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… with olawale strapped tightly on her back, she made her way to the barrack where she was greeted with the sight of over crowded camp filled with people seeking refuge in the barrack and also waiting for the next vehicle that can transport them to the east. she was grateful to her ‘chi’ for saving her life and that of the little boy.
getting a good spot to settle with olawale wasn’t easy, it seems like the number of displaced people seeking refuge in the barrack was more than the available space. as she walked from corner to corner with Olawale now sleeping on her back, she was almost stepping on other refugees who were lying face down like dead bodies out of hunger, some were chatting noisily about the violent that was going on and their loved ones whom they lost, while others where looking idlely and seeing nothing in particular, one can hear the wailing of hungry children and the shout of frustrated mothers.
she looked around the dirty tent used for the refuge camp in search of a space, when she finally found one she made a quick move to it before another person takes it. she could see that every other refugee had a mat to use on the floor and was wondering where to get one in other to lay her sleeping little boy.
‘‘nwanne i nacho ebe iga enweta ute?” (are u looking for where to get mat?) her Neigbor, an igbo woman with her 2 daughters who were sleeping and her husband who was arguing loudly with another man, asked her.
‘‘eehm, sorry ma, am from Yoruba” she answered
‘‘okey, nwanyi ofe mmanu (a typical name Yoruba women are popularly known for) i know u need a mat for yourself and your son” her neigbhor commented
‘‘ yes, i was about to ask you where you got yours from”
‘‘ just get to that corner at the beginning of the camp, meet the officers in charge and tell them you are just arriving”
‘‘ok. thank you so much, please help me secure this space while i get the mat”
‘‘ ok. just be fast”
the queue was long at the officers offices, people were already loosing their patience in the hot sun and once in a while fight erupts from one point or another as people tries to maneuver another in other to be in the front roll. she took off her head tie, tied the edges around her neck and allowed it to flow down her back in other to cover Olawale from the hot sun. it finally got to her turn after a long wait, she registered her name and was waiting for the officer to hand the mat over to her. the officer, who must be from the north, gave her a sheepish smile, exposing a set of teeth darkened with tobacco and kola nut;
‘‘fine woman, oyibo pepe, see as your skin dey yellow, dey shine like fresh paw-paw” the officers was now laughing and looking lustfully at her
‘‘ please can you give me the mat now, my son needs to rest” she replied in disgust
‘‘ hei! see as you dey speak like oyibo, come make u tell you, if you need anything for this place ehe, meet me, i go give you” still smilling sheepishly
‘‘ the mat sir” she requested
she finally settled Olawale on the mat to continue his sleep and decided to go and get the pitiable food she saw some others eating since she has no money to buy even satchet water. it was already dusk before it could get to her turn to get the food and the vitamin drugs brought to the camp by some NGO’s
the officer in charge, a young man looked at her, savouring her body while licking his lips
‘‘ madam abeg wait for me inside make i come give you the one way dey inside”
‘‘ Ah! oga officer, my baby fit don wake now, abeg give me the one way dey here make i go give am” doyin replied
‘‘ madam i said you should wait ” he shouted
After waiting for a while, the officer came in and took her inside the office
‘‘ Ehe! madam, i say make u wait make i give you your own food and provision special” the officer said as he walks close to her trying to hold her in a romantic embrace.
‘‘ Ah ah, officer watin you wan do? “
‘‘you be pikin? you suppose know watin i want now or you no want the food again? ” asked the officer who tried to forcefully embrace her
‘‘ get off me you idiot” she shouted, pushing him off
‘‘ look make i tell you, for here i dey in charge o o, no be only food i go give you but i go give you plenty milk for your son and new wrapper so you fit change this dirty one”
‘‘sir please, i am married and have a son, all i need is a bow of food for my son and nothing else please. and dont come close to me again or i will scream so heard that those outside will hear us” she threatened
‘‘ see this woman o o, i wan help you and you dey do gai, common comot for here, you no dey serious o o, go make you and your pikin die out of hunger, i go push you o o”
‘‘what of the food oga, please dont do this for me, for my son’s sake please help me, just a little for my boy please…”
‘‘common shut up your mouth, which food, get out of here. when you are serious you come” he pushed her out.
her head was light, with tears blinding her sight she walked back to the camp only to see the mat empty and with Olawale missing.
‘‘no..no, where could he be?” she thought.
she asked her neighbor who said she was sleeping and didnt know when he left.
