Some people leave early and some late. To smoke in my room is to let the early sun beat my skin. I was once bitten by soldier ants on Christmas day when I was four, we went to my father’s village for Christmas and we took pictures, I climbed an orange tree to get the ripe orange and got stung by ants. My body was scrubbed with water and sugar and palm oil and soap…I was naked and I cried and cried.
I thought opening the windows will let the smoke out but it instead blew it to the corridor. I knew because two Russians met me and begged for smoke and said that every morning they perceived the smell of weed, opposite my room. I gave them a joint and started to smoke occasionally downstairs. Because I was afraid but of whom?
Life is a movie, ten years ago I didn’t know that I will be here but I knew I was going to pursue a degree abroad. I told my cousin, Rose by the well when we fetched water at night or on Sundays, we promised each other we would study outside Nigeria and it was because we read a Jehovah’s Witness book that had preparations for studying abroad. The university in the picture was really cute and everyone was happy and I wanted that.
It is easy to be distracted. It’s like going to a market with no list. I was in the north where I wasn’t supposed to be, plagued with terrorism and my mother panicked for my safety. Rose, got pregnant in high school and went to live with the man-it broke me and my mother because we all thought she was loyal to us.
Maiduguri was a place plaque with Boko Haram, and northern terrorism, bomb blew up and killed people. I slept in Yobe when I was to resume university for the first time. On March 14th,2014 I left Abuja for Maiduguri and slept on my bed that I travelled with because Boko-Haram launched their highest attack yet. I had a runny stomach that caused me to purge all through the night, I ate noodles prepared by the local tea guy called Mai-shayi– he filled it up with white maggi such that it made my stomach churn. My umpteenth attempt to the pit toilet was a huge turnoff with every five Naira I paid to look at the toilet and go back, my stomach reminded me that I needed to use the toilet.
People died we had in the morning and stray bullets killed students, I personally know a survivor who still finished her degree in Food Science and Technology. These people have no choice, they can’t leave their land, no matter how bad it is.
And I wondered if I was ready to be in this city.
No one knows what these people are really fighting for but the United Nations keeps pumping money to the north with the intention of helping and no help has actually been recorded.
Hotels were booked for years by white people, I picked up my bag and placed it nicely on my head, searching for where to stay. Different white people were accompanied by soldiers and the children they came to help, begged the buses that brought in passengers to the state.
Help is so far, few bombs blew up again, far from us this time and I heard students laugh behind me. The next day I moved to the school dorm to live with a lady I was referred to. As I made my bed to lie on the floor, an ant crawled close to me and I killed it.