She was 15 and in love with Emmanuel, she was his neighbour’s help. Always around upon his return from work, helping with the gate or with stuff from the car, smiling cheerfully. Her eyes followed him as I climbed the stairs. From his room upstairs he'd open the window and look out, only to meet her stare. A few times she cleaned the car unasked. A respectful young lady, he felt.
It was Emmanuel's girlfriend at the time who noticed and told him someone was crushing. Then he began to pay attention to her actions, and realized she would actually loiter around in the morning to watch him leave. If he sat downstairs, she would never finish washing the heap of clothes at her feet, stealing glances and smiling. Days when Emma returned late at night, she would find a way to be around and stare. He became worried and began to court a sterner countenance.
A teenager in love. Things young people do for love
It wasn’t long before she was sacked for, among other things, her “waywardness”. Emmanuel was heartbroken
Heart broken because of reports that she had taken to the streets in Isolo, living in a hotel. She was a bad, foolish, evil girl, said the reports, a wild girl who refused to be useful and wanted nothing but what men have between their legs.
At 15, she had never been to school, except perhaps, primary school. It was 2014. At 15, she had slaved away in three strange homes—reports said the other two homes had thrown her out for being useless. Finally a sex worker, she had met her Waterloo.
Thinking about it......
My calculation was that she must have started working at 10 or even less. Had no proper parenting to lay a foundation that would guide her through life. No education. A teenager growing into a woman and dealing with hormones, she was the work toy of distant, callous humanity. With nothing to be happy about, with endless dishes for company and harsh words for instruction. Without being equipped for life at all, she was yet expected to navigate it perfectly.
She was thrown into the streets by humans who would do better if she was their daughter. They turned around and blamed her, hoping their consciences would find relief in the accusation of innocence. They are religious people, humanists, members of society who bemoan injustice in their country.
Child labour. There are agents who, for commissions, pluck poor girls from distant homes for urban slavery. There are women who place orders for these slaves, specific about tender age and the absence of puberty—slaves young enough for total submission, too young for sexual temptation. There are poor parents who produce these kids, who, when the kids are returned damaged, punish them for not being obedient enough. There are today’s adults who served their own times in the homes of uncles and relatives, yet perpetuate the very thing they hated. There are young people ruined by the world and blamed for their own eventual decay. There are human beings who keep quiet in the face of injustice.