Category Archives: In A World That’s Dissappearing

In Loving Memory of Daniel Emmanuel Nyako

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This is a heartbreaking story of a Nigerian soldier who lost his life fighting for this country. Lance Corporal Daniel Emmanuel Nyako was part of the special forces at the forefront of the Boko Haram menace in Borno State. I got to know about him from Debbie. She is a fan of this blog and a friend. She uses the alias Double Dee and you might have come across her comments in some posts. Daniel Emmanuel Nyako was her elder brother and she is shattered by his painful departure.

Many soldiers have gone and no one really commemorates them or remembers them. They fight to make sure we live and they die while giving us our peace. There’s a lot of politics involved and sadly, these men and women are often times caught up in the fire by giving up their lives for us. I have friends in the army, even those serving in Afghanistan right now and all I have is deep respect for what they do. To leave one’s family and the pleasures of life and take up weapons and face death daily is not something the faint-hearted can do.

Soldiers know at the back of their minds that their lives are at stake when they go to war but they do not go there to lose, especially if what they’re fighting for guarantees peace and freedom for the innocent and helpless.  They are there to be victorious and are willing to lay down their lives for the sake of peace.

Daniel Emmanuel Nyako was one of such brave men. And his sister, Debbie wanted me to do this in memory of him.

Here are her own words:

“Daniel was killed while serving his nation and protecting the citizens. All the soldiers said he was good at his job as a ranger. Am glad that he was so good he was a threat to boko haram that they had to plan to kill him with the help of the saboteurs in the Nigerian army. They knew the vehicle he was in and sent shots at his exact location. Even when he managed to jump out and roll to a hiding place they kept on firing at that location directly with an AA.

I remember, during the attack that led to so many soldiers dying and the subsequent removal of the GOC, he was part of the soldiers attacked and when we didn’t hear from him for days we got so worried that he might have been killed, one officer told my sister he said, “Daniel knows his job so well that a bullet would not kill him so don’t worry. He later contacted us and said he was fine. Then again he was part of the people attacked near Damboa, and true to that officer’s words a bullet did not kill my brother. The fragment from an AA hit him in the rib cage, there was no open wound but he bled internally and died afterwards. Am sure it was time that was why he died. I know how he loved been a soldier and he was very good at it. So many of his colleagues have told us they envied the way he knew his work so well and wished they could be like him. If he was an American soldier maybe he would have been celebrated, or his name mentioned as one of the gallant commandos that lived but as a Nigerian soldier all u get is a pre-planned killing and a silent burial with some people at the top getting their pockets filled with blood money. God help us.”

 

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May he rest in peace and may the valiant men and women who have died in this senseless and brutal war against terrorism find eternal solace. May their lives not go in vain.

Afghanistan Memoirs 1

Afghanistan Memoirs 2

Only A Flame #ChildNotBride

girl

I sat crouched at a corner of the room… With my arms circled around my folded knees.

Another stream of tears rolled effortlessly down my cheeks as I relived the experience.

I could still feel his fingers like the gentle slithery movements of a snake as he caressed my body.

I closed my eyes….If only I could shut out the images…

But No…. They were there… Refusing to leave…They came with such vivid clarity!

Images of flailing arms … Fighting to keep away the evil that loomed above me.

I remembered trying to scream… But I couldn’t hear the sound of my own voice.

Randomly the images came, in no defined order. I recalled a struggle to retain my underwear as groping hands determined to take them off…

The sound of a dress being torn…

Then I remembered the slap! Like a thunderbolt, the impact had gone through my whole body shutting down every remaining resistance I had.

I had lain there passive… Like one in a daze… And watched in horror as my young and innocent body was brutally ravaged!

I could still hear the wicked but ecstatic grunts of pleasure as he forcefully entered me again and again. Beads of sweat dropped from his forehead as saliva flowed in tiny streaks from the corner of his mouth. The stench of alcohol literally exuded from the pores on his skin.

For a moment my eyes had locked with his and I cringed in disgust!

