QUARANTINED | My Escape From An Ebola Enclave – Part 1


EBOLA ENCLAVE 1“Do  you like these leggings?” My sister excitedly flashed a pair of yellow maternity leggings at me. “Hmmm…Nessa, why would you choose yellow out of all the finer colours on display here?” I teased.

“But yellow is my favourite colour! Okay which colour would you prefer on me?” “Vanessa Obi, you are pregnant.” I dragged my words slowly like I was talking to a child who needed to understand the point I was trying to make. “So you need to pick darker-coloured leggings to give you the illusion of being slimmer. That way, you can mix it with any bright-coloured top.”

“So what are you saying now…that I’m fat?!” she looked at me with horror. “No, Ness. What I’m trying to say is that, a darker colour like navy blue, black or brown would suit you better now, than this your ‘notice-me’ yellow colour. All you have is a baby bump; and it’s  nothing near fat.” I smiled at her reassuringly.

“Haaa…I panicked for a moment there!” she exclaimed. “The last thing I want is for Dave to see me as fat.” She turned back to her shopping and continued with some excited banter that I blocked off my mind. All I could see was myself boarding a plane at the airport for the first time and travelling to America.

Travelling abroad may not be a big deal to many people but it was a huge deal for my younger sister Vanessa and I. We were too poor while we were growing up to even dream that we could one day afford a trip to a foreign country such as the U.S. My parents had seven of us; five girls and two boys. My father was an ‘obioma’– those tailors who carrying a hand sewing machine about, looking for the services of people who had torn clothes to mend. If he made N1000 in a day, then we were lucky. My mother sold vegetables at the local market to support the home. When you added both parent’s resources together, it didn’t amount to much; seeing that they had nine mouths to feed, seven children to educate, clothe and shelter. It was really tough. I was the third of five girls and Vanessa was born a year after me. I guess my parents needed a male child so badly that they kept making babies until Nedu and Chima our two younger brothers were born.

Vanessa and I had always been close. We were often dubbed the ‘Obi twins’ because we were different from our two older sisters. We all had a strict Catholic upbringing but Ngozi and Paulina took their own religion too seriously and lived a very matronly lifestyle even as young teenagers. My mother would always tell Ness and I:

“Why can’t you two rascals be like your older sisters? See how they carry themselves, like true daughters of Obi! Both of you are from a different stock and if I didn’t carry you in my womb for nine months, I’d have sworn you were ogbanje children!”

Yes, Ness and I were different. We dreamed of being educated; of leaving the slums one day and living a life fit for royalty.


Visit my blog next Wednesday to read the continuing part of the story. It only gets better.

To read the continuing part of the story, click HERE

Story Written By:  Peace Ben Williams

No part of this story should be copied or published without the permission of the author.

QUARANTINED: My Escape From An Ebola Enclave ©2014

©Peace Ben Williams Blog. All rights reserved.

Photo Credit: National Geographic  | TheGatheredLady.com


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