THE JOURNEY OF HOPE

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CEF

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I am the third of five children, my father could not afford to take my mother to the hospital, so a midwife had to help with my birth. There was no naming ceremony for me like you have these days. All I knew was the first day I heard my full name “Talatu Adamu” was from my mother during a conversation with my aunt. I had gotten used to being called Tata, a short form of Talatu. I love my name so much but could not spell it like other children around me could spell theirs.

One evening, I saw my cousin Aisha solving Mathematics and Verbal Reasoning, I admired how fluent she could communicate especially in English, although from a northern family like myself, we didn’t really grow up together because she lived in town with her family and came back to the village during the holidays. I could only speak Hausa very well and was known for my oratory in the family. My father complained that I talked too much, and my mother always teased me whenever I mentioned going to school. She reminded me that no one had gone to school before her, and we survived from selling kunu and masa. While my dad farmed to sell and provide for the family. My elder siblings supported my parents to ensure we had food on our table and clothes to wear. Nothing else really mattered once the basic needs were met.

My village had one community school and another one built by the missionaries who visited during my father’s time. Not everyone had interest in education, but I did and still do. I remember one of the missionaries came to my father, he introduced himself as POSH and his friend, Bro Segun. They had been in our community, Jukun in Taraba State for two weeks; they visited every house to preach the gospel and encourage parents to send their children to school. I was just 8 years old but understood what they said because they spoke in Hausa. Although my father welcomed them, he had no interest in anything education because he didn’t understand its benefit to the family.

At 11 years old, I had never been to school or a proper classroom, I would just pass, peep, and steal some time to listen on my way to sell kunu for my mum.  I learnt two letter words like go, by, do, he and one of the days the teacher asked the class to stand up, immediately I picked that and stored it in my brain. Two weeks before my twelfth birthday, I so much believed that I would go to school. Aunty Alina mentioned the scholarship opportunity by Children Empowerment Funds for kids in the northern part of Nigeria when she came on holiday in our house. One of the days mama asked about my cousins and why education was so important to aunty. Aunty Alina has always embraced the culture of the white men in quote and didn’t believe in girls being married off at a tender age without proper education especially since she couldn’t attend school during her time.

The day I saw a young girl in her uniform with her mum, they looked rich and happy. Not like we were sad, but no one ever wore a school uniform at home and mama had no need to pick anyone up from school. Our last born was 2 years old after Saratu the fourth child and had no business with school, he just enjoyed mama’s breast milk and attention from his older siblings. The same day I saw the girl with her mother, she was pointing at me and whispering to her mum, while I sat down with my kunu on the street and cried the more. I felt ashamed but I know one day; I would become a lawyer and defend children who do not have opportunity like me and pay for their school fees too.

On the 13th of October 2018, a week after my birthday, The Children Empowerment Fund had visited my village for the first time since my aunt spoke about them. I had asked God for a birthday gift but a scholarship from primary to secondary school was far beyond my expectations. On this day, Aunty Shola had developed special interest when she saw me hawking masa, she said I reminded her of her childhood and looked like her junior sister. Immediately, she asked that I take her and the team to my see my parents and that was how I started school the next week. My parents didn’t struggle or argue so much like I thought they would because they knew I always admired school. At this point, all I remembered was kneeling to thank my parents, I gave aunty Shola a big hug and promised to make the Children Empowerment Fund proud, including aunty Alina who gave me reasons to have an education.

I am currently preparing for my common entrance exam to Junior Secondary School and my English teacher asked us to write a narrative essay. I hope I have been able to tell my story and you have learnt from my resilience and my love & gratitude to the Children Empowerment Fund in sponsoring kids like myself.

 

Thank you for reading.

Talatu Adamu

 

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THE JOURNEY OF HOPE

I am the third of five children, my father could not afford to take my mother to the hospital, so a midwife had to help