Living in a plantation might not be a problem but experiency the claws of poverty might make all the difference you may never wish to experience.I am the sixth child of a family of eight children.The first and second children are girls ,three boys followed ,myself and then two others boys at the end.Therefore I am the last girl of the family and naturally it was or is believed that this is and advantaged position as you will be lavished with so much love ,care, concern etc being the last girl.My case however was an exceptional one because I experienced a contrary situation.Growing up to know my parents,i knew them as very nice people,hardworking and financially viable.Infact while I was in nursery school,I would say I was one of the most beautifully dressed kid and had all the things I needed as a child.I always looked neat because I wasn't a rough or playful child.When I am put by anyone to sit on a chair or at a particular place ,it will take that same person to ask me to get up from that position,so I was always looking neat and clean.Also,I had this medical condition where I was always attacked by convulsion with intervals of two weeks difference so this made me to be very quiet and reserved while growing up as a child.With all these,there a was a special treatment I received from my parents probably because they did not want to loose their child and wanted to get the best of life. So I knew we were financially sufficient.My father worked as a clerk and rose to the position of an accountant in a Palm plantation called Pamol Plantation Plc while my mother did all types of petit trading to assist her husband raise her children.The reality of things hit me while in primary school where my parents could not afford to get me a new uniform after the old one was completely torn and looked almost like a rag.My mom had to use materials from my brothers old uniforms to put them together to stitch something with her hands for me to wear to school.All this while my mom's business was flourishing and my father was being promoted at his place of work yet for us the children,life was getting more difficult.
My older siblings who were now in secondary schools in a neighbouring town could not afford even a square meal a day.They lived in very difficult conditions.Since they used the kerosen stove to cook then, there were days when they couldn't afford to buy the kerosen and so they used papers to cook.Things were that bad yet we see our mom's business flourishing.Sometimes she will struggle and make a little bit of financial assistance which couldnt really help for a long period of time.I cant remeber the number of times I and my siblings were sent home from school because we couldn't afford a school badge which was sold for five hundred francs(500fcfa), a text book ,sports wear or even school fees.Our school fees was always paid instalmentally even when there was enough money for it to be paid at once.We had to trek for kilometres in order to attend secondary school because we didnt have the money to pay a taxi and during the rainy season,we were compelled to use large cocoyam leaves as umbrella to protect our uniforms and books from getting wet in the rain because we had neither an umbrella nor a raincoat and sometimes we arrived school with our uniforms soaked and our shoes all covered with mud due to the untarred and earth nature of the roads.Inspite of all these going on,we heard stories of my father giving gifts to other women ,his concubines.He will get sewing machines and other expensive articles.Then it dawned on us that our plight was not because our parents were poor but because no one wanted to shoulder the responsibility of taking care of us.It was then that we approached our mom and then she spilt everything to us.She told us of how my father preferred giving out his money to other women and expect her to shoulder all the resposibilities of the family from her petit trading.Worthy of note is the fact that many times my father borrowed money from my mom and never refunded it.
Usually when situations like this happens,the children,especially the girl child or female child to become exposed and forced into difficult situations of compromise in order to succeed or make it in life.This is exactly what happened to us.My sisters and I were forced to engage in sexual relationships at a very tender age and this led to unwanted pregnacies and this eventually let my eldest sister to drop out school and many of such cases was and still rapant in my community.Many young,beautiful and intelligent girls losts their lives to abortion because of the ignorance and irresponsibility of their parents.Some others contracted very dangerous sexually transmitted veneral diseases and others HIV and died because they either could not accept the reality of the disease or didnt have enough resources to treat themselves. In my own case like with many other girls, was pushed into the arms of rich older men who could assist us financially through school.We therefore traded our bodies to secure our future. Though today God has blessed me with a job,husband and a home yet these experience left scars in my life that are still to be washed or healed.That is why I have made up my mind to see that no girl child goes through the ordeal I and my sisters went through while growing up.I have decided to start an organisation where we sensitize the female child as early as the age of twelve upto twenty five on the dangers of engaging in sexual relationship.The organisation will also train and equip these girls with skills and finances to start up petit traiding while on holidays and weekends.I also intend assisting the mothers of these girls especially the widows by sensitise them to be consciously present in the lives of their daughters for it is their own future they are securing while trainning them.
The experience I had as a child has taught me alot of lessons on being a good and effective parent.Bringing up a child is the responsibilty of both parents.Though the bible gives the man the place of shouldering more of the responsibilities as the head of the family,if you as the mother realises that the future of your children are astake ,do not hesistate to do everything to salvage the situation.Today we have avenues like World Pulse where we get to read stories like this that help to create awareness and give us solutions incase we fine ourselves in a similar situation.But in the days of our parents ,all the people they had around them were people who thought exactly like themselves therefore much help could not be gotten from their friends or the society.Today I would say God gave me the grace to be alive to share my story with other sisters around the world inorder to effect a change in their lives and I hope and pray that this story will do just that in your lives.