresponsibility diluted with immorality. I have devastated my own world, which until now seems secured and bright, “a wasted investment” is what my elder brother calls me. I have brought two children into this world when I can barely take care of myself, and now another is on the way. What was it my Mother said? “Oh! My baby is manufacturing babies”. What a sad reality.
I tell myself every morning that it will get better, the fears and tears will be gone tomorrow, but I know these are lies I tell to help cover up my wound of shame. Now I understand why my father always say that life can only be fair when we play our role well in it. I have run in error, a race I pray no girl ever run again. I do not know how to begin. This is the story.
(c) Jennifer Ehidiamen