I grew up in an orphanage, here, in Uyo. The story I heard is that my mother died at childbirth and my father was too poor to take care of me. When I got older; I asked if I could find my parents’ relatives. I felt they must know I exist and would like to meet me and keep me with them. No answers.
I left the orphanage when I turned 22. By that time, I had long finished secondary school. I wanted to trade. It was our mummy, the owner of the orphanage that insisted that I must finish secondary school before going into trading.
I began to weave crotchet slippers and bags; I made bangles and other accessories and it sold quite well even before we left the orphanage. I had savings of about N25, 000 and I knew it could grow beyond that if I faced it fully. But that was the time I had to leave the home because I was considered too old to be living there.
I teamed up with three others, one boy and two girls, who were also too old for the home and we rented a room here in Uyo.
Business was moving fine and life was looking good until my brother and sisters started stealing from me. They knew where I kept my money and they would take from it.
When I complained about my money being stolen, at first, they said they were sorry that they took it because they were hungry even though they were all working; Daniel was a bricklayer at one of the construction sites not too far from the house; Abigail worked as a babysitter in a crèche down the road. The last one Mary was the only one who did not have a job yet.
I was angry but something kept saying to me, these are your brother and sisters. They never stole when we were at the Home, so it must really be hunger but that also meant I couldn’t get enough money to buy materials to do more bags and bangles.
It wasn’t long after that that I met Ubong and we began to go out. Ubong worked with the Ministry of Transport. He was the one who gave me little money to buy materials and make bags.
Ubong liked to have sex a lot. Anytime he saw me he must have sex, whether I want to or not and since he was the one who was helping me I usually had no choice but to let him.
He would take me to his house anytime my brother and sisters were around so that we could do the do and because he gave me money and had promised to marry me, I didn’t think of having any problem with him.
Then one day, I became sick. Because I was throwing up I thought it was malaria. So I went to the chemist and bought some drugs. But three days later, I was still not well, so I went back to the chemist and told him I wanted a drug that will cure me fast.
All the while, Ubong would still come and say, “let me do, let me do”.
After another four days, the new drugs did not work, so Ubong said I should follow him to the general hospital. He said he had a friend who worked in the lab. His friend would help me see the doctor and they would find me the right drug.
I followed him like mumu.
After the blood test, Ubong’s friend, Uche, told us I was almost three months pregnant. I was shocked and burst into tears but I noticed that Ubong did not show any surprise. So I was thinking, ‘Maybe he wants to marry me now.’
At that time I really believed it because Ubong asked me to move into his house. But that was when trouble started. He stopped taking care of me and then he took all the money I had and my phone too. He only gave me food as if to say, let this girl not die in my house.
When I was due to give birth, I begged him to take me to the hospital. He refused. He said he would call his friend Uche to come and deliver the baby. What could I do? I didn’t know my brother and sisters had been looking for me and Ubong had told them he sent me to his village to live with his mother.
Long story short; with Uche’s help, I gave birth to a baby boy on September 25, 2019. My baby was small. They told me to breast feed him, I didn’t know how to. So Uche asked Ubong to buy baby food and bottles. That’s how my baby fed for the first two days.
On the third day, they brought a woman to the room. I heard them speaking in whispers and they told me to give my baby to her, that she will take care of him for me. She collected my baby and went out. I saw her get into a car that was waiting for her and they drove off.
When Ubong and Uche came back into the room, they had a black nylon bag. When they opened it, it was filled with money. One thousand naira notes. I’ve never seen money like that in my life.
Ubong counted the money. He said, “N300, 000.00 cool cash!”
He counted N20, 000 and gave it to me then he told me to pack my things and leave. He also warned me to keep my mouth shut.
I won’t keep quiet, o. I want my baby.