The Elder’s Daughter – Episode 1
© Jennipher Duru
“Esther, Esther, please hurry up before you miss the bus. It’s almost 12 and you are still not ready yet” Esther’s mother shouted from the living room. Esther came walking slowly with her suitcase “Mom, you exaggerate too much sometimes. It’s only 3 minutes after 11 O’clock” Esther said. “Whether it’s 3 minutes or 20 minutes, it still goes down to the fact that it will soon be 12 O’clock. Now go and call your dad from the garden and tell him you are ready” Her mother responded.
Esther went to the garden and told her dad that she was ready to go. He was busy planting some vegetable seeds with his son Daniel. “Daniel, leave what you are doing and let’s get inside” he said. They both entered the living room and sat down. “Are these the only items you are taking?” Esther’s father asked. “Yes sir” Esther answered. Her father opened the two suitcases and searched through her items thoroughly as everyone watched. He brought out a small pink case. He felt it with his hand to know what was inside “What is this?’ he asked, looking at Esther. Esther went to open it “This is just a small case where I keep the keys to my locker and my room” she answered. Her father continued the search and when he was satisfied he asked her to close her suitcases and kneel down as he prayed for her.
“Our Father, I thank you for my daughter Esther who is about to go to continue her studies at the University. I pray that you will watch over her and keep her in your ways. Let her feet not lead her into trouble. May your angels draw out their sword to strike any person that will want to make her do what is contrary to your word. Give her the wisdom to excel in her studies and let her heart be disgusted at evil. In the name of our Lord Jesus we have prayed. Amen” He prayed as he laid hands on her head.
The entire family responded “Amen”. Esther’s father continued “Esther my daughter. You have to understand that you are heading to a place that is not less than Sodom and Gomorrah. You have to understand that you will be a sheep among wolves. University life is not easy. That is why you have to be very careful. Be cautious of the friends you will choose. This phone I have bought for you is only to be used when you want to call us, not for any other thing. I know if I had the money to send you to the Christian College near our house, I would have done it. But I trust that you will behave yourself according to the education that your mother and I have given you. Remember, God is watching you”.
Esther nodded her head and shook her father’s hand, while her mom and brother escorted her to the car park. Her mother cried as she entered the bus. “Take care of yourself Esther” she said. Esther waved to her mom and the bus took off. She also felt the urge to cry, but she felt ashamed because of the other passengers.
This was her first time of leaving her parents’ home for a long time. The only time she left home was when her aunt, who had given birth in another city, had called her to help her out with house chores. However, Esther’s father demanded that she come back after two days.
Esther was the first born in the family of two. Her family was a typical African family of medium income. Her mother was a full time housewife. She was a beautiful and gentle woman. Her father, on the other hand was a man to be feared. He had served as a civil servant for at least 28 years and was planning to retire. He was an extremely strict man who never tolerated any nonsense. He was an Elder in their local church and many people had a lot of fear and respect for him because of the way he had managed to bring up his children. He made sure that they observed all his orders and rules at home. His children greatly feared him. They had no friends, except their fellow church members, although their friendship only ended at church. Known as elder Barnabas, Esther’s father was known to be a man of a strong character.
Esther had grown up under the authoritative fist of her father. She was an intelligent 18 year old girl, who had passed her secondary school exams with flying colors. Her father had asked that she study Medicine in the public university, which was located in the capital city. It was a hard decision for him to make as he did not want her to be far from home. However, because he did not have enough money to enroll her in one of the private universities in her hometown, Elder Barnabas had no choice but to send her far.
It was a long journey. After 5 and half hours, they finally arrived in the city. Esther looked at her watch; it was 5:16pm. The conductor asked everyone to get down. Esther hurried to get her suitcase. The car park was filled with people. Noise of car horns and people shouting rang in her ears. She wasn’t used to such noise as her hometown was a quiet place. This was her second time visiting the city. She had come to enroll a few months ago, with her father. She pulled her two suitcases and stood still, trying to find her way through. One boy came to hold her suitcases. “Let me help you carry them m’am” he said. Esther was afraid. She pulled them from his hands and said softly “No, thank you. I can carry them”. The boy insisted. Esther was panicking. A young man came from behind and pulled the boy away from her “Hey young boy didn’t you hear what she said? Get out of here” he said. The boy finally left. The young man looked at Esther and said “I perceive that you are new to this place right?” Esther, who was now trying to leave the place, said “Yes well not really. I mean, yes….” The young man laughed “Of course you are new. Otherwise you wouldn’t have been so gentle with that boy. People who live here can’t even allow that boy to stay seconds around them. Here, we shout and do everything by force. Now tell me, where are you going? Maybe I can help you” he said.
Esther looked at him. “I am going to the university. I know my way. I’m going to grab a bus over there” she said. The young man laughed again and said “You see why I am saying you are new? Those buses go to the university quite alright, but they take ages to arrive because they don’t get filled easily. There is a place not far from here where you can find small cars that go directly to the university. I am also heading there. We can go together. Trust me”
Esther followed the man. He helped her carry her luggage and went out of the car park. They arrived at the main road and Esther’s head was almost spinning because of the speed at which the cars were being driven. “How possible is it to cross this road?” she asked, looking really worried. “Hahaha. Very possible indeed my dear. Just hold my hand and we will cross together. It’s rush hour, that is why there are a lot of cars” The man said. He held her hand and pulled her across the road. Esther was trying to block her legs from moving, but the man strongly pulled her. She could see cars rushing towards them. Esther shouted “Mummy!” as they crossed. Some people looked at her. As they crossed to the other side of the road, the young man burst into laughter. He laughed so hard that he put his hands on his knees. Esther was breathing fast. “We almost got killed” she said, catching her breath. The young man wiped the tears of laughter and lifted the suitcase “This is the most beautiful day of my life. Let’s go” he said.
They found that only two places were left to be occupied in the small car. They entered and off they went. Upon arrival at the University, the man asked “So, which department are you in?” “I am in the Medicine department” she said. “Wow! The geniuses hun? And do you know your room number and pavilion?”
Esther replied “Yes, I am in Pavilion Bernadette room number 87”. The young man took her to the place. They found some young ladies having fun. Some were smoking cigarette while others were dancing to loud music outside the pavilion. Esther looked at them in astonishment.
“Well, there you go miss. I think I have done my part. I hope you enjoy yourself. If you need any help, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. Do you have a phone?” he said. Esther had to lie “No, I don’t. But I really appreciate your help. May God richly bless you sir” She said. The young man started laughing again “Who are you calling sir? Hahaha. You are a very funny lady. I am just a young man like you. My name is David and I am currently in my second year studying Economics” He said.
Esther felt ashamed “My name is Esther and I am in my first year. Once again, thank you for your help” She said. David shook her hand and left.
Esther entered her room. She found a young beautiful lady in knickers listening to music. “Oh hello there! You must be Esther right?” the lady said as she stared strangely at Esther. Esther was dressed in a loose-fitting black skirt that almost touched the floor. She wore a sweat shirt that covered her chest and hands. “Yes, I am Esther. And you?” she said
“My name is Naomi. I will be your roommate together with another lady called Janet, but she will be coming in the day after tomorrow. Nice to meet you Esther. Your bed is right here and on the left there is your locker” Naomi said.
“Thank you Naomi. Nice to meet you” Esther said as she put her suitcase on the bed.
To be continued