“Dear Allah, if you are really a God, strike me down through the power of this book. I am tired of this life and what it has given me. I don’t want to continue leaving in this condition. Please give Nina the power to move on without me. Make her understand why i did this” i finished the prayers and dropped the book back on the bed, then i sat down and waited for the all powerful Allah to strike. Minutes turned into hours and nothing happened. Hours changed from one to two to more and yet, Allah did nothing.
The tears had started flowing down from my eyes again.
I had grabbed the book and started hitting my head with it but it seemed to have had no damaging effect, then I tore two pages and started chewing it.
I was practically running mad before my conscience hit me.
“What are you doing to yourself? The God who kept you alive until this moment will see you through this trying times” the voice in my head had said.
I have heard that message in our Mary the Queen Catholic Church back in Ekpoma. I recalled the Rev. Father who said that very words. It was like yesterday.
I wanted to doubt that God who kept me alive until that moment was going to see me through but since the Rev. Father said that long time before my situation, i believed in it.
I just lost the count of time until i woke up the following morning.
The morning bell had woken me up, it was time for breakfast.
A female prison official had shoved a plate under the metal door and smiled.
The plate contained a small pack of Orange juice, two piece of bread and a small satchet of butter.
My eyes were red and she noticed because she had stopped and asked if everything was OK with me.
She spoke English too.
“Where is my friend, you took her away to the hospital yesterday” I had said with a straight face.
“I don’t know. I came this morning. I will ask for her later” She had said and continued to deliver food to the next prisoner.
They opened the prison cells up every 10 am and allowed us to play in the compound.
I wasn’t interest in playing that morning, therefore i just took my bath and walked out to watch others play.
While i sat near the football field and watched the men play, My thought was with Nina.
‘Where did they take the poor girl?’.
Despite being confused and scared as hell, i pitied Nina.
She was too soft to bear such troubles.
I remembered asking Nina how she ended up in Burkina Faso with me, we were joking that evening when Aunty Pamela left back to Lagos.
“My Mother said it was a good idea to go abroad” She had started.
She went on to tell me how Aunty Pamela bought Rice and Beans from her mother somewhere called Orile in Lagos.
She said her mother sold Rice and Beans in bags and that she had worked with her mother after finishing secondary school and as usual, was waiting for that stumbling block called Jamb.
Nina was on the bed in our little room in Ouagadougou while she narrated how she met Aunty Pamela. “She came to buy Rice one after noon and brought wo beautiful clothes for me. She had promised to get me a gift the last time she came. My mother was excited and when Aunty Pamela left, my mother told me that the woman liked me so much. I blushed the entire week because i was told that she liked me. Aunty Pamela was quite popular around town. Many girls i knew always boasted that they bought one cloth or shoe or something else at Aunty Pamelas. When she left the day she brought the clothes, i knew that something was going to be involved somehow. People didn’t just like people that much in a poor country like Nigeria. I had heard about Lesbians and i feared Aunty Pamela could be one of them. Despite receiving the two clothes she bought me, i waited to shout at her anyday she would invite me to her place. But she had other plans.
She came again to buy foodstuffs in our shop and excitedly announced to my mother that she would like to send me to Italy to live with her friend who exported Italian made wears from Milan. My mother who never heard or knew Milan and where it was, was excited. She didn’t even ask for my opinion. All she knew was that abroad was mentioned and whether i liked it or not, i was going with Aunty Pamela. That was how i went to stay with Aunty Pamela before you came from Ekpoma”.
Of course there was nothing extra ordinary and strange from the way she had been scouted. But just like most other teenage girls, she was lied to about what she was going to be doing in Europe. No every teenager was going to jump into the boat if she was told she was going to become a prostitute.
Right there in an open field where i sat alone, i watched as the men kicked the round object all over the place. From the look of things, it seemed that we were in a secluded facility. The Libyans i had met while waiting in Tripoli were all light skinned but all the people i saw playing out there in the field were pure black men and women.
Some didn’t look Nigerian at all but were still blacks.
“Young Lady, why are you here alone, come and joint us?” the voice had said behind me.
I didn’t hear her footsteps come up behind me, it could have been because of the shouts from the men kicking the ball around opposite me or from the ladies throwing ball around behind me.
“Uhm Sorry. Thanks. I don’t know how to play the ball” I had stammered while standing up at the same time.
She had helped me up by taking my hand and pulling me up from the ground.
“Jasmine, what about you?” She said.
I looked surprised since i didn’t know what she meant by Jasmine.
“Jasmine is my name, I am from Eritrea. What about you?” She said again.
“Elitree. Where is that?” i had said. I was still confused.
“Eritrea is a Country near Sudan and Ethiopia” She answered with a smile.
“Thanks” I had managed to say. “I am Maria and i am from Nigeria”.
She had confidently held my hand and pulled me slowly towards where i had seen them throwing the ball around.
Since they were just throwing ball from one person to another, I joined them.