In a village on an island the atmosphere was serene as the trees, tall and lush with foliage, swayed in the gentle breeze and the lovely birds sang gloriously the tales of the beauty of our motherland ‘AFRICA’. The village was home to a great number of families whose main occupation was fishing.
Amongst these families was the family of Mr and Mrs Freeman, who are blessed with three children, a girl and two boys. Onome, the first girl and child, and the boys IK , and Cole. Mr Freeman was a very hardworking fisherman; Though he was uneducated and earner so little, he worked so hard to ensure Onome and her brothers were enrolled in school. Mrs Freeman was equally supportive, smoking the fish caught by her husband for sale in the village market. ,The Freeman’s were known throughout the entire village for their hard work.
A while later Onome’s father took ill. With the meagre savings they had he was taken to the hospital, but after two weeks the wicked claws of death snatched Mr Freeman. The entire village came to sympathise with mama Onome and her children, bringing food stuffs and money to help the family.
Life was not the same anymore after the death of Mr. Freeman. The following year, Onome sat for her O ‘level exams and came out with distinctions. For Mrs. Freeman it was a mixture of joy and sadness; she had prayed secretly that Onome would not pass the exams this year so she could have more time to look for funds for her University education, since she already passed the University Matriculation Exams. Onome would cry all day and refuse to eat, knowing that her mother couldn’t afford to fund her education. Mama Onome too became more anxious seeing her daughter in so much pain and developed high blood pressure. She could not bear to lose her only daughter after losing her darling husband. With the help of a few respected villagers like elder John and Godspower who were invited to speak with Onome, she was able to pacify her only daughter. “One day”, Onome consoled herself, “just one very good day, I, Onome will become a graduate”.
Onome joined her mother in the fish business so as to help pay her younger brothers’ school fees and also cater for the family’s needs. Mama Onome was glad to see Onome happy again, as with each passing day she blossomed into a lovely young lady. Soon, many men in the village started asking for Onome’s hand in marriage, but she refused. She was determined to further her education before getting married, no matter how hard her mother tried to dissuade her. “You no go marry one now wen your light de shine?”, Mama Onome asked her daughter when a rich farmer’s son proposed yet again. But Onome stood her grounds and refused everyone.
Four months later, Onome’s second cousin Ego came to the village for her traditional marriage. She lived in Lagos. The wedding was such a huge event! Ego’s mother was a successful business woman who shuttled between Nigeria, Dubai and Italy. Onome was in her elements during the wedding, running around to make sure that everyone was satisfied. This pleased Mrs Sylvia and she asked Mama Onome if she could take Onome with her to Lagos so she could continue with her education. Mama Onome was delighted! This was a huge relief to her, immediately she called Onome and asked her what she felt about Mama Ego’s proposal. “ Mama, na wa o!”, Onome retorted. “Wetin I think? Right now I nor de think, in fact I nor fit think, I don already reach Lagos as you see me so oh!” Mother and daughter embraced and wept tears of joy; Onome’s dream of going back to school was finally coming to pass.
Two days later Onome was packed and ready to go to Lagos. But alas, she was going to fly – she had never entered a plane before! She became so nervous and begged to travel by road. “You will be fine, Onome. I will be by your side”, Mrs Sylvia assured her. But Onome was not convinced. Ego had to threaten her, “If you travel by road you will not return to school”, before the poor village girl agreed to go to the airport with Mrs Sylvia.They arrived Lagos in an hour ……