Written by Tessy Mordi
I sat close to the window of my room, and once again got a good view of what was happening in my neighbor’s apartment. Mama Emeka was at it again. Mr. and Mrs. Ike have been our neighbors for about three years now. They moved in when they had just two girls. But now they had five children. It was their custom to produce one every year. Why they did that I couldn’t tell.
It was Julia their first daughter that actually caught my attention. She was about 11years old but the tasks she was made to do made me think that she was way above that. She had a small stature, one that suited her age, but I am always tempted to think that the life she was made to live had a role to play in the way she looked.
Mama Emeka would wake her up as early as 4 am every day and they would start preparing the food that she would sell in the market for the day. For this reason, She always went late to school. They never finished on time. Amaka a schoolmate of hers told my mother one certain time that she always saw Julia flogged every morning because she was a regular latecomer. Yet Mr. Ike was a teacher though not in Julia’s school. He would leave the kids to go to school themselves even if it was quite far. The tasks his wife subjected them to every morning never bothered him.
After Julia got back from school, she would change quickly and go to the market to continue with the sales of food, her arrival meant her mother was done for the day. Julia would be in the market till evening. She still came back and prepared dinner. There was a day I heard her cry silently at the back yard when she got back from the market. I knew she was tired, I think fed up is the right word to use but So I won’t instigate her against her mother, I was careful the words I used to encourage her. I also gave her some of the snacks I had gone to buy for myself that evening. She cheered up a bit and was off to her duty post, the kitchen.
Her teacher had even come to complain to her mother about her lateness and poor performance in school but all Mama Emeka could say was that ‘I’ll deal with her, she’s just too lazy’. ‘How can a mother’s heart be so evil? Won’t it have been better she didn’t even have a mother?’ I expressed my pain to my mother as we discussed it.
It is so sad to see parents like these out there treating their children as slaves. They put themselves before their kids on every occasion, they pay no attention to their needs and don’t care to know how they feel or what they think. As far as they are able to provide shelter, clothing, and food for them then that’s all that matters. Julia to me seems to be in an even worse case than some kids in the orphanages. They may not have biological parents but there are people who love them and are looking after their every need.
So here’s my point- You may be looking for more than you already have, but if you look properly your request may be what someone is wishing he never had. The popular quote is ‘one Man’s food is another Man’s poison’. And again to parents out there, treat your children as blessings because that’s what they really are. Believe me, the less you treat them as that the higher chance of you having a terrible future, one full of laments.
So BE WARNED!