A few years back, when my kids were still young and I was a travelling and working mother, I needed a house help who would assist my mum to take care of my kids. I hired Pasi, a Togolese girl of about 16 years at that time to work for me.
Pasi was a pretty thing, who quickly settled in and worked her way into the hearts of my children. She spoke only in Yoruba but was quick to learn English, albeit the pidgin version, so she could communicate effectively with my kids and with neighbours, too. She liked to prattle.
I liked the girl and I let my kids know she was boss when I am not around. They were not to be rude to her and they also knew they could report her misdeeds to me or their grandma.
If Pasi had any short comings, I didn’t see it neither did my kids report it…until Pasi got pregnant and I had no clue until she had attempted to abort it and it failed.
It began with an awful smell around the house, especially in Pasi’s room. At first, I thought a rat had died somewhere but even clueless me also reasoned this was no rat. That smell, the smell of rotteing flesh was not an animal odour, it was different. It was human.
So, two or so days, after the day I began to perceive the smell, I asked Pasi to bring out everything from her room, convinced we would find the stinky culprit.
We searched, we didn’t.
But the smell was strongest on Pasi. She knew it but avoided me as much as she could. Then I got a call from one of Pasi’s friends. Now, I had enrolled Pasi at a salon to learn hairdressing, I was willing to pay for it because I wanted her to learn a skill as well, so I was quite acquainted with some of the girls at the salon she was training at.
When she called I quickly called out to Pasi, thinking she wanted to ask after her but she didn’t. She had called to ask my forgiveness.
I thought she’d lost her mind. Why was she asking for me to forgive her.
Mummy, ejoo ema binu, (please don’t be offended) Pasi and I have offended you
I felt blood drain out of my body, ‘have these girls hurt my kids?’
A million things went on in my head after that initial thought; did they molest my kids? Have they poisoned them? How come the kids didn’t say anything to me or their grandma? Jesu, where will l go?
At that moment, Pasi practically ran out of the house, downstairs and out the gate. Thankfully my kids were in their room at that time; still, I was trembling when she finally told me.
Pasi had got pregnant. She had kept it for four months. She finally had the courage to go abort it. Only the lab attendant did a bad job. She wasn’t fully evacuated. That explained the smell.
I was so relieved, I asked, ‘is that all?’
My kids are safe and Pasi will be.
She had to leave my house, of course. I agreed to pay for better treatment for her. We found a way to get her fully evacuated. We found a way to get her back on her feet.
I know several friends who lost their lives through botched abortions; I know several who today can’t have children because of it; and yet, Pasi, not fully evacuated after three days was still living, breathing and going about her chores!
What if I hadn’t insisted on clearing the house? Would she have died in my house?
Today, Pasi called me.
She is married. Not to the one who got her pregnant the other time. She told me about her new-born. A boy she says. Pasi is thankful. She got a second chance at life.
Me? I am thankful, I got a girl who met my needs when I needed one and a sister on the side.