Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Blood Series 6

Abel: You haven’t started menstruation so you can’t get pregnant. 
Hauwa: But I’m scared
Abel: It’ll be fine. My biology teacher Mr Olabisi says pregnancy only happens when the girl has started menstruating 
Hausa: but my mum said….
Abel: don’t you believe me, I won’t hurt you…Trust me I love you. I’m in secondary school they teach us these things..

My first true menstrual talk was from a deceitful human being (….  because I can’t use the exact words coming to my mind I’d say human being). 
Abel had used the same line on three other girls in my estate, Ana wasn’t so lucky because she got pregnant and is now out of school, I don't think her life every really got back to normal or close to normal. 
I was 11 and in primary 6 when Abel came with his luring words, puberty started early for me because by primary 5 I was already wearing a bra, menses only came about 8 months later ( about 3 weeks after Abel and I met).  

He was this swave teenager and almost every girl I knew in that estate sought his attention. For me, it was easy, our mothers were besties so often met under very awkward settings. He was 16, I still don't know how our mothers felt he could look after the other kids when they needed some "alone time" as they called it. The first few baby sittings were at my house so Abel just sat by the computer in the study area and the remaining kids (myself excluded) ran around the house. The last time I had agreed to be watched, mummy decided going to Mrs Omode's was best since they had a spa day. Abel was cool but a bit more friendly than I remember (maybe because I was in his train). 
" Hey Hauwa, we're the oldest why not hangout with me" eyes became the size of saucers but I obliged.
We walked up the stairs to what was an average teenage boy's room..." you have this too all to yourself?" "Yes" I swallowed my reservations about the decor and walked to the only chair in the room...Then as my eye adjusted to the blue light I saw the half-naked poster of one of this american musicians (i really can't remember who it was because that was just when he decided the distance between us was too wide). I was almost breathing down his face..."You don't look comfortable on that chair" with all my discomfort I moved closer and as conversation flowed I warmed up to him. 
Abel and Favour were the only two children from their parent's 12 year marriage, they had divorced and the mansion was part of the settlement. He and his brother had separate rooms and there were two other spare rooms in the house. My house was a lot different, Kayla and Michel were my twin younger ones but I and Kayla had to share a room so I was intrigued that Abel had a sense of independence. 

The next few months we secretly dated (our mothers oblivious of it all) and we had gotten too comfortable. We had even kissed and because he was about entering SS3 he felt entitled to have sex. I was more scared and didn't share his excitement. Abel had several theories and I wasn't buying any. I knew he was seeing other girls but each time he called me childish (after all I was a child). 
He was raw first to feel them (my newly developing breasts) and so when he brought the menses discussion I almost gave in but instead broke off the relationship and ran home. 

...Mummy always wondered why I never wanted to go to Mrs Omode's, my previous excitement was now non-existent, she never thought anything of it. I remember the day I asked her about menstruation, her words were enlightening and somewhat empowering, " Hauwa, I was putting off this discussion because I was scared you had grown up too fast but...we will discuss it"
 she shared the truth with me..
- Six months after that I was in almost done with JSS 1 the rumours of Ana's pregnancy was all over school, she lived a few houses from ours and I knew Abel and her were an item seeing that he was to of school and awaiting JAMB the entire period. That same evening Abel and his mum were at my house and this time his mother was furious, obviously he was responsible for the pregnancy and they needed an action plan.

I felt lucky I wasn't in Ana's condition, I couldn't help but wonder why she or any girl will fall for his cheap lies. The parents in the estate often said the children were too mature for their age but no one took any action to prepare us for the challenges this 'mature' mindset would bring...

I am a 3rd year University student now and I always wondered what happened to Ana after all these years...

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The Blood Series 5

Yecenu Sasetu is a journalist so she understands the impact a story like her’s will have.

Giggling as we begin the recording Yecenu excitedly recalls the events of that day…

“So I wake up, getting ready for the family devotion. In my night gown at the time, I ran down stairs and walked passed my mother to prepare my stuff for school before it was devotion time. Oblivious of the stain on my nightie she grabs my hand exclaiming…”come come come”. She drags me back into the kitchen before my brothers got a glimpse of what was happening and gives me the quickest crash course on menstruation I have heard. It went something like, “now you have started, if you allow any man to touch you, you will get pregnant.” For an 11 year old, I had no idea what this meant but nodded anyway.

