Miriam

My childhood

I was born in a small village in Northern Nigeria. My family was extremely poor and we all had to work extremely hard to get a days meal. I had 5 siblings: 3 boys and 2 girls. Unfortunately, my eldest brother, Ahmed got killed by some terrorists on his way back from doing odd jobs for money in our neighboring village some years ago. He was just 14 when this happened. My parents mourned him for years and so did we. My mother was never the same again and sometimes shed tell us that she saw Ahmed in her dreams. But the harsh reality was that Ahmed was gone and he was never coming back. I was 6 then but the trauma and the fear that one day these people could attack and kill us all kept me awake at nights.

I was the 5th born and my little sister, our last child was always the biggest vibe especially in sad moments. I guess she wasn old enough to realize the danger that surrounded us so she lived carefree. I wish I could have too but I was too afraid and so we
e the rest of my siblings and our parents.

I was a precocious child and very intelligent. On realizing this my parents and older siblings worked hard to get money and send me to school so I could become educated and maybe one day, lift our family our of poverty.

I knew one thing; everyone was depending on me so I had to be focused and shun distractions. Going to school was difficult because I faced a lot of gender discrimination. They always told me ”you
e a girl, what are you doing in school? Don you know your life ends in the kitchen and the other room. ” But I never let their words get in my head because I knew that the weight of my familys future was lying on my shoulders. Id get picked on by girls who came from rich families. Theyd laugh at me, call me names and insult my family. They mocked our situation because we were very poor and Id start crying. When they saw the tears, the mockery would increase and sometimes I felt as if my heart was about to explode with pain.

I never really experienced those happy childhood moments because we constantly lived in fear. The only times

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