In the middle of this kiss, I think for the thousandth time that I love you. the knowledge pops in strange places, it wedges its way in the middle of familiar paths. I don’t know what to do with this love, it twists itself around my belly, it grips my neck and holds my lungs so I breathe only in shallow gasps. Continue reading →
May 11, 1995.
The girl was bouncing on her grandmother’s four-poster bed as she listened to the radio, she loved jumping on the bed and having the bed throw her further in the air than with the other boring beds everywhere else. The radio was on, Bob Marley’s songs were on rotation and she bounced in rhythm to them even though she wished it were Lucky Dube instead. She preferred Lucky Dube’s songs to Bob Marley’s because at her mother’s birthday party when she was four, Lucky Dube’s music was the backdrop and that was one of the most exciting moments of her young life.
They did not tell you, did they? That your staff would wobble and melt at noon and refuse greet the morning sun with an iron core. Continue reading →
A snake flicking its tongue at a crab on Nat Geo Wild had replaced the African Magic Yoruba show on the television at the hospital’s reception when they walked in. She rushed to the seat she had previously occupied before going to get him, it was the coolest corner of the room with the standing AC directly opposite the seat. Continue reading →
Sometimes, a song is your happy place. The rhythm, flow, cadence and lyrics coalesce into a magic feather that tickles your soul and fits wings on each ventricle of your heart. Continue reading →
Some days ago, I stumbled on a twitter thread about pharmacists and never finding a rude pharmacist. Despite the overwhelming support, something worried me immensely as I scrolled through tweets from young people from across Africa.
A good chunk of respondents- many of them women, agreed with the initial tweet but added a troubling rider- pharmacists are judgmental when they come to get contraceptives and morning after pills. While I am not the mouthpiece of pharmacists around the world, I can say without fear of contradiction that this is not true.
The implication of this thought process bothers me, many sexually active women already have a hard time convincing their partners to use the easiest method of protection- the condom. Yet, these women still leave the purchase of this contraceptive in the hands of people who do not want to use It in the first place and many joyful accidental discharges occur.
Even in a hyper-critical, hypocritical society like we find in the towns, cities and villages of Nigeria, the sexually active woman owes herself the duty to protect herself from Sexually Transmitted Infections and unplanned pregnancies by using the tools available. For the life of me, I can’t understand why women carry the burden of shame when they want to get protection. The average Nigerian man would walk into the store and buy his condoms and even engage sales staff on his choice(s) to be sure he gets the best for himself, while the woman he is going to use it with, is too shy to even look at condoms on the shelf?
Sadly, she is the one with the most to lose. Very few things are as terrifying as counting the days after Lady Flo delays her monthly visit or the horror of finding two lines on a urine soaked strip. So why let nonexistent judgement stand in the way of peace of mind? Terminating a pregnancy is still illegal in Nigeria and even if it weren’t, the process is not soaking garri in cold water with peak milk, sugar and groundnut.
I have had hundreds (yes hundreds) of terrified young women approach me with long stories that end with ‘I missed my period and I want to get it back’. Most of the time they are alone, carrying their burden while Bobo goes on with his life with some quiet concern about the whole thing- if she is lucky, she is more likely to be told to ‘carry your cross’. The babe would wander far in search of a solution and will end up spending at least ten times the cost of contraception on a termination. Let’s not even go into the dangers that can arise even when a professional is involved. Is the almost non-existent shame and a little (often imaginary) gossip worth the cost of it all; in money, time and mental well-being?
Anyway, anyone who sells/provides contraceptives would not think it is extraordinary that a woman wants to protect herself, emergency contraception (morning after pill) are fast moving drugs which an average pharmacy can sell at least two packs a day, while other contraceptives sell even faster. In one month, there would be at least a hundred purchases of all kinds of contraception per pharmacy/supermarket. Your purchase is not special, it’s not memorable, it’s not unusual, not even if you are the holiest Mary Nweje.
So dear sister, ain’t nobody got any interest in judging you. Nobody is smirking because you’re getting contraceptives, and if they are… So fucking what?
She sat with her left leg tucked under her body as she read a novel she bought from one of the young men who sold novels beside the Edegbe park at Yaba, they all knew her name and knew to save the latest titles by Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella and the Sheldons she hadn’t read yet. David Baldacci would be added to that list in the near future, but at the time she hadn’t seen Saving Faith in the hands of a certain Ekene. The year was still 2007 and she was in her second year at university. Continue reading →