Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Stolen Childhood

I imagined the aran*; hung over the open closet across the room wrapped around my ill and shriving body. The image conjured surged a powerful urge to get the velvet fabric at all cost. I contemplated over the two options available; it was either I gather enough strength to walk the painstaking steps to the closet or scream loudly, which would send Asiata running into my room to get it for me.

I decided on the latter but my voice was weak. It sounded as if the echo did not leave my room. Or it could be that Asiata heard me but was bent on her revenge because I freed her caged butterflies? She kept them in order to send messages home to her people in Ilorin. “Backwards bush girl” was what I called her before i opened the mesh-like cage and released her diurnal insects. Doesn’t she know moths are for sending messages not butterflies?

The former option it had to be. I pushed away the Ankara wrapper the aran* is to replace, for it did not do much to keep me warm, besides, it reeked of Robb. I made the five seconds walk to the closet in thirty five seconds. I pulled at the fabric but the corner of the velvet snagged on the tiny nicks on the closet door and its end was caught in between the cracks. I tugged at the cloth until my legs gave in due to fatigue and i sunk to the floor. Everything went dark.

I woke up to the sound of wood cracking in fire and the aran* wrapped around my body. But to my dismay, the surrounding was alien. In the middle of the room was a real camp fire and behind it was another girl sleeping on a straw mat at the extreme. There are two entrances into the room, one had a door and the other had a curtain. A depicted calendar with the image of Jesus was hung on the door and on the floor by the right, sat a small amu* covered with a metal tray with different color plastic cups arranged on it.

A tall light skinned man entered through the curtain entrance, he took water from the amu* with one of the plastic cups. He hiked up his glowing white sutana*; a result from its several rinses in robin blue powder water, revealing a black trouser underneath. I would have labeled him an albino but he is freckles and blemish free. He came up to me and placed his hands on my forehead. I shrunk away from his touch for I did not know who he was. He handed me the cup of water which I took but did not drink and he said in Ijebu* dialect that we will start in thirty minutes.

A plump lady came in after he left. She was also dressed in a sutana* and with her was a small bowl, a wad of paper and a folded white cloth. Without speaking, she took me to the river to bathe. In the paper was a ball of black soap, which she generously applied to my hair with a twine sponge. I was given the white cloth to wrap around my wet naked body. I shrived to no one in particular as we walked back, the night was dark and cold and I was scared. We entered a building; a place I assume is some sort of sanctuary. Stick inscent were burning at the four corners of the room and there were benches arranged for an audience. She left me there and came back with two other women and two men, the light skinned man included.

Surrounded by the five church members, I was asked to kneel down in the middle. At this point, i found my voice and asked them why I was there and where my parents were. All my questions fell on deaf ears. They sang praises to God and the prayer session began. The light skinned man who was the leader explained to the rest what their mission was. He stated that i have been ill for the past month and my family had brought me here to be cured. He also claimed they are to command my spirit friends to leave me alone to enjoy life. For an eight year old girl, it was terrifying to hear of ghosts and spirits in the middle of the night. I crouched where I was and screamed.

At the tintinnabulation of the church bell, whips made from the remnant of a sugar cane plant landed on my back. The five of them shouted gibberish as the cane descended on me. I cried and danced to the canes like my life depended on it. Before I passed out I heard one of the females say in ijebu* “her case is a strong one; she might not make it through the night if we don’t beat the little devils out of her”

I almost did not make it through the night. Times without number, buckets of water was poured on me while the canning continued. I was asked to repeatedly send these spirit friends I neither could see nor hear away. I was to denounce my imaginary spirit land and claim earth as my abode. Broken in spirit and weak in stamina, I made up my own images and bade them goodbye for I wanted to live. The canes stopped as dawn broke over the valley. The advent of an adult began with this day. For there is no night so long that will not end with a dawn. And no day dawns like another.

** Aran – A velvet fabric used as a duvet

** Amu – A dome shaped water vessel. It cools the water in it.

** Ijebu – The literary dialect taken from the Yoruba language.

** Sutana – A white garment worn by the church organization. (e.g., Celestials and Cherub and Seraphim)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

30 Days of Thankfulness- Day 21

I have been tagged by sis Believer and friends Aijay and Writefreak. Thank you guys! You forced me to look beyond my trouble today and count all the numerous blessings God has bestowed on me.

