When I started this blog, my creed was to describe “the world as I see it”. Looking at the over hundred posts since then, it appears that from my viewpoint, the world is political—very political. Most articles have been inspired by happenings in the political landscape. Today, I take an apolitical route. I write about two persons, or rather, two groups of persons, as each person represents more than one person’s experience.
The tale begins with Person A. Let’s call her “Sarah”. Sarah was born in northern Nigeria, out of wedlock, overlooked by her father, and left for her mom to raise—without any help. Her mom struggled to raise her. With the proceeds from her petty trading activities, Sarah’s mom raised her up until the end of her primary education. Her uneducated mom was staunchly determined to give her daughter the education that she did not have.
Alas, life hardly follows the script of Disney’s producers. Sarah’s mom succumbed to death’s grip just as she was about to start her junior secondary education. Her father, now with a bit of care, shipped her off to stay with his sister. The little girl’s legal angel quickly changed from “mama” to “aunty”.
Sarah’s aunt used her as a fulltime shop attendant for three years. While her mates moved from JS 1 to JS3, she sold peppersoup and drinks at her aunt’s “peppersoup joint”. Her day began at 5am, and ended around 11pm when the shop closed after the last drunk customer would have staggered off.
That’s enough of Sarah’s tale. Let’s hear a bit about Person B. Maria should be a fitting name for Person B. Maria was born in southern Nigeria, out of wedlock, overlooked by her father, and left for her mom to raise—without any help. Did I say, “Overlooked”? Actually, her father is not known. Her mom had a chance to be educated, but chose to forgo schooling in favour of raunchy living. Maria is the first product of the raunchy factory.
Raising Maria was a big problem for her mom. Alcohol and drugs being enemies of good parenting, her mom was the worse for wear. After observing her mom’s struggles, one of her aunts convinced her mom to let Maria move in with her. This aunt took her home and put her in a private primary school. Maria performed well all through her primary classes, missing a full secondary school scholarship by just one mark. Her aunt encouraged her, and placed her in a reputable secondary school to start JS 1. Just as she was about to start the first term, her mom died, leaving her in her aunt’s hands.
We return to Sarah’s tale. Sarah’s aunt enrolled her in a public secondary school to start JS 1 when her mates were starting SS 1. School attendance meant she now had to wake by 4am to meet up with numerous chores. After school hours, the shop became her abode until closing time. She attended the public school for two years, becoming disillusioned with her schooling experience. She felt the school would not allow her to achieve her dream of becoming a medical doctor.
Sarah begged her aunt to enrol her in a private school. When her aunt refused her plea, she decided to put her dream in her own hand. She had saved some money from tips by her aunt’s customers. Using this money, she enrolled at a private school and paid her fees. Her aunt did not care. As long as Sarah did not slack in her shop duties, she could do anything with her school time. Sarah’s teachers wonder why her guardian never comes for parents-teachers meetings. They have no clue that their student pays her fees herself.
In the south, Maria’s first year of secondary education was quite eventful. Not only was she recognised for failing her schoolwork, she was indicted for theft and other juvenile vices. Her aunt refused to believe the school’s accusations. She moved her to another boarding school. Maria got all she needed. Academic performance was all that was required from her.
In the new school, Maria’s grades continued to drop. Seeing her ward move from a star to a pariah, her aunt paid for extra lessons for her. Still, her grades refused to move up. She repeated classes and was in SS1 when her mates were in SS3. Repeating SS1 twice was the last straw that broke her aunt’s back. Her aunt, fuming, threatened to evict her. The problem was that no one in the extended family was willing to accept her. After much pleading, her aunt allowed her to continue staying with her. The school, after much pleading, also withdrew its withdrawal notice, and promoted her to SS2 on trial.
Maria is now an SS2 student. Her first term result has more Fs than Cs, adding to her aunt’s anger. She prefers eating, sleeping and loitering to reading. On the other hand, Sarah also has academic troubles. However, while Sarah wishes her aunt would allow her more time to read, Maria’s ample time is not for reading. Both girls, now seventeen, continue on their separate routes. Someday, their tale will be complete.