the tale of a chibok girl
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A young Girl filled with big dreams who hopes to see her country become great once again when she is not writing she is a 300lvl law student
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The tale of a chibok girl is an insight into the life of a Young girl who had her whole life in front of her until it is taken from her.
I rush out of the class hurriedly walking as fast as my little feet can Carry me. My face buried in my physics textbook as I Try to cram some formulas in my already jam-packed head. I have always hated the day before exams or dreaded them, hate is too strong a word in this case my reading is cut short when I almost fall, in fact I fell using my hand to avoid falling flat on my face.
"the reading don do abeg" Cynthia my best friend says as she helps me up tucking the text book under her arm as she Helps me To dust my blue checkered compound wear..
"its OK the reading is enough now you're going to fall sick at this rate "she says 'have you eaten today "
I refuse to answer and continue walking awayas I try to remember what I was reading before I fell there was no point in trying to collect the book from her she was the closest to thing to a best friend to me but she did not understand, nobody understood ,they all wondered why I pushed myself not even my mother understood talk less of my father. They all wondered why I pushed myself the way I did my mother said I just needed about five credit to join the college of education maiduguri according to her I was going to be a teacher after all I was a woman I needed time on my hands to take care of my children and teaching In a primary school At most a secondary school gave me ample time to do that according to her my dreams of being a doctor were just silly dreams little girls say what business did a girl have being a doctor and my father did not want me to go to school at all all he wanted was for me to get married to a nice old man who would take care of me well he was Enraged to say the least when mama enrolled me in government girls school, chibok but after persuading Mr garba my 52 year old bethroted about the perks of having a wife with a waec certificate he agreed after all how many of his friends had wives with waec certificates I remembered him as he rubbed his round potbelly while grinning at me lustfully maybe sex with a lady who had a waec certificate was different. But I had a different vision I wanted to make it and if I was truthful to myself I did not want to be a doctor but it was to me the highest achievement I could attain it was like the king of all degrees and I wanted to obtain and I read hard and pushed myself to pass I needed to prove them and to prove to myself I could do it.. That I won't stop at being a teacher or a fourth wife.. I needed a scholarship because no amount of persuasion and pleading was going to make my father pay university fees and mama will stand behind him Not because of love And support but
Out of fear. Fear of being beaten or driven out.. Truth be told he loved her at a point when they were young and he wanted to marry her but she was a christan and his father had swore that over his dead body will his son marry a Christian and true to his words my father married my mother when his Father died After my father had married his first wife and my mother was his second wife and as time went on. I think the love he had for my mother faded I think it finally broke When my elder brother became a pastor or when my Elder sister got pregnant for her Christan boyfriend or when My other sister Died from childbirth at the age of thirteen I think the combination of the disappointment of her children cleared every love he had for her and she was looking up to me bring it back to make him love her again .
"you need to go and eat and try to rest your overworking yourself "Cynthia says to me.
"I will try" I said to cool her mind there is no point she won't understand she is the only girl out of five boys with a very supportive father and mother who push her a little bit too much at times. They want her to study law when she wants to study English but in my country you study English when you don't get the course you want is more like a backup plan.
I enter the hostel and look for a junior to help me water when I remember that only sss 3 students are feel of water on my skin to last but girls like me weren't that lucky on wrapping my body and making my way to the hostel the heat returned. The thick air that clogged the hostel with its bed bunks clustered together with the blank paint peeling off to reveal the metal layer and the slipper flat beds which did nothing to hide the iron rods on the bunks most girls woke up with serious back pains every morning to the extent that our backs felt like they had developed hard exteriors to numb the pain. I sat on my bed facing Cynthia as we sat opposite each other on the bed scrolling through our textbooks. I think there was an unspoken rule about the day before exams your not allowed to open another book the day before the exams except the subject you were having the next day everyone's face was buried in the book even those that relied on cheating the next day there was also the risk of the "chips" being wrong and it not coming at all. But some did not seem to care at all after all they were not using the certificate anyway they were going to be married after school so what was the point. At times I wanted to resign to my fate and just lie down andet destiny take its course and stop dreaming my father won't let me and there was the chance of the scholarship going to someone else.
I read the same page for the 7th time then I asked hadiza the girl beside me who had a wristwatch for time "to 9" she angrily at me for interrupting her reading.
it was almost nine they were going to off the generator very soon "Cynthia" I said tapping as she had dozed off after telling me a dead person cannot write an exam "bring your torchlight they will off the generator soon"
"leave me" she mumbled from her sleep. I stood up and went to her bunk and carried the small metal torchlight hidden carefully in the box under her bed and went to my bed and truth be told they took the light which caused a lot if mumbling from the girls from those awake using the light to read to the those sleeping when the heat set in as the fans stopped working and the heat set in.
"that can't even leave the light during waec" hadiza grumbled
And although I rarely agreed with hadiza and not because we always competed in class for first position but because she was rude and very proud and her parents were quite well to do well according to our standards.