“ I already knew what menstruation was but didn’t have in-depth knowledge, I had noticed my older cousin and I kind of knew…so when mummy asked to see what had stained my dress I knew I had to have been stained.

That first year was a learning curve because prior to this we never had formal discussions about a period, I would see my cousin using a sanitary pad and she’d just explain why she needed to use one. My memory from seeing her put on a pad helped me the first time. Mummy later taught me how to wear a sanitary pad and I survived the first period.
The next period was about three months later and this time I knew what to do, knew where the sanitary pad was and so it almost went unnoticed…

Yecenu’s journey like for most of us had embarrassing experiences, twists and turns…

“This faithful Sunday, I was visiting a cousin and I knew from church I needed to replace the sanitary pad but the toilet didn’t present a pleasant environment; I quickly rushed to the bathroom in my cousin’s house and wore the half of the pad I had with me… (SO long story about the half pad, my mom used to cut the pads in two mainly because they were large in the 90’s and she was also trying to save a buck)…. back to my story; unknown to me, the glue on the half pad I changed to had worn off, I headed out for a game of football and in the heat of running around the pad dropped on the field…there I was not even knowing it fell out. The rush of embarrassment filled me because a group of young men were staring at me with a look that suggested their surprise all I could think of was bury this thing so, I tried covering it with dirt and the staring didn’t stop at this point I wanted the pad to melt into the ground (you guessed; it didn’t melt), I quickly abandoned the pad, the game, everything and ran into the house…

My first year of menstruation was tough, the inexperience, lack of proper education, lack of guidance didn’t help, I didn’t know how to maintain myself. It was tougher because I was also just developing breasts (now wearing a bra) and the shame, the pain and teasing that came with it all was too much for a girl in primary school to bare.  My mother having had 4 boys before me didn’t know how to handle her little girl in puberty so that crash talk in the kitchen was all I got, probably with a little more help, my first year menstruating wouldn’t have been so hellish... 

Young girls need to be properly informed about what their body is going through, that information mothers shy away from is what has landed may young girls in uncomfortable or life altering situations.

Today, Yecenu spends her time as an award winning health Journalist bringing hygiene education to young girls, giving them sanitary items as well as addressing issues around maternal and child health. You can catch her weekly on “the Clinic every Saturday, 10 AM on 99.9 Kiss FM Abuja.

Monday, 22 May 2017

The Blood series 4

“Now that you have seen your menses, if you sleep with a man you will get pregnant” 

Nwanneka’s blood shot eyes were revealing her fears but her mother went on in her thick igbo accent… “Nwa, if you get pregnant you will drop out of school and you don’t want that”.  Her confusion didn’t allow her hear what mum was saying and that rang through her head.
The first period lasted a day (to what Nwanneka thought was a relief) she was 11 at the time. Mummy was at work and she didn’t understand what was happening. Her older sister Nkem just asked her to use tissues for the day…Without any guidance Nwanneka rolled up the largest tissue as uncomfortable as it was, it did the magic (the tissue later fell out without her knowing). 

Nwanneka remembers it like it was yesterday, she could almost feel the excruciating pain. It was a few months to her 16th birthday and SS3 meant womanhood and she couldn’t take pride in being one, after all her friends were menstruating and she was still waiting to formally get hers (that one day thing 5years prior was not a period).  
To avoid being suspected of pregnancy Nwanneka quickly told mum when the periods were far and between.
She had prayed and wished for the period but she hadn’t bargained for the pain that accompanied it. She was rushed to the hospital and  the course of pills begun…. her periods were now pills induced, (pills she found out in her adulthood were contraceptives). She now wonders why the doctor’s never tested her for what was causing the epileptic periods other than treat the pain that the PMS came with (this was in the 1990’s, could the doctor’s excuse be that they were not aware of life altering conditions they could have checked for? of were they just ignorant of lazy and under paid). 

Fast forward to 2016, Nwanneka and Chuks had been married four years and the trial for baby was real. They both knew something was wrong because the epileptic periods meant something had to be wrong. Two years in the wrong hospital and they almost gave up…”I’m I damaged goods that no hospital can give me a diagnosis in over 20 years” Chuks was a supportive man and he always knew how to cheer her up whether it was his funny jokes, a simple pat on the back, a back rub or just listening to her. His decision to try another hospital was no surprise because they were both already frustrated with the old one.

