I am becoming so used to Facebook nowadays that I am forgetting I even have a blog. Okay, that’s going to stop. I will give to Facebook what belongs to her and to you (my darling blog) what rightly belongs to you.
I decided to write this blog post after a discussion I had with one of my students this evening. And for those who are already confused because I referred to someone as my student, I am currently an IT instructor in a computer school in Akwa Ibom pending when my DREAM coy calls.
So I got talking with this my student, a girl who I think should be between 18 and 20 years. We just finished training for the day and I was about going to my lodge when she discovered we stay in the same area and she offered to ‘escort’ me home. Ordinarily I take bike home after the day’s work. I teach from 9:30am to 12noon and from 3pm to 6pm everyday so it’s only natural that at the end I get exhausted. However, today because of my newly found companion I decided to trek home. The discussion that ensued forms the basis of this post.
She wrote her WAEC in 2013 and failed two of the core subjects-English and Math and interestingly passed the other seven. She was supposed to rewrite the exam this year but couldn’t because there was no money. The father died in 2007 leaving the poor woman- her mother to cater for four boys and two girls all alone. She mum now sells food in a makeshift tent to make ends meet.
So when she heard of the free computer training we were organizing she quickly enrolled. Now, she can’t afford to register WAEC talk more of going to a higher institution. She told me she intends looking for work in a computer business center immediately she’s done with us. According to her, her survival in life now lies on the computer skills she’s going to acquire from us. I saw the sincerity and humility in her worlds and my heart melted as she is one of the most serious students I have. I asked her what her four brothers were doing now and she told me one is dead. I felt great pity for her. My inquisitive nature led me to asking her when the boy died and she told me she died last month (May). I asked her how old he was before he died and she said 14! Still feeling very bad I asked the inevitable question- What killed him? “Nothing” she said. “You mean ‘Nothing’ killed your brother?” I probed further. At that point she became very uncomfortable as she used her right hand to motion round her head as she uttered the words “My brother committed SUICIDE!” For few seconds there was a deafening silence. “You mean your brother killed himself?” I managed to ask, with that “you may not know what the word SUICIDE means’ look. That was when she now gave me the graphic account of how it happened.
As I type this post I am still wondering what type of poverty and frustration will make a boy of 14 years in JSS1 commit suicide. Before his death he was a student of St. Francis Secondary School Eket, the school where I spent time with the students on Friday lecturing them on the benefits of digital literacy.
Before I left her, she showed me the tent where her mum sells food and begged me to be patronizing her mum since it’s kinda close to where I stay and I reluctantly agreed. I will go there tomorrow morning and if her food tastes good I will make their joint, at least until I leave this place.
I have been thinking of a way of helping and inspiring this young girl. I’m only surprised she has not gone the way of most girls in her situation here- prostitution. I think about all this girl has passed through including the ones she has not told me and I know her story is worth sharing, but not now, not to me, maybe to the class of 2026 of Stanford University or any of those Ivy Leagues, maybe on a TED platform. But could it be wishful thinking? Can she rise above all these challenges and make it BIG in life? This unfair and wicked world?
I really want to do something for her. It may not necessarily be financial. Kindly help me with suggestions and advices.