There was this small hair salon close to the street we lived in. It was owned by Mama Faith and she had foreign hair magazines for clients to choose a variety of hairstyles from. Ness and I would go there just to look through those magazines and dream of the day when we’d look as sophisticated as the models posing in it.
Mama Faith was a well-fleshed, boisterous and chatty woman who seemed to understand the follies of the young mind. Rather than shoo us away, she’d tease us; telling us how much we looked like those ‘Americana’ girls. I couldn’t tell with my juvenile mind if she actually meant it as a complement or if she was just being sarcastic. But our dreams came through in less than fifteen years.
Ness had a master’s degree in law and worked at a prestigious law firm. One day, Dave Onu walked into Friesland & Isibor Chambers to request for a lawyer to represent him in a corporate lawsuit. The firm appointed Ness to handle the case and the rest was history. Dave married her two years later. Now she was five months pregnant and preparing for a trip to America to put to bed.
I didn’t turn out badly myself. I had a master’s degree in media technology, I was working at a TV station but was planning seriously to leave and start a relationship and lifestyle talk show. I had big dreams of being Africa’s next Oprah. Things were also looking up in my love life. I was seeing Ime Akon, a filmographer working with a renowned wildlife organization.
This dashing young man had stolen my heart in totality. We’ve been dating for one and a half years and we both agreed to take things slow and see which shore our love would berth in. I remember when my mother asked me what Ime and I were still waiting for. I dared not tell her about taking things slow because I could clearly visualize her disapproving frown. She’d never fail to say, “Slow ‘gini’? What do you mean by “slow”? You’re still doing ‘slow’, when your younger sister is about to become a mother?!” Instead, I put on a sweet smile and promised her that Ime was bringing his people son to see Papa, a response which plastered my mother’s face with her classic broad smile.
Ime and I loved each other truly, madly, deeply and that was all that mattered. For now, the most important thing was focusing on my career. I didn’t want to rush into anything without knowing exactly what I was plunging into. Mama must have forgotten so soon what happened to our elder sisters in the hands of men.
Our first sister Ngozi was the prim and proper Catholic girl who followed every instruction Mama and Papa gave her. She met Stanislaus soon after she graduated from secondary school. He was a primary school teacher who owned a Vespa motor bike. In my parents eyes, he was a successful young man who had arrived. Of course they had to feel that way. He always bamboozled them with big English words while they stared on like he was some phenomenon from Shangri-la.
One time, Stanislaus took Papa on his motorcycle to Akapa market to buy tailoring accessories for his business. My father was beaming with pride that he was the father-in-law to a motor bike owner. I was called a devilish child for not joining in the family cheeriness, to thank God for finally smiling on us. Even as young as I was, I always saw the bigger picture. I always knew there were better options.
Stanislaus did the traditional wine carrying ceremony and paid the dowry on Ngozi’s head. As soon as he brought my sister into his home, her nightmare began. That Stanislaus saw Ngozi fit to warm his bed made her a little better than a slave. She wasn’t allowed to ride on his Vespa with him. After all, her father couldn’t afford one, he said. Every day, when he returned from work, he’d head straight to the soup pot to count the pieces of meat in it to see how many were missing. If it was more than one, his slave-wife would get the beating of her life.
Did you miss, QUARANTINED: My Escape From An Ebola Enclave – Part 1? Click HERE to read.
Visit my blog next Wednesday to read the continuing part of the story. It only gets better.
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.