After another month-long period which left Nwanneka in hospital and having to be transfused a diagnosis was reached; it was a relief at least to know it had a name….PCOS Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome “it’s treatable but I’m sorry it has no cure” as the Doctor went on Chuks held her hand tightly amid tears as if assuring her they would get through together. She wonders if early detection of her condition could have helped, se questions the competence of our health system and wonders how many more women never get diagnosed especially for period related issues just because it’s period related.

Nwanneka pictured her teenage years and how many symptoms of PCOS she had in plain sight, she had suffered constant weight gain, thinning hair, the absent was all too clear to miss. She knew she had to put all her hurt aside and the anger she carried with her.

The tedious treatments are on course with numerous side effects…Nwanneka and Chuks are now on the path to becoming parents…

Friday, 19 May 2017

The Blood Series 3

This is Simbi's story...yes Simbi (she wanted me to call her that)

My first period wasn't dramatic, at least not for me, but for my mother...that's a story for another day. You see I was her last daughter and because my elder sister had grown up with an aunt my mother didn't have practice in her younger years raising a girl  through puberty and so our relationship suffered.

The first time I heard of menstruation, it was amid over 200 other girls, an NGO had visited my school to talk to us about menstrual hygiene and distribute sanitary pads. I was 11 at the time and I took the information my little mind could bare to understand.
This would become a common occurrence at school and each time I found myself with a new pack of sanitary pads I had not use for "Yet".

The day finally came, I saw the blood; I made my way out of the bathroom and when my mother saw me frantically getting tissues she sensed what was up but didn't say anything and neither did I...The awkward silence between us only said we both knew what was happening. When she finally summoned courage to ask what the tissue was for, I had to answer and I could see the fear in her eyes, her confusion but the conversation ended there our none-existent relationship didn't allow her saw any further.

The next five days and the rest of the year was filled with self-conscious moments, I had a constant fear of getting stained  (which I eventually did several times).
I had heard during those lectures that using tissues for period  wasn't safe but I ended up having to use them since I couldn't ask my mother for pads or money to buy them. I even hid my PMS from her and suffered it alone... School became more stressful especially the days I was on but I endured it all...
Even though I was expecting my period, my first menstruation memory isn't what I thought it'd be.. The entire first year of my period I used tissues, anytime I found myself in public restrooms I raided them for tissue paper because I knew it would come in handy, I wouldn't have had to suffer this if my mother had laid aside her fears and talked to me about it, after all I was scared, my bosy was changing and I didn't know how to deal with it....

Simbi; now an educator spends her days grooming young minds and teaching young girls confidence building and being that listening ear to those that need it. She hope her mother gets to read this story.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

The Blood series 2

"I'm sorry we might need your husband for this"... Sede's breathing became heavier than usual, this couldn't be good if the Doctor needed Tade to be here for this... "it's just me...he doesn't care...I mean he's not here so go ahead". Looking more concerned Dr. Odes picked up what looked like a test result and began to read...Sede's mind had wondered off but she clearly remembered coming through when she heard "You have PCOS"..."huh? what's that?" sitting down, Dr Odes set her glasses aside and began her explanation.. "PCOS is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome; it's a problem where a woman's hormones are out of balance. It can cause problems with your periods and even make it difficult to get pregnant, I'm guessing that's why you haven't.

By now the tears were flowing freely, "Tade's mum was right, it's all my fault, how did I get this? what did I do?"  Dr Odes was by Sede's side, this was common response with 90% of her patients...
"Look Mrs Philips, you didn't cause this, the cause of PCOS is not fully understood it seems to run in families, so your chance of having it is higher if other women in your family have it or have irregular periods..

Sede now 38 remembers her first period, she was one of the late bloomers, her periods didn't come until she was in SS1 7months to her 16th birthday. She always heard her mother say she got her period at 11, her older sister got her's at 13 so it was no wonder Sede felt a little different.

When the period finally came it was irregular, appearing maybe 8 or 9 times a year. Sometimes she felt lucky because she didn't menstruate every month. She was never one to see a gynecologist, her first visit ever was in her 300 level when she had what she called a nasty infection and self medication didn't work... The next time Sede would see a gyne was 5 years ago;
"how did they miss this PCOS thing the first time"   her sobs were deep and Dr Odes could only give her time to let it out.

The crying was over and Sede knew she had work to do, Dr Odes talked her through the cause of treatment and there was hope on the horizon but Tade needed to be on track.
The ride home felt longer than the actual 20 minutes, she often went in and out of concentration forgetting intersections and just driving. She was prepared for the worse but she had seen a glimmer of hope, Tade's behavior from the past week seemed he either had something planned to get him out of what he called "their misery" of he was seeing things from her stand point.

