A year later, Chidinma came back with her concocted story, took the helpless girl and sent to another woman called Linda , after collecting money up front as usual . This woman turn out to be a predator on poor, terminally sick and helpless people in need of medical help.
She ran a syndicate that specialized in sending their lieutenants to the remote villages to lure cancer patients , mentally unbalanced, crippled, or very sick people in need of surgery, with the promise of paying for their bills.
What these sick people did not know was that they would be sent out to beg in the streets and the proceeds of their begging will be collected forcefully from them. At the end of the day, they would be left so impoverished that they did not even have enough money to escape this life imprisonment even if they so desired.
Gift was made the treasurer during these begging periods. Her duty was to collect money from sympathizers while the sick person moves painfully along with them, displaying his/her disfigured body to attract people’s pity and make them drop money into Gift’s pouch for collecting money while their disguised security man count and keeps tab on all the money drop into the pouch . At the end of the day, he counts and hand the money to their madam.
this continued for two years, and since Chidinma her mother was handsomely compensated, she did not come with her usual story .
Meanwhile, Gift was so miserable at the kind of life she was subjected to: no education, no skill, and no expectation of better life in future. To make matters worst, all the men working with the syndicate had at one time or the other raped her and when she complained to her madam, she had warned her not to disrupt her business with such nonsense talk.
One fateful day, Gift decided that she had had enough of abuse both from her so called mother and her madam, including her workers. She decided to run away but had to bid her time because their security man, who was her worst molester , had his eagle eyes trained on her all the time.
It was one Friday that she got the opportunity when they had gone to the market with a cancer patient who was in so much pains that she was walking slowly while she, Gift was moving in front begging and dropping the proceed into their bag .
Suddenly, a shout of “theft! theft! erupted and a young man , running at ‘Ben Johnson’ speed ran past, pursued by a crowd of people.
At that instant, Gift melted into the crowd with the bag full money!
She ran for sometime and took off in a different direction. from the crowd and got lost inside the market.
As she was running, she was looking back to ensure she was not been followed by their security man. she continued this way until she heard the screeching of a vehicle, felt an excruciating pain and passed out.
When she woke up, she was lying on a bed and she saw a strange woman peering down at her. She roamed her eyes round the room and felt confused. It was not the squalid room she had been familiar with for two years now and the smell was not as pungent as the one she was used to.
“Where am I , Ma”, she had asked the woman who hurriedly called out to a nurse, informing her that the girl had regained consciousness.
It then dawned on her that she was in a hospital .
At that instant the nurse bent down and and touched her leg, drawing a wince from her because of the pains that radiated throughout her body.
“oh” She screamed. “what happened to me” she asked
“You were knocked down by a car and broke your left leg but you will get well soon as you are still very young. Don’t worry dear, said the woman.
As the strange woman was still talking, all the memory came flooding back to her and she panicked . She sat up abruptly but felt an excruciating pain in her leg and all over her body which made her fall back on the bed.
“Aunty , please don’t let them take me back,” She begged passionately.
“Who” asked the woman
“okito” she replied
“Who is that ?”
“Our security ”
“What are you talking about sweetheart ?”
“I was running away from him”
“Was he the owner of the money you had in your purse tied around your waist?”
Gift was silent and so the woman told her that her name was Mrs. Rosa Ugwu and that it was her car that knocked her down when she ran into her path, head long, looking over her shoulders .
“Start from the beginning and tell me every thing, baby girl” Rosa had prodded her kindly.
Gift then narrated her life story but claim that she an orphan who did not even know her mother. In fact she narrated all that she went through in life except of her been trafficked by her own mother, rather she lied that it was her step mother. She did not want the kind lady to take her back to her mother.
“I am better off an orphan”, she had thought to herself
As Gift was talking, tears were dripping down Rosa’s eyes uncontrollably
“how could one, so young had gone through so much “,she had wondered
She wondered why the Government could not do something about all these helpless orphans that were maltreated by relations and abused by the society. Is it impossible for an agency to be established in local governments, to seek out such. children , build schools for them give them free education , accommodation and also teach them skills!
Often , one hears of Government budgeting billions of naira on security but if such money is budgeted for the education of the indigent, the orphans and the helpless , the society would have less security challenges because most of these indigent, abandoned and abused children often ends up been forced into crime by the vicissitudes of life.
To Be Continued…… . . .
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[STORY] THE PASTOR’S DAUGHTER (Final Episode 13)
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