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[STORY] PAPA LOVES HIS GIRLS (Episode 04)

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Papa Loves His Girls by Opeyemi Ojerinde Akintunde_ANE Stories
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Episode 04.

My harsh reality surfaced!

I never knew that my very nice in-laws could suddenly turn against me. To be fair, my mother in-law was calm, but my Father-in-law, Sisters -in-law and Brothers -in-law, became strangers to me. They vehemently stood their ground that I had to perform all the usual widow’s rites…

” Mayowa, Omo Yoruba Bia kanyi koria ( Mayowa, Yoruba girl, Come let’s talk). I know how nice you were to Chike, but tradition is tradition” My Father in law had said.

” Luckily for you, Chike’s body was burnt so you won’t have to drink the water from his corpse, but I am afraid my people want you to do the other things. Don’t worry it’s only a matter of months.”

I was able to escape drinking the water of Chike’s dead body. The purpose of that was to prove that the widow is innocent of murder.

My torture called widow’s ritual started with Shaving of the head. My pubic and armpit hair was removed with a razor blade in an untidy manner by older widows called the “umuada”.

My hair was scraped three times in that three months I stayed in Chike’s hometown. As soon as it regrows, it was scraped off. Without looking into a mirror, I could tell I was looking very ugly and “untidy”.

I was untouchable and defiled and so must not receive gifts, pick items up from the floor, or receive a handshake;

I could not speak out or make a noise unless I was required to cry; there were days I was forced to wail even when I didn’t have the strength to do so.

I was not well fed. I Slept on the bare floor; I was not allowed to have my bath even when I was menstruating; they would only pass me a bucket of water with towel to clean up my self..

The most humiliating rite of them all was when I was told to the “naked walk” as part of the ritual cleansing. I walked around the neighborhood naked for a day, using my hands to cover my breast. I had only one cloth I wore , it was washed at night and I had to stay naked until it dried.

My life was restricted for the three months. My phone was taken from me, I only spoke to my family once a week. I could not meet people, could not fetch water, cook, go to market or farm like others, Worse of all, I could not stay too long with my children. My children were with my mother in law. I would sometimes hear them crying for me but I couldn’t go to them. I was told by my Mother in law to bear it, so that there won’t be negative consequences on me and the children. At times, my mother in law would sneak in and give me malt and milk to drink .

Other times, she would bring me tissue to clean up myself and the unwashed dishes and plates I was using for the duration of mourning.

My mother in law would cry whenever she sneaked to see me…

” Mayowa, death is wicked, you do not deserve this in any way, you are a good daughter in law. You take care of me, whenever I come to your house, you treat me like your mother…I am sorry Mayowa…this will be over soon… Chike! Why! Why did you do this to Mayowa?”

Sitting for long hours on the floor for many days to demonstrate my “dethronement” was painful.

Finally, the worst of all came….

” Mayowa, you have been a good widow, I now see why Chike choose you. Unlike other city girls, you cooperated with us in performing all the rites. It is now time for the King of rites… This rite is to “cleanse” a widow of evil spirits. The purpose is to cut the link between the living and the dead. Once you do this, Chike will know you are no longer his wife.” One of Chike’s Uncle said to me, the night before my three months widow’s rite was to be over…

I actually thought it had to do with me carrying a sacrifice to the T- junction, but my ears went into temporary deafness when Chike’s Uncle finished his words…

” You will be having Sexual relations with family members tonight, Your brothers-in-law, Your father-in-law and me Your Father -in- law’s elder brother will crown it up..”

I stood there transfixed and dead. I died!

To be continued…


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