I’m in a dilemma right now.
There is this girl who came to my house on the recommendation of a family friend.
The girl was meant to go to school but her parents couldn’t afford to send her; so she was brought to live with me to help me with caring for my kids as I work crazy hours.
My kids are not babies, they are 10 and 14 years but I needed a more senior eye to help check them. I didn’t want a help that would pick up after them, more like someone they would see as a senior sister because I planned to send the girl to school not too far from the house.
Our arrangement was solid; I informed my husband and we brought in the girl.
I enrolled her in a school not too far from where we live.
My kids accepted her, everyone had their duties and I was happy I didn’t have to worry too much about getting home late most nights.
How old is the girl, she’s 18 years old but she looks younger. She’s in SS1,
Now, my husband and I work late hours; sometimes, even when I want to get home early, traffic would not let, which was the reason we wanted someone a bit older to be with the kids.
I didn’t want anyone too old because my kids are boys and I didn’t want any female that would teach them things I haven’t taught them…you do understand my meaning? I also did not want to get someone who would replace me in our bedroom. So, this girl for me was just ideal.
Since she also had family around, I felt that she would behave herself compared to a girl who could just run away. You know after hearing all kinds of house-help tales, you want to be careful…I thought I was being careful, o my sister.
Then we went for summer last year, in late August; we traveled to Dubai, we were meant to spend two weeks. Before we left, I sent Martha, that is the girl, back to her parents for that period. I didn’t want her to remain in the house alone. I told her I would call for her when we got back.
I told you our summer was meant to be just two weeks because my husband and I had to get back to work? But three days into our holiday, my husband was summoned back to his office for an urgent job. He had to leave and head back to Nigeria, myself and my boys stayed till the end of our holiday.
I called Martha when we got back the following and because my kids were meant to resume a few days after we got back, I was focused on getting them ready for school, uniforms, bags, for all three of them, Martha included.
I was back to the grind, same with hubby.
I didn’t notice anything untoward in my household until one day, during the Christmas period, a friend of mine came from the office to visit; after Martha served her, she asked me why I was keeping a girl that was pregnant as house help?
Biko, what kind of talk is this?
She told me Martha was pregnant!
I said, pregnant kwa? Martha is a chopper, o. Leave her, she eats a lot.
Nne, my friend called Martha aside and asked her who was responsible for her pregnancy, Martha said it was my husband!
Chai! I don suffer! Right under my nose! Me!
She said my husband had been chasing her around the house since she came to live with us and that he finally succeeded when he came back home while we were still in Dubai. That he called her to come and clean the house and she came, thinking I was also home. That’s how he trapped her and…and since then it has been every day! In my house!
Nne, I wanted to die!
Ok, Martha why didn’t you tell me? This was happening and you didn’t tell me.
Martha said she didn’t know how to.
When I confronted oga, he denied it, said the only time he did it was when she came to clean the house when I was gone, that I should ask her who else she had been sleeping with, that he wasn’t the only one.
You know, I felt like I could get some super power to beat him up!
Granted that Martha is 18, age of consent, I felt he cheated the girl. I felt he took advantage of her. She is not a village girl, she grew up in AJ City but then, she is a young girl and my husband should have known better.
So, me, o. I didn’t vex for the girl o but I told her she couldn’t live with me anymore. I had a major quarrel with my husband and I am not done with him; he kept saying there ’s no way Martha could be pregnant for him that he used condom; chai, I felt like beating him all over again!
He said I should know he couldn’t have been that careless with ordinary house help!
When katakata burst, the girl called her parents to come to our house.
They came, saying my husband raped their daughter, made her pregnant and wants to throw her out, this and that…
See, this kind of shame doesn’t leave you in a hurry; there they were shouting that we were wicked and because we were rich, we were oppressing them? Biko where the ‘rich’ dey na?
Las las o, my husband gave them money to take care of Martha, still swearing he wasn’t responsible, that he did it only once! We agreed that she should go back to her parents and when the baby is born, we would do a DNA test.
Nne, na dia we dey o. She is due in May, this coming May, we will know who get belle o. As for my husband, I told him, say, ‘See, if you hadn’t gone in there at all, this shame would not be on us but whether you used condom or not, wind has blown and the fowl’s rump has been exposed!’ We dey wait make May come!
(series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)