By Amie Sillah
He is still not convinced about I.J’s story.
“I believe I.J’s story, our girls are innocent but I just want them not to rest on their laurels.” Jaa posited.
“I still have my doubts, Aisha can cover for her, and you know these girls and their friends.” Magi posited but Jaa stood her ground.
Magi and Jaaplayed ‘ludo’ at their living room. The siblings came with excellent results.
“Mama! Papa! Look I have 8 credits with a distinction which won me a place at university.” I.J announced with pride and excitement.
“Look at mine also; I have 7 credits with a distinction which also gets me into university.” T.J posited.
“You are proud parents mom and dad and you deserve it. I.J also won the best Science Award and the best student in class and the whole WAEC Class of 2014, she is given a cash prize of D5 000. 00 and an encyclopedia.” T.J announced.
I.J laughed and confirmed.
“T.J is loose mouthed; I wanted to surprise both of you. Take D3 000. 00 and share it among yourselves, T.J with myself with share the rest between us.”
“Let us prepare a delicacy and give a Thanksgiving party to Allah.” Jaa announced.
She heard the merriment and decided to come and enquire.
“What is the merriment and laughter about? Have one of you won a lottery?”
The siblings showed her their results slips.
“The girls have made us proud parents and they will come to show it to their uncle when he comes from work.” Jaa announced and it pierced Sap’s heart.
“Their results are excellent but the only hitch is they are girls and not boys. The achievement made for your lack of male children.” She said it calculatively which touched Jaa’s soft spot.
“You do well O congrats!”
Her statement dampened Jaa’s merriment spirit.
“Don’t mind her she purposely said such things to hurt us especially you with the soft spot for male children but I for me I have overcome it long time ago when my girls gave me the confidence to look forward to greater achievements and Allah has shown me all the signs. Where are their useless sons? Have they completed Junior Secondary school? Are they not the recalcitrantof the village, the thieves androbbers? Had anyone of them succeeded in school not to talk about WAEC? This is what is call jealousy, enemy of progress, don’t mind them.” Magi and the siblings consoled Mama.
“Play the flute Papa and make Mama happy again, the occasion calls for merriment and joy.” T.J said.
The siblings took their slips to Cow Maga. He perused through them and laughed heartily which surprised the siblings who whispered among themselves.
“Why is he laughing?” I.J asked her sister who shrugged her shoulders.
“I thought you have all ‘As’ but not a mixture of ‘As’ and ‘Bs’ but all the same it is manageable. When I heard the joyous mood and merriment I thought you have distinctions in all subjects.”
“Cow! When can we receive gifts from you?” He looked at them and hissed.
“What gifts have your father and mother given you? You should be grateful that education has been given to you with great sacrifice from all of us, for me not directly but indirectly by offering your poor, wretched father, my brother a roof upon his family head when he was retrenched from his job at the city. Are you not only girls?” He asked.
“Cow I cannot understand you people; girls! Girls! Girls! What is this hullaballoo about girls? Are we not human beings too? It does not matter whether we are girls or boys, in fact we did better than all the boys in our class, I took first in class, WAEC Class and the best in the Sciences and T.J took second in her class.”
“You are wrong there is a big difference, with all your so-called achievements you end up in the kitchen and been married off to build your husbands’ homes.”
His statement angered the sibling and they started to leave.
“Come back!” They came back with frown on their faces.
“Due to the financial situation of our family, we look for jobs and fundraise for university education.”
He laughed heartily.
“Jobs! What type of stupid jobs? Is it ordinary clerk or daily wage?”
“Cow! Job is job, there is dignity in labour, we will work and finance our education.”
“I am here and watching you, we shall see.” He posited. The girls left.
On their way to their house they said;
“Cow and Nene Sap are evil and jealous but we will shame them.” The siblings vowed.
She came back from town and was very excited; she woke her mother who was sleeping at the living room settee.
“Mama! Mama! Wake up! There is good news.”
Mama woke up and excitedly asked.
“What is the good news? Don’t leave me in suspension!”
“I have a job! I have a job!”
“Allah is with us! Who God favours no one can curse!”
She came from behind and asked her sister.
“How did it go? Were you successful?”
“I.J yes, Allah is praised! I have a secretary job in a company that prospects for oil.”
“How much is the salary?”
“D2 000. 00 for a start excluding transport allowance and after everything is deducted.”
“But it is still a poor salary.” I.J argued.
“Don’t mind her, it is pure hard earned money and is good for a start.” Jaa posited.
“All the same, congrats.” She hugged her sister and wished her well.
She met her friends and told them about T.J’s job.
“My sister is very lucky oh! She got a job in the city.”
“Oh that is great, we pray for her.”
“But the salary is poor only D2 000. 00 per month.”
“But that is great for a start oh, I wish I had a job even without payment let me just go out in the morning and come back in the evening instead of roaming around this God forsaken village day in and day out.” Saabel posited as all the other friends concurred.
“But it is different for you Aisha; you’ll soon go to the U.K to join your husband.” I.J posited.
“I believe in empowerment, join husband so what? I’ll seek education and earn a degree; I am interested in Nursing and Public Health. We girls even if we are married we should not forget to pursue our goal, let it be a win-win, if we are less dependent on our husbands they respect us all the more, we will help in our homes as well as help our poor parents who took us to school and also in case of death or other calamity which is part of life, we will be useful to our society and ourselves.” Aisha advised.
“Well said our sister well said.” I.j posited and the others concurred.
“As for T.J and me that is our position as well as our parents’ who cannot take us to university, when we start work we will save for it if we happen to get married we will make a contract with our spouses to help us continue our education.” I.J posited.
“In this patriarchal society which spouse will do that?” Saabel asked.
“Don’t be negative be positive, we should create spaces for ourselves and never be desperate for husbands; if they fail to agree we choose education which is our future and my sister any man that denies you empowerment through education forget him he is not good for you because he is a patriarch who wants to control and dominate you to make your life miserable.” I.J advised.
“Have you forgotten Anta’s story, she was working but when Sheikh married her he asked her to stop work and promised to be paying her a salary to be an ‘at home’ mom to look after his family. Anta’s family and friends advised her not to. She did not take heed and left her job. Sheikh fulfilled his promise for 2 months and started his vacillation at the third month but Anta demanded for her right and he became physical and beat her blue/black and she was 4 months pregnant, Anta went home ‘faaye’ (to temporarily leave your husband place), and Sheikh and his parents connived and married him a second wife who is his first paternal cousin, the family choice ‘baadiya’ (blood relationship). Anta asked for divorce and Sheikh demanded everything he spent on her which the family paid with strain. After delivery Anta found another job of lesser pay starting from scratch. Girls be wise!” Aisha advised.
To be Cont.