“Who is this animal?!” I remembered thinking. There was a deadness in his eyes which were filled with fiery desire and burning lust! As I looked into those eyes, I realised I was staring at a beast… For I couldn’t bring myself to call him a man.

A surge of bitter tasting bile rose in my throat as I retched under a strong wave of nausea.

But nothing came out! My stomach was probably empty… But I did not care!

There was only one word that could explain how I felt…….

VIOLATED!

That was thirteen years ago, when I was just twelve years old… and now it is happening again!

Still crouched in one corner of the room, my hands still folded around my knees, I know what is about to come as he nears me. I feel like screaming, like getting up and charging at him but I know it would be useless. He would pick me up as if I am a piece of paper and throw me hard on the bed and I would not be able to escape his grip. So I sit there, shivering, tears stinging my eyes, my heart beating wildly. I know what to expect. After all, it has happened a million times before. From that first encounter thirteen years ago, I had somehow become a vessel for him to express his depravity. It isn’t something new, yet I am still terrified as hell.

I close my eyes as he grabs my hand and yanks me off the floor and throws me to the bed.

“So you think you can leave me and follow another man abi?!” he growls, landing me a resounding slap on my arm, careful not to touch my face. I scream and try to kick him away but I know it only ignites him. He is blaming me for following another man but I am guiltless. I only visited my aunt who just came into town and she kept me fifteen minutes longer than my curfew time. Now I am being punished and called a whore in my husband’s house. The other people in the house are listening but they will do nothing, they will say nothing. I will walk out with a limp and bruises and they will greet me with a smile as if nothing happened. They will ignore the cry for help in my eyes as my own family has ignored them for thirteen years. My life will continue with no hope because the world around me has no place for me to run.

“How many times will I tell you that you belong to me?! No man will ever have you as long as I’m alive! You are mine, forever!”

“Please, don’t…” I cry but he slaps me again. He puts his hand around my neck and holds me in a choke. There is darkness in his eyes as a cackle erupts from his throat.

“Open your legs!”

“Don’t do this. Please…” I beg. Maybe today is the day he will look at me with those eyes and have mercy. Maybe, just maybe he will not force himself in today and will love me the way a man should love a woman. But why should I hope for such things? It is not my place to enjoy them. I am only a woman and have no soul, as I was told. And it seemed like just yesterday, when I was but a little girl and was told my body belonged to a man old enough to be my father. Sadly, I don’t think I have grown from that time. As a girl I have come into this pain and it has lived my life for me.

So, I lie there, unresponsive to his touch, dead at every thrust he makes, numb to my own self. I keep my eyes up at the ceiling and look at the light bulb until it fades into memories of a wonderful past I have kept secure in my heart.

I see my brother teaching me to throw stones at lizards on the fence of our house. I see my sisters and I playing suwe and fighting over whose turn it is to wash the plates. I hear my father’s hearty laughter from the parlor as he watches something on TV. I listen to the cries of my baby brother while my mother bathes him in the backyard. The air is breezy and smells of rain but the sun shines brightly, refusing to go away though the clouds enshroud it. I look up and try to take in all its brilliance but grandma says I could get blind from doing that. So I lift my hand and shield my eyes while I hear my mother calling me. But the sun breaks through stubbornly, aiming to blind me…

I blink and I am back to hell, the light bulb stinging my eyes while his sweat pours over me. How many times have I been in that position, looking at that same bulb, at the ceiling it is hanging from? How many times have I taken the pain and yet emerged and kept a happy smile when I am outside with my children?

He gives one final grunt and pulls out of me. “Go and get ready for our in-laws,” he says with an evil grin and walks into the bathroom. I pull my legs together and try to cry but I can’t. There are no more tears here. I have to do as he says.

I secure my wrapper tight and hurry out, carrying around my familiar limp, trying to hide the pain in my arms. The compound is already buzzing with activities as the maids prepare for my husband’s new wife. I have never met her but I pray she is someone I can relate with, a friend that can finally keep me company. I go about preparing the meal and making sure the maids clean her room properly. It is my former room and now that I am a senior wife, I have been moved to a different room.