An hour later I began to feel the sleep set in and drawing me closer I really can't remember what happened or how I finally dozed off but I can remember hadiza waking
Us up furiously. "Wake up" she said as she kept slapping us across our body. After several protests Cynthia and I woke up "what is it" I asked
"Boko Haram " she said "or I think"
At then I noticed that most of the girls where awake soon at the windows done looking for where to hide like there was a use. We were damned already. If the Boko Haram was really here we were finished we might as well surrender knowing our Nigerian security they won't rescue us.
"how do you know" Cynthia asked hadiza
"the matron said it now she told them joy and they told people that someone called her from outside school that they heard rumors in town"
"when " I asked
"when you were sleeping like a log of wood" she said rudely I would have retorted but they were more important issues at hand like how were we going to survive if they took us. I felt tears full my eyes some girls where already crying .
"let's go and hide" hadiza suggested
",to where " I asked sarcastically. the head girl tried to calm the girls that were shouting
"ya Allah ka taimake mu" or those praying some kneeling, some flat on the ground and some clutching their prayer beads as they mumbled. Cynthia bowed her head as she and hadiza prayed I was supposed to join them but I lost my faith in prayer a long time ago my mother prayed fervently everyday no matter what, going from one church program to another and my father went to the mosque regularly, woke up by 5 every morning to pray but what good had it done them.mama was always sad and although she didn't tell me was gravely ill and my father had not moved further in life since I was born upon all the businesses he did and contributed money to he grew poorer everytime he tried to progress no wonder he wanted to marry off he needed to relive himself of the extra baggage. The last time I prayed was when ladi my elder sister was getting married off at thirteen after mama had pleaded with him not to marry her off I cried my eyes off I was nine then and understood bit of marriage I prayed baba would change his mind and forget the marriage but a month ladies did not return and a year later mama was called in the middle of the night that ladi was in labor.
The next day she returned her eyes blood red and puffy and she was surrounded by other women who were wailing around her. I knew someone was dead but who was dead I thought as one of the wailers grabbed me and told me it was OK. it was alright .
All I could think what was alright and what exactly was OK.
until I heard the whispers of how I looked so much like her, like ladi and I knew just then it was not OK. it will never be alright and I walked into the room tears didn't fall from my eyes and I remembered when my mother and her sister were talking about her my sister died apparently she wasn't taken to the hospital and as skinny as she was carrying a child was hard but mama said what killed her wasn't the physical pain or the stress but the betrayal from her family as she kept on screaming mama why ? till she died with her child in her and by the she was rushed to the hospital the child had died and so had she.
I looked around the hostel some girls had run out already to hide in the bushes and other places.
An hour later we saw the lorries and the men clad in the camoflauge uniform of a soldier as they jumped down telling our matron that they were sent to save us we were told to climb into the lorries as it was not safe the Boko Haram were close by as we entered the lorries I wondered why some of the soldiers were looking in the bushes and setting fire to the school.
Cynthia and hadiza huddled close to me. I thought God had shamed me and answered their prayers perhaps it was only my prayers that were not answered . I closed my eyes and drifted in the humid dark night .
I woke up later although it was the lorry had stopped and we heard as some of the men spoke in hushed tones but the night carried their words a pin drop could be heard in the silent night.they spoke in hausa about how the operation was so successful it sounded like a trap and how they will all get new wives very soon. some one young to warm their beds they chuckled against themselves as they urinated. I turned to see Cynthia eyes wide in fear she had heard what they said and it didn't take a genius to put two and two together they were not soldiers but who then I remembered the rumored abductions of girls by Boko Haram
"no" I thought "this are just soldiers nothing more "
but Cynthia had realized the truth already as I tried to deny it and the lorry began to move again and the other girls began to open their eyes apparently not everyone was sleeping we had to jump off the lorry to be sure but they what did they want why kidnap us,I thought they were against the government but they were the Boko Haram which translated literally to western education was forbidden and as we were in school ready to write a western based exam and the fact that we were girls well passed the stage of marriage according to their standards and we were wasting our time going to school. I tried to comfort hadiza who was sobbing on my shoulders as some of the girls tried to plot an escape Cynthia acting as a mastermind I had never seen her actively involved in anything but this was a life or death matter.
we watched the sun rise before we stopped through a rather rough road in the forest like settlement. as they led us out of the lorries if it wasn't clear to me that they were not soldiersthe place was littered with Fulani like guys and makeshift tents and normal tents the place was littered with different plastic bags and the occasional dung it was like a big boys room but more littered and the smell that the place oozed filled with the smell of shit,sweat and blood I could almost taste it. the metallic bitter taste of blood and then I realized the taste was of my blood. I had beaten my tongue out of fear and as the blood filled my mouth I resisted the urge to spit it out and I swallowed it as my fate flashed through my eyes as the leader at raggedy small man introduced himself as the leader of Boko Haram which led into a breakout of tears from some of the girls his words turned into a low rumble in my ears till I could hear no more as I thought about how my future had ended I could hope for them to rescue us but I knew it won't happen I saw my life flash before my eyes I should have married mr garba. mother was right I was a big dreamer if I thought my life will turn out right .i was a fool I felt the tears hot tears spill From my eyes at that moment. ladi's fate seemed much better now as we were being shared into groups I heard some wailing and some girls fainted and as rough hands dragged me to my own group i felt my life taken away from me.