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Saturday, 1 February 2014

AMS True Story: My Memoirs, Age 20

 

At the age of 20, I was a headstrong young woman who thought, “I know everything.” I did not realize my naiveté until I found myself in tears on the Lagos State, Nigeria Turnpike, with 20 and 20Kobo in my pocket and a Ghana most go bag full of clothes and shoes; I wore a baggy jean, fitted top with long braid hair (We called that kind of hair style Bob Marley in those days). At the Lagos to Ibadan express toll road I looked like a 12 year old girl with no ambition in life.


Against my Aunt’s strong advice, I had left my home in Lagos to leave with my immediate elder sister and find work as a nursery school teaching assistant in Ibadan, Oyo State. Without so much as an interview, I had been hired. My aunt said it would never work, but what did she know? She had no faith in me. She wanted to dominate me. She didn't even know me!


“You'll be back to Lagos within one week,” she said. She was wrong, blood is thicker than water. I lasted nine months, and didn't know how to get back to Lagos because I spent all my money on cloths and shoes all because of insecurity and materialism. With echoes of “I told you so” ringing in my ears, I had to make a decision. Should I call my aunt and brother in Lagos, ask for money, or get a lift to Lagos City and take my chances? Filled with fear, I walk through the Challenge express road in Ibadan, hope to find faith, to beg for money from passer-by and get strength on the other side.


“What do I have to lose?” I half-asked, half-told myself. I spent hours begging for money and trying to figure out new strategy of getting home. After many insult from passer-by, the nauseating stench of urine and the sweat of people commuting in the heat, I thought there must be a better way. So I counted the money I have already gathered from the good Samaritans working by, the money was not enough to travel back to Lagos. At that time, I decided to stay in Ibadan and leave with my elder sister even though it was against my wish. I took a public transport from challenge, to Onireke GRA Ibadan in Oyo State, Nigeria.

I got to my elder sister house around 8:00PM; I showered, dined with her children at the dining table. After the meal it was an interrogations time with my sister, I could not gave her a definite answer. I left the living room and stood at the balcony reflecting on what I went through during the day. However, it was on Saturday night, someone was getting married beside my sister’s house, the noise of crowds of happy people, peaceful and serene, unlike the people of the Challenge Road, mashed into the Lagos Luxury bus, bogged down with the baggage of tension, and oppressed by the heat. Here I could think and plan and still forget my ordeal.

Day seven neighbour’s daughter was celebrating her birthday; I quickly dressed up as if I was invited to the party, I blended into a new community just like that. The tantalizing aroma of free jollof and fried rice with fried plantains called me, and the crowd was large. No one would recognize me as an outsider (Journey just come). And if they did, what was the worst they could do? Tell me to leave? Boys could harassed me?  It was a risk I would have to take. I wanted to dance and cleared my head.

After successfully eating two plates of rice, dodo, and drinking two bottles of Coca-Cola, I felt brave. I had been reflecting for days, dull and scared. I began talking, first to my sister, her children at the party and then I finally approached some adults. Two weeks later, I make some friends in our church and I told them I really need a job. Fortunately for me one of the girls was leaving for College and she was leaving her teaching assistant job. The following week, I reported to this nursery school for work. I thought I would work a few months to earn enough money, to get home (Lagos). I worked for two years, went to Polytechnic to study Public Administration for two years and after graduation I travel to England to continued my education. I am still in England by the special grace of God.

I view this as the most challenging experience of my life. Although I was frightened, angry, and insecure, I learned that I am a survivor. I can do anything I set my mind to, and with faith, I will always get through.
 
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2 comments:

  1. 2 plates of rice and dodo and 2 coca cola, hahahahahahaha you cracking me up here

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  2. The journey is not over. Stay focused. Stay steadfast. Life will throw more challenges. Be prepared!

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