‘‘Olawale…O..la…wa..le!!!” she called out, shouting his name aloud. her eyes roving to and fro in search of him.
she was almost loosing it then she spotted him at the far end of the camp, standing beside a family who were eating without noticing him. he was trying to grab some yam from their plate while the woman who looked like the mother was shoving him off. and each time she does that Olawale cries. Doyin watched the scene like a movie, her son was being treated as a common begger and she blew the only chance she could have provided food for him. her tears was uncontrollable as she ran to pick him up, away from there.
‘‘Ola my son, i will not fold my arms and watch hunger take you away like the others” she came back to her mat pleaded with her Neigbor to look out for him and left with a speed. she was running as if something was after her, crying aloud and her breast flapping side by side with the force of her speed.
it was already late in the night when she knocked at the door of the office, the door opened and the officer opened the door as if he was waiting for her, he smiled broadly as he ushered her inside the little office, with no much words to say, she loosed her dirty wrapper and allowed it to fall on the flour. she eased herself on the floor and closed her eyes.
as he had his way, she refused to feel any physical pain, the only pain she could feel was the pain in her heart. at that moment all she could remember was that fateful day when she was gang raped and her family killed before her, as he thrust deep in her tears were running down her cheek as she opened her eyes and turn her face at the other side of the office, all she could see was the hungry face of her son Olawale…
…to be continued
she moved from the edge of the sofa, looked at the clock hanging on the
wall, rubbed her eyes and hissed as she sat on the chair close to the window. parted the curtain a little and peeped outside, her eyes searching, roaming side by side for a while before withdrawing and closing the curtain back.
she stood up, pacing around the sitting room with her hands folded across her breast.
‘‘why is he doing this to me ? why is hurting me like this? after all we have been through ?”
she could remember vividly how their part crossed. Him a lonely little boy crying by the side of her dead mother, she a young woman running away from some militants who has infuriated the northern part of the country. it was in Jos, 1993.
some Islamic fanatics decided to rid the state of some infidels ( a common name they gave to Christians and other unbelivers. the crises started with a protest from some Islamic youths, demanding the federal Government to mandate the south- East and others who are not comfortable with Islamic laws to return to their state, allowing them the right to implement sharian law in the state.
on that faithful day, they woke up to a violent crisis. sounds of guns as the military tries to bring the situation to control, pandemonium as people ran in confusion not knowing where to run to. those militants, they were every where, butchering and hacking their victims into pieces.
‘‘mama segun!!!” she heard uwa musa calling her while banging on the door ‘‘mama segun, open o o . abeg time no dey o o, you still dey sleep you wan die ?” she rushed to the door and uwa musa let herself in with the force that nearly pushed mama segun down. ‘‘mama segun, wey the sildren dey ? oya bring them make una begin go.” doyin (mama segun) was more confused ‘‘go where? how? what is happening?” she asked uwa musa who has already gone to the bedroom to gather the children. coming back to the sitting room with segun and ayomide. ‘‘ mama segun, u no no weti dey happen? abeg no dey ask question, oya make we see weda we go still find road cross you and the sidren go army barrack”
‘‘ what of papa segun? he is not yet back from night shift” doyin asked
‘‘ ah mama segun! i go leave you o o. make we go to barrack with this sidren first then u fit call your husband from there”
‘‘ segun please bring down that box ontop of…..”
‘‘mama segun abeg no pack anything o o, this people fit meet us here o o” uwa musa cut in.
as they were about leaving, there was a hard bang at the door with a force that broke the door letting in some group of blood thirsty looking young men, holding a half dead papa segun with one of his hands and legs amputated while some of the young men were chanting something in Arabic holding the amputated limbs.
‘‘way dokita woman!” one of the militant asked. his face was dark, with his teeth darkened probably out of tobacco, and some part of the front teeth already gone
‘‘ i say way dokita woman!!” he shouted again in his coerced voice.
‘‘Daddy” segun screamed, running towards his daddy before anybody could stop him. the next thing doyin saw was a hatchet raised and segun head Rolling back at her on the flour, the head stopped exactly in front of her with her sons eyes wide open staring at her and his mouth moving as if it was calling her MUMMY.
she went cold and stood like a statue with no tears nor voice left in her. as if that wasn’t enough, Ayomide who was now crying and was trying to hide behind her was being dragged by one of the men, she fought for her son not to be taking away too like the other, she cried and kicked like a wounded tigress but how can she overpower those blood sucking vampires. she was giving the beating of her life that weakened her and her last son butchered like a beef in her very eyes before her husband was finally hacked to pieces as the killers sing and dance in Arabic.
the got to Uwa Musa who quickly spoke something in Hausa language and the pushed her out of the house. doyin closed her eyes in acceptance to death which she knew was the next thing that awaits her, but instead she heard laughters and the men talking to themselves, the next thing she knew, her cloths were torn and her womanhood abused beyond mercy, being too weak to fight, she was stone cold all the while as the men took turn to abuse her sexually. as she couldn’t hold on any longer, she passed out.