I finish what I am supposed to do and ensure that everything and everyone is set. Then I retreat to my side of the house and sit silently as the wedding ceremony progresses. There is music and dancing and food and drinks. Everyone is happy and cheerful and for a while, from my prison, I forget my pain and smile. Hours pass and finally the last drum is beat and there is a cold hush in the large compound. The generator goes off and I light a candle in my new room. My bladder alerts me that I must use the toilet and I grumble. How many times must I go in an hour? The maids call me ‘Aunty Piss’ behind my back but they do not know my weak bladder is a souvenir from my battle with VVF. I am glad to be alive even though my bladder embarrasses me every so often.

I stop in my tracks as I hear the sound of someone crying in the dark. I look around me, flashing my candle in the shadowy corridor but I see nothing. The crying continues and takes me only a few more steps for me to know it is coming from my old room. I go cold. But I strain my ear to listen some more if I can hear my husband’s voice. I hear nothing.

I move forward, each step with a churning stomach and I finally come to the door. I clasped the handle tight and slowly push the door in. The crying doesn’t stop; instead it is turned up a notch as I walk in. I put the candle before me and I freeze. Lying on my bed, hugging my old pillow with eyes sketched in fear is someone’s little girl. I feel a shiver in my bones as I look at her. She can’t be older than eleven and yet her future is going to be destroyed in one night.

I cannot move. I can hardly breathe. I feel like I am looking at myself. It is happening all over again. The girl sees something in my face that beckons to her. She leaves the pillow and runs to me, falls at my feet and hugs me. She is crying, pleading, begging me to take her home.

Home? I don’t know where home is right now. Maybe it never existed; it could be all in my head, for I do not understand how a parent can give their child away to be raped and abused. They call it marriage but it is no marriage. It is rape, it is abuse, it is evil, it is death.

I look at the girl and pull her up to me, holding her tight in my embrace, telling her it will be alright as the candle burns away. But nothing will be alright. Nothing will be fine from the moment he touches her. In one night he will take her from childhood, past her youth, past her womanhood and dump her right in a dark grave. And every night after that, he will pummel her to death.

Is this what I want for her? Should she suffer as I still do?

I pull away from her but she holds me tight. She won’t let go. Together we walk to one of the windows and I peep out. I can see him emerging from his side of the compound. How many times have I looked out this window and watched with dread as he approaches me.

Something sparks in me. I look at the candle. It is just a flame but I know what power it holds.

I set the flame to the thin curtain at the window and watch as the cloth fights the heat. But it is no rival for the fire. It whorls backwards and gives in to the flame, embracing it. I do the same to the second curtain and both of us watch as they both burn. I lift the bed sheet and set the mattress ablaze also.

The girl’s eyes are wide and she moves back from the rising inferno. I see the question in her eyes. I have an answer in mine.

I will buy you another night, maybe a second night but that is all I can do.

I have wilder ideas of running away but I have children. Where will we all go? I look at the flames leaking up everything and though I know this is temporary, it gives me pleasure. It also gives me strength and courage. And I feel a tingling, a tiny tingling in me to fight for my freedom, for her freedom.

Maybe I will fight…someday soon. Maybe today.

Written by yours truly and Valentine Oje Ikenna who blogs at Valentineoje.wordpress.com. He is a doctor, a pastor and a passionate writer.

Both of us SAY NO to #childmarriage. The Nigerian Literati say no to #childmarriage

 

Please stand up against these sick senators who are pushing for child marriage. It is not enough to sit and say it is never going to happen. We should raise up our voices against it and insist that strict measures be taken to have it completely abolished in places where it is being practiced. How can a lawmaker marry a thirteen year old and we think it’s his prerogative? How many more girls will go through pain and horror in the hands of sick men who abandon them in shacks to die and still roam around the community with no one punishing them? How can we all sit and have this injustice being done to innocent children and yet expect God to come down and save us? If we keep quiet, what then is the hope for our children? Don’t think because you’re a Southerner, it has nothing to do with you. What affects one, affects all.

