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Vivian's story

Shattered dreams; broken future

I am Vivian. I am a Becheve girl from Mangblan in Kwande local Govt Area of Benue State. I was privileged as a girl to be among the ones chosen to be sent to school by Faith House Missions. My father has always said it was total waste training a girl in school. When I was in Primary three, some men visited our compound. One of them registered serious disapproval regarding my being put in school. Since I didn’t know what was happening or why he had such boldness to speak, I only assured myself that nothing was big enough to deny me the privilege of education. I continued with going to school. 

One morning, an elderly man came in company of two men. My father welcomed and entertained them. In the course of their discussion, my father call me and asked me to stand in front of them. “Vivian” he started, “you know I am your father and I know what is good for you. Though I have not told you this before, you are now ripe for what man can do with woman. Na your husband this” pointing to the eldest of the visitors. “Jesus!” I shouted. I felt the ground should just open for me to enter … “Papa! How? When? Where have I gone wrong?” I asked with tears rolling down my cheeks. I could not well up enough questions in my confused state. “My picken, you no do no nothing. Na so wa people dey do am. Na im I don chop this man im money say make I give am my picken. E be na good man!” He added. 

At this point I made for the opening I saw but one of the young men suspecting my moves quickly held me by wrapper and dragged me to a standstill. All my struggles to break loose only attracted beatings in the name that I was being stubborn to my father. “Is that what you are taught in that your church?” they bellowed at me. That was how I was dragged out of my compound and beaten along the road any time I protested. In the man’s compound, life was not too different from what obtained in my community. Poverty and misery seemed to be a next door neighbor. I was kept under watchful eyes. I refused to enter the same room with the man. He made several attempts to talk with me but I would not just listen. I pretended as if I was settling in with the family – he already had two wives each old enough to be my grand-mother. 

One of those days, pretended to be ill and did not follow them to the farm. When they all left, I ran into the bush and tried to straighten out my calculations on the way I was brought in to the community. A few minutes was enough, I did not look back. It took me over four hours of running, making hurried attempts to rest and scooping water from the streams on the way, before I arrived our compound in Mangblan. On seeing me, my father let out a shout, “ah heeeee (ahh hay)! You are here. Is there any problem? Did your husband send you? Why have you come” He queried?  

I cannot explain all the kind of abusive words my father used on me that day as I told him of the hardships I had faced for the period I was in that man’s house. He wouldn’t want to hear any of that. 

A few days after I arrived my village, Pastor Richards came. He heard the story and visited my father. He discussed with my father to let me be, especially since I was being forced into the marriage.

 After Pastor left, unknown to me, my father had sent out word to the man telling him that, “if he didn’t come to take me away, he (my father) would not be held responsible for whatever happens regarding the marriage”
I was taking my bath in the village stream when I saw five young men coming down the hill and heading my direction. “Don’t these men have respect for a woman’s privacy” I reasoned. Before I could raise my voice as I tried to reach for a wrapper to cover my nakedness, they were already at arm’s reach: landing slaps on my face and kicking me from every direction. I shouted and wailed. With my house close to the stream, I had thought someone would rush down to see what was happening to me. I did know these men or where they came from. What have I done? Could this be the Boko Haram people we hear in stories? I shouted the more. By this time, my head was being pushed into the water. I feared for death. 
“Man don buy na you, your papa chop im money all, and you e no wan go?” One of them blurted out.
“oh! Its still this money wife thing. God help me!” I said quietly as I tried to gain my posture, not minding how hard I was hit. One of the men gave me a blow on the back and asked were I was going. I stood speechless. One of them threw the wrapper at me and said, “tie dat tin make we go; we dey go na Oga im house na na na”
My heart skipped.
As they pulled me along, I saw to my shock that my father had been sitting down under a shade and listening to all that was happening. “Picken wey e no dey hear something . Na so!”
At this time, I knew I was in a lone world. Would my mother have come to my aid if she were to be alive?
I was been led like a goat led to the market. I was put in front while the men followed me with whips. Only God can repay those men for the pains they inflicted on me.
I ran again. I feared to go home. I made it out to Amana and headed for Orimekpang. I met some people from my village who go to do clearing jobs for pay.
A young man took interest in me and took me in. to him, he had found a wife of his dream. He really cared for me. He began making arrangement to visit my father when he discovered I was a virgin. To cut the story short, I became pregnant for him.
He got me registered in the PHC. The mother was so happy and would ask to know how I faired every day.
My friend returned home one day and called me coldly. All attempts to make him eat first, failed. He asked me to tell him the truth about me and my husband. I told him everything.
“So,” he said, “ this child belongs to that your old husband in that remote village? My love for you, my sweat, my care for you…all for that man? You will have to leave” He told me how some of my tribal people whispered my being a ‘money wife’ to his hearing.
I returned home. I was shocked to see my father happy for my pregnancy. “no bi dat man im money e don dey bring some profit so? I thank God” He said.
I cant explain all the hardship I faced having and raising this child but I trust God and still believe that one day, things will change for me.

.....The end.

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