‘O ga di nma’ an Igbo translation for ‘It would be well’ was all Chika could mutter as she walked past the school girls.
The combinations of the weight of the firewood on her head, the weight of little Kelechi on her back, and the weight of her five months old pregnancy could not outweigh the weight of the pain she carried in her heart; the pain of a shattered dream.
Two years ago, just when she clocked thirteen, she had made a solemn promise to be great.
She had just passed her Junior Secondary School Certificate Examination (JSSCE) with the hope of getting into the science class; a pathway to her nursing dream.
On that fatefully cursed day, she had returned home to find Maazi Okechukwu; the famous village palm wine dealer who is well known for his litany of wives talking gleefully with her dad.
After what seemed like ages, her dad summoned her, introduced Maazi Okechukwu as her husband and commanded her to get her things ready as she would be leaving with her new husband that instant.
No one cared to remember her age neither was her opinion sought.
She wished her mother was still alive, maybe she would have saved her from this impending doom.
Tearfully, she did as commanded and followed her sudden husband to her new home. She knew her father to be greedy and would strive to have his pocket filled at any cost but what she didn’t know was that she was his biggest price.
Her hopes, dreams and ambitions now exchanged for 3 kegs of palm wine, one goat and ten thousand naira.
As she walked past her mates living out her dreams, she hissed a sigh of regret and continued her to journey back to the man she called husband, a man old enough to be her dad! Although her dreams and hopes are now bygones, she vowed to prevent such from befalling her unborn daughter.
Written by KAYCEE of DerivingJoydigital
SAY NO TO CHILD MARRIAGE | TBCWAD
Photography: Chika Onuu