The Nigerian community is speaking up against this. It’s just a flame but you can help the fire spread by sharing this message, irrespective of your religion and beliefs. It may not be enough to stop these men who are comfortably playing god with the bodies and souls of little girls. But it is enough to stir something in you. We should not be known as a nation that sits down and does nothing. Stop saying our efforts can’t go anywhere. These girls have to know there is another way to live. They have to know that marriage is a contract between two consenting adults and they have nothing to do with it. They have to know that there are people who hear their cries and are fighting for them.

If you are in Abuja, the venue is: Unity Fountain, by Transcorp Hilton. Also the Park. Time is: 9am-12noon.

For those in Lagos, the venues are:

1. Ojeez Restaurant, National Stadium Surulere.

2. Alausa Park, Opposite Lagos State Governor’s Office, Ikeja.

3. The Palms Shopping Mall, Lekki

4. New African Shrine, Agidingbi, Ikeja.

5. Arrangements are still on-going for those in Festac Town and it’s environs.

Time is 9am-12noon.

And in your little corner, let your candle burn.

Related Posts:

Will You Give Us Your Daughters?

Let Us Marry Your Daughters

Don’t Call Me Bride

She Is Just A Child

For Halima’s Sake

Board on a Ball

flood
photo by presstv.com

Justin shut his eyes and shut the world out. It had been one month following his daughter’s death yet it felt like it had just been yesterday. He was told he would heal, that a time would come when he would begin to smile. They were wrong. He hadn’t healed; in fact he was even more saddened than the day she had died. His state of mind was still lost in her and it was beginning to eat what little was left of his soul. Plainly put, he was going mad.

Familiar faces came in and out of the house with food and to clean the place but no one could reach past the force-field around him. All that he loved had been taken away from him in an instant. Why then should he have to give a damn?

As he spread out on his bed, his subconscious took over and he slowly fell into sleep. A sharp crunching sound seared through him and he knew that a familiar stranger was in his domain. The entity filled him with a probing presence and he began playing the story of the landmarks of his life, retold in unhurried movement. Justin knew who this stranger was that forcefully shut his mind and made the world fade away in an instant. As a mix of foreboding and feverish sadness shook his insides, he embraced the familiar darkness enshrouding him and fell through. How many times this happened within a day, he couldn’t tell and how crazy he had become, he couldn’t compute. All he knew was that he had lost his mind in profound degrees and he wasn’t ready to gain it back.

Demon, some might call the stranger in him, or a ghost from the past, but Justin knew it was neither; he knew it was the twain spirit of his soul come to torture his heart and mind. When Gift had passed, that moment she had breathed her last in his arms, the entity was born. Like something out of a movie, it detached from him and stood in a corner, watching him go through the pain of his loss.

Gift had been Justin’s strength, his little angel when the world had become a dark place around him. And it didn’t matter where he turned, she was always on his mind, the one thing he had left, the only thing he told himself he was going to live for. She was more than her name destined and he always kept thoughts of her to help him stay grounded.

The night she had passed had been like every other. The only difference was that the rains had doubled that day, causing massive traffic gridlocks on busy streets. Justin turned on the television to one of the local stations to listen to the evening news and get updates on the endless downpour that had halted businesses and daily activities for five days but Gift showed up at his bedroom door with a large board in her small hands. On the board were pieces of Buckingham Palace, the building model Justin had given her on her birthday just a couple of months before.