not knowing how long she had been on the floor in the pool of the blood and body parts of her loved ones, doyin stood up. staggered out of the room with almost nothing as cloth. she managed to get a wrapper and tied it around her breast before moving out like a ghost in the street. bodies lying on top of each other. headless, amputated, hacked. lost children, crying and calling mother, women screaming the name of their children or husbands.
and that was how she met him, Olawale( as she later named him) was standing beside the body of a dead woman crying, with no cloth on and mucus running down his nose. with out thinking how to take care of herself not to talk of him or where she was heading to and how to get back to the west, she picked him up and ran, with the air so thick with smoke and sting of burning flesh, she ran blindly, praying that God will at least spare her life and lead her to the barracks where she can at least be safe before thinking of the next thing to do.
…to be continued
The moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here… your love is on bended knee, asking you to marry him.
Your stomach is in knots. Visions of a dazzling wedding dress and sky-high cake dance in your head. This is it!
But hold on a minute. Before you scream “YES!” take a breath and keep in mind that there are certain questions you need to ask your self.
Though we’re certainly not trying to take anything away from the romance of the moment, many people rush into an engagement without fully thinking about to what they’ve just agreed to, beyond planning a white dress/tuxedoed affair to remember.
It is important to feel that you are really certain about this. Before you find yourself shopping for flowers, photographers, DJs and a venue, it’s critical that you know you are saying yes to a marriage proposal for the right reason. it’s better to think through your answer carefully before it’s too late to get your deposits back.
In this article compiled by Kimberly Dawn Neumann, here is a list of questions it might behoove you to think about before you find yourself on the receiving end of a marriage proposal.
After all, a little thought and preparation can only help your chances of making a decision that will result in your own “happily ever after” — no matter what you choose!
1. Is the timing right? You’ve heard it before; timing is everything. And the reality is that the strongest marriages begin with optimal timing for both parties. According to Dr. Anderson, however, the maturation of a romantic relationship often receives too little consideration. Instead, external variables often dictate the pace of a couple’s stride, leading to a premature proposal (i.e., he caves to his parents’ incessant pleas to settle down or she rushes things in an effort to beat her ticking biological clock). “Be honest with yourself — it’s better to tell your parents to back off than to marry the wrong woman,” says Anderson. “Better to marry the right man and adopt a child later in life than to lock in a baby daddy and end up getting divorced and raising the child alone.” Have you and your intended spent enough time together in such a way that you’ve been able to observe your partner’s behaviour in different kinds of circumstances? If not, what’s the hurry? People are getting married later in life than ever before nowadays, which is a good thing, since the rate of divorce plummets if the husband and wife are both over the age of 28.
2. Why this person? “Nine times out of ten, marriages fall apart because people either pick the wrong person or marry for the wrong reasons,” says Dan Neuharth, Ph.D., a licensed marriage and family therapist in San Francisco and author of Secrets You Keep From Yourself. “Marrying someone primarily because other potential partners seem few and far between or because you feel you need to be married to feel OK about yourself is what keeps divorce lawyers busy.” If thoughts like: “I am so tired of being alone,” “It’s better than nothing” or “Nobody else seems to want me, so this is probably the best I can do” are what predominantly come to your mind, run — don’t walk — in the other direction. You’re not ready to be married yet, and this isn’t the right long-term partner for you.
3. Are you marrying a person or the dream? “Make sure you’re in love with your partner, not just in love with the idea of being in love,” says Dr. Neuharth. “You are marrying a person, not a romantic movie, and people don’t follow scripts.” Try to recognize whether or not you are idealizing marriage or the wedding. Be realistic with your expectations, because once all the fun and parties are over, you have real life to contend with — and it’s not always champagne and roses. Picture the wedding of your dreams: Is this the partner you’d always imagined would be waiting for you? If a celebrity or former flame comes to mind instead, think twice. Those aren’t options, and you’re going to end up disappointed later on.
4. Is my potential spouse emotionally healthy? When you’re young and having fun, it’s OK to date a variety of people with a wide range of backgrounds — maybe even take a walk on the wild side and date someone who probably isn’t all that good for you. But marriage is serious business and when you’re selecting a lifelong partner, you need to be sure that person is emotionally healthy — or, at least, working on becoming that way. “Admitting your partner is a ‘fixer-upper’ and hoping your marriage will serve as that person’s support system is a recipe for disaster,” says Dr. Anderson. “Typically, once the partner gets ‘fixed,’ he or she will move on to someone else, because the glue that held you together was the common goal of healing, which has been accomplished.” Finally, Dr. Anderson warns that if any of the three “As” are present in your relationship — abuse, anger, or addiction — your decision to reject your partner’s proposal should be quite clear.
