CONVERSATIONS WITH ANITA Ep 1

Driving out of Ekosodin Road in Benin City, Nigeria, the following conversation ensues.

ANITA: Oga Obuks, drive carefully, we are not in a hurry. I would just get something from my shop, then we can go back to meet Mummy.

OBUKUMENA: Ah, Aunty, you like slow driving too much. If it was your mom in the car, we would have returned home ages ago! By the way, thank you very much for the gift you gave my daughter. The clock is very fine but it is too early for her to learn to tell the time. She is just 2 years old.

ANITA: It’s never too early to start teaching them these things. Speaking of your daughter, who is going to look after her now that we have gone and your wife has gone to the market?

OBUKUMENA: Ah, Aunty, the compound.

ANITA: The compound?! I don’t understand.

OBUKUMENA: My compound is full of very nice people. Our neighbour, Dickson is around, he owns a barber’s shop but he leaves his workers there while he stays home. He is preparing to write exams so he can get into the university. Mama Obehi is also at home. She is the one that you saw outside that was preparing to roast fish and corn. Aunty, that fish is very sweet! I will buy it for you one of these days. Mummy likes the fish very well. I did not check but one or two other people should be around. Don’t worry, she is very safe.

ANITA: Wait a minute! I did. …

OBUKUMENA: Should I get off the road? (Abi, I should pack? Speaks softly)

ANITA: I did not hear you tell Mama Obehi just now to help you watch her. Does she even know that your wife is not around? Ah Oga Obuks! Have you not heard the alarming things done to children? OBUKUMENA: God forbid! Nothing can happen to her. She is very safe there. Even if she comes out to play on the street, there are very good people watching the children that are playing there.

ANITA: I am not in support of this at all. You should have at least taken her to sit with Mama Obehi and told her not to get out of the woman’s sight.

 OBUKUMENA: Aunty, don’t be afraid of anything! Ah ah.

ANITA: Little children are getting raped and they do not have the power to fight back. Most of them are even too young to understand what is being done to them. They are threatened not to tell their parents anything. Oga Obuks, why would you do something like this?

female-child-with-hand-over-her-mouth

OBUKUMENA: Aunty Anita, you look upset! I said my neighbors are very good people. I know them. If anyone dares to touch my daughter that way, I will deal with them.

ANITA: Do you think the people that do these unimaginable things to these kids go about introducing themselves as bad people? Most of the time, it is someone that the family knows, a person the child may feel relatively comfortable with that is the culprit. Our part is to protect the children around us. We need to be observant and note if the kids act weird when particular people are around or …. I am talking too much in fact. Please, make a U-turn. Let us go back and pick her up or call your wife and find out if she has gotten home.

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