29. Another visit to Marea
It was already 9am before i got to the Convent where Fatimah lived.
Unfortunately, i missed my way and took a train to a different city before i was directed to the right one.
The Gatekeeper said it wasn’t a visiting day.
“I m sorry, i didn’t know that. I came from Italy and i can’t just go back” I lied.
Or was it even the truth? It was a distorted truth anyway because i came from Italy. The evidence was there to be seen in my resident permit.
The gatekeeper took pity on me but said his hands were tied. He said he could lose his job if he allowed me in.
We were still dragging the issue when a senior Sister in the convent met us. She was on her way out but had stopped and asked us what was going on.
Rather than allowing the gatekeeper to narrate the situation, i took control.
“Sister, i am sorry about the situation but i am from Italy. I came to visit my cousin who is here. I didn’t know about the visiting days because they are not allowed to use phones inside the convent, she would have told me” I said.
My two hands were together in a prayer mode and one of my knees was slightly bent down. I was begging the Sister to consider my request.
After taking a good look at me, she asked for the name of the girl i came to see.
“Marea, her name is Marea and she is from Nigeria in Africa” I said.
“Follow me” She said as she turned back and walked towards the main building.
I followed her.
Inside the visiting hall, she asked me to take a seat while she fetch Fatimah.
Five mites later, Fatimah was sitting opposite me, adorned in a white flowing gown with a flowing scarf on her head.
“Where is Azubuike?” Fatimah asked.
“He is in Italy” I said.
“You came alone?” She said.
“Did he know you are coming here?” She asked.
She was taking control once more and it was a matter of time before she pushed me to an uncomfortable corner.
“He knows” I said, “I came to know how you are doing Fatimah.”
She looked into my eyes.
“Sorry Marea” I stammered.
“Does it mean that you live in Sweden now?” She continued.
“Yes, something happened. Azubuike convinced me to stay with him. You know he was my boyfriend before we had the problem in Italy. He convinced me to stop dealing on girls and find something good to do. I was still considering his proposal when he brought me here to see you. It was after seeing you that i made up my mind to quit the prostitution business and joined him to rescue the girls” I said.
She starred at me as i told her how i started living in Sweden. It was difficult to believe what i was saying.
“So have you people rescued another girl?” she asked.
“Not just one. We already brought three girls to Sweden from Italy. Zuby is also in Italy now and i believe he will bring another girl from there”
“What about their Madams?” She asked.
I told Fatimah that Zuby was the one taking care of the business with the Madams. I didn’t want her to know that i was deeply involved in the operations. Irrespective Of the fact that we were doing a commendable work, it was still wrong to extort money from the Madams. I had once asked Zuby why we had to be taking money from the Madams and the example he gave me was right.
He said that he could not sponsor the girls if he didn’t ask the Madams for money. He said the organisations such as the United Nations and some anti human trafficking agencies could help but that he couldnt approach them due to his status in Europe. He also said that the agencies were too conventional and liked to deal with issues when the have big evidences. But as for him, he was on ground and didn’t require law court to deal with the offenders.
“So Aunty you are now working against prostitution?” Fatimah asked.
“That’s right. It was all because of you. If not that you came to Zuby in Sweden, i wouldn’t have been converted as well. I would have been there in Italy, sending you and Ngozi to the streets every night while hunting for bigger men on my own. But thank God i am where i am now” I said.
From the look on her face, it was easy to know that Fatimah was impressed. She knew i haven’t said anything about the money she owed me. There was no more talk about money.
“How are you coping with this strange place?” I eventually asked Fatimah.
She said she has gotten used to it and that nothing would make her return to the European streets.
She asked when i would visit Nigeria again so she could send a message to her people through me.
“I don’t know yet. Maybe if i get a date, i will return here to tell you since i now live in Sweden” I had told her.
The rest of our discussion centered on God and Jesus. The Fatimah of yesterday seemed to have known about Jesus better than me. Surprisingly she was a Muslim. It was amazing how she adapted to the long stories of the Christian Bible so quick while i wasn’t interested to study the book.
I spent more than an hour in Vadstena Abbey before our discussion was suddenly broken up by the gatekeeper who said that i had spent enough time and should return to Italy.
I thanked the man as i stood up and waved to Marea. We didn’t shake hands like men, we didn’t hug because she was wearing a China white or maybe because i considered myself not pure enough to hug her. Whichever one it was, i had finished my business in Vadstena and it was time to go.
While inside the bus heading north towards Nykoping, my phone started ringing; it was Zuby as i expected.
“Baby, where are you, i could hear noises there” He said.
“I am in the Bus to the city. I don’t want to go with train” I lied.
“I told Aunty Joy that it was me who took her girls. She wanted to know if you are involved but i denied knowing who you are. I am telling you so that you will know how to talk if she calls you. Secondly, i am inside a boat going to Bologna. I am leaving Venice as we speak. She has agreed to pay some money but it was dangerous to pick the money from her, so i told her that i will contact her when i need the money” Zuby said.