Gift had been model-crazy ever since her genius brain was developed enough to put things together. It started with the Lego bricks her aunt bought for her on her third birthday. Before the party was over, she had created something beautiful with it; and a week later, had tired of it entirely. Putting things together seemed to come naturally for her and when Justin realized that her brain was too advanced to play with model toys for kids, he boldly moved her to work on more complicated structures. The first was a house with a picket fence but Gift had it pieced together before bedtime. Ships, cars, planes and more intricate structures were bought for her and as usual, she completed the elaborate models in an astonishing time and with such thorough effort. Justin had watched her from the sidelines and lent a hand a few times and without his helping it, had become addicted himself. Many times he had had to pull her away from the models and forced her to eat. Kicking and screaming, she would cry and make a fuss at mealtimes until she got a good spanking. But he understood her addiction because he shared it too and at bedtimes, would walk into her bedroom and together, they would piece the models.

“Daddy!” Gift impatiently called to him from the door as she tried to keep the pieces on the board from falling. Justin sighed. Just recently, out of lack of what to do as the rains pounded on the roof, he had slipped into her room while she slept and built the palace completely. How she had presently dismantled it all was a mystery to him.

He walked to the door and helped her in with the board but when he tried to assist her put the pieces together, he got shoved away.

Not long after, a call came from one of his political associates and he was wanted at an impromptu meeting somewhere in town. With heavy eyes that desperately craved for sleep, he dragged Gift to his neighbor’s, an unkempt but kindhearted woman who sold smoked fish outside his house. With clear instructions to the woman to put Gift to bed immediately, he hurried on to his meeting, listening to the dull patter of the rain outside his luxury car as his chauffer drove him to his destination. In no time, stretched out on the backseat, he fell into deep sleep and had a peculiar dream.

He was in his bedroom, putting together Buckingham Palace from the scratch. It seemed a lot easier in the dream than it did in real life but what was so different about it was that he was building it on its board which strangely stood on a ball. And for the whole time he worked on the model, the ball never moved. It was as still and steady as a rock. When he completed his work, he smiled satisfactorily, admiring the little people that surrounded the palace, and the animals, trees, flowers and grasses he had given life to. Of this, he congratulated himself and sat down to rest. But suddenly, without warning, the lights in the room went out and a gloomy presence took over, forcing in a terrible wind from the windows. Fearful that his masterpiece was threatened, Justin sprang up to protect it but the more he walked towards it, the farther the palace seemed, like it was literally moving away from him. Then as if jolted by an unseen force, the ball began to rock and swirl dangerously and try as he might, the palace rolled away from his grasp. Finally, after spinning perilously for an unending moment, his creation fell to the floor, crashing into tiny, singular parts. In trepidation, Justin stared at the people and animals and trees. Everything had been destroyed right under his nose. Some of the figures were lost under parts of the building and some were under the trees; but others were still standing erect, immobile, unmoved and untouched by all that had happened. Now, everything was left for Justin to restore, but when he bent down to pick the pieces, he was jolted away from his dream.

Justin banished the dream away without giving it a second thought, on and ordered his chauffer to hurry on to his late night meeting. It was something he was used to now, being called at odd times to deliberate over matters concerning state and financial policies. Many times his conscience bugged him for abandoning Gift in the hands of strangers but he told himself he was doing a public service to the people and lesser issues had to be put aside for the greater good. So much did he believe in the idea of his goodness that he didn’t notice when he lost his humanity as he got caught in the daily struggle to make his mark in the world. He had also lost his purpose and deviated from his dreams to bring healing and relief to those who weren’t as fortunate as he was. At that point, it became necessary for him to focus on being a leader but he easily forgot that his people needed him. Legislations came into play, red tape and endless protocols took over the comforting presence his lowly company once offered the simple people who came to seek his service. Then came the pleasures his office presented which included meetings with men of high repute, the holiday trips to exotic lands, and the gift bags and envelops that turned his eyes away from what had to be meticulously watched. With time, his mind delved into other pursuits as he sought for higher opportunities to better his career and lifestyle. Ultimately, he forgot about why he was who he was in the first place.

“Justin?” someone tapped him and he stirred weakly, raising an eyebrow to stare at the image of his sister standing over him.

“What is it?” he asked gruffly, scratching a disheveled stubble.

“Some delegates from your constituency are here to see you.”

“I don’t want to see anyone. Didn’t I tell you?”

