I am 43 years old and I have just one child; I had him 17 years ago but I don’t want to see him and it is not because he isn’t a good child.
I didn’t have rich parents and I didn’t go to school. I started house girl work with a woman in Lagos when I turned 13. She didn’t send me to school because, I have no head for books.
I worked with her for 11 years then she died and her son and his family inherited me.
It is not as if I was a virgin all along…I’d had relationships with some of the men my madam dealt with as well as her driver…even though I knew he was a married man.
I was also involved with one of my madam’s customers, he was a contractor who supplied cement to madam…and there was Linus, a washer man for one of the big people that lived on the street my madam lived in.
My madam was a woman who was involved in building so we were always going to building sites.
I would usually take her food to her at construction sites. I would go with the driver to deliver the food, wait for her to finish and the driver would take me back before going back to wait for madam.
Did I not want a good life for myself?
But people like me can’t imagine any other life apart from being someone’s servant.
Fine, I no fine
English, I no fit speak
I can’t read, either…and I don’t even know any trade. So…I did not even dream of anything other than being a servant…till I die! And I am ok with it.
Before my madam died, she had what they say was a stroke. The woman suffered for many years. She couldn’t move, one side of her body was just useless. So I became her everything…for many years.
Even though we would go to doctors, they taught me how to feed her, how to give her, her medicine…what to cook for her….
She died after like 3 years when she had that stoke but before she died, she told her son to employ me and pay me. She also asked me to do something for her. She told me this thing alone and she made we swear not to tell anyone.
She said she wanted me to have her grandchild!
Madam’s son and his wife didn’t have children. I didn’t know why even till today. So when my madam said that thing to me…I just thought her sickness was affecting her.
In my mind, I asked, how can Uncle Joe sleep with me or even marry me when his wife looks like those beautiful women we see in magazines or billboards?
The only thing I was happy about was that I wouldn’t be thrown into the streets if anything happened to my madam.
When madam died, as agreed, I moved to his son’s house, i called him Uncle Joe, though he isn’t much older than me.
Uncle’s Joe’s wife is one heavy bigz babe!
I called her “Sister” because, if we look at it, I would just be a few years older if not younger than her. Sister was not exactly nice to me, in fact, she didn’t ‘see’ me. She and her husband didn’t have a maid that lived with them, just one that came in three times a week; so when I moved in, I didn’t even have much to do.
Sister was a woman who didn’t have time for her husband or her home; it was always about work, work, work and travel today, come back next week and she had fine, fine friends that all wore wigs and their makeup was perfect and they all had long shiny nails with big cars and big bags!
Many times, Sister and her husband came home late, I would often have fallen asleep. It was one of those travel today, come back next week that Uncle came home late and he was drunk…and he had sex with me that night!
Before he left my room that night, he told me to always take my bath before going to bed…
To tell the truth, I was not sure he knew what he was doing but the following night, I took my bath, scrubbed my armpits, my under, my everything and I put on clean bedsheets…that night, Uncle got drunk again and came to my room and we had sex…again.
That’s how he began to come to my room throughout the period Sister was away! Me, AHH, I was ready, I was prepared, I was never nervous!
After that, I remembered what my madam said on her sickbed…that she wanted me to have her grandchild. I wasn’t sure she had told her son but you know, I thought about it, if I got pregnant, nothing spoil. The child would be my madam’s grandchild.
When Sister came back, Uncle stopped coming to my room…then she would travel or come in late and Uncle was in my room!
Did he say anything to me throughout the period?
He didn’t say anything o. He would just do and go, do and go…he wasn’t much of a talker, even when his wife was around.
Then I became pregnant!
I didn’t know who to tell because when Sister came back, Uncle bone face for me and Sister herself no see me…who was I to tell?
Anyway, I kept the pregnancy until almost 4 months when Sister asked me if I was pregnant because one of her friends who had come to the house, saw me when I served her food, that was how come she saw I was pregnant and told Sister that I was pregnant.
“Who gi you belle, Francesca!”
“Sister, I no know”
When Sister kept asking, I didn’t know what to say, so I told her that Uncle knows the person responsible for it because I had told him. But that is not true, o
Anyway, when Uncle came to my room, I told him he was responsible, he told me not to worry, that he would take care of me and my baby.
See, as you see me so, I don’t want trouble. If these people don’t help me, what would I have done? I didn’t want to have a child. What would I do with the child that a father doesn’t want? Even if he accepts the child, how would I raise him or her in a house where I was a servant or I was I to go and live alone?
I don’t know any business but to be house help. What person will take me and a child?
You see, I was ready to give up the child because for me, I was using it to repay the madam that was good to me all these years.
We agreed that I would have the baby then hand it over to them. I agreed. I don’t know if Uncle and Sister fought, I didn’t hear any noise.
They took care of hospital and antenatal and they let me stay there till the baby was born. The baby was a boy! Big boy.
That is my story.
They put me in the employment of those oyibo people looking for nanny. That is the job I do now and I am happy.
I don’t have regrets leaving the child. I would never have been able to raise this child by myself. He has a better future where he is. In fact, I hear they have taken him abroad…all of these happened 17 years ago.
Do I wish to see him?
No. What would I do with him or say to him?
No. I don’t want to see him or meet him. I just wish him well.
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)