My name is ODINAKA Peter and I would love to share some of my personal experiences.
In 1967, someone picked me from my mum to a particular family. I was less than 7 years old at this time. i was just a boy I never knew anything about it. The woman who took me from my mother deceived my mother that I would be helping her to take care of her 8 months old child. Not knowing that the husband of the woman had an accident and couldn’t walk. Whenever the man defecates, I am the one to pack it and clean the place up. At initial stage, the odour disturbed me badly but after some time when it has become a regular chore, the odour became part of me. I didn’t detest it anymore.
I spent almost a year and half in this house after which I was sent back to my mother cos there wasn’t enough money to feed the house.
In 1969, I was taken to another woman still as a boy. Her name is Veronica. This woman whenever she cooks rice, she would give me Eba (Nigerian food made from cassava) to eat. The soup I would be given to eat with the Eba is the water that would be sieved out from the main soup. By that time I never knew there was anything like meat being used to cook soup until when everyone finish eating and am to wash the plates. It was the bones in the plates I pack that I would lick before I start washing the plates since i was the only boy in the house who does such chores. It happens like this whenever they cook rice or ukwa (popular igbo food in Nigeria) I would be given Eba or yam.
I would love to show you the area CECI where all these happened while I was growing up.
I ran away from this house three times during my stay with this family because I nearly died of hunger. Even there was a particular time when I was terribly sick and was sent to go into the bush to fetch firewood. When I got to the bush I couldn’t help myself , I had to lie down and sleep in the bush.
But today, I am alive. If I remember all the things I went through there, I say “GOD!!! What have I done to deserve being alive today ”. Because when I slept inside that bush something could have carried me as a little boy who does not stay with his parents. The reason why am saying so is, there are many occasion when people get lost in that same bush. There are almost times when people get bitten by snake in this same bush.
This is why I told my wife when I got married that I do not want any of my children to go and stay with anybody. God has been doing it for me, giving my family enough to eat, clothing, shelter, education- this is one big deal for me and it gladdens my heart. This is simply because I dreamt for 18years where I was going to school.
I came across an opportunity of going to school after I became independent. I registered at a CONTINOUS EDUCATION CENTRE meant for those who failed WAEC (West African Examination Council) to go and study more and rewrite the WAEC examination. I went to this education centre, I couldn’t understand anything there but there was this joy that I couldn’t contain inside me. The joy that I was associated with students.
No doubt the continuous education was advanced for me. I had already paid for it so I continued till the end. Although I didn’t miss any class, I decided not to register for WAEC cos I don’t know what I was going to write. This happened 1988.
After that year, my life continued. Then in 1998, I went back to school. This time around, I went to a primary school where my kids were attending just to have some experience on how to use grammar and write sentences. I didn’t for once feel ashamed that maybe there was kids there. What I know was that the time the headmaster of the school scheduled for me, I was always there whether there were kids there or not.
In fact, i heard a boy asking one of my children: “What is your daddy coming here to do?”. I didn’t care what people were saying I continued till 1999. This was when I sat for GCE for the first time. I had already registered at three different lesson centres in preparation for the GCE exam.
Eventually, I wrote the exam and made only four papers excluding Mathematics and English. I used these four papers I passed to enrol myself into Satellite campus of Ibadan Polytechnic. It was while in Ibadan Poly I went to rewrite GCE in order to make my papers complete with Mathematics and English being compulsory that I pass. This time around, I passed GCE and I graduated from polytechnic. I just thank GOD for my life.
Interested in sharing your personal experience? contact me