(Nnenna and the counselor had gone back to the couch and they were sipping at their juice while they talked).

Nnenna: (gleefully) e don tey wey I drink “menera” (referring to the juice). Aunty lovina no dey allow us take am.

Counselor: And why is that?

Nnenna: She say sugar too plenty for the “menera” and e no good for the body.

Counselor: (smiling) Not to worry, this is a natural fruit juice and it is healthy enough for you.

Nnenna: Aunty, you don start o. Wish wan be na na (trying to pronounce natural) nachola again?

Counselor: (smiling) it is na-tu-ral (pronouncing it emphatically for her)

Nnenna: (mimicking the counselor) na-tu-ral (clapping happily). Where you sabi all your girama from?

Counselor: From school.

Nnenna: but aunty lovina talk say sukul no be good place. Say na agbero dem dey go sukul (pronouncing school as sukul)

Counselor: Hmmmm, I see. When did your aunty lovina tell you this?

Nnenna: Last year. I ask am when she go take me go the sukul wey she tell my mama say I go dey go na im she talk say sukul no be better place.

Counselor: She told your mom she would take you to school?

Nnenna: Na wetin make my mama allow me follow aunty lovina to lagos be that. Mama want make me sef go school and be a big girl like aunty lovina.

Counselor: Why didn’t you tell your mom then when she refused to take you to school?

Nnenna: (suddenly sad) Nne’m die two days after I rish Lagos. I no even dey there when dem bury am. Aunty Lovina say e better as I dey Lagos, say I too young to see bad tin.

Counselor: I’m so sorry. Her illness must have been so fatal to have killed her.

Nnenna: (only grasping the “killed her”) Aunty Lovina say dibia of our fillage say na her time to die be dat. She say nobody get hand for her (trying to remember the exact word Lovina had used) deat (testing the word on her tongue), yes deat (deat as in death).

Counselor: the dibia? Why wasn’t she taken to the hospital?

Nnenna: (laughing despite the tense atmosphere in the office) No hosibita (hospital) for my fillage o and that dibia better pass all the hosibita wey dey lagos.

Counselor: (laughing too) Really? Your dibia is better than all the doctors in Lagos?

Nnenna: Yes na. My dibia dey consult God himsef to treat us. He sabi melecine (medicine) pass all these dem yeye pipu (people) wey dey lagos. Na only girama dem sabi for here.

Counselor: You’re funny, Nnenna. Your views on things are so hilarious. (Curiously) How old are you?

Nnenna: Chai, aunty. I be big girl o. (counting her fingers) I be fourteen now but by july, I go turn fiteen (fifteen).

Counselor: (shocked) What?!!

Nnenna: Wetin make you shout like that, aunty?

Counselor: You are so young, dear!!

Nnenna: (rolling her eyes) Haba, aunty. I no be small girl o, I be big girl.

Counselor: (smiling) Okay, okay. Big girl

Nnenna: Yes aunty, I be big girl (batting her lashes).

Counselor: But even a big girl should not be on the streets alone by herself especially selling your body for money.

Nnenna: Aunty Lovina tell me say na the only way wey I fit make money for this Lagos be that. She say when I do maso (mature) well well, she go do freedom for me make me sef dey gather girls from fillage.

Counselor: Wow! (The counselor was shocked. She had rescued so many girls from the streets and had enough stories to make a novel but this was almost unbelievable. Apart from the fact the so called aunty Lovina was using the young girl as her money making machine, she had also drummed the idea of passing the trade on like it was legal. She shook her head as she tried to imagine what Nnenna’s future would have if she had not met that night. She smiled at the thought of the new life she could give the girl; a life filled with education. Only if the girl would accept her offer).

Counselor: Nnenna dear, I have to take you home now. My husband and kids would be waiting for me at home.

Nnenna: Chai aunty, I no fit follow you go house?

Counselor: For now, you can’t. Don’t worry, go home. I would come and pick you at that same spot at the same time tomorrow, okay?

Nnenna: Okay, aunty. I go dey wait for you there.

Posted by theinkheart


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