Hin go soon come. Make i go baff, set my face. I hope say dis pancake go cover all dis marks dis time.
*sigh* I taya. That last customa of yestahday, that man wicked so. I never see that kain before. And hin no wan pay extra oh after all d things hin wan make i do. Chai! Shey i go fit work today as my body hot so?
I no choose this kain life. I dey village with my mama and papa and Chisoro, Oby, Izunna and IK. Money no dey like that but we dey manage ourselves small small, papa wit him farmer work and mama wit her small market. Mama still dey pregnant with Ofunne and Me and Chisoro dey primary school when papa die. Dem talk say na strait bullet cause am when all them politics people dem dem dey fight. Uncle Amuechi collet papa land even tho i tell am say Me and Izunna and IK go fit take care of am. Hin talk say hin go help us, dey give us money from dia every mont. Story. Na so i come leave school oh, they help mama with hin business, make Chisoro and Oby continue for school. But as Ofunne come born, the load too mush so Chisoro con leave school like me, dey fetch water for people.
Na so we dey manage until 2 years, when Aunty Caro come village and she talk say she fit carry me go Lagos go work and collect plenty money. Mama no wan gree at first. She tink say na Akuna work Aunty Caro wan make i do. Aunty Caro say God forbid, that na sewing work. I tell my mama say make i go try. If no be sewing work, i go come back. E go better make i go try because we no fit survive the way we dey go. As soon as i talk am Ofunne start to cry. She neva shop. My mama come gree.
As we reash Lagos na, we go Aunty House. The house big ehn? I just dey look dey pray to God say one day, i go build house for my mama like dis. I go sow cloth come become the best sower in whole wild world. And i go build another house for Aunty Caro too, sake of say, na she bring me come. She carry me go my room, my very own room all for myself, i no believe am. She talk say make i do anytin wey she tell me and be a good girl and one day i will be big. I tell am say anytin she want make i do make she just talk am. She wan talk sometin when her fone ring. As she dey answer, i no even dey hear wetin she dey talk, my english no too good like this that time. She still dey fone when she con ask me my age. I tell am say 14. She look me one kain, like person wey dey gauge you, and then she come tell the person for phone 16. I think say na my sewing mistress. Maybe you no fit enter the school if you no reash 16.
That night, after we shop finish, sleep dey cash me so Aunty say make i go my room go sleep, work go start tomorrow.
I sure say i neva sleep reash 30mins when person bang open my door. I wan scream but persin grab me hol me for mouth, point me knife and talk say if i scream, hin go comot my tongue. Na so i just mute. Hin con ask me say where the madam of the house dey. I talk say i no know say i just come the house that night. Tawai! As i dey tink am now, i still dey feel the slap. Another man enter the room, com say that hin don find madam but hin no find the money. The one wey hol me talk say make hin go look for am make the other one stay here so that i go quiet. Hin send me another slap before hin comot. i fly reach the other side. As i dey lie there dey pray, i feel hand for my body. I slap the hand commot, na so the man slap me for face again, use one hand grab my breast inside my cloth. I com scream, hin com bring out hin own knife talk say e be like say i wan die. Hin con laugh one kain laughter, con talk so i never see anytin. Before i know wetin hapn, he commot hin troza and off my dress. I just dey scream dey scream dey scream. Nobody come.
When hin finally stop, the other wan con back, come talk say he don “take care” of aunty Caro. I wan die for dia. Which kain bad luck i don bring. Aunty Caro wey wan help me, na so dem don kill am?? I tink i make small noise becos dey con look me at the same time. The one wey kill aunty caro con ask the other one “She fresh?” Hin no reply, he just smile, step back, and the other one come to me. This time i no fit shout.
Them carry me leave the house that night. Talk say dem fit use me. They com lock me up for wan place wey i no even know. No bed, just mat for floor, no window, no light. Somebody dey bring food for morning and night time. I no know how long i dey there. At first i no dey shop but after, hunger one kill me. Sometimes dem dey come to me for night.
One day, the man wey kill Aunty Caro (we dey call him Master Ben now) come my room. Hin talk say time don reach wey i sopose dey pay rent. I neva talk since dem bring me come, my voice no dey, so i no come answer am. Hin give me coret blow for mouth. My voice return. See miracle. I tell am say i no get any money. Hin talk say e mean i go work. I tell am say no need, that i fit just go back to village to my mama. Hin laugh. Say what about the rent and feeding wey i don dey owe since i dey here? And who go pay my transport to go village?
At first, customer dey complain say i no know wetin i dey do. Master Ben con ask Eliza to teach me. After the lesson, if anybody complain anything about me, i no go shop the next day and i no go collet my cut. I no to mind as i no dey intersted in the work but e get one dey wey one customer complain say i just dey lie dia no do anything. Eliza don warn me that night make i do well but the whole tin just tire me. I come back that morning by six, by 8 sharp Master Ben come room, tell all the girls make them go the other room, make only me remain. I wan die. As they come leave, Master tell me say my customer no happy. I talk say no be my fault say i sick. Him say you sick? I say yes. Hin say oya make we cure that sickness. He stand and open door wide. Ten men con enter the room.
Make i go borrow panadol from Eliza. Hin no fit know say i sick.
Wetin you talk? Why i no run? Omo no be say i no try.
Me and Lovet and Rita, we don plan one day, after the night work before day break sef, we no go go back house, we go work plenty, collect money go park. Rita wan go Kano, me and Lovet dey go East. As we reach park, dey find ticket, na so dem just grab me enter bus. Dem grab Rita too but Lovet escape. As we reach house, i hear Master Ben dey scream for phone “Caro! Caro! This girl dey give me headache” As i just hear am, my heart just die. So Aunty Caro plan all dis tin? I no even feel the pain from d beating wey i collet. Aunty Caro na hin plan all dis tin? I no wan believe am. Later that night, before we go work, Master Ben line us up for backyard. Hin signal somebody and dem carry out Lovet body. Hin no talk anytin, just look us well well. Then him say make we go work.
So na so i dey here. I just dey pity my mama. Wetin she go tink? Before, i dey tink say as Aunty Caro don die, she go tink say i don die too. One day, after that night wey i try run, wey i hear Master Ben talk to Aunty Caro, i con ask Eliza if she sabi am (Aunty Caro). She talk say na she bring am come Lagos too but in her own dem snatch her for park. She talk say she don see Aunty Caro in her car outside tru the window before. So now i no know. Maybe Aunty Caro go tell my mama say i don die.
I don accept the life, don dey save small small. Some nights i see 3000, 5000, 7000 depending on how many customers i fit get. After Master Ben collet hin cut, i fit save like 500, 1000.
Maybe one day…
12 go soon knack. I dey go Eliza room, go collet panadol. Hin no fit know i sick.
Dania’s Thoughts: Almost everyday i see a joke about a hoe, some of them actually quite funny. But let us remember that some of them didn’t choose that life for themselves. When you get over the ‘wonderfullness’ of her English, pause for a second and think about her plight. There are too many people in Nigeria, and indeed around the world with similar stories. Sex Slavery is very real.