5. Do you appreciate all of your partner’s aspects equally, and without expecting him or her to change for you once you’re married? If you think that a wedding will magically transform your spouse into the perfect husband or wife, think again. No one is perfect, and it is vital that you walk down the aisle without having any expectations about your partner changing specific qualities that you currently find undesirable. “If you find yourself saying, ‘He’ll become more ambitious and responsible once we are married’ or ‘She’ll be a more attentive and unselfish once I put a ring on her finger,’ you need to put the brakes on your wedding plans,” says Jennifer Gauvain, a marriage and family therapist and the coauthor of How Not to Marry the Wrong Guy: Is He “the One” or Should You Run? “Ask yourself if you are willing to overlook his messy car and ‘man cave’ because of the amazing way he cherishes and respects you. Can you accept the fact she will always take in stray animals because she is the most kind and gentle woman you’ve ever met? You need to marry the person he or she is right NOW — idiosyncrasies, foibles, quirks and all.” In other words, don’t talk yourself into ignoring any qualities that you know will spell trouble for your relationship in the long run!
6. Do you bring out the best in each other… or the worst? There’s nothing worse than walking on eggshells around another person or feeling off-balance in a relationship. “If you find yourself avoiding difficult conversations or stressed by the hum of low-level anxiety, it’s time to reevaluate!” says Gauvain. “The right partner will support your ambitions and encourage your dreams.” Does she make you feel like you can conquer the world? Does he make you believe that you are able to fulfill your wildest dreams? Your partner should add something to your life, not subtract from it. “When it’s all said and done, you want your spouse to draw out your best qualities and help you minimize the less-than-desirable ones,” says Gauvain. (And let’s be honest — everyone has a little bit of both.)
7. Can you count on your partner to always do the right thing? While it may be hard to picture yourself 15 years from now with 2 or 5 kids and a family dog, it’s important to look ahead and think about what kind of a friend, neighbour, in-law, parent or coworker your partner will become. “Be honest: Do you think your fiancé/fiancée will do the right thing when it comes to friends and family, even when it is inconvenient or something he or she doesn’t like to do?” says Gauvain. “If he’s selfish or she’s inflexible now, think about how it will feel in the future when you can’t depend on your spouse in stressful situations.” In other words, will he cut your brother’s lawn when he needs a helping hand? Will she fetch your parents from the airport at two in the morning? Will this person go the extra mile for friends or neighbours? “Life is so much sweeter when you know you can count on your spouse to lift you up, share the load, and help out the ones you love,” says Gauvain.
8. Is fear of being alone your primary motivation to get married? Be sure there’s absolutely no fear involved in making your decision to accept a marriage proposal. We live in a world that seemingly caters to couples, and many people can’t wait to rid themselves of the perceived stigma of being single. Perhaps you’re afraid that if you don’t accept, you’ll miss out on your one chance to get married. “Some singles fear loneliness so desperately, they decide they’d rather be with anyone than no one — but is that really fair to your future spouse?” asks Dr. Anderson. “How would this person feel knowing that the main reason you got married was to avoid being alone anymore?” You should only accept a marriage proposal because you know this person is right for you and vice-versa, not because you’re afraid of being left out of some couples-only clique or worried how others perceive you socially.
9. Is marrying this person in line with your lifelong goals? Ask yourself if marriage at this time with this person is really part of the vision you have for your life’s plan. “For example: If your dream is to go to travel abroad to study, followed by a year of sailing around the world, and your partner is devoted to a career that involves very little travel, you will have, at best, a long-distance marriage,” says Dr. Neuharth. “Or, if you can’t imagine a house full of ankle-biters and your partner gets all gooey around every baby that’s around, you both will have your work cut out for you.” In other words, are you willing to compromise your own dreams because you love this person so much that you can’t imagine being without each other, and are therefore willing to forge new goals together? Or will you resent your partner for keeping you from pursuing what you think you want out of life?
10. Can you honestly say your vows… and mean them? In the post-modern era, no one expects much from anyone’s word anymore… but the one person who should be able to have such expectations is your spouse. Commitment, tradition and honour are more than mere promises. As for vows, traditional ones are so last millennium; still, they are intended to be both sacred and permanent, regardless of the wording you choose for your own ceremony. Can you say those words and mean them on your wedding day? Imagine you’re looking into your betrothed’s eyes and saying your vows. I, _____, take you, _____, to be my lawfully wedded spouse, to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish from this day forward until death do us part. How does that make you feel? Be honest — are you feeling sincere? Do you mean it? All of it? “If you can’t say your vows, or if you’re only truthful about part of them, you really shouldn’t say them at all,” says Dr. Anderson. “Life is long and hard. They call them ‘vows’ so you’ll stick it out, no matter what.” If you sense you might not be able to mean what you say when the time comes, you’ve got your answer.
