ITAFAJI WARNING: This story is sorrowful. Readers discretion is advised.
Having three kids in school at the same time is not an easy task for any parent. Especially for one like me, to whom life has been quite unfair with. And most especially in this Buhari time, when the economy is in coma. My children were sent out from school for not paying their tuition fees. I pleaded with the school authorities to give me some time but my request was refused.
Everything seemed to be falling apart. My business was not moving and the little kiosk my wife was managing wasn’t yielding much. There was no one to turn to, everyone I know is bearing the brunt of the harsh economic reality. I was helpless, but my children must go back to school.
“Iya Titi,” I called my wife, “we can’t just continue hoping on hope. We must do something.”
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“I don’t know what else we can do.”
“I want to sell this television.”
“Yes, and some of my things.”
“No-o, abeg don’t sell the tele oo, I can’t afford to miss tele mundo.”
“Is that more important than your children’s education?”
“No. Let’s sell some of my hollandese and aso-oke.”
“Okay, now you’re talking.”
That was how I was able to raise the money needed to pay the children’s school fees. I took them to their school very early in the morning of 13th March, being a Wednesday. I paid and was issued with a receipt.
“Oshe gon, Baba mi.” Titilayo said to me. “Don’t worry, when I grow up, I will make you and Iya mi proud.”doctor and build a new house for you.”
“Me I will buy you and mummy a car.” Bola joined them. “Not a small car oo, a big one.”
We all embraced and said good bye.
They ran off to their respective classrooms and I went home to face the other businesses of the day. I loved my children and can do anything for them. I was happy that they saw and appreciated the sacrifices I and their mother were making. Before leaving, I turned to take another look at the school building. Such a strong looking structure, standing tall and powerful.
“My children are in safe hands.” I thought.
But I was damn wrong.
To be continued.
Composed & Written by
To the memory of the victims of Itafaji school building collapse in Lagos, Nigeria.
(I wrote this based on popular demand. Sorry if it makes you cry)