“I no fit sleep Musa, I fear sey my dreams go waka leave me too”, fifteen years old Aishat sobbed, her tiny hands holding the hem of her dress to serve as a shield against the blood sucking giant mosquitoes that hovered in the dark.
“You don start again! Wetin person like you wan dey dream about?”, the sullen-skinny-looking chap beside her spurned around to stare at her.
“Ooh Musa, you no go ever understand…”.
Musa didn’t say a word, he knew Aishat was going to make up words just to make him feel better, having to go by another day without a single meal. Their skins, frazzled, making the mosquitoes excited to be out at night.
“Why mama leave us run? I wish sey…”, a rat scurried hurriedly past them and straight down the crusty road. Aishat marvelled at its size, “I sure sey dem go dey chop pass us sef…”, she closed her eyes to block away the tears that were already taking forms across her face, as she curled up her body to fit the cardboard bed laid on stinks, and wished to dream…just dream.
“I just wan sit for ontop white toilet, ey go sweet me die! Maybe if I dey better place I go fit sleep dream as I like…maybe”, she said excitedly, making Musa wonder whether she was still sane or not. Fresh pains launched at her heart as she heard snuffling sobs from the younger kids beside her…hunger then sleeplessness.
Thunderbolt struck, creating deafening sounds that made the other kids shudder and scream in fright. They were Almajiris, abadoned to the cruelty of the world to fend for themselves, and exposed to undue hardship, coupled with the excruciating torture of having to go by each day without food nor water.
“Ey be like say rain wan fall again…”, she tugged at Musa’s shirt, pulling him up as she flung herself into the air to welcome freezing raindrops billowing with the cool breeze. She knew the younger kids couldn’t sleep in the rain, so instead they’d all play in the rain, dancing and chuckling to the husky voice of the drunken ruffian down the street as he hollered jargons and sang his favourite reggae song by Bob Marley, “One Love”.
“Dance with me”, she flapped her feet against dampen soil filled with dirt, swaying her hips from side to side, as her voice disappeared down the bumpy cobbled streets.
P.S: I woke up yesterday thinking of them, the almajiris, and after watching the match yesterday, my stomach has been churning ferociously…hunger mixed in anger!
Someone pray for Nigeria. Happy Sunday!
Listen to my ALMAJIRI STORY on instagram! Enjoy!