What other questions do you think one should consider before accepting a marriage proposal?
Please let us know in the comment section.
It just refused to stop raining today and every where is so wet and cold. i woke up and decided to give myself a break from work and from the noises on the busy streets of port Harcourt. i just want to spend some time with me, yes today it is going to be all me.
so i took my bath(like a queen) made myself a huge breakfast with a lot of cream( enough of dieting) after eating to my satisfaction i decided to do something that involves me this time and that is telling you a story of the craziest mistake i have loved.
it was on the night of the last Friday in June, like every other first Fridays, we always have vigil in the church (from 9pm to 2am) that particular Friday i decided i don’t want to go, after much persuation and my refusal, Mr right( my husband) decided to go alone with the instruction that i have to keep watch leave my phone on.
i tried all i could to stay awake, from reading to watching of movies but to no avail. finally i gave up at about some thing after 1 am( thinking i could grab 30 minutes sleep before my phone will ring) with my alarm set, i ended up opening my eyes at about 5 am. you could gaze what i did next.
before i ran to the gate behold my Mr right was inside the car outside the gate sleeping. i guess he has been there since 2:30 am. i taped at the window softly and he opened his eyes and smiled. i was actually waiting to see anger in his eyes or hear him voice out his disappointment but that turned out to be a memorable morning.
instead of driving in,he decided to sentence me to few hours with him in the car outside the gate (if you know what i mean). that was a new experience for me and a mistake i will love to make over again ( though with the same punishment)
whats yours? share with me.
Every day occurrences—a buzzing cell phone, a nosy ex, or even your co-workers— can cause a rift in your relationship. Here’s how to tune them out and reconnect with your significant other
by Lois Tarter
In any marriage, there are often lots of outside distractions that can keep a couple from focusing on each other. From children’s schedules to work duties to relatives visiting, the list seems to never end. However, there are some distractions that a couple can avoid, which can make a big difference in their relationship.
You are in control of some things that can pull you closer to your spouse or pull you both further apart. With so many marriages ending in divorce these days, we have to look at all of the ways we can keep ourselves connected to our spouse. The little moments that we miss on a daily basis may mean more in the big picture of a marriage than some elaborate vacation or lavish gifts. Below, I’ve outline some of these common distractions that couples should look to avoid:
Too Much Texting: At restaurants you often see couples together constantly texting on their phones. Why go out with your spouse for dinner if you’re going to be looking at your phone more than them? If you want your marriage to work, here’s a text you should send yourself: OMG, divorce your phone so you don’t divorce your spouse.
After-Work Drinks: Sure, it’s important to network and bond with your co-workers and business contacts, but going out all of the time after work will probably create stress in your marriage. Nothing like your spouse having a hot, home-cooked meal waiting for you on the table and you’re still out at a bar on your third martini with the accounting department. Keeping the after-work drinks to twice a month is a good move.
Post-Dinner Laptops: How many of you sign online and send work emails or go on Facebook after dinner? Here’s an idea: Cuddle with your spouse instead! TV isn’t nearly as big as a distraction as a computer in a marriage. When was the last time you and your spouse curled up with your computer and surfed the net for the rest of the night? You have watched a movie together or a favorite television show, though.
Ex-Spouse: If you have been previously married and have children, your new spouse might not take kindly to a demanding ex. If your ex can’t seem to stay out of your new life, you have to balance your past relationship and make sure you are showing your new spouse respect. They don’t need drama from your old marriage. And you don’t need another divorce all because of an ex who can’t keep out of your business. Find a healthy way to keep it all in check.
Long Distance: Here’s a scenario that’s frequent nowadays in this current economy…one spouse has a job and the other loses theirs. One finds a new job, but it’s in another state. Then, one spouse relocates from let’s say New York City to Boston and the other stays in the Big Apple. They have a long distance marriage and see each other on weekends only. This usually does not work long-term. If money is tight, try to downsize your lifestyle or cut back as opposed to you or your spouse taking a job far away.
Not Enough Sex: We all need love and attention from our spouse. With busy lives, you might not be having as much sex with your spouse as when you first met. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still make it an important part of your lives. Sex is an important way to connect and vital in any marriage, so make it an important part of your lives.