UJU Episode 1
Written by Amah
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.