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Beneath the Tamarind Tree by Isha Sesay

Author:Isha Sesay

Language: eng

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Publisher: HarperCollins

Published: 2019-05-16T16:00:00+00:00

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Beneath the Tamarind Tree by Isha Sesay

Chapter Sixteen

TWO YEARS AFTER THE ABDUCTION OF THE CHIBOK GIRLS, AISHA Yesufu never thought she’d still be wearing her red hijab or taking part in marches and sit-ins. In fact, when the girls were first taken, she’d confidently told people they’d all be home within two weeks. Back then, a friend had given her a red wristband inscribed with CHIBOK GIRLS APRIL 14 2014, to commemorate the tragedy, and as she slipped on the band, she pledged, “I will never remove it until all the girls have been found.” Then she waited and the months went by, but no girls came back. One day toward the end of 2014, as Aisha sat at home in Abuja bitterly contemplating the growing pile of days and the lack of information from the government, her then twelve-year-old daughter, Aliyyah, delivered a devastating blow. “Mummy, you know if any of the Chibok girls was an American, she would have been brought back by now.” Barely a teenager, the young girl spoke calmly, without any emotion. On hearing those words, Aisha was wracked with torment. My twelve-year-old daughter has come to the conclusion her life is worth less than an American . . . That is the reality. When 2016 came around, Aisha’s plastic bracelet was still in place, by now a mocking reminder of the faith she’d once held in her government’s claims it would do everything possible to reunite the girls with their families.

As she took her daily position at the Unity Fountain for the Bring Back Our Girls sit-in, she saw the number of attendees ebb and flow. There were days when barely a dozen people turned up, but Aisha was always there, and at some point her thoughts always drifted to her own children, in particular to her daughter, Aliyyah. Aisha marveled at how her daughter’s young life had changed in the years since the Bring Back Our Girls protests had taken over her existence. Aliyyah was moving forward in school, having new experiences, and nurturing new dreams. But there were no stories of progress for the stolen girls—their lives had been truncated, and their parents’ existence hollowed out. Invariably, Aisha’s mind also wandered back to the very beginning, that rain-soaked night at the Unity Fountain when parents of the missing Chibok community members and people like herself who had refused to accept this injustice had all said a defiant yes, to launching daily Bring Back Our Girls demonstrations. But never in a million years had Aisha expected them to still be sitting in the same place all these years later, or for the parents of the missing girls to have been abandoned first by the government of Goodluck Jonathan and then that of his successor, Muhammadu Buhari. Aisha absorbed all the parents’ pain, and their lamentations never left her.

 

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Beneath the Tamarind Tree by Isha Sesay

Author:Isha Sesay , Date: July 9, 2019

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Author:Isha Sesay

Language: eng

Format: epub

Publisher: HarperCollins

Published: 2019-05-16T16:00:00+00:00
Chapter Sixteen

TWO YEARS AFTER THE ABDUCTION OF THE CHIBOK GIRLS, AISHA Yesufu never thought she’d still be wearing her red hijab or taking part in marches and sit-ins. In fact, when the girls were first taken, she’d confidently told people they’d all be home within two weeks. Back then, a friend had given her a red wristband inscribed with CHIBOK GIRLS APRIL 14 2014, to commemorate the tragedy, and as she slipped on the band, she pledged, “I will never remove it until all the girls have been found.” Then she waited and the months went by, but no girls came back. One day toward the end of 2014, as Aisha sat at home in Abuja bitterly contemplating the growing pile of days and the lack of information from the government, her then twelve-year-old daughter, Aliyyah, delivered a devastating blow. “Mummy, you know if any of the Chibok girls was an American, she would have been brought back by now.” Barely a teenager, the young girl spoke calmly, without any emotion. On hearing those words, Aisha was wracked with torment. My twelve-year-old daughter has come to the conclusion her life is worth less than an American . . . That is the reality. When 2016 came around, Aisha’s plastic bracelet was still in place, by now a mocking reminder of the faith she’d once held in her government’s claims it would do everything possible to reunite the girls with their families.

As she took her daily position at the Unity Fountain for the Bring Back Our Girls sit-in, she saw the number of attendees ebb and flow. There were days when barely a dozen people turned up, but Aisha was always there, and at some point her thoughts always drifted to her own children, in particular to her daughter, Aliyyah. Aisha marveled at how her daughter’s young life had changed in the years since the Bring Back Our Girls protests had taken over her existence. Aliyyah was moving forward in school, having new experiences, and nurturing new dreams. But there were no stories of progress for the stolen girls—their lives had been truncated, and their parents’ existence hollowed out. Invariably, Aisha’s mind also wandered back to the very beginning, that rain-soaked night at the Unity Fountain when parents of the missing Chibok community members and people like herself who had refused to accept this injustice had all said a defiant yes, to launching daily Bring Back Our Girls demonstrations. But never in a million years had Aisha expected them to still be sitting in the same place all these years later, or for the parents of the missing girls to have been abandoned first by the government of Goodluck Jonathan and then that of his successor, Muhammadu Buhari. Aisha absorbed all the parents’ pain, and their lamentations never left her.

“Every time I hear someone say it is a scam,” cried one Chibok mother, “I ask myself, Does that mean my eighteen-year-old daughter never existed? Because I had a daughter who was eighteen, whom I sent to school, and she never came back to me.

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