THE AVERAGE LIFE OF A STREET CHILD IN LAGOS

THE AVERAGE LIFE OF A STREET CHILD IN LAGOS

Hi, my name is Efe Williams. Am 32 years of age and well established, I reside at Lagos, yea, Lagos right. You must be thinking it’s a very lovely place to be especially when one is young, handsome and rich. But my story today is about my life growing up in the streets of Lagos. Well, I grew up in a rural area of Lagos and as an only son out of the family of 4 children; one can think life would be nice. My mum being a single parent had to cater to the needs of her children, not having any sophisticated job doing, she had to make ends meet by selling provisions and baby wears. She had a boyfriend who only comes around when he is broke or wants to make out with mama.

I had to do linear jobs like hawking pure water just to help out in the family. I had a friend named Ayomide, Ayo as we fondly call him is 2 years older than I am and much more experienced with the Lagos lifestyle.
“Efe,efe,efe”, Ayo called out one faithful night, “yes Ayo”, I responded partly asleep. “Makuru”, Ayo shouted. That was all I needed to bring me up to my feet wide awake before I could know what was going on, Ayo was nowhere to be found. Makuru was the king of the streets, only his name brought terror and fear in people’s heart; he was famous for the scar starting from his top left eyelid down to his chin. As I staggered out of the room, I heard a voice call out, “Hey you stop there”, and that was the voice of the almighty Makuru. I paused for few seconds, several thoughts racing through my mind, I knew if I stopped and he caught up with me, I would be done for, I had to scuff off into the night with the hope he didn’t see my face.

I ran off into the nearby bush and disappeared into the night. The next morning, I went about my daily business. Around noon, I could hear my name from afar, as I turned, it was Ayo calling. “Ah Efe, am sorry about last night”, he apologized. “Ayo, I understand, I would have done the same”, I responded, Ayo asked about the business and I answered positively. “Ayo, I don’t think I will be able to do the other business today o, as I have a lot of bags to sell”, “Efe, the market is full today and you know how it is not, we need to make more money so as to settle Makuru, you know how he is when we don’t meet up”, I had to agree to his plea.

Two nights ago, I had a fight with Mammi and it resulted in my leaving the house, the constant pressure from the Lagos life, the nosey neighbours, the so called boyfriend Aburu, the one bedroom apartment in which I share with my siblings and mum, it wasn’t funny, I have just had enough and I had left and stayed with Ayo at an uncompleted building close to the market. That faithful afternoon, as I went about my daily work with Ayo, we came across a crowd, they were gathered around what seems to be a dead body, as we made our way through the crowd, we found out it was a young girl, the street has taken another life, what a world. We stayed for few minutes and when we finally were ready to leave, Ayo handed something to me and ran off, before I could know what was going on, a slap landed on my face, as I fell to the ground screaming, all I could hear was, “thief thief”, a robust woman was shouting as she held onto my, pounding on my small body as if to finish me off. Before I knew what was happening, a car tyre was hung over me, the crowd was ready to set me on fire not minding my age. “please I didn’t do anything”, were the only words I could say.

I was hit with a stick and many things, blood was gushing through my face, I heard a voice shout “please don’t kill him”, that was all I heard before blacking out totally.
I woke up to a well-furnished room, my small mind thought it was heaven, there was a lady on white examining me, it took me few minutes to regain sanity and to find out I was in a hospital room. A young lady who should be in her mid-30s stood close to me, I was discharged later that evening, and the lady offered to take me home, not knowing where I was, I reluctantly agreed. On getting to her house, she offered me a seat and a cup of water, then went into one of the rooms, after a few minutes, she came out changed and sat close to me. She asked me my name which I told her, she asked where I was from and about my parents. After telling my story she showed me to my room and bid me goodnight.

The next morning she called out my name, I didn’t respond so she tapped me calmly and asked how I was doing, she offered me breakfast which I ate hurriedly, after eating I asked to leave as I missed my friend Ayo, she took me back to the market and asked me to come over if I ever needed anything, I nodded sheepishly and bid her goodbye. I went looking for my friend Ayo, he was nowhere to be found, after hours of looking for him, I came across a friend of his, I later found out he was part of a robbery gone wrong the other night and was arrested alongside some hoodlums, I couldn’t help but thank God for keeping me away.
As hours turned into days and days into months, I turned out to be a fine-looking young man, I had forgotten I had a family; I was now familiar with the Lagos street ways. After about 5 months, I came across my saviour months ago, I couldn’t help but shout out in joy, she asked how I was doing and about my family, the question hit me hard and I couldn’t control the tears flowing from my eyes.

She offered to take me home and I agreed immediately when we got to my area, I couldn’t help but marvel at the changes, I pointed out my house and we drove in, the neighbours were all amazed to see me step out of the car, we made our way through to where my flat stood. I hesitated before knocking on the door, the door creaked open and a female figure stood to stare down at me, it was Mammi, tears rolled down our eyes as we couldn’t find words to say, she embraced me and wouldn’t let go, the twins came running towards me and I hugged them, mammi couldn’t help but admire me with love, I asked after Bamigbe, my younger sister, I was told she went to stay with my aunt and learn a trade. I introduced mum to the lady who I later found out was miss kiki, she told my story to my mum who wouldn’t stop crying, after everything, she offered to take me in as he son, mamma was amazed, I was dumbfounded, I thanked her and promised to lead a good life.
Here I am now, telling my story, I own a law firm now, a house and two cars all thanks to aunt kiki and the Lagos life.

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