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Thursday, 6 September 2018


He who so ever practice or take part in western education or culture is an infidel and all infidels are to be killed.
-Abubakar shekau.
Boko Haram commander
"Jalila what are you still doing there? You know you're late even your younger ones are here but you, your grandma won't be happy with you!" Abba yelled. "sorry Abba am done already" I dragged my bag off the sloppy mattress and hurried out to catch up with Abba who was already half way out the veranda, one more minute and he'd have been on my neck but I wouldn't want that knowing fully well that he has quite a temper. We stood by the roadside waiting to board a keke to grandma's house, the wind sweeping through was taking an awful lot of dust with it that choked my breath.
Jalilah Ahmad is my name, I am seventeen years of age. I'm dark in complexion with an oval face, black eyes and a pointed nose, my lips were also black because of our tradition were girls puncture their lips and apply charcoal so it stays permanently black which we so much love, a long black hair that flows down my back slightly below my shoulders, am tall, slim and curvy with long legs, I was the typical example of a kanuri girl.
I come from an impoverished family of four up until I lost my mother two years ago at child birth, bringing the total down to three. She died trying to give birth to my would be sister but unfortunately they both didn't make it and I was left with my dad and two brothers. I am the first child of the child of the family and have been the deputy mother to my two little brothers Ahmadu and habibu aged seven and ten respectively.
Ahmadu was named after my father so we call him dada. Dada was the baby of the house, he was indeed a lovely boy and my father loved him dearly but habibu on the other hand was notorious, always picking on children and beating up the less fortunate. I receive a lot of complaint against him almost everyday from mothers of children he had beaten. My father is Malam ahmadu but we call him Abba. Abba is a renowned farmer, he is in his early forties, one of the first people to practice mixed cropping here.
We live in Bama, a suburb of Borno's capital Maiduguri in a community called Gidan manoma (meaning farmers house), the community was named after farmers due to the large number of farmers and Fisher men that lived there for a very long time.
Our financial status was the same to most of the residents here yet we lived in peace and harmony with one another. Despite Bama being a village, it is our paradise. We have abundance of food that the farmers grew including my father and varieties of fish that were caught from the nearby river.
I love staying in Bama, our activities here simply made live beautiful. We go to Islamiyya (Islamic school) in the morning, farm during the afternoons, and at night we go for gaďa. Gaďa was our village way of socialising where every young lady comes to the village square to have fun, there we get to meet with the young men and hopefully prospective suitors.
Speaking of suitors, I have already been engaged to Tanko. Tanko is one of the best fisherman in the whole village and he also stands out when it comes to the local wrestling. I love tanko so much with all my heart, he recently bought me a tecno mobile phone and guess what, it even has a TV in it with a long antenna!!! Ever since I got my present I have been the celebrity among my peers, they now wait behind just to watch TV with me.
Preparations are already on the way for my wedding to Tanko which will take place in the next two weeks, I'm so excited I can't wait!
We arrived at grandma's house which was really dilapidated, the house seemed rectangular with a total of 4 huts in it, which were made of mud and straws with thatched roofs unlike ours that was made from cement bricks and corrugated sheets, though it is pretty worn out it was far better than this.
We walked past the front cottage, most of it's thatched roof was missing and what remained of it was dangling down preparing to soon give way, past the little pen in the middle of the house, lots of domestic animals wandered aimlessly around in the compound bleeting and clucking coming from all directions.
Finally we arrived the biggest Hut at the far end of the compound, grandma has lived here in this same hut for the past seventeen years of my existence. I heard my grandma's voice from inside trying to chase out a hen and it's chicks
"Salamu alaikum" abba greeted making his way in and I was right in his tracks. Grandma's face lit with a toothless smile as soon as we walked in, "lale lale(meaning welcome) Oyoyo Jalila" she taped the mat beckoning me to sit beside her "Ahmadu how are you and the kids? Do you want some fura? Mairo get them fura quickly" she ordered without waiting for an answer. Mairo became a widow after her husband died in an auto crash or so I've heard, she now takes care of my grandma.
After drinking some of the fura abba was licking his lips, it was a sign he had enjoyed it. "I'll be leaving for the market now umma" Abba said (umma Was The name he called my grandma), "so soon ahmadu?" "yes umma, some buyers are coming from maiduguri to meet me, I don't want to keep them waiting" he replied standing from the mat he was seated. My grandma rained words of praise on him, showering him with prayers and blessings as he depart.
We soon dived nose deep into marriage related conversations, she told me how courting and marriage was like in their days, she even shared with me stories of when she was a bride, she went ahead to give me marriage tips on how to keep my husband. Every now and then my grandma would ask if I needed anything, such a nice old lady! She pampers me a lot every time I come around which is why I love to visit.
OK people this is the first chapter of this book. I'd really like you hear your feed back.
Thou I did it in a rush so you might encounter corrections so please be kind to point them out.
Do vote and comment to keep the spirit going.

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