Who Do I Know?

Dupe danced the night away. She didn’t tire easily, this was probably attributed to the lines of cocaine she and her friends had inhaled before they arrived at the popular night club “Weapon” which was located in New York City on 14th Street in an unmarked building lined by construction awnings. Dupe couldn’t recall how she had arrived at the club that night. In her state nothing really mattered except the high.


The next morning Dupe woke up groggy on a cold floor in a cold room surrounded by strangers, her vision was blurry but from what she could make out it seemed she was in a jail cell. She searched around for anything at all that could confirm otherwise but to no avail, it was definitely a jail cell. Where were her friends Maria and Ingrid? At this point she began to panic she scanned the cell there were a few females there who looked like they had been clubbing as well, a woman who was in tattered clothing with a dirty face who looked to be about 60 years old and a few women with extremely scanty clothing and large weaves and wigs with bad make-up who seemed to be prostitutes. Dupe was reeling from the realization of her situation. She heard in bits and pieces from the club girls that there had been a raid the night before at Weapon and that all those with drugs on them had been apprehended. Dupe almost broke into tears, why had she decided to keep the satchet with the remaining cocaine on her? Oh why?  She whimpered to herself thinking of her next line of action.


Dupe had NO one to call. Her friends were just as broke as she was. She had been surviving of late by sleeping on Ingrid’s bedroom floor with the permission of Ingrids mother Agnes. See, Dupe had been in the foster care system since she was 9. She was originally born in Nigeria and came to New York when she was 5, her mother had died when she was 9, right in front of her, as they walked down a street one late night looking for the local homeless shelter. Her mom had been mowed down by a drunken driver the car narrowly missed Dupe.

Dupes mothers name was Omolara Adeniyi and this was ALL the young girl ever knew about her mother’s past. So that lack of information had essentially left her an orphan. At the hospital that night after her mothers time of death was announced Dupe was confronted by a social worker who after sometime referred the childs case to the Nigerian Embassy but had come up with nothing as the Embassy said there were so many Adeniyi’s in Nigeria that it would be pointless to send her back to Nigeria as they could not seem to locate any of her relatives.

So Dupes social worker filed to make her a ward of the state and promptly placed her in foster care. Well after that, Dupe was sent from home to home until she was about 15. In the last home she was in her foster mothers Husband attempted to rape her and Dupe had run away and refused to be placed in any other home and ever since then she had been bouncing from one friends home to another, essentially she was homeless and alone.

After much deliberation Dupe decided to call Ingrid.  An officer told her that she would see a judge on Monday. When the officer came to offer her, her one free call she dialed Ingrids cell. Ingrid promised to show up at the court hearing that Monday. As promised when Dupe scanned the court room that Monday morning, she spotted Ingrid nervously perched on a bench in the back of the room. The judge spoke for some time but Dupe barely heard a word but was jolted back to reality when the judge announced that she would be released as the amount of drugs found on her person was minute and since she had no previous criminal history, she was released with the promise of doing 200 hours of community service.

Fine! No jail time! She breathed a sigh of relief. Ingrid ran up to her after her release hugging her and informing her of the freshly made fried chicken mashed potatoes and corn that awaited her at the house. She drooled in anticipation just realizing she hadn’t eaten since the day before her incarceration 3 days prior. Worry and fear had been her appetizer, main course and dessert these past few days and she was happy to be replacing those feelings with a home cooked meal. Ingrid propped up the now weak with hunger Dupe and led her  down the hall and past the receptionist desk toward the front exit. Dupe noticed two suited men near the entrance she could hear one of them attempting to say a name that sounded closely familiar to hers. Dupe had only recently learned to pronounce her name properly from a Nigerian woman she met on the subway one morning. She gave the woman a short story version of her life and the woman had pitied her and gave her a brief lesson on the correct pronunciation of her name. Mo- Du-(k)pe Ade-ni-yi the woman repeated over and over until Dupe had perfected it, the woman sounded like her mother, how could Dupe have forgotten that voice for so long? Dupe had heard her name botched up enough times to know that they were definitely looking for her. A corrections officer who had brought Dupe into the court along with the Dupes other cell mates pointed in her direction. Did the judge change her mind? Who were these men? Why did they know her name? Why were they looking for her. Fear consumed her. Although she wanted to run, she had no idea what she would be running from. The officers announced in low tones that they were from INS and that her name had been flagged in their system after her crime and that she was out of status. Her Visitors Visa had expired 14 years prior and that she was supposed to have only been in the country for 6 months.

Dupe was in shock. She understood what they were saying but didn’t understand what that meant for her. The officers signaled for her to follow them, she looked over helplessly at Ingrid who shrugged in confusion. Dupe followed the officers in silence into an unmarked vehicle and shut down mentally for she was overwhelmed.

Upon reaching the INS building she was escorted to a confinement center which resembled a large army barrack with about 20 bunk beds lined with military precision across the room. Women of many ethnicities milled about the room quiet and somber. Dupe sighed loudly very confused about what fate awaited her.

Eventually, Dupe was visited by a public lawyer, the lawyer was free for her considering her circumstances. The lawyer patiently listened to Dupes story and by the end of the story looked severely pained. She collected all the information she could from Dupe and promised to return.

The lawyer returned on the day a trial for deportation had been scheduled. Before that day Dupe had no idea that she could even be deported, legal status had been the least of her worries after all the years she had spent on the streets barely surviving. The judge ruled in the end that Dupe be deported back to Nigeria her country of birth. Dupes head vibrated and she heard herself scream, She was sure she was having an outer body experience. She crumbled to the floor crying and screaming at the judge. “Where will I go? Who do I know in Nigeria?! Who do I Know?!!!” with tears streaming down her face and her lawyer attempting to console her, Dupe came to realize the gravity of her situation, she knew nothing about Nigeria. All she knew was that she would be thousands of miles from everything she knew.

Dupe was already lost and alone here in America. What would become of her in Africa? She wondered. Before Dupe knew it she was on a plane with a one way ticket back to the land where she was born…

Inspired by true events.

10 thoughts on “Who Do I Know?” by ivie9ja (@Ivie9ja)

  1. Bloody hell….i pity dupe oh…what a messy situation to be in…

  2. OMG…….. What d hell!

  3. Oh wow! What a shity ass life… the US system don’t play… try not to get in trouble because when they come for you… and mehn the foster care system has to be the worst thing that could happen to an orphan… It is rare that these kids get a good foster parent.

    Well dupe honey.. welcome to NAIJA! we will take you in! and to think that this was a real life event.. just wow.

  4. Real life? I don’t doubt it.

  5. Sad tale! poor Dupe! where will she starts from? I pray she finds help in her motherland

  6. Oh, what a pity!!!

  7. Its inspired by 2 stories one for a girl from india and one for a guy from Jamaica but since this is Naija stories I decided to alter the country of origin. But apparently this happens to people frequently in the States

  8. Nice! I hope she finds paradise.

  9. lol theres good things to look for in 9ja, like her roots and family, have faith dupe

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