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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Birth (infancy) (08/20/09)

By Bukola Jimoh


I watched as mama groaned in pain, squirming from side to side. Biting her lips hard, she gently lifted herself from the chair while the weight in her stomach suppressed her. Then with a thud she landed on the ground twisting her toes and slapping her laps. I ran to her side and placed my hand on her shoulder. Then as if she had been pricked, she screamed. I withdrew my hand with a shock. Mama. I could not help her. It was cold but mama was sweating. I was shivering. But I couldn’t tell whether it was from the cold or from fear. Outside, thunder reeled in the sky and the rain poured heavily like stones on the roof tops. The house shook and I felt the ground shake, too. Maybe the Day has come, I thought. They told us at Sunday school that when the Day came, there will be earthquake and famine and...it will be terrible for pregnant women... I shuddered. I knelt down and shut my eyes tight with my hands. I asked God to forgive me all my sins so I can make heaven. Yesterday I stole Femi’s pencil in the class because I didn’t have one and I didn’t want our art master to flog me. “God, I want to -----”

“Stupid boy! Go out and call somebody!” Mama yelled at me, breathing very hard and sweating profusely. I jolted up and starred at her, confused.

“Get out!” she screamed.

I dashed out into the rain. I ran as fast as I could till I reached Mama Joseph’s compound. She was fetching water in the rain. Everybody was. I had forgotten to put buckets outside for water was so scarce in our village. The river was dirty. They said it was the work of some white people that came to take oil. They said this white people gave us water but some people took everything away. So the rain was our only good source. Even our farm was useless because there was oil every where. This oil...

It was the same oil that burnt papa to death. How I miss papa. If he were here, he would have helped mama. It was because he wanted to provide for us that the oil killed him. He heard there was plenty oil pouring from the white people’s truck. The truck had had an accident. So papa went with many buckets. They said there was plenty money in the oil. But papa could not bring the money home because the fuel caught fire. Many many people died. Taiye and Kehinde, my twin friends too died in the fire. I hate the oil. I hate the oil. I hate it. I pray that God will take away the oil. It is a curse.

I saw Mama Joseph waddle into her house with a big bowl of water and I ran towards her. I had to shout for her to hear me because the rain drummed in our ears. She left her bowl and followed me but I ran ahead of her. The rain increased as if it was following me home, too. As I entered the room, I saw mama, her eyes going inside showing only the white part. There was plenty blood on the ground and I saw the baby crying between her laps.

“Mama!” I shook her. She didn’t respond.

Mama Joseph joined me immediately and slapped mama in the face. She didn’t answer. Then I began to cry. Maybe I had missed rapture and my little brother and Mama Joseph, too. I shook mama again.

“Leave her alone”, Mama Joseph chided me. “Go and put water on fire”.
I stood up reluctantly, looking at mama. When I returned, she had laid mama well on the ground and covered her with a wrapper. I stood and watched while Mama Joseph cleaned my little brother.

“It’s a girl”, she said to me. I felt disappointed. i wanted a brother. Then, wiping the tears on her face, she told me to sit down.

“Mama has gone to another world, you hear? I believe it is a better place.” My heart began to beat very fast.

“Is it heaven?” I asked.

“I believe so, my dear”.

“So we didn’t make heaven?” I asked her.

“No. I mean mama is dead.” Then the room began to fold up in my face. The ground first, then the walls. For me, it was the end of the world.

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This article has been read 345 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Darlene Casino 08/27/09
Your story held my attention throughout the reading. I thought of the anger in this child and wondered how he would survive the trauma of this loss. The only ray of hope was his calling out to God. This is the 'stuff' from which comes a book...
Mildred Sheldon08/28/09
What an awesome story. My heart ached for the little boy. This was a sad and gripping story of how cruel life can be but how big our God is. Thank you for sharing.
Emily Gibson08/30/09
This was so painful, with so much emotion in the words. Very well done.
Rachel Phelps08/30/09
I love the stream-of-consciousness effect of this story. It packs so much more emotional whallop that way. Well done and excellent take on the topic.
Ada Nett08/31/09
I was caught up in the intensity of this story from beginning to end. Very good writing!
Karen Pourbabaee 08/31/09
Very riveting emotional story that keeps the readers attention throughout...great writing.