I grew up with my grandmother; she raised me after my mother died and my father wanted to begin to sleep with me. I was almost 8 years then when this happened, I mean when my father wanted to sleep with me. I wasn’t even aware of what was going on. My mind was too young to fully grasp what my own father intended for me. It was an aunt, my own father’s sister, who saw the way my dad was looking at me one day and asked me if my father had attempted “touching” me. I said yes, without even understanding the real meaning of “touch” in the way she meant it.
My father had touched me many times and I didn’t know it was not ok for him to touch me like that but even when my aunty asked me if my father had been touching me, I didn’t think she meant in “that way.” You know, she spoke in our language and by “touch,” I thought she meant, hold my hand, touch my head, you know, touch, now?
So I said, “yes.”
But apparently, she meant something else, which I was later to understand meant trouble for my father. My father was guilty, just that at the time aunty was asking me, my mind wasn’t on the intimate touch she was referring to.
So my maternal grandmother came to pick me from my father’s house one evening; she took me to live with her at Mowe. I went to school, finished primary, did secondary, failed twice…yes, o.
I often sold oranges or groundnuts in the evening, depending on what my grandma had to sell…so that kind of tells you the kind of place I come from. I was a good girl, I didn’t join the girls who had Facebook accounts or the girls who had phones…where’s the money for phone when I hadn’t eaten with my belly full?
So, I knew the child of whom I was, I behaved accordingly.
Then this broda came from abroad to visit his family in Mowe.
How did I know he came from abroad, he was speaking phoney, now. He had so many rings on his fingers, wore gold chains, too. His parents’ house was the best looking house on the street my grandma and I lived. People said he sent them money to build the house.
How did I know?
Everybody in the area knew about him, when he came to Nigeria, he stayed in a hotel in Ikeja but often visited his parents and he was building another house right next to his parents’, so they said he came to supervise the work…that’s how come I met him, even though I had heard so much about him.
I was selling groundnut and banana that evening when I passed by the site and he called me to buy from me. He was sitting on the low fence, talking to a friend of his.
I put down my tray and he asked me how much I sold my wares; I told him, his friend who was with him began to price the groundnut…he told his friend to stop being wicked because if he had gone to the super market to buy the groundnut, he would not have been pricing it. I laughed and told the friend to “let this oga buy my market.”
That’s how we started. That evening, he asked me how much my whole tray cost, I inflated it and said, N5,000; it was a mere N2,000.
His friend called me a thief…but me, I was just keen on getting money that I didn’t have to steal.
That evening, he paid for everything on my tray…he gave me N5k and told me to come the following day! He gave the workmen the groundnut and banana he bought from me that day.
The following day, my grandma had oranges…I just headed straight to the site and he was there, again, …you know. I jsuts settled there, no going about kaakirikaakiri, I mean hawking.
He would ask me questions and I would eagerly answer…I was also flattered that he liked me but I was put off by the many rings on his fingers and the chains…he was practically asking to be robbed! But he never slept in his parents’ house, so maybe that’s why he was never robbed.
You know, he began to toast me…this incident happened in 2014, so it’s a long time ago but you asked me to tell my story, this is it.
So, he wasn’t telling me he would give me anything big, like marry me or buy me a car or clothes or anything, he just said a girl like me should further her education, he said I was smart, he said a lot of nice things and asked me to buy Jamb forms. He asked me when I was due to sit for WAEC…you know, he was generally concerned about my education and yet was always asking me if boys were interested in me.
I always said no, to that, even though it was a lie. Boys were falling for me!
At that time, too, I was almost 18 and I had done and failed WAEC but I didn’t tell him, that. I would have loved to re-sit my WAEC but where will the money come from?
Anyway, I told him I was interested in going to school, what I didn’t say was that the school I was, wasn’t the school I passed out from, I was enrolled in another school to re-sit my WAEC.
I must have been going to see him at the site for maybe two weeks or a little more when he asked me to meet him in the evening at his parent’s house.
His parents were in their 70s, you know, old man and woman; they were an old couple everyone in our area knew, it’s a small community. They took walks in the evenings, his father was a retired principal and his mum was a retired nurse, she owned a small chemist shop outside their house.
So like I was saying, I began to visit him, you know…he would hold me, talk phonay to me…
He asked me if I was 18 year old, I said yes.
I was almost 18 at that time, maybe like 4 months to my 18th birthday…anyway, I lied.
I told him I was already 18 and I swear I didn’t even understand why he was asking if I was 18. I knew girls, younger than me by far who were having sex even with garage boys in my area so, when he was saying are you 18years…I wondered, “Na by that to have sex?”
Soooo, you know, though I was kind of eager, I knew where all of the talk was going to…I was still a virgin! Upon my seeming “open eye.”
I was attracted to him, let me not lie, when I told him I was still a virgin…he paused and said, “a virgin at 18? Unbelievable!”
Then, he said to me, if you allow me be your first, I will give you dollars!
He offered me dollars…I had never seen dollars before, ever, except in books!
I fell for the dollars!
We did it o!
It wasn’t what I expected, it was so quick, I was wondering what was going on. This broda no too get action, afterall. But I didn’t know what to expect, so, it was much later I realized he was just for show. But back then, I was happy to have been with someone who had gone to America and spoke phonay.
And how much did he give me, $100!
He told me he was giving me a fortune at that time and in all of my life, even since then, I have never seen dollars!
That money, I gave it to my friend, who has a friend that knows a mallam who changes dollars. I’m not even sure how much I got but it was a lot! As in, maybe it was even up to N80,000. The money was much! I don’t know maybe my friend took from it, I didn’t know the worth of what I had been given, I just knew I sold my virginity for it.
In a way, I don’t think I blame him, I don’t think I sold myself cheap; he could never have had anything serious with me, I knew that. So, I don’t feel bad or feel like he did something bad to me.
I knew what I was getting into, I went for it and I got what I wanted…I didn’t get pregnant, no, because it was just a one-time thing…I was told he went back to America a few days after that time we met…
What happened to the money?
Ha, I gave some to my grandma and no, I didn’t do WAEC, I “uselessed” the money.
You know? Someone who had never seen money before, I just misused it; bought shoes, dresses, bags, food for the house…it finished…all that is water under the bridge, I do not regret that event of 2012, I’ll sell it again for more dollars if can become a virgin again, this life is hard, jare!
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)