As I said in my last blog, we did have a change and when this change came, our lives took an entire turn to a different course, even though sad but made us stronger.
When I was about 5 going to 6, I would remember vividly that my mum and dad had a store (provisional shop), and as teachers it was meant to supplement for them the other things they would not provide for us with their meager salary, as within 4 to 6 years their family has grown to a of 5 people (3 kids).This store was supposed to help us out and it did for a while until one day my mum came home and packed us all (Kids) out of our home without our dad and moved us into my auntie’s house.
As a child, I didn’t understand what was happening neither did my siblings as they were younger. Our minds were trying to understand the change we were going through, like, what could be making my mum pack her things and leave my dad behind. In my little mind, I thought we were going on vacation, visiting family members as this was a tradition of my family to visit family members during the holidays. My siblings and I, especially my brother because then my sister was about 2yrs old were thinking, well maybe we would go back to our lives and be a happy family again, but 1 day became 2days and 2days became 3years etc. and then it became apparent that we were not going back to our dad’s home. Something is wrong with our family, it is now broken, we don’t know why or what caused it but as we got older we started hearing things and we knew then that this was way bigger than our little minds could take.
I never heard my mum and dad argue at that time, and so this was all a big shock to us. Our mum is now a single mum, in her twenties, a teacher (Teacher’s certificate-TC) and four mouths to feed including a niece who lived with her during this period. Things changed drastically for us, my mum made sure we went to school and as an older child I went to a good enough primary school at that time (St Joseph’s Primary School). My brother went to a school around the area where we lived because my mum could not afford transportation for both of us, and my younger sister was sent to my late grandmother for a year in the village whilst she try to put her life together.
I can tell you this for sure that the break between my mum and dad was hard and it definitely made me the stronger woman I am today. In my auntie’s home (My mum’s older sister), there were more than 30 people living in this house and when we came to live at their house, there was not a lot of space available for us, the only place available for us at that time was a one bedroom under the basement of the house (Krio-under sayla), which was where all the kitchen or other materials were kept. As kids we slept with other family members in the space where all the kitchen stuff were kept, my mum would spread clothes (Lappas) on the floor and she would sleep on a small bed that was enough for one in a little room next to ours. Our room was an access to other rooms and that makes it difficult sometimes as people were going in and out of the room, and we were also the first people to wake up because the kitchen utensils were needed for morning breakfast every day. We would wake up in the morning go to our mum’s room, get our school materials, shower and get ready for school. This happened for almost 4 or 5 years of our lives. It was a hard life during this period. We ate rice and pepper (Dry res en pepper),bulgur, (whole grain wheat), and as my mum was a teacher she would sell things like things like cool aid (Ice), Fish ball (Fishball), Bulgur (Bulgur Kanya), corn flour (Kanya), etc to the kids she teaches to make ends meet. We came from having our own bedroom to now sleeping on the floor, because of this change.
It was so bad that one day during this period, I could remember vividly, my mum was dressing up to go out, she wore a dress that I thought in my little mind she has won so much, it was all faded and her shoes were all worn out, so I turned towards her and said “Mama please don’t wear this clothes, it’s too “white” (meaning too old). She looked at me and I could see the sadness in her eyes and she said “oh no don’t worry its fine, I will just have it starched and ironed, it would be new again.” She told me later on that it brought tears to her eyes, and as a kid I was able to see her sufferings even though I didn’t understand it at that time. I remember also going to a cousin’s birthday party and I had a plastic shoe (celetoe) on, all the kids were pointing at my shoes and laughing at me, I went to my mum as a kid and said “Mum they are laughing at my shoes” she replied and said to me the only way she knows how “Don’t worry about them, you forget about them ok” and trust me that made me feel better at that moment. The voice of my mum saying “don’t worry about them was a blessing” I held my head up high and did not allow these kids to spoil that moment even in my plastic shoeJ. I did not let them break me, but I still remember that day like it happened yesterday.
My mum got everything second hand for us(Or hand me downs) because that was what she could afford and I remember that as children we never once complained even when we saw other families living way better than we did. We ate what was given to us and we wore what our mum bought for us.
We would see our dad here and there every now and again and was a difficult period as every time we saw him, we would cry so hard when it was time to leave. Looking back now, I do wonder as an adult why my mum was the one who moved out of the house instead of the other way round. But you know this is just my thought. My mum is a strong black woman and she held it together travelling to the village to get materials she would sell just to make ends meet, and doing all she could to make sure that we do go to school and have clothes on our back. We appreciate her for all she has done for us.
She is one of my heroes and she is a strong black woman.
Today is the birthday of this special woman in my life, the strong black woman who held it down. Please help me wish her a happy birthday.
Thanks for reading.
Please like and comment below.