By Janice Johnson Pemida
Life back in my father’s house was horrible. If there is anything worse than hell, that is how I would describe my ordeal. My step mum ensured she made my life miserable. I was frustrated and soon became depressed. Here I was, at age 15, a primary school dropout with no means of survival and no hope for the future. My dad never even cared about me and how I survived. To him and his wife, I was a very big mistake. I was made to work round the clock all day and only ate once or twice a day. The kind of food I was fed with was an eyesore. Even dogs would reject such food, but that was what I ate for several months while living with dad and his wife.
Some hoodlums in the area began to take advantage of me. They will call me and give me N100 naira, just to have their way with me. I was taken advantage of severally just for small change and I lost my virginity to those hoodlums. I gave in to them because I needed the money to buy petty things like pads for my menstruation. I remember there were times I had to use pieces of clothes I collected from a tailor’s dustbin for my menstruation.
One day, after inserting the pieces of clothes in my pants, I went out to fetch water and while carrying the water on my head, someone called my attention to the pieces hanging in between my thighs and almost falling off. To say I was embarrassed will be an understatement. Yet I dare not ask my dad or step mum for money to buy even tissue paper, not to talk of pad which was even more expensive. In order to stop myself from experiencing such embarrassment, I had to give in to those hoodlums in exchange for the petty cash they gave me. All this while, my friend never gave up on me, we still maintained our friendship despite everything that happened. Along the line, she invited me to her church and I started attending their services every Sunday.
One day, my friend’s mum decided to talk to some of the elder’s in the church to help me as she wasn’t happy with the way my life was just wasting away. After explaining my situation to them, they decided to go and see my dad. About 5 elders of the church, including the pastor, followed me home the next Sunday and met with my dad. They told him, they wanted to help me learn a trade. I told them I wanted to learn hairdressing because at this point I could decide exactly what I wanted to do. One of the Church elders, a very rich and influential woman in the church, decided to sponsor me and asked that I moved in with her in order for me to concentrate fully. Luckily for me, my dad agreed so few days later, the woman came to take me to her house.
(Episode Seven Loading)