I moved abroad years back and worked my fingers to the bone to make sure I brought over my wife and two kids that I left in Nigeria. I wanted them to have a taste of a much better life and I wanted my wife to be happy.
Of course, you know before they could come join me, I had stayed abroad long enough to ensure my papers were in order, you know, oyibo people like you to do things according to the law.
Anyway, before my wife came to join me, I had met a few other Africans who came here to escape poverty and live a better life, one of them is Alamini. It is not a common name, yes, but it means Trustworthy.
We worked in the same factory, and like me, his wife and kids were still in Kenya when we met.
He was such a good friend to me. He had come to Europe earlier than me and was a medical personnel before he came. But you know in oyibo land, all the certificates you earned in Africa are rubbish, you’ll have to start from scratch, go to their schools and earn their certificates before they recognise your skills and thus earn a better living. The difference between home and abroad is that at least, the system works here better than home; if you put in the hours, you will get good results.
So Alamini was doing night school and working in construction with me. He was studying to be a nurse. It is easier to be an RN, that is Registered Nurse than to say you want to go to school to study medicine, so I guess that is why he did that. I myself, I am a graduate of Production Engineering but it has no value here, so I went into construction, later I decided to do earn a few certificates here and there to improve my chances of getting a higher paying job; I also did plenty of menial jobs too.
Anyway, Alamini became my confidante based on shared experiences; you know. We often went to each other’s homes, just to chill with other fellow Africans. We were like that until you know, he finished and moved to another job at a hospital and he was earning better pay.
Well, after a few more years, I got enough money to finally invite my wife and two children from Nigeria over here. When they came, Alamini and a few others came over and I introduced them to my wife as my African family but Alamini, in particular, remained one of those who came frequently to my house, I trusted him with everything.
We lived happily together for many years and my wife even gave birth to a boy here; after three years of being here. Now when the boy was about to start school, there were a number of tests and documents we needed to fill not just to enroll him but to ensure that if for instance he fell ill, they could at least administer first aid.
It’s the same thing we did for his two elder ones when we wanted to enroll them at school.
It came as a surprise to me when I got called by the school that the blood type of my son was not the same with mine and his siblings!
I didn’t understand. I said, “What do you mean?”
They said it means my son is not my son and that if anything bad should happen, they wanted to know who to contact.
“What kind of rubbish talk is this?” I asked them.
After they explained it to me, I went home to tell my wife because I was certain they were making a mistake with the boy not being my son.
That was when I realised it was not a mistake o, my sister.
As I was just pondering over the nonsense, still not even suspecting anything, my wife began to tell me that maybe the boy truly wasn’t mine!
Shuo! See woman? See what a woman can do to you!
She started to cry crocodile tears; she told me that the boy is Alamini’s son; that she and him had sex around the time the boy was born and after just two times, she told him she was not doing again!
My sister, I almost passed out! My heart was trying to get out of my chest!
Ehen! my own wife and my very best friend! what kind of life did I come to? She said that it was only two times, that after that she told him he should not come near her again!
I asked her, where did you do it? I wanted to know the details, she was crying and crying and saying ‘forgive me, forgive me…’
Where did you do it! how many times? where was I when you were doing it with Alamini?
All she has been doing is more cries, I want answers, I can’t forgive if I don’t have the answers!
Chai, chai, chai, chai!!!
What did I do?
You can’t touch woman here, they will arrest you and you will lose everything, besides, I am not a violent man, what would I gain from beating her?
But I cried!
I cried that my wife whom I suffered for, did this evil thing to me.
I cried that the boy I loved so much isn’t even my own son.
I cried because my friend, Alamini, the meaning of his name is trustworthy, he betrayed me. I cried my sister, I am not ashamed to say it.
I am still hurting. I can’t ever trust anybody again.
I have a wife who has betrayed me, I have a friend who stabbed me in the back.
I have a son I cannot fully love because I will always see his father’s betrayal every time I look at him.
She eventually told me they did it in our house and I was even in the house on one of that occasion! See human beings?
People say I should forgive and I want to but it is hard. I can’t send her back home because of my children, they need their mother and I can’t send the boy to his father because it will kill me, I love the boy so much.
So, what am I going to do? I just want time to heal, that is all I want now.
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)