UJU Episode 1
Written by Amah’s Heart
Today is another day, another day to face mama, another day for her to remind me how my mates are making it and I’m here eating her food, another day for her to condemn all my good effort, nothing about me ever pleases her.
Papa on his own side is always confused on who to support, mama will verbally abuse him if he tries to take my side, papa is even tired of the constant shouting from mama, he spend more time now in his farm yard with my two younger brothers just to avoid all the chaos, my sister, Oluoma, is not exceptional, but hers is better because she seems to be mama’s favorite,
me I have grown thick skin, if mama like, let her talk from now till tomorrow or beat me from now till tomorrow it won’t break me,
her beating is even better sometimes because her wordc can cut through me like razor blade, sometimes i just wonder if she’s my real mother, if not that I’m her carbon copy in looks and my birth picture was evident enough i would have doubted it,
What can i do to please her, why is she always harsh to me and calm with my siblings.
Today, as she was going out she told me to climb up the oha tree and plug some leave, after which i will make soup with it,
even my brothers don’t like climbing the tree because of those wicked ants or roach in it, one bite from the ants will make you see stars, how could mama tell me to climb this tree, plug the oha leaves and make soup with it before she comes back,
I have being standing by the oha tree looking at it and wishing some kind of magic will happen, the tree will just fall by it self, so that mama will stop sending me up there, I know she does it on purpose just to frustrate me, but i don’t care all i want is for her to leave me alone, if climbing this tree will make her happy, so be it, although i wish there was a male figure around, who can help me out here.
I decided to check through to see if i will be lucky enough to see somebody, I saw Chico, one of my brother’s friend passing by, I started thinking God within me,
I beckoned on him to come and he did,
“Aunty Uju good Afternoon
“how are you Chico, biko, come and help me pluck leave leaf from that our Oha tree..
“aah, nooo I can’t o, that tree that is full of tiger ants, I can’t climb it, there was even a day that Ejim, your brother asked me to help him climb it and i did, my whole body was cover with those wicked ants, my mother has warned me not to ever climb that oha tree again and even on my own…i can’t, send me something else i will do but not to climb that tree…
“bikonu, Chico please… Help me, Ejim is not around i would have asked him, I’m the only one in the house and i want to make soup, don’t worry i will give you something if you help me”
“Aunty Uju, sorry, i can do any other thing but i can’t climb that tree and i don’t want to disobey my mother…
“okay o, no problem na”
I checked with two other near by neighbors but no one agrees to help, i returned back to the house disappointed, I have no choice than to climb the tree,
I gently climbed the tree hoping and praying that the ants will be asleep, I didn’t bother checking for the good leaves, i just plug anything I can lay my hands on, when I go down i will select the good ones, I was rushing as fast as my hand can get to, I didn’t know that the ants has gently entered my cloth, when they entered I didn’t even noticed,
is as if they planed it as they started firing me with bites, my back, my bumbum, my stomach, my laps, all my body was on fire, I almost fell off the tree as I managed to rushed down, I quickly ran to the back yard and off my whole cloths, I was scratching all over, I shakes some of the ants off my cloths, I covered my hair but they still manage to enter, I was still battling with them when i hard my name, mama was back,
“Obianaujunwa, Obianaujunwa eeh” is she deaf, where is that girl, this girl will not kill me in this house, is this the oha leaf i asked her to plug since and make soup that is lying on the ground….that means this girl have not even started journey yet, she’s is just plugging the leaf now, since morning, she has not even make the soup…. No…
it can’t be true, maybe she’s has made the soup and this ones on the ground is the ones she plugged to give the goats…where’s this girl, have she gone deaf…can’t she hear my voice, Obianaujunwa e, Obianauju eeh!
I listened to her call me repeatedly, I wasn’t scared of her beating or scolding I was angry because mama was always calling my full name on purpose, knowing well that i hate it, I like being called Uju instead of my full name, the name makes me feel ashamed, especially the way mama calls it and will deliberately do it to spite me, papa calls me uju and my siblings too except mama,
and if my siblings wants to look for my trouble they will call me exactly the way mama calls it “Obinaujunwa e ” which will make me chase them and they will run into mama’s arm, and mama will dare me to come close to her and receive the beating of my life,
The ants bite wasn’t as painful as mama deliberately calling me now, I wonder why they didn’t give me a name like ‘Chioma, Ijeoma or even ifunanya which means love or better still one of those fine English names like Stella, Linda, Anabel or Mary,
I gently wear my cloth and came out to face mama, on seeing me she quickly stone me her foot wear, asking me why I didn’t answer her since she has being calling me,
I know how to dodge her whenever she throws anything at me,
so i dodged it and i know it pains her whenever she misses her target which is me.
