Mitchell Udezueh reports...
He couldn't hold his tears.
Who would blame him, - For he's just a boy of about 12 years old.
I have seen him before at this mini-mart, where I sometimes chill briefly in the evening before I headed home.
The first time I saw him, he came to buy a bag and half of sachet water he hawks through the evening.
And shortly after he left for the first sales, he came back to purchase another bag and half after he must had finished the first set of hawking.
I paid no attention to him at first, maybe because he wasn't the only child coming back and forth to buy a bag of sachet water to hawk.
It was just yesterday, still in the same mini-mart,that the same boy came to buy another set of sachet water as usual.
He bought the first set and left to hawk.
I paid no attention still.
After about thirty to Forty minutes later or thereabout, he came back once more to buy another set.
By then, I was already prepared to take my leave, and simultaneously, the mini-mart keeper (my friend) had already begun to shut down for the day, and If I'd recall succinctly, the time was barely 10 minutes to eight (7:50 pm).
This time, I was alarmed when I saw him back for more.
I pondered within myself,
- how can this boy still be outside at this time of the night, and having returned to buy more, I envisioned that before he sells out, the time will elapse pass Eight or to Nine.
I continued to reflect.
I told my friend, the mini-mart keeper, - " I don't think any living parent will allow their ward outside, at this time, in a cold weather, to come and be hawking 'pure water' at a busy Junction every evening."
Instantaneously, I called the boy inside the mini-mart for some find outs.
"How are you? ".
- I asked.
" I am fine "
- he muttered.
" What's your name?"
He mentioned a name I didn't grasp at first.
" Nna, What's your name?"
- I repeated.
" Emma " - he said.
" Do you go to school? ".
" Yes. "
" What's the name of your school?"
He mentioned a certain old public school, kilometers away.
"Have you eaten today?"
- I continued.
" Nna, have you eaten today? "
- I asked again.
" What do you eat? "
" Plantain ".
" What else? ".
" What and what did you eat today?"
- I asked once more.
" Only plantain? "
" Yes "
" When? "
" Before school ".
" Since then?..... So you mean you haven't eaten anything else since you had the plantain in the morning? "
" yes, only plantain"
"What about your mother? "
I asked again.
" What about your mother? "
" She's dead".
- a remorseful respond, that was.
At this point, his mood changed, I saw through his eyes, a looming tears.
I continued still.
" what about your father? "
Another Silence, before he murmured a reply.
" He's dead"
- he coupled it with tears breakdown.
-As he responded, tears dropped, he covered his face with his hands, as he dried his tears with same hands. He cried, a loud sound that emanated from his stomach of grave reminisces.
I had awaken the thoughts of his late parents in a circumstance of his suffering, and had they being alive, he wouldn't find himself in such condition. - I conceived.
His sorrowfulness caught Me, emotionally I was gloomy as I couldn't ask him any further questions.
As he cries, he headed towards the exit. It was my friend who held him back, consoled him and continued with the questions.
" So who do you stay with? ".
" My Aunty".
- he responded with a broken voice.
" are you related "
" she's from my mother's side."
Considering time lateness and the boy's situation, I had to break the conversation, so i interjected.
" Let him go, return his change and let him have the money for another trip of hawking. Give him snacks and a can of Coca-Cola drink".
- I directed my friend.
As she handed the boy the snacks and a can of Coca-Cola, I told him.
" Nna, sit down somewhere and eat them, once you are done, complete your sales and head home. I will see you tomorrow ".
With his already filled basin of sachet water on his head and the snacks given to him, he left.
I took a picture of him while filling his basin, I wanted to take a Picture of him when he was crying but I couldn't. I was emotional and I had thought to myself,--"who does that, taking a picture of an orphan child crying over his lost parents".
Since yesterday's night through this day, I have continued to meditate on this boy and so many of his kind out there, who are being used in the name of maid or house help to slave for their masters and guidances.
My thoughts are with him and with many of them out there who are suffering due to one inexplicable, unforseen agony they found themselves in by fate.
The shame is on those who uses a human being as a slave in the name of maid or house help. Soon, the wrath of the most high......
And to the rest of us reading this, I hope we do more.
This evening, I hope to meet him again, find out more about him, and by every slightest means, I will continue to do my best.