Kenneth Ogbonna was a successful business man who was into oil and gas, and had his own company; while his wife, Kate Ogbonna was a doctor who worked as a surgeon in Durosoleye Hospital.
They were very wealthy, but childlessness was their problem.
Because of the nature of their jobs, they needed a house help who will assist in doing the house chores. Linda, a now 13-year old girl who they had adopted years before, was made to gradually assume the role of house help.
But that role changed how she was seen; she was always maltreated by Mrs Ogbonna.
“You will not kill me, because I did not kill my mother; you this stupid girl!”
She flushed with anger whenever Linda spoilt anything in the house. She will mercilessly beat her up at the slightest mistake (Linda) made. Bamboo sticks and even koboko became a regular thing, and the poor girl would cry her eyes out in her room.
Kate had always insisted they wait for God’s time, but it was her husband’s idea that they adopt a child.
“Linda! Linda!! Where is this stupid girl?” Kate held a broken plate in her left hand as Linda ran from the backyard to answer her ‘boss’.
“Yes, ma”. Then a hot slap landed on her face, pushing her to the floor.
“Idiot! Twart! Why did you break my plate? Are you possessed?”, Kate shouted.
Linda was just about to stand up, when another heavy slap followed. Deciding to say nothing, tears rolled down her cheeks as she got up and walked back towards the kitchen, where she wept bitterly.
This is how she was maltreated everyday. She would cry at the backyard and pray for God to intervene. It amazed her how things could change overnight.
This went on to the point that she would be made to starve; especially when she broke a plate or mistakenly damaged anything in the house.
One day, Kate sat in front of the house observing the atmosphere, while she flashed back to her youthful days. Now that she had reached menopause, she could not concieve or bear children.
She remembered when she was in the university and how she lived a rough life; how she had a child and sold it to an old woman in the village. She got up and went inside to tell her husband about her youthful days.
“Baby m, I have a confession to make. I’m sorry this will cause you pain, but I need to tell you and I need your forgiveness”. There was fear in her eyes as she knelt down before her husband.
“What is the problem, my love?”
“I… I… I have a child.” She had never said anything worse in her whole life.
“You have what? Where? When? How?” The man was eager to know.
“Yes. I remember my youthful days in school, how I got pregnant for a guy, and sold the child to an old woman in Imo State, where I schooled.”
“So, how do we go about it? Should we go to Imo next week, since your leave will start this Friday?” He tried hard to conceal the shock he felt.
They both agreed and planned to leave for Imo State the next week.
The next day, Linda was sweeping the compound when she felt a hard metal strike her back. “Yeeee!” She turned to face Kate.
Ah! Another wahala again. Maybe this time na my dead body them go carry go bury so I go rest sef. Linda scratched her head to dispel that thought.
“You this stupid girl! Omo daleru!!” Kate spoke Yoruba fluently just as she spoke Igbo.
“I will be travelling with my husband next week so if you like, don’t take care of the house o. Do as you like, I will surely come back for you.” She turned and walked away.
The poor girl only wondered what made Madam make such a threat, and continued with her sweeping.
The couple finally arrived Imo state. They went into a village called Umulogho in Umunze; and were directed to Mma Ukwu’s compound where they saw an old woman slicing cassava that she was to sell two days later in Ekeja market.
“You are welcome, my children. Please sit.” She offered them a bench to sit.
“What brings you to my place?”
“My name is Kate, ma. I once had a child during my youth, I sold the child because I was unable to train her. I sold her to you, ma. Don’t you remember my face?”
“Oh, oh, oh, I remember. You were the lady that brought a child to me about 13 years ago? Hmmm! If I’m not mistaken, you brought a girl for me to train as my own child. Well, since I already had someone taking care of me, I offered her to a friend of mine whose sister works as an agent in the motherless babies’ home.” Mma dropped her knife to cough.
“Sorry, ma. So, how do we get through to the agent?”, Kenneth asked.
“Where did I even keep my phone?” The couple helped her till she found the agent’s number.
They arrived the agent’s office in Lagos the next day, and were asked to wait at the reception.
They had to pay the sum of ten thousand naira, so they would be directed to where the girl was; in the next three days. Kenneth paid triple the amount, just so there won’t be any disappointment.
Alas! It was their own compound they were directed to. Kate was a bit shocked but happy, because their neighbour also had a maid who was a good, hardworking girl. Unlike Linda the lazy fool, Kate muttered.
They all arrived the compound and sent for Iya Bimbo. Iya Bimbo came out and Mary the house help followed her. Kate was very happy at the thought of taking Mary home as her child, but there was to be none of that.
After all was said and done, Mary was not her child. The agent asked if anyone had packed out but they said no, that it was just the two families in the compound. Then Iya Bimbo asked after Kate’s house help, Linda. The same Linda who was rushed to the hospital earlier that morning, due to a savage beating by Kate.
All roads led to the hospital where Kate worked. Linda’s head was bandaged as a result of the beating, during which Kate had used a broken bottle on her. She wriggled in pain as she saw her visitors.
“Linda! My child?” Kate broke down in tears as the agents explained how the teenage girl who she often beat and starved, was actually her own child.
Remember, Linda never went to school.
Writer’s Note: Tears are words waiting to be written. Do not maltreat those that are under you; you can never tell what tomorrow may bring.
@ Chiamaka Okoro.
Biography About the writer
Chiamaka Okoro is a writer, teens counselor, public speaker, Ghost writer and Author.
She hails from Imo State in Ihitte/Uboma local government. She’s currently in Lagos.
She’s also a founder of The Great Impact Forum (TGIF)”, a WhatsApp platform set up for both writers, aspiring writers and non-writers, it has a mission to raise young minds who impact lives and create awareness to the world
Finally, she is the P. R. O of a publishing firm -Dream2reality Publishing
You can connect with her on:
FACEBOOK :Chiamaka Okoro