Today happens to be my 14th birthday and my wedding day. The last one month has seen plans for the ceremony being put in place. Gifts have consistently succeeded each other more than I have received since my betrothal 7 years ago to Alhaji Adamu – my potential husband.
It was noon, time for the escort to my husband’s house. Tears from the depths of worries, kindled by naivety dried from exhaustion. My eyes now looked sore and sagged like an aged woman’s.
‘welcome oo’ the women in Alhaji Adamu’s house greet me and my train, organising themselves into dance groups and jiggling their bodies, while making shrill sounds with their hands and mouths. Meanwhile, I am taken to my quarters so I can rest after the long trek.
The next morning, as instructed by my father upon leaving home, I go round the compound, greeting the other wives of ‘megida’ (my husband), attracting sneering and cheerful receptions.
Nine months later, Megida’s seed in me had bloomed and due for harvest. The midwife says the child is stillborn after three days of labour, while the pains that racks my body elude explanation. In the morning, when I get up, my bed is wet, my clothes are dripping and everywhere terribly stinks.
I don’t know what kind of disease it is that I carry. My husband says it is consequential to my extramarital affairs and until I tell him who it is I slept with, I’ll continue to carry this abomination about. My mother- in- law convicts me of witchcraft. I, the once celebrated bride, now the hideous ridicule no one finds associative.
“Megida” has sent me back to my father’s house. My mother never tires of giving herbal mixtures for my unknown ailment. Neither has she stopped offering sacrifices as instructed by Ndube the dubious native doctor, on the hope that the terrestrial or celestial forces behind my travails would set me free.
If I die, I believe the bereaved will be at ease. My parents will be relieved and I myself will finally be at rest.
I hope this tree serving as my gallow be a memorial, when I’m gone beyond return…
Obstetric fistula is one of the most serious and tragic injuries associated with childbirth. The most common symptom is incontinence of either faeces or urine or both resulting into a foul smell that follows the woman around.
It is estimated that about two million women/ girls in the world have this injury. What makes it worse is the fact that the people involved both directly and indirectly regard it as a mythical attacks or a punishment for adultery. Thus failing to fault the parents who give the girl child out in marriage or the man who impregnates the girl.
The good news however is that obstetric fistula can be prevented and cured. We don’t have to be victims or close to one before we take a stand against girl child marriage.
It begins with us taking a stand against this terrible practise destroying the lives of young girls, turning against them and halting the victimization that riddles lives of this young ones. A little word here, a little encouragement for current victims and enlightening them to seek medical care, can go a long way. Monetary aid can also do a lot.
Aremu Aanuoluwapo is a student of the department of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan. She loves reading, baking and challenging situations. She is also passionate about helping young ones especially the girl child.