One day in the Zambesi bush

One day in the Zambesi bush

The elephant was well and truly in the room or should i say bush!, there was no escaping, there was nowhere to hide, I couldn’t be a wall flower today, I had just found out that today was my day, the day I was to be signed over.

One of the   older   sisters had summoned me after Morning Prayer, she asked me to sit on a low stool and began to paint intricate designs in henna on my feet and hands, I asked her why, she smiled and said, knowingly. “Your time has come”.

“Time has come for what” I asked, “am I to be released, have I done something wrong or what?”

She smiled again and said “Abdul Rahman   has chosen you, you are lucky”

And so it dawned on me, I was to be given to Abdul Rahman, a man child   I had never met, I had heard the other women say he was one of the young mean ones, that   he was assured martyrdom, he had no qualms about doing anything for the cause, he had tricked some of the girls into speaking in English and then got them punished, just for a laugh, as western education was banned, western languages were also banned.

In my defiance of this rule I thought in  English, I prayed in English, I sung to myself in English, I counted  each day in English, they could steal my freedom but not my thoughts.

And so I waited for my turn, I was told by one of the   older girls   that it was to be between Zuhr and Asr prayers – 2 and 4 o’clock the hottest part of the day.

“It won’t be that bad” she said,

“Just think of past good times, at least you will belong to someone” she said and giggled,

I can’t imagine why she thought it was a   good thing, may be the sun had   got to her head, she’d been here too long or she was well and truly one of them.

The call to prayer for Zuhr, went out and   we washed and prayed… and then it started, I and ten other girls were   ushered into a room, the   youngest was about 13, I knew her, we lived on the   same street, her parents were rich, they had the   big house on the corner, they had a running water and would open the   gates between ten and twelve every day to let people fetch water   for free, they were good people. Why hadn’t she  and the   rest of us been rescued, I prayed every day in the beginning and   now I just recited  the  Quran as we had been taught,  no-one was listening in this dark dank place, even the birds  looked forlorn, the hyenas that used ‘laugh’ at us were disinterested, the chameleons were too  hot to move and just stuck their tongues out to catch their prey,   we  were trapped like bush meat in snares and  about to   be signed  over to the unknown. We were each given a clean hijab, a pair of new shoes and a gold bangle!, the older sisters rubbed   our feet with a mixture of sandalwood, camwood and cheap perfume, the smell made me gag, throwing up might put the kunshi off for a day or two, but would also get me punished, this was the bridal shower from hell, the women cackled like old witches and made crude jokes about the men, I thought Muslim women were supposed to be pure.

The imam called my name – my new name which   I often forgot – I had gone from Agnes Bakky to Munira, I repeated my name a few times every day so I wouldn’t forget, how   could I forget my own name?

“A Muslim husband must   look after his wife, she is his property and he is her property, she must do everything he says   without question….  The imam droned on and on for at least thirty minutes.

The   men came out and we were handed over, I was led over to Abdul Rahman, he was dressed in white with a black skull cap, he didn’t look at me, his so called beard which all the men were encouraged to grow was a sparse as the hair on his head, he couldn’t be more than eighteen I doubt if he knew one end of a women from the other. The imam asked if he was happy with his choice,   he said, yes.  I was not asked for my opinion and that was it, he glanced at me and then I knew why he couldn’t look at me, I knew him and he knew me, he whispered…“Be quiet, you will go home soon”

May be there was a light at the end of this dark tunnel, I might be going home soon, but I had a wedding night to contend with, God be with me and   my newlywed sisters. Amen.


8 thoughts on “One day in the Zambesi bush” by aloiba (@werac)

  1. kay (@kaymillion)

    hmmmm……………. child not bride

    imagine a thirteen year old girl lead to a man’s harem .. #smh#

  2. Folakemi Emem-Akpan (@Folakemi)

    i know this is a writer’s imagination about what might be going on among the kidnapped chibok girls, but it made me cry nonetheless. So very very sad now and praying for these little girls who have no business being where they are right now.
    Gripping tale but you might want to watch punctuation. You used a lot of commas where full stops were appropriate. cheers

    1. aloiba (@werac)

      Thanks for your comments, the girls are in my prayers everyday.

  3. ivie9ja (@Ivie9ja)

    I love this story thanks for the glimmer of hope at the end Well Done

  4. Kosnie (@Kosnie)

    Wish the chibok girls wud be released…they are constantly in our prayers

  5. kay (@Kay0496)

    T’was worth reading.. .

  6. fablee (@Fablee)

    This is a nice story to read, and it is painful that the innocent are sometimes the victims of the unjust system. Keep it up Aloiba. Although I noticed many errors in punctuation, I believe your next story will be better.

    1. aloiba (@werac)

      Thanks for your comments

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