“Justin, these people need your help, they need their homes rebuilt. The flood devastated everything and they have nowhere to stay…”

Justin turned away from his sister and her voice quickly faded off. He shut his eyes again but the dreadful twain entity that was his detached conscience sent from hell to punish him took over his mind and began to assault his thoughts once more.

This time it began fixing images from a recurring nightmare into Justin’s mind—a dark and empty street, a moonless sky, the absence of electricity, the sound of dogs howling, dead bodies strewn across the street, the stench of death and finally, rubble in the place that had once been his neighborhood, the place Gift had breathed her last. These were images and sounds of a world gone under.

Justin was forced to blame himself for her death, even though he made it in time to save her from the drowning shack of the fish woman whom he had left in her care. Now in his head, as he sat and watched the ruin before him, he couldn’t help but see the sharp contrast his house threw against the woman’s. Though his remained standing and hers was completely brought to rubble, they had both lost everything to the flood that night. It tore him to think that every day he had driven past her and sometimes honked to have her move her wares out of the way but it never stirred him to affect her world for better. He had been convinced that the few notes he shoved into her hands every time she watched over Gift was more than enough for her just because she curtsied appreciatively whenever she received them.

Like a broken record, he sat himself on the pavement of the street of his pain where his nightmare had abandoned him for the past twenty-eight days and there he stared at the same dead bodies with the same aching in his soul. He had not met any of them in reality but he met them on that street every time his head hit the pillow in his sleepless dreams. They were people like the ones he almost encountered in his office every day, the folks with one problem or the other that came in for help only to face the legislations that barricaded him from them. Everyone knew the flood was not his fault but only he knew where he had failed. Didn’t he call himself the man of the people?

Now, more than ever, he was aware that the shadows in his heart like every man’s, each day, darkened the light of life that humanity had been given as a gift, and spread like a dark cloak over all that once was good, leaving the world which was formerly a beautiful garden, a haunt for jackals. It had become a place where wickedness thrived and justice was seldom heard; where evil and good were no longer white and black but were now pictured in relative terms till neither was what it was known to be, just grey edges smudged over by lies. Justin knew he had been part of that evil torrent that drowned the innocents and the helpless of this world. It was also made clear to him that man who never made anything out of nothing had to destroy in order to create, and the result was the irreversible death of humanity and the intractability of extinction which most dare not look into. Yes, the human race would rather continue their arduous laboring and long before nightfall draw the curtains over the windows of their souls so desiring to reason than stop for a second to ponder the state of things to come. For perhaps if they did, they would have changed a thing or two around them, there would have been a safety net to cushion the fall when everything crumbled and they would have found that the power to control their fate actually lay in their hands.

Justin lifted his head and faced his torturous twin entity as it stood before his house, the only building left standing like proof of his cold-heartedness. The entity beckoned Justin forward and he followed without demur, even though it took everything out of him to make it to the door. Pulling his heartstrings till they tore, he trudged forward, drawn in by memories of Gift and happier times. Her essence floated all about what was left of his shredded being and though he reached out to grasp it, all he caught was the air. When he couldn’t hold it in anymore, he fell to a heap at the door of his bedroom, the place he had last been with her. At this point, he was left alone, his twain friend gone from his cognizance. It seemed like an eternity as he lay there on the floor, mourning her one final time but even if he was given the whole of forever and then some, it wouldn’t have been enough for him.

He heard his sister’s voice far away, calling him back to reality, dragging him against his will, and he knew it was time to let go. There would be no coming to back to this place. So he crawled with all his might even as the world around him began to fade to nothingness, taking the essence of Gift away. He crawled to the place where she had settled by his feet that night and there he found the model pieces of palace and he began putting them together, bit by painful bit…

“Justin?”

He eyes forced open and he looked up at his sister. She was still standing above his head, still talking to him.

“Your people are waiting for you, Justin. I think it’s time you listened to them.”

