When I got into the university I was practically fending for myself.
You see, I had no sponsor. My parents were aged; they didn’t have money to support me in school; my elder siblings also had their own families to care for, so basically, I being the last child, born when my parents were way past their 40s. My mum was 47 years and my dad, 50 when I was born.
I was the proper child of aged parents, so I grew up with ‘grandparents’ for parents which is one reason my siblings resented me, they felt our parents spoilt me silly…they did sha, I got away with many things most of my mates couldn’t with their own parents.
So, when I say fending for myself I mean I kept a string of men who met my needs. How for do? I wanted an education and men would not leave me alone, so we served one another’s purpose.
In my second year at school, I lived off campus; sometimes when I owed rent, my young landlord would ask for ‘favours’ in lieu of rent. I was living in a building that stopped at decking level; you know the type? The house was a face- me- I face- you type of house where the owner died after decking it. His first son was our landlord, he too was a student at the university, so he was using the rent to sponsor himself.
Anyway, one day I was going for classes and I boarded a taxi that already had passengers in it; seated beside the driver was a man who clearly wasn’t a Nigerian, he was speaking French on the phone. I was studying languages, French is compulsory, so I picked up on what he was saying and it was clear to me he was lost. He couldn’t communicate effectively with the cab driver because of course, that one couldn’t speak french and when the driver stopped at a place, he told the driver that it wasn’t where he was going. I then spoke to him in my small ta- ta- ta French I learned in school; I asked him where he was going; he began to speak rapid French that I perceived to be a patois of sort. I eventually was able to understand him and directed the cab driver to the right place.
That’s how we connected. I told him I was a student at the university, studying Languages and gave him my name and number.
He came to school the following day and asked me out. Me, what was I doing? I followed him to his hotel…my mistake!
He was a foreigner, from Cameroun; that’s the only thing I know about him. He had money to splash and that very night, gave me money to settle my small landlord. I slept over at the hotel and the following day, told him I had lectures. He said he too had business to do but made me promise to come back later that day. Tell me, who would not go back?
That day, after class, I went to my house to pick up just a new dress; I figured he wasn’t going to be in town for long, I also made sure I paid my landlord that evening before heading out…I paid for 6months.
Anyway, I went back to meet him at the hotel and you can guess the rest…the following day, he told me not to go for classes that since he would be leaving Nigeria soon, I should spend some time with him; thankfully, I didn’t have serious lectures that day, two electives and an assignment to submit, I could submit the next day, so no wahala…I stayed.
Then wahala began the next day. He told me he was hurrying for a meeting and that I shouldn’t go anywhere; in my mind I was like, you don see free pxxxy, not so? Who go wait? I didn’t plan on waiting at all; he had paid me six months’ rent, which at that time was N11,500 per month if you add water and electricity; so I was good.
When he hurried out, I waited for about 30 minutes before I got up from the bed; I showered and wanted to dress up…my clothes were gone, my phone was gone, my wallet and bag, gone!
I was shocked! I later found out he had soaked my clothes, so I wouldn’t be able to wear them and taken my phone so I wouldn’t be able to get outside help…the bastard!
I called the reception but the lady there said ‘my oga‘ had instructed them not to give me anything apart from food and since he hadn’t paid, I couldn’t check out! I was also so much of a mumu then because that should have been when I should’ve started screaming or calling for help. Instead, I went back to bed to wait for him. I hung my clothes o dry in the bathroom and waited. He came back in the evening apologizing, telling me he didn’t want me to leave that was why he did what he did…I fell for it, he said tomorrow, he was leaving town, I should stay the night. I did.
Long story short, the following day, he took everything away; disappeared in the morning before I woke up. Did he use juju to make me sleep? I don’t know.
I had to beg the hotel manager to help me get clothes to wear to leave the hotel; that one too began to demand for sex before he helped me get something to wear and also because he said we were owing for one more day and that I couldn’t check out until I paid…I felt so ashamed of myself…
You know the worst part? Beyond his name, Momadou, I have no clue what tribe he is from, who is friends or so called business associates are or what sort of business he even came to do in Nigeria…I am assuming that rightly, he came from Cameroun to do business here.
The only thing I was thankful for was that at least, I had paid rent. A few months later, I thought I was suffering from depression because that incident hit me so hard, I just laid low for a long time. I became sick. I did not know I was almost three months pregnant!
That’s how come I had my daughter, pregnancy was to far gone to be aborted; though I didn’t want a constant reminder of my foolishness but she didn’t make her presence felt until it was too late to abort.
I stopped school shortly before she was born; went back to my parents’.
Do I have regrets today about my daughter? Absolutely not! She is the best thing in my life right now; in fact, she is the only thing in my life; I wouldn’t trade her for anything, for anything, I say!
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)