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Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 1

I am Ojo Makanjuola Stephens, a native of Esa-

Odo in Obokun Local Government area of Osun

state Nigeria. I am an only child of my Mother; I

did not know my Father.

He died when I was two years old. He fell from

the palm tree they said. He was a palm wine

tapper as well as a drinker. Stories has it that he

usually drank half of his wine before getting to

the market place, consequently he was always

indebted those from whose hands he had

collected money in advance. They say he was a

good dancer and singer too, especially when he

has had his fill of his produce.

Mama refused to remarry, she could not

withstand another man that could turn out to be

like Papa, and so she buried herself in her petty

trading and hair braiding. She sells anything,

most especially seasonal farm produce and

domestic Animals, if you want to sell your

domestic animals, contact my Mum; she knows

who wants to buy as long as she gets a

commission out of the deal.

I was her life; she lived for me even though she

never pampered me. She showed me love and

care within her lean resources. Mama would

never borrow a Pin from anybody, she taught me

contentment, her favorite watch word to me was

“Remember the Son of whom you are”

She taught me to stand my ground in the

presence of bullies, she told me never to weep

when my mates try to cheat me or oppress me.

Whenever I got into a fight with my mate and I

was over powered I wipe my tears before getting

home while I concoct plan for a rematch. I can

fight with a particular person ten times until I

take my pound of flesh except our paths do not

cross while going to the stream, farm, the

Market or School.

As a teenager, I had a small frame like my

Mother so my peers were always trying to bully

me, but that soon stopped when they realized

that I never said die until I am dead. My nick

name then was “wa pa” some thought it meant

to “be cool” but it was actually coined from “wa

pa mi l’oni” meaning “you will kill me today” any

bully that beats me must be ready for my trouble

for I would trail him to his father’s house with

stones and any imaginable weapon I could lay

my hands on until his family members come to

beg and appease me with gifts or money.

I was alone in the hostile world, no sibling to

stand by me except my frail Mother.

My Mother was tagged “Iya oloju kan” the woman

with one eye. I was her lone eye and she would

any length to protect me.

When I turned twelve and in class one in the

village grammar school, I started supporting my

mother during the holidays by joining fellow

teenagers to farm for money. About five to ten

of us could collect a hectare of land to weed

and cultivate for the land owner who guarantees

our breakfast and lunch as well as pay for our

service.

We also go to the plantation owners to look for

Job from the fruit dealers that buy the harvest

from an orange plantation or mango plantation.

Our Job was to climb the trees with sacks and

pluck every ripe fruit on the tree and load it into

Trucks that take the fruits to the northern part

of the Country for sale.

Many times we had encountered snakes and

hostile rodents on the trees and such encounters

had led to the death and incapacitation of some

of us. After such hectic jobs, we retire home at

evenings after collecting our fees, we then

freshen up and hit the street after eating super,

super was mostly eaten between 5 pm to 6 pm.

We then go about looking for fun and girls.

The problem then was that girls of our mate

were looking at us as small boys; they would

rather go with the older boys of class 3 and 4.

So we simply go round the Village noting which

girl was seen hanging out with which boy.

The hang outs could be under fruit trees, by the

passage between two mud houses or simply

sitting together by the balcony of a house. These

we spread around the School the next day.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The proceeds of my labour I gave to mama as

my meager contribution for housekeeping. My

father owned no land, I heard he sold his portion

of his family land long before he married mama.

The only legacy he left for me was some old

palm trees scattered in his other brother’s farm

lands but my mother never told me about it

because she did not want me to turn out like

him.

I still wondered what my mother saw in a man

like my father, even though she never spoke ill of

him to me, I knew she was not a happily married

woman.

Mama is a feeble Woman, she has a small frame

and not physically strong, she is thin and gaunt

as a result of sickness and excessive fasting. I

used to wonder how someone with little to eat

would indulge in marathon fasting. Mama could

pray for eight hours nonstop. Many nights she

does vigil praying till dawn, she does not shout or

disturb anyone when she prays; she talks to her

god alone. Her major prayer point was that God

should protect her Son and make a success out

of me.

It is only during such prayers that she tells God

about her not wanting me to turn out a failure

like my Father, she begs God not to visit the sins

of my Father on me. I attended one of her vigils

with her and I slept off mid way, I was bored

because she kept telling God the same thing

over and over, no wonder her prayers were so

long, I used to wonder then if God was that

patient.

My Mother’s problem started when she disobeyed

her parent and married my Father. She is from a

devout Muslim family; her father was the Chief

Imam at the village Mosque while her Mother

was the “Iya Suna” head of the Muslim women,

so you can imagine the reaction of her father

when my Father and his palm wine drinkers went

to seek for the daughter of an Imam in marriage.

They were chased off I heard. Islam and Alcohol

is like water and oil.

Her parent never gave their consent even after I

was conceived and my father went with his

family members to beg again thinking the

pregnancy would pacify her father, rather the

news of the pregnancy enraged the old Imam

and he cursed and disowned my mother publicly.

He did not forgive her amidst pleas from several

reputable people in the Village till the death of

him and his wife.

After his death, my mother remained a persona

non grata in her father’s house, I am tagged a

bastard there and I can only point a finger there

and tell someone it is my grandfather’s house, it

was so bad that if any of my mother’s relation

sees me or my mother coming along their paths,

they change course and follow another route.

And the man that put my Mother through all of

these did not stay around to take care of her and

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her Son.

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