I had thought I would be safe. I honestly believed none of those things could ever happen to me. Tales had been heard, stories told….of girls beaten, women battered and futures cut short. My name is Olamide. Adejumobi Olamide to be precise… and this is my story.
I lived with my parents on the outskirts of a town called Taribo in Powe State in Paradise. This was my heaven, it was my hell. Our house just like all the houses in the area was unpainted and had a roof that was mostly rusted and full of holes. We dreaded the rainy season. All the action happened in the centre of the town where the market square was and next to it the Oba’s palace. It was quite majestic in comparison to the ambiance of the rest of the town. The only building that had paint on it, though not fully painted. Back to the market place, hmmmn, the market place. It came alive during the early hours of the morning. The hustle and bustle of market women and traders from other towns, haggling and bargaining. This was the haven for school children like myself, why you may ask, well, why not, would be the response of any child under 7 at that time. The market had sweets, biscuits, agbalumo, mangoes, apples, books, sugar cane and best of all, baba dudu. We loved baba dudu. Myself and my best friend, Tanimola Oyinade. The way the caramel colour remained on the white transparent nylon it came in and the way it was stringed together was a sight to behold. The coffee and caramel taste always left us begging for more and parents knew this and used it to their advantage
Now, you see my parents were civil servants and I was proud of them. At least it must have been something close to the feeling of pride as earlier noted, I was only 7 years old. They worked for the government. I’m sure they got to talk to the president on a steady. President George Ebere James, the best president my country had ever seen. The true definition of a leader. My father, Mr. Adejumobi worked in the local government, Taribo West Local Government. He was tall and dark, quite funny but also a disciplinarian. Once we heard him come through the gates, we scampered to make sure everything was in place. I don’t remember him ever playing with us, he was so stern… not how I imagined a father would be. We could hardly talk to him. He was a clerk. In my innocence I assumed it was a high and mighty position. My folly will however be realized soon. My mother on the other hand was a nurse at the government hospital. She was so caring and so loving. She was my favourite. She was ebony black in complexion with jet black hair. A bit slender but not so much, she had flesh in the right areas I suppose. Her eyes were so communicative. I understood her without her having to say a word. She radiated with joy, hope, life. That was the type of woman my mother was. People always wanted to be around her and she always had words of wisdom on her rosy plump lips. We told our mum everything.
My brothers, Olayinka, Nathan and Tolu were my partners in crime. We were all in the same school. I guess we were closer than normal. That’s just the way it had always been. They protected me. Everyone in town knew this and they knew not to mess with me. Olayinka was the oldest. He was also the funniest, Basket Mouth had nothing on him. Olayinka could crack a dry joke and it’d still be hilarious. You can say he had the gift. He was 9 years old and was in primary 5. He was quite handsome, people were endeared to him. Nathan on the other hand was the second born and quite the strict one. We lived in a community were elders were to be respected be it by just a day. Nathan was aware of this all too well and never failed to discipline me whenever I acted out of line. Even still I loved him. He was very kind and courageous. I looked up to him. I was next, the 3rd born and the only girl. The apple of my fathers’ eyes. I hear tales of how the girl child is under appreciated, well that was not so in my house. I attended the same schools my brothers did and was not treated differently on account of my sex. You can say that there was gender equality in my house…that is, until the military took over power.