Writer’s Note:

Many people died to the floods last year and we have been informed that there would be more flooding this year. Our government officials, as usual, were too preoccupied with bettering themselves to care about what the little people went through, how much they lost, and how many lives were taken during that time. Women and children were raped in relief camps, people were killed, diseases spread and many lost their occupations. It was a terrible time and people are yet to recover from it. We can’t fight nature but we can fight our nature if it is killing us. Every day, I see helicopters fly over my house here in Lagos yet people were stranded on the major highway that connected the north to the south for days. Imagine what difference these private companies or individuals would have achieved if they had helped. I know sometimes talking about bringing a change in Nigeria seems like a futile effort but we can try with the little we do.

To whom much is given, much is expected. Even your little can do a lot more than another person’s much. Let this be food for thought.

John D. Long Lake

The sun is bright and beautiful. There really is nothing sad about the day. Birds chirp gladly and the trees dance to the wind. It is a perfect time to drive to the lake and spend the day with the boys. Tucked safely in the seat beside me, I think they are the loveliest things I have ever seen. Alex is only fourteen months old and Michael just turned three. Both look like their daddy. One day I will have the girl I always wanted. The one that would take my eyes, my nose, my smile and my dreams. But Alex and Michael are okay. They are my boys. They are their daddy’s boys.

I stop the car at the bank of the lake. How tranquil and deep still waters run. I long to plunge myself in just to feel the eternal calm I am beholding. It would be bliss to just let go and be free for once. I sigh, life is beautiful. How sad when the day comes and we all say goodbye. How sad and how sweet. Sometimes I am torn between the two – life and death, I mean. Like today I am torn. But I have decided to live and breathe and not let my burdens weigh me down. Instead, I will take them and plunge them into the lake. Then I will rest.

Birds still chirp, sun still shines, winds still blow…

I get into the car and gaze at my angels. They look so sweet in their sleep. I leave a kiss on both their foreheads and smile at their beautiful bare feet. My gorgeous boys!

I put the car in drive, slowly release the brakes and just like one in a trance, I watch as the car rolls forward slowly and my boys plummet into the lake. The car drifts out, then slowly sinks.

I turn around, my arms folded, my heart dead with my babies. I walk away from life and I feel my eternal death beginning. I know what I must tell the world. Nine days long, I will hide the truth. I will lie about what truly happened today at John D. Long Lake

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Is the love of a mother for her children overrated? Is there a love that surpasses that?

Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.

Isaiah 49 vs 15

I don’t know what would push a mother to kill the children she bore. The above story was an attempt to get into her head but I think I failed woefully. It still makes no sense to me.

On October 25, 1994, Smith initially reported to police that she had been carjacked by an African-American man who drove away with her sons still in the car. She made tearful pleas on television for the rescue and return of her children. A Usenet chain letter circulated in the following days, asking Internet users to be on the lookout for the vehicle.However, following an intensive, heavily publicized investigation and a nationwide search, Smith confessed nine days later on November 3 to letting her 1990 Mazda Protégé roll into nearby John D. Long Lake drowning her children inside. She allegedly wanted to discard her children so that she might resume an affair with a wealthy local man who had no interest in a “ready-made” family. (read the rest of the story in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Smith)

In A World That’s Dissappearing – condoms for kids?

Growing up in a conservative Christian home as a minister’s kid, there were certain things we never talked about and number one on the list was sex. When I had my first period, my mom went like, ‘now if a man touches you, you will get pregnant,” and that was it for Sex Education 101. At school, some of my friends told me that if you use the same toilet boys used, you could get pregnant because they leave sperm on the toilet seat and they can swim and get into you. If you asked me what went on during sex, I would have probably told you that adults rub their bodies together on the bed, under the blanket and that was all. Of course, I knew there was more to it but once you’re naïve, you are naïve until… well, until you stop being naïve.

