Thursday, 27 March 2014

American Mugu

We were in my sitting room watching a Nollywood movie. The storyline was that of two men who were trying to con a young girl whom they assumed was from a rich family. The plot was silly and funny at the same time. I was amused at what men will do to sleep with a girl including telling obvious lies. Wobioluwamitito, whom we call Tito because her name was rather long and jaw breaking for the non-Yoruba speaking people; kept on smiling to herself as we continued watching the movie. Sometimes, she would chuckle loud which was distracting and annoying. Although, I was more curious as to why she was so amused I didn’t ask her. The movie finished and we sat back to discuss it as the credit rolled.
"That was a silly movie" I said as a way of conversation.
"Not silly, it happens in real life" Tito replied
"Why would the guy die at the end of it? Nigerian movie directors like to kill their actors. I wonder who will be left on earth if that's how we all die at every slight opportunity" I said not impressed.
"It’s true." Esther said. "I am not so much of a fan of Nigerian movies joo!"
"You are not a fan of anything Nigerian. That's why you were almost duped by that fake Americanna" I said laughing at Esther
"That one don craze. Me sef I show am now" Esther replied laughing.
"All these bobos are mugu. I tell you" Tito said shaking her head. "In fact this movie reminded me of one mugu who started harassing me on Facebook.”
"Really!" I said.
"Ha see me o! This guy requested for my friendship. As I am very careful of who I sign on, I went to check the friend list and I saw that we shared a lot of friends in common so I decided to sign him on." Tito narrated.
"That was a mistake o!" I cut in.
"Are you telling me? It was the biggest mistake of my life. This guy was smooth. He started passing comments on all my posts and liking all my pictures. One day he sent me a mail commenting on my name. He was always so familiar that I would have sworn that I knew him. He asked for the meaning which I told him."
“That's not strange, please! People always want to know the meaning of your name." Esther said. "It was your name that got me attracted to you in Uni now remember?"
“Yes I know and that was why I gave him audience. Anyway, one day, we chatted on Facebook about issues going on in Nigeria that was when he told me he lived in America. Shortly after, he started mailing me regularly. Sometimes, I responded but most times, I ignored him. About the time of my birthday, he said he wanted to get me a gift. He kept on pestering me on what I wanted but I just felt that he could get anything without making a big fuss out of it” Tito said.
“So, don’t tell me you turned down the offer? Ore, wetin dey do you now?” Esther inquired
“Why don’t you just exercise patience and let her finish this story.” I answered Esther getting mildly irritated by her interruption.
“Anyway, after much persuasion on his side, he decided to send money to me to buy either a Samsung galaxy, a watch, or an Ipad.” Tito continued.
“Ore, you have collected awufu. Where is the money?” Esther interrupted again.
“Wait now, he sent fifty thousand naira. Of course, since all the items he suggested was far more expensive than what he sent, I bought myself a BB.” Tito explained.
“Yuck!” Esther said squeezing her face into an ugly shape.
“Well I needed another BB at that time and I still had change to do some other things that needed to be taking care of.” Tito replied defensively. “But you know, he now had access to my phone number. He would call endlessly that I began to think that the guy must have issues.”
“Isn’t that a sign that he cared?” I asked.
Esther snickered “Ose has come with this her mushy-mushy emotional stuff o!” she mocked
“No, I don’t think so. Anyway, I didn’t see it that way because I was irritated by it.”
“Irritated? That sounded more like devotion to me.” I said ignoring the horrible look Esther shot my way.
“The guy is overbearing and boastful. He said he was going to buy clothes for me and I wondered what the cheek! Someone I don’t even now”.
“He has no class. But you can’t blame him that’s what most guys use in luring young girls into a clandestine relationship.” Ose said knowingly.
“He told me his whole family lived in Canada and America. Only for him to gist me about his immediate elder sister who was living in his village somewhere in Ekiti.” Tito said.
“Just trying to impress you now.” Esther said chuckling to herself.
“Why didn’t you ask him why the sister was living in Nigeria now? Ok, maybe because she is married to a local.” Esther said as we all burst into laughter.
“The man can boast! He told me he wanted to buy a house in Ikoyi that I should find out the cost when I complained about my area of Lagos.”
“Oh! Na wa for you o! But Tito, you are a slacker. You could have turned him into a maga and collect all the stuff he was trying to shove down your throat.” Esther laughed clapping her hands the way she does anytime she is excited.
Ore, I was just amused by it all. All the lies. How he has properties at the Caribbean and that’s where he would love to take me on a vacation.”
“Oh yeah! Which one Barbados?” I asked as we all laughed with tears rolling down our eyes. I held on to my side because I didn’t know such people still existed. Telling unintelligent lies.
“Look at you guys, he sent me website of universities I can go there o!” Tito said as we all burst out laughing again.
“You tell am you want to go school?” Esther asked almost choking on her laughter.
"He even said he would set me up in business, give me a car and a driver." Tito said sighing. 
"Hey! How you go turn down such a juicy offer!" Esther exclaimed holding her head. 