Join me in the Thankfulness Chain....if you've been tagged, please complete the tag on the assigned day example... if you're tagged for November 21... that is day 21 and you should title your post 30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 21 provide a link to the person that tagged you previously Also provide a link to the two people that you're tagging for the next day so we can all follow the chain... Do let them know they're being tagged.. why they're being tagged, and how to grow the chain if you're unable to do the tag on your assigned day... still choose the day to reflect the date you do it (if you're choosing not to back date it) ...example... if you're tagged for November 25 but dont get to do it till November 27... and you're not back dating.. it's okay to do it as Day 27 you can post these rules or something to this effect to help it along.. :-)

Abba Father, your praises are my thanks. You have revealed to me your character through your names. You are the God that never lies and I am thankful I am your child.

Yahweh, I am that I am, you exist and pre-exist. I reverence your name for you shall always be forever.

ELohim, I thank you Lord for creating me for your purpose. I am here to give glory and honor to your name. I will praise and give thanks till the end of my days. I also thank you for the ones whom you created me through, my mom and dad. I couldn’t have chosen any better. I thank you for allowing my siblings to be created through the same blood and for placing us together. They are just so wonderful. My household and I will forever serve you Lord.

ELshaddai, I thank you Lord for being sufficient enough for me. Though, you have placed good friends and acquaintances in my path, I am happy that my worship is all for you. When the night was long you broke the dawn. When the storm raged so long, you calmed your child.

Jehovah Jireh, I thank you Lord for having everything under control and providing at the right time for my needs. Your gifts and blessings do not tarry and for that I am grateful.

Jehovah Nissi, I thank you for being my banner of hope, love and encouragement. Lord you are my rallying point and my means of victory over the devil. My battle belongs to you Lord.

Jehovah Shalom, I thank you Lord for your envelope of peace and rest in my life.

Jehovah Shamma, I thank you for being there for me. When I was in ruins, you restored me. You did not abandon me when I turned my back on you. Lord I say thank you.

Jehovah Rapah, I thank you for being the great physician who heals the physical and emotional needs of his people

I thank God for all the wonderful friendships I have made on blogsville. I can’t name you all. I am especially Thankful for TERC. It is wonderful to talk to people who are sold out to Christ. I pray that we not only be hearer of his word but also doers. And the good fruit will yield and produced more fruit which will feed the world in Jesus name (Amen)

I tag Rinsola, Afrobabe, Yayi, darkelee, solomonsdyelle, daddy's girl and Belle.

Friday, November 9, 2007


“I have been here before” I thought to myself. The warm room I stood in had a strange sense of familiarity to it. I surveyed the place like an architect looking for his signature on a building. I turned around confused; and there you were standing with your arms akimbo

“What are you thinking about?” you asked

“Your place looks very familiar. I feel like I have been here; in this very room”

You shook your head and turned away as if I was crazy. We both know it was impossible, the house was completed two months ago and this was my first visit. I moved towards the sofa but sat at its edge with my coat still on, fiddling my car keys. You pulled me into the couch, thinking it was the game we play, the one where I pretend to leave and you beg me to stay. Whereas, this time I was really feeling uneasy about the oddness of the intimacy with the room.

We watched a funny movie on TV and you placed your head on my lap, unconsciously I combed your hair with my fingers while you laughed at the silly dialogue. I laughed too. Not at the movie but at you because you giggle like a school girl in love. Your laugher was replaced by soft snores, your chest heaved at the sound of each breath you took. I still marvel at how fast you fall asleep. The movie was over and as if on cue, the grandfather clock chimed one and I knew it was time to leave.

I kissed you on the forehead and whispered into your ears “I am leaving”. You asked me to let you fall asleep before I do. I smiled and obliged even though you are already sleeping. I lay next to you and it took me thirty minutes to find my way to slumber land.

I woke up and could see the crimson sky with autumn leaves dancing to the wind’s praises through the parting of the curtains. It must be cold outside. The feelings of strangeness and familiarity came back strongly and I felt it should not be ignored. With my eyes closed, i tried to remember where I saw this room and what it signifies to me. I dug and dug deeper into my mind image box. Suddenly, it came back to me; everything much brighter and in more detail. My heart sank and I knew before I looked, a dark ring stain made by your coffee cup would be on the table.

I sprang up and checked, there the evidence was. The dampness and color of the stain on the wood gave its timeline away. The mark was recently made; it couldn’t have been more than a day old. I looked at you sleeping and tears filled my eyes. Slowly, I put my coat on and found my shoes. It was not until I got into my car that the tears let out. Yes, I have been in that room before. The same room in my dream where you would cry and plead with me to let you marry someone else and all I could do is stare at the fading dark ring on the coffee table.