Eventually, I knew all about sex from Mills and Boon, TV, friends, school and other educative media but to be honest, I wished my parents had sat me down and told me all about it. Yeah, well, thinking of it now, that could have scarred me but seriously, it would have helped a great deal. I am sure my story’s not just peculiar to me alone but to a lot of youth from my generation. I met some friends though, who told me their parents gave them graphic details but that is just a small fraction of the population. In countries like the United States, giving your child ‘the talk’ is a normal thing every parent has to go through. I know some don’t but most of them do and in my opinion, that is the best way to prepare a child for the world of sex he or she is going to have to face. In Nigeria, we have a big problem facing us and there is this hypocritical air that we float in that we have termed ‘African culture or tradition’ that is destroying us. How many times have I heard in Africa, we don’t do this or that. It’s for the white man. Our religious institutions would rather talk about 100 ways to kill the devil than properly teach teens about sex.

Now, for those of you who don’t know, there are now condoms offered to twelve year olds in Switzerland and a school in Massachusetts in the States was also considering sharing free condoms  to their twelve year olds and i think it is now available so you can order it and it would be delivered to your home (not in Naija). Now, I have two thoughts on this issue. Like most people, when I first got wind of this information, I was worried and a lot of bad thoughts as to how this could go wrong for the future generation bugged my mind. First, what does a twelve year old know about sex? I mean, in this child’s mind, is he/she saying, ‘I’m making love to this person because I am matured enough to be in charge of my emotions, my mind, my spiritual and physical expressions at the moment’? or is he/she just ‘doing’ as the world has told him/her that that is what sex is all about—just doing. Meaning, it’s all about the pleasure. And I ask again: for twelve year olds, is sexual pleasure made complete in their underdeveloped bodies or does the word spring up because they’re told they have to enjoy it?

Secondly, with the increasing number of pedophiles and sick, perverted adults in our society, is it wise to get a child sexually active at this age, making it easy for these beasts to prey on them. Of course, child abuse has been an issue as old as time. I remember being in a salon somewhere and it amazed me how every girl there (about eight of us) had been abused during childhood. All the same, do we make it a free-for-all for pedophiles that live and breathe amongst us?

After considering the above (not the photo), I calmed down and revisited the the condom issue and looked at it conversely and I began to see, though vaguely, from that point of view and these were my deductions. Sex is everywhere. It’s on TV, internet, radio, phones, newspapers, posters, billboards, cinema…  everywhere! I’m certain even my eleven month old has been exposed to it on TV despite all my protectiveness and who knows what has sipped into her brain that even I could not stop. The other day, a video about a teenage girl and a four year old boy having sex was made available for download on the web and before that, a photo of a four and six year old having sex under a table also went viral. Somewhere in the South-west, last year, a ten year old girl had a baby for her boyfriend, a twelve year old boy. Cases like these are not isolated and are becoming rampant around the world, especially now when we have grandmothers from the ages of twenty-four and twenty-five. In the midst of all this, these children are now very exposed to HIV/AIDS and a host of other deadly STDs. And if that be the case, doesn’t it become imperative to encourage the practice of safe sex as against forbidding them from being around the opposite sex and acting like sex just doesn’t exist around them? Now, before you go biting my head off, that was just a thought. I don’t think any sane individual would ever imagine their eleven or ten year old having sex and encourage them into it.

Wow! Having considered both sides of the argument, my conclusion is that in these times, parents and guardians have the grave but very important responsibility of properly tutoring kids about sex. About the timing, it is a matter of personal choice. Children who come from homes where sex is not seen as a taboo or a meaningless act just for pleasure will often face the adult world with a grounded and rounded approach to their sexual issues. Telling a child sex is bad, makes that child only want to do it and when he/she does it and enjoys doing it, then it becomes all about pleasure and the end result is meaningless sex and yes, the even best of us, as much as we want to deny it, know that it is not always all about the pleasure. It is a conscious, mature decision to share oneself with another and if we go giving condoms to twelve year olds who are not mature enough to comprehend this, we can as well be snatching them away from the playgrounds and throwing them into brothels and with our very eyes, we will watch them follow our steps and hand condoms to three year olds in the very near future.

Maybe I am too extreme with my thoughts. I really would love to hear what you think.