What mama doesn’t know is that she makes me stronger everyday by treating me that way or even trying to call my full name.
UJU – Episode 2
Written by Amah
Mama lash out at me, she beat me with everything she can lay her hands on after finding out that the soup wasn’t made, I ran outside, I was there until papa came back from the farm,
After two days mama received a parcel, it was wrapped in a black nylon bag, when she opened it it was a wrapper, she didn’t tell me who sent it but i know will still find out, either by insult or she’s talking with Papa or one of her friends,
And it wasn’t too long i found out.
She went out that day and came back after an hour and started calling me in her usual way, I answered her quickly, I don’t want her trouble and came out from the kitchen,
she handed me something with a smile at one corner of her mouth, I gently collected and opened it, there was a fine bead leather sandals in it,
mama was still standing looking at me with the same confusing smile tug at one corner of her mouth, I wasn’t understanding the whole thing, why is mama smiling that way, she hardly smile at me and now that she was doing it she’s looking like she’s up to something and the fine leather sandals was still in my hand,
I gently asked her who the sandals was for she laughed out loud, right then i knew she was up-to something, mama can not just laugh for nothing since we are living like cat and rat,
“Obianaujunwa eeh!, if i call you, you will answer me immediately,
“hmmmm, yes mama’
What’s that “hmm” for? If not that I’m in a happy mood because you will soon be out of my sight, I would have asked you to explain what you mean by “hmmmmm’ repeat that thing again and see what i will do to you
“mama” why are you still shouting my name when I’m standing in front of you”?
“you are very stupid, answer me now before i slap the living day light out of you…Obianajunwa…
“good, you saw the wrapper I received as parcel from the parcel courier and now you have a sandals, they are all from Adaeze, Akunna my friend’s daughter, that your childhood friend, the one you went to secondary school with, and was also in the same class with you, after which she traveled and we haven’t heard from her, she even sleeps in our house sometimes then, she’s back, she has returned from eko, the happening city and if you see how big she has become, if you see the things she bought for Akunna eeh, hmm,
she’s a lucky woman,
She said i should give you that sandals, she bought a lot of wrapper, shoes and handbag for Akunna, the mother, it was out of the wrappers she sent me one,
I told Adaeze about you and she said you should come and see her later, I begged her to take you along with her when she’s going back and luckily for you she agreed, even her mother said i shouldn’t worry that you will go with her to Eko, later you go and see her and thank her for the sandals and also ask her when you will be leaving with her, because i can’t wait for you to be gone, so i will stop having headache because of you, she’s your mate o…
But if you see her now it will look like she’s your aunty, all the food you have being eating comes to your waist and eyes, I don’t know who you are gathering all that waist for… And do you see how big your eyes is, just tired of seeing you look at me with them, I will tell your father about your soon to be journey ones he comes back. Just get your self ready,
See Adaeze is bringing things for the mother Your Own is to be eating my food and getting bigger eyes and waist, just being useless to me, do and leave this house so that i will see road…
“mama no problem, I will go and see Adaeze”
I later saw Adaeze that evening and she was happy to See Me, she filled me in with Lagos life, and said i will enjoy every bit of it, she told me she’s a model which i didn’t really care all that matters to me was I’m leaving and going far away where i won’t fight with mama again, the next time she will See Me, I will be a total different person, a daughter she will be finally proud of,
i started counting days to the main day that me and Adaeze will be going,
I hard papa shouting at mama that night, asking her if she knows the kind of work Adaeze does, mama was challenging him and Papa couldn’t hold it he came to wake me that was pretending to be asleep up, he gently asked me if i really want to go with Adaeze or is mama that was driving me away, I assured him is my decision and not mama.
I know i will miss papa but it won’t be much because my mind will be focused on making it big, I was so happy that Ada as she’s fondly called came to take me out of this village where i will no longer hear mama call me “Obianaujunwa” I will probably change my name to something sweet to hear, I will think of a name later.
The joy in my stomach didn’t allow me eat much for two days, even the main day i was leaving I didn’t eat, I was so happy as i hard mama say “Obianajunwa journey mercy and don’t come back to this house empty handed o!
I knew that will be the last time in two or three years or even more i will hear her call me that name.