"Babe is that you?" his voice almost sounded his former self, Sede knew she had to tell him "Yes, I'm coming from the hospital" his expression was priceless, that was when he noticed she'd been crying, this was his "Sede" his demeanor quickly changed and then she knew his guard was down..."the doctor said I have PCOS"..."what?"  he was patient to listen to her explanation between sobs and he knew he had to come clean.

"I'm sorry I've kept this from you babe, I also went to see the doctor, I have oligospermia" her eyes were like saucers she didn't know what that was but she knew they had their work cut out...her family was back together and in that moment that was all she could think of...

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The Blood Series Episode 1.

The phrase "about last night" always had a bad connotation and Liz felt so too. The humid Lagos weather that August evening had gone on into the night and that was the night she saw it.

Liz had woken up with a strong urge to use the bathroom, because she knew her way around she didn't bother putting on the light, trying to ignore the stomach pain she made her way to the bathroom switched on the light and as she sat was when she saw it, a brownish red colour all over her under wear... Mummy had told them about menstruation and she had waited two years to see it. Knowing what to do she quickly washed up, took care of herself and returned to bed.

It was August 1993 and Lagos seemed the perfect place for the long vacation. All five children had momentarily abandoned their mother in Kaduna and opted for the Lagos adventure. It was always fun being in Lagos and this time was no different.

That afternoon, Liz her two siblings and some kids from the neighbourhood had joined the tennis group, it was an Army barracks so sport facilities were operational.
the coach seemed tough but the kids were having the holiday of their life.

It was the way her stomach hurt that evening made her worried, dad had offered what pain medication he had handy and even given a hot water bottle (the kind pregnant women or very sick people used to warm themselves). She had some relief and did not think about it. Liz was going to resume school that October as a JSS 3 student and it was going to be her 12th birthday.
It did not occur to her or her older sister or her dad that the stomach ache was PMS.
When the telephone rang, Jess rushed to it knowing it was their mom calling, she always called around 7pm, "Liz?" 'No mum its Jess, Liz isn't feeling well". Liz had only shared with her two older sisters what had happened, both being experienced bought the pad and sorted everything out, daddy didn't need to know.

After speaking to the other 4 it was Liz' turn and she knew Suzy had told mummy but she still felt embarrassed, "Hello mummy" her soft voice was worrisome, she was the loud one, the tomboy, the playful one (middle child also) "my dear how do you feel, I hear it came today?" "yes mum".
"remember I told you what's going on in your body?, please rest if you feel the need to, also ask daddy for money to buy sanitary pads and bath at least twice daily" Liz was more shocked her mum had just told her to ask dad for sanitary pads "mum I can't ask daddy, can you tell him? I'm shy"
Mum laughed and eased any worry she had..."As for the stomach pain, no need to worry, its only PMS, premenstrual syndrome, it'll pass quickly".

---Liz counted the minutes till dad returned, she planned to ask quickly and not looking him in the eye. "Dad, I need money" between his bite of yam and egg sauce the slight frown told her she need to explain. "I want to buy...ehn....pad" he dropped his fork smiled and reached for his wallet, "I hope this will do?" she grabbed the money and ran.
That December, Liz will go on to help another girl in school (An SS2 Student)... It took another 3 months before the next one came and this time there was no pain...

Monday, 15 May 2017

The Blood Series

Starting today May 15, I will be embarking on another of my adventures (writing adventures). This one might be unsettling for some, eye opening for others but my goal is to demystify the topic.

In honour of the Menstrual Hygiene Day May 28, I came up with "The blood series" that tells 10 different stories and experiences of women with menstruation. The stories will be factual but spun with fictional elements

Menstrual Hygiene Day will help to break the silence and build awareness about the fundamental role that good menstrual hygiene management (MHM) plays in enabling women and girls to reach their full potential.

The numbers are glaring, if you look closely in communities around you, young girls avoid school when they are on their periods.
In February we had an outreach to a community on the outskirts of Nigeria's capital Abuja called Guyidna, the secondary school we visited had 21 female students all under 19 years. About 6 of those girls admitted to having heavy menstrual flow and cutting school in the 4 to 6 days they have their periods while others said they don't stay the whole day. Some common reasons include; lack of sanitary items like pads and good underwear, poor toilet facilities, no water source in school and the fear of getting stained.

