What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice and all things nice.
Its not just me. Every kid in our hamlet does it. Probably, every kid in the world. After our dunlop slippers are well worn and torn, we would make a music box out of it, by cutting out a compartment, and looking for the biggest “tiun tiun” to put inside. Those melodious insects will sing and make your day till they die. Iya elewe warned me times a million, to refrain from playing with those insects, but I never listened.
Maybe, if she had told me how they could crawl up your ear drums if you put the music slipper by your side while u slept, I would have listened to her. But these adults are all… Don’t do this, don’t do that… All instructions, no reason. Makes u more curious.
So, I woke up that morning, shredding the palmfronds I gathered the day before. I had spread them in the sun, to rid them of their moisture so as to make my broom-making work easier. Later, I would gather the finely carved spines, after they were completely dried, and sell them at oke Bola.
But one minute, I was making brooms, and the next minute I was lying on my back, with Iya Elewe’s huge bosom grazing my fore head. Her voice trembled as she called my name…
“Jolaade ajoke, please don’t die…”
Her voice was all shades of scared, I was scared too.
“mama mi, mii tii kuu” I cried!
I later learned “tiun tiun” had creeped up my ears and nearly killed me, but thank God iya elewe had herbs that could cure me. True, my left ear was dripping of what seemed like palm oil and something grainy. I was extremely grateful to God for my life.
But that was 30 years ago, and now that I think about it… Could an ear infection have made me lose consciousness? Couldn’t it have been the sun that licked off the last bits of consciousness my hungry body could muster? And could I have died from an ear infection?
But there were many unanswered questions. Our childhood wasn’t right, but we survived.