Awero

Every day, Awero would wait at the back of Oga Muri’s window for Sadiat who always stopped over to “play” with her boyfriend. On a fateful day, Awero returned from school earlier than usual to the surprise of her mother. She had been driven by her class teacher, Mr. Akanle, for defaulting in paying her development levy. Though the government claimed basic education was free from the primary to the secondary school level, pupils and students were still being driven by the school authority for N800 Development Levy. Awero had run home with the hope of collecting the money she had been saving with her mother, she was disappointed when her mother informed her that Iwalewa, her elder sister had come to borrow the money, even with the little profit she had made over the week to pay for her daughter’s treatment at the health centre. School was over for her that day, and if she would make it up the next day, she had to get out of her school uniform and launch her hawking tray to pay her way back to school.

Her mother suggested she waited for Sadiat, but, how could she? She had a target of N800 to meet that day; and it was a time sales had been extremely bad. [It would have been] better for her to have dropped out of school, but still remained a virgin. [It would have been] better for her to stay home that afternoon, than to witness her dignity forcefully taken from her. Awero was ganged raped by some block-moulding boys at an uncompleted building. She did not even know how many of them “did it”. When the pains became unbearable, she pleaded to be killed. It was then she heard Oga Muri’s voice. She wanted to die…

It was exactly nine months and three days. Awero had been in labour for two days. Even in her pains, her beauty radiates through her ebony skin and her dimples. Her mother was holding her; her elder sister was all over [the] ward calling the matron. Sadiat was fanning her. She was in pains. Our lady corpers were crying…