Menstruation is a basic part of a woman's life and has over time been identified with shame, being dirty and many other taboos and myths.

For more information about the campaign visit

Join the campaign:

Monday, 27 February 2017

Wanda's Tale Epilogue

One of Jude’s kicks was all it took, she lost balance and fell hitting her head, when she grew quiet he left she was woozy for a brief moment and curled up in that corner was where she died. The open head injury was deep and nothing could have been done at the instant to save her even if anyone tried.

Her life could have been saved, Wanda didn’t leave the marriage because of her children and the supposed love for her husband. Family and friends were depleted, everyone was tired and began to avoid her; in-laws would guilt her into staying (the same in-laws that promised to protect her).

The neighbours knew Jude beat her ever so often but no one ever called the police probably thinking no help would come to her and they would be in Jude’s bad graces.  No justification for his actions but what if Jude got proper care, attention and thought? he probably would not have been abused.  
Every abuser has a story likewise the ones who allow the abuse go on, some survivors claim that was the best representation of love they knew so they stayed until it was unbearable, others felt guilt-tripped (like Wanda) but when the strength came, they got help.

There are thousands of women who are battling domestic violence, children who experience abuse daily. Like in the case of Jude; long term abuse as a child was psychological explanation for his actions. 
He was later sentenced to death, his execution method some felt was humane, they wanted him to suffer.
It was a giving; Flo and Offy adopted the children and no one had issues with it, Oma was more angry at herself for letting this continue.

Domestic violence should be discouraged and stopped, don’t penetrate the culture of silence speak up.

My little research while writing this uncovered some disturbing laws and code enshrined in Nigerian law and I thought to myself, how can we be chanting STOP domestic violence in one breath and still have laws like the penal code in Northern Nigeria which encourages violence against women. Underneath that provision, wife beating for the purpose of correction is legal by use of section 55(1) (d) of the penal code. 
However, in May 2013, the National Assembly based a bill called the Violence Against Persons bill to reduce gender-based violence it was finally passed into law in May 2015 (the VAPP act 2015). It improves on the penal code as well as makes provision for compensation and the protection of their rights.
The law states that a person who batters his/her spouse commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of inprisonment not exceeding 3years or a fine not exceeding N200,000. (for more on VAPP 2015 see: http://law )

I saw this story from Mauritania and it explains a lot, some African culture is just barbaric 
("You're the daughter of a woman whose husband broke her hands. Your grandmother's legs were fractured by her husband. You must be loved," Salimata said, citing her mother's words.
The 19-year-old woman from Mauritania's Soninké ethnic group, married to a man who also beats her, said she taught herself to believe what her mother told her.
"I felt like an animal that had to be disciplined," she said. "As time passed, I came to believe that my husband beats me only when he is at the peak of his love for me."
Mauritania, a poor, mainly Muslim nation, has deep social and racial divides, each group with its unique marriage norms. read more here : 

With Wanda’s tale told, my desire is to get it out through other means, hopefully we will get to watch an adaptation of the sorry or listen to it.. Watch this space.

"Wanda's tale" by Ritkatmwa Gwan Episode 13

the Funeral…

Jude was now 12 and in JSS 1, aunty Vickky was the weekend house keeper and took a liking to him, by now his good looks had begun to show..she always had compliments, he received favours, even monetary favours and never asked questions, soon she came to collect…
Vicky had molested him until he liked it and would often offer himself to her. He began to feel he loved her. He got a rude shock when she got pregnant for the guy that owned the largest provision store in the area, she moved away and that was the end of what he thought was a great love story. She was his first love…he thought he loved her.  
Jude had gone to Vicky’s house after she gave birth as she gestured to breast feed her baby he felt aroused, he made a gesture to touch her like they did to each other but the slap that hit his face was a shock, “get out of here, useless boy,” With the love bubble busted deep seated rage and hate grew…he had to leave town.
Omafuwe (his one and older sister) was re-writing SSCE and she had become a part of Uncle Efe’s family…when Jude arrived Jos he only knew Oma had referenced Rock haven, someone would know her or recognise him because of their resemblance…. life changed from then on.

back to the present:
From the church entrance the coffin was in clear site, white with gold trimmings, Charis had insisted on getting white roses, they were the kind she had ordered for her wedding, Florence was beside herself, they hadn’t spoken in months, she intended to use Charis’ wedding to smoothen things between them. She had never approved of Jude and Wanda’s toxic marriage, it was harder believing her worse fears had come to past…Oiza, oh how she had cried, she hadn’t spoken for days, she kept blaming herself (if only she had persisted, could she have prevailed?)

