THE GIRL WHO RAN AWAY

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hausa landscape

She was from a really small town in Northern Nigeria, fleeing all the way south, away from the dirty old  man she had been betrothed and away from all the chaos and the hardhsip she had known her entire life. All she had with her was her little savings from working on people’s farms the previous year, the money she made from selling fura da nono, and of course the dowry money  Alhaji Tanko had paid to her father which she stole! But more than that, she  had a wishlist, top of which was to visit a beach. She had only heard amazing tales about oceans, saw a few pictures of beautiful beaches but never got around seeing one in real life. Good thing she was finally escaping to a place where the ocean’ waves lapped against rocky cliffs; a place where pretty girls wore bikinis and strolled on the beaches without molestation! She was fleeing to her freedom, or at least so she thought!FATIMA

At the age of twelve, Fatima was the only girl (of all her mates) who was yet to get married. Her situation had become so scandalous to the extent that it brought shame to her family. Rumour had it that no man wanted to marry her because she was too wild and wouldn’t remain in a husband’s house; her mother hadn’t raised her well, they said. Well, the little girl was okay with being labelled “wild” as long as no man thrice her age and more had to force his way through her young man one horrible night. She was satisfied with being “untrained” as long as she had the opportunity to be a child. She could not understand why her childhood should be taken away from her so forcefully. But most importantly, she could not understand why her parents “especially her father) would want to put her in the same condition as most of her mates who were forced to marry before her. Each time she saw them carrying their frail-looking babies with flies trailing them, she never understood why they usually had that horrible urea stench about them. But whatever the cause of them, she didn’t want to get married if that was what marriage was about.

But her parents never listened to her pleas. They were too eager to get rid of her in order to stop the rumours that were making the rounds due to her continued stay in the house. But more than that, they wanted to earn an extra income for the family through the bride price they would certainly receive on Fatima’s head. Consequently, the moment Alhaji Tanko came along with his money and his disgusting self,  Fatima’s parents jumped at the offer and readily decided to give their daughter to him. The bride price was hastily paid the following day. And that night while everyone slept, Fatima made a drastic decision in a spur of the moment to leave her family and escape from her house. But before she did, she stole the bride price from her father. This was to spite him, but more to support herself as she journeyed to the unknown…

Fatima 2

Ten years later after young Fatima made that drastic, almost dangerous decision to save herself, she had become one of the most important humans in her circles. Her story was nothing such of a miracle-  a beautiful, disadvantaged girl who was opportune to have caught the attention of a good human somewhere in Abuja while she languished under the heat selling  fura da nono. Yes, she never made it down to the south until seven years after initially setting out to the place. But ending up in Abuja had paid off big because that was the place she got discovered and made a local film star…

~Written by Emmanuel Benson

*This story is not entirely fictitious and the issue discussed is real…

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8 thoughts on “THE GIRL WHO RAN AWAY

    Nonso said:
    July 18, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Where have you been? People have missed your writing here.

    Like

    Tosin said:
    July 18, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    You must be really busy these days, bros

    Like

    Cynthia said:
    July 18, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Don’t leave us this high and dry any longer, Ben.

    Liked by 1 person

    Mallam said:
    July 19, 2016 at 7:31 am

    Well done, Emmanuel. But this is rather a stereotypical representation of northern Nigeria culture.. don’t U think?

    Like

      Emmanuel Benson responded:
      July 19, 2016 at 10:02 am

      Stereotypical? Well…all I know for sure is that child marriage is prevalent up north. And why it is okay with some people there, others (especially the under-aged girls subjected to it aren’t all so glad about.

      Like

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