….by some providence I was the only one at home the following day. My mother had to be at work, my father had gotten a call from his former placed of work and my brothers had all gone out to play football. Argggh, I thought, this is it. I took only a little food and two dresses. I went through my house, remembering the times that there had been laughter in it. It seemed like such a long time ago. I left, never looked back until now. I went through the bush, I knew it was safe, any animal that was there was long dead by now. I slept in the bush for three days. In the evening of the fourth day, I stumbled upon a farmer. I told him my name and then I fainted. He carried me to his home and cared for me. He was a widower with no children. He wanted to know my story, but I wasn’t ready to share. He left me to rest. He went to the farm the next day and I left without saying thank you, I even stole some food. I found a church, hmmmn, a church. They should be able to take me in I thought. I went in, I didn’t even have to say anything, a sister came towards me and asked if I was alright and I shook my head. I pretended I was mute. It was a convent. They took me in I was content here. They changed my name to Sister Maria. Sister Maria, I liked it. I was taught about God and a whole host of other things. I even went to school. My family was rarely remembered during this time. I finally broke my silence one day. The sisters were surprised to find that I could in fact talk. I had been quiet for so long. It felt good to talk. They all cried when I told them all the hardship myself and my family had had to endure. They asked me if I had forgiven my father and I said I had. I had never thought about it, but I had. I guess that was just the type of person I was. Also, if all that hadn’t happened to me, I wouldn’t have met them all. It was time for me to look for my family. I was to graduate from the university where I had studied law in 3 months. I told the sisters that I would be leaving then. It was heartbreaking to leave them and they were sad to see me go, but it had to be done. Tears seem to be a very important part of my life. They all cried when I was leaving, Sister Clara who had first found me when I came to the convent, Sister Mary-David who always worked me hard in my classes, Sister Theophilis who gave up her one man room so I could have a place to sleep. I remembered every one of them. It was because of them I had the opportunity to become all that I am today. I would never forget them.
I went back to my town. The military government had handed over to a democratic government by now. The town seemed lively, a lot of development had gone on. It was definitely different than when I left 15 years ago. It had been 15 years since I had seen Yinka, Nathan, Tolu, Tanimola, my mother and my father. I got to my house, but it wasn’t there. Was I at the wrong address? Definitely not, my mango tree was there, but not the house. I went to the palace to inquire. They remembered the pain I had put my family through. I eventually got an address where they might be. I went there, knocked on the gate. No answer. I knocked like 5 times before some little girl peeped out to ask who it was. I told her my name and she went back in. A man came out, her father I presume. Olamide, Olamide? Is that really you? Who was this person and why did he know my name. Then I saw it, he had exactly the same scar on his forehead that Yinka had after he hit his head on a window pane. Olayinka, my brother. Olayinka, my brother had a daughter, it brought tears to my eyes that I had missed so much. He opened the gate and we hugged so tightly. I had truly missed my family. Blood indeed was thicker than water. He introduced me to his wife and daughter. His wife was Deborah and his daughter’s name was Olamide. I told him all that had happened while I was still at home and when I left home. He gaped through it all. I soon found out that my father had died the previous year. I felt sorry that I never got to tell him that I forgave him. My mother and Tolu were staying with Nathan at his house at the moment.
In the end, I’m glad for how everything turned out. Now I would like to use this story to reach out to girls and women around the world, if it happened to me, it can happen to anyone at all. The issue is what we choose to do after the experience. We have no control over what happens to us, but we have total control over what we take out of our experiences. Whatever you do, just know that your story is an inspiration to somebody out there. Speak out, let our voices be heard.