As the casket made it’s way down the aisle Jude could only wonder why no one had stopped him, he was regretting every moment of it…His mind drifted off to the day he convinced Wanda to have sex, they were in school, she was scared but he didn’t care, he knew she wasn’t ready but the beast in him had to be satisfied, she was somewhat a virgin…after the incident with Uncle Tam he was the next and that wasn’t a good memory as well..was it rape? he was her boyfriend he loved her… it was at that moment he knew he had control of her, she was his and no one could come between them.

the neighbours cried knowing they would live with the fading sounds of her cries from that night, Bonnie had cried a river knowing she was wearing a smile the night her friend died, what was the cry of a teething toddler to the death moans of a friend, if only she had done something. The stares from the congregation were like bullets penetrating his body even his children had a dead look in their eyes, had he ruined their childhood? did they know he was responsible for their mother’s death?
The armed guard quickly whisked him away just as the ambulance drove by, her family had used a picture of her smiling, and the poster looked so much like the Wanda he had met some 12 years ago…


"Wanda's tale" by Ritkatmwa Gwan Episode 12

An act of the devil… the end is near…

Hadassah would wake up craving a snack and Wanda had always warned her about groping around the kitchen late night or wee hours of the morning, she didn’t want her daughter suffering childhood obesity something she had to survive… She was 5 and half; 6 in a few months and already she had a mind of her own. 

Hadassah and her brother Andrew were born 11 months apart, the two had yet again heard mum and dad the night before but this time mummy didn’t come to their room, “maybe they weren’t arguing this time”
…Wanda always wished Oiza saw her children, they would totally love her and she would have spoilt them silly. Oiza and Nicolas had married about 4 years ago and it crushed Wanda she couldn’t attend… the two hadn’t seen in 7 years.  

Florence and Offy had moved to Canada and Charis was running a second degree there, they had asked Wanda to come holidaying severally but of course ‘the Tyrant’ Jude always refused. Their wedding was almost a year after Flo and Offy’s and even before it everyone knew the marriage was a mistake but it was her choice and Jude did a good job pretending to have changed. 

Running down the stairs Hadassah noticed mum lying in a corner and it looked like she had spent the night there…”should I wake mummy or just run back upstairs?” as if whispering to herself as she moved closer, trying hard not to wake up the whole house “mummy, mummy” Wanda was a light sleeper but she wasn’t responding, not even her normal “go back to bed stare or grunt”, it was then Hadassah noticed the blood, she switched on the light and let out a loud shrill
….Jude was woken by the noise he glanced at his newly acquired digital clock it was 4:25 AM even the neighbours had heard it “isn’t it too early for this children to be causing a nuisance?” when the sobbing wouldn’t stop he got up already working a temper…storming down the stairs there was no telling what could go down that early…

——Jude had attended 5 Primary schools and 3 secondary schools he moved around a lot as a child and had different upbringing styles. Orphaned at age 7 Omafuwe his older sister was 12 so she had a better understanding of what had happened. Uncle Efe and his wife had picked her (they needed help with their triplets) but nobody wanted a little boy, what use would he be to them?  He remembered the drive to Lagos, Uncle Rona had taken him after much talk, he was due to resume school in a few weeks but that never happened Mercy, Uncle Rona’s wife made sure. 
After a year of doing every chore possible they had a rethink and the closest government school to the house was the only option. 
He was finally rescued that christmas living with his aunt in Ibadan didn’t seem so bad, he wasn’t physically abused but he had to watch her get beaten weekly by her drunken husband who owned a series of mechanic outfits and was quite the catch so aunty Esther endured, “for the sake of the children” she’d always say. 

Jude knew his numerous girlfriends, they always hungout at the workshop but he would never hurt his aunt that way, “what would telling her do?” Three years rolled by quickly and his world was altered, aunty Esther left her husband and he had to move, now in primary 6 with common entrance exams to write….finally he was shipped to Enugu, the Ezeigo’s had offered to cater to him, their parents had been good friends and taking Jude in was their way of honouring their friends. 
It was in Enugu that Jude would take a downward spiral…no one knew what struck the chord that changed him…