Growing up in the ghetto part of Lagos was fun, with the annual carnivals, talent hunt competitions, ever bustling music and streets. But anyone who knows Ajegunle in any way would say it’s not much of a good place to bring up a child, given the constant fights from the louts, picking of pockets and snatching your bags (mostly done by teenagers), smoking and constant verbal harassment of any girl child passing by.
One would have thought every child who grew up in a ghetto would be wild and uncontrollable but you can’t be a child of my mother and go wild regardless of your environment or orientation. This Iron woman won’t have a child go haywire on her watch. Her house, her rules, was the policy. Me and my siblings weren’t allowed to have friends, we had a stereotype map of our daily activities which ranges from home to school, school to home, home to Arabic class and finally back home. We don’t even see our parents bringing anyone home as a friend except their childhood friends of course, what would have been our excuse?
In Mom’s voice “if you want to amount to anything good, you wouldn’t acquaint yourselves with these kind of people. You have to be friends with those who would push you to be better”. This was her excuse for choosing our friends. For everyone we talked to growing up, they were probably the neighbors we greet in the morning or our schoolmates. It wasn’t fun for my sisters and I but being the last child at a very tender age, it wasn’t a big deal. I really didn’t know the essence of friendship then other than to play which I never had the time for.
You can’t be a good student of Tolyfun International Nursery and Primary school and not study hard. No! That school kept me busy 8am to 7pm for as long as I can remember till I finished from there. So it helped me listen to Mom more. I was your typical “pako get inside” girl *lol. The few friends I had were from school and I was the good child, so I kept my circle very small and almost perfect.
But that was not it, everybody around me were blind to me, they were not getting me, not sensitive to my silence. I needed to be heard one way or the other. And I was, it happened! Not as I wanted it, but it did happen!
To be continued…