“One day, I tried to find out about his family but he was non-committal so I left him but that was an indication that he was married. After a while, he would only call at odd hours and very infrequent. One day, he explained that he was very busy with his tax returns. So I asked in January? He said he liked to start early and this may take him till April before he would be less busy but I see his comments on Facebook all the time. After a while, I got fed up of all his lies and just ignored his messages and calls.” Tito said.
“You could have being more patience with him maybe he was truly serious about these tax returns thing.” I said chuckling.
“Is he running a conglomerate? He is a community nurse for goodness sake and that’s if he is what he claims he is and not doing bootlegging.” Tito said sniggering
“Ha! You have serious badbelly for this guy o!” I said.
“I do! I don’t like anybody taking me for a fool” Tito replied.
“But seriously, it pained me that you didn’t collect the trailer load of stuff that he was going to send from America. At least you will give me some thing now.” Esther said pretending to be upset.
"Even the car and the driver! By now we would have being doing madam Tito!" I replied mocking her
“You are not both serious." Tito responded laughing.
"But seriously, that’s how women fall prey you know. I have heard stories of some ladies who were duped of their personal belongings.” I answered.
“Those girls are crazy. How can you take any guy you meet on Facebook serious? Most of them are looking for who to devour especially single matured ladies.” Tito answered.
“God saved you o Tito!” Esther said.
"How now? How you see me so? I resemble mumu? He is the American Mugu now." Tito replied laughing.

Image is courtesy of Google Image

Saturday, 15 March 2014

The Wail of the Siren

I sat in the corner of the room listening to Yetunde as she told her story. I was angry at what she had had to suffer and was infuriated that I and others around her have being unfair in our judgement of her. I am not one for emotions but tears rolled down my eyes as I listened to her pathetic story.

Yetunde was some girl I was intrigued by. She was a very pretty girl. She was always cheerful and had a smile for everyone. Though I didn't know that beneath that smile was a disturbed child. Yetunde was in her twenties. What attracted me to her was that she roamed the street as if she had no destination. I was very curious about her. Boys and men alike hung around her because of her beauty. I felt a need to advise her about what I perceived as her waywardness. She was also the topic of discussion for all the middle aged women in the neighbourhood. Though, these women greeted her and always seemed friendly, they were wary of her.

I met her at the salon. I came in to wash my hair. There were a lot of customers present and I was uncomfortable hanging around for my turn. I had contemplated leaving and coming back another time but I knew I may find it difficult to come back. As if she sensed my discomfort, Yetunde decided to allow me to take her place while she waited. I was surprised at her gesture and wanted to turn her down but she insisted. I felt grateful for this act and I expressed this to her. We started a conversation after this and long after the salon incident she would always stop to greet me. I was very fascinated with her and secretly wondered about her. One day, she saw me walking down the street and she approached me.
“Good evening Aunty” she greeted curtsying as she did.
“How are you?” I greeted back.
 “I am fine.” She responded. I made to continue on my stroll when she held my hand. “Aunty, I hope you don’t mind. I want to see you” she said nervously. I stopped to look at her wondering why she wanted to see me.
 ”What is it about?” I asked still wondering.
“I need an advice” she replied.
“Ok then, let’s go to my house” I replied her. We walked the short distance to my house in silence. I kept on wondering if I was doing the right thing by taking someone I hardly knew to my house. We got to my place and I invited her in. She sat on the sofa while I sat on the single chair. I waited for her to tell me what the problem was.
“Aunty,” she said clearing her throat. I could see she was uncomfortable and I wondered again what she wanted.
I hope she didn’t want to beg for money. I thought to myself. I waited patiently though lots of thoughts were going on in my head.
 “I need your advice, men always want to have sex with me.” She blurted out.
I kept a straight face since this was no news at all. She is a pretty girl and appeared unusually friendly with the opposite sex.
 “The point is that I don’t how to refuse them. Sometimes, I would have told myself that I wouldn’t do it but I just find myself having sex with them.” I kept quiet pondering how I would manage this.
 “I am helpless all the time. I don’t even enjoy sex.” She said.
“So why do you do it?” I asked puzzled.
“Aunty, I really don’t know.” She replied.
“Do they offer you money or buy stuff for you? Do you think that’s why you do it” I asked.
 “I will never sell my body for anything” she responded harshly.
“Well, I am sorry if that sound offensive but I am just trying to find out why you find it difficult to refuse sex if you don’t enjoy it.” I replied taking aback by her response.
 “I am sorry Aunty. It’s just that I am aware people call me a slut in the area and I don’t want you to see me that way” she replied. I was surprised that she was aware of how people perceived her. “Aunty, I am no slut. I really want to be a good girl but…”she said hesitant.
Her voice shook slightly and I could see tears in her eyes. She bent her head and tried to avoid looking at me.  “I was raped at ten years old” she said barely audible.
“What?” I shouted.
“It was not my fault. I didn’t lure him into it. He would come into my bedroom and caress me. He promised to give me beautiful things. The first time he did it, it was painful and I tried to scream but he covered my mouth. After he finished, he told me not to tell my Aunty that he would buy chocolate for me. He did the following day but I knew what he was doing was wrong and I told him but he said he loved me. I didn’t want to do it I swear but he made me.” She said crying. 

Her eyes looked wild and she was eager to convince me of her innocence. I was glued to my chair wondering who the “he” was.

“I tried telling my Aunty but she was too hostile, she would not listen to me. She said if she should catch me with her husband she would kill me. I wanted to tell her that he sneaked to my room but I was afraid as I had nowhere to go.” She continued crying. 

I kept quiet not knowing what to say.  I could see she was badly damaged.

 “Shortly after, my Auntie’s brother-in-law started fondling me at night. I suspected he had seen his brother having sex with me. I tried to refuse him but he threatened to tell my Aunty. I suffered in silence because I had nowhere to go. When I was thirteen, I got pregnant. I didn’t know I was pregnant at that time. I thought I had malaria. My Aunty took me to the hospital where I was told I was pregnant. She beat me blue and black. She accused me of luring her husband into sleeping with me. She beat me until I fainted. I woke up the following day in the hospital. I was told I lost the pregnancy but I am sure she aborted it.” She said sobbing quietly

I sat there with tears rolling down my cheek listening to her story. I felt like reaching out to her but I was glued to my chair and  really did not have any words of consolation for her.

 “Yetunde,” I called out tentatively. “You need professional help. This is beyond me. You need to seek for professional help.”
“Where?” she asked still sobbing

“I believe you need a psychological evaluation. I believe what those two animals did to you have affected you.” She sat there sobbing. I got up and held her. This could have being my daughter. I said to myself.