Nten is a teenage girl who loves putting her thoughts to paper. Writing is to her what food is to the body. She is a ferocious reader and an avid lover of poetry. She also loves to bake and eat what she bakes. Her faith is probably the most important part of her life. She lives in Calabar with her family. This is her story about THE FIRST DAY I CARRIED A 20-LITRE CONTAINER
This happened a few years ago, I was 13 years old and in SS1. My neighbourhood was experiencing one of the frequent water cessations. So, I and two of my cousins decided to get water from a borehole a short distance away from the house. What happened in the course of our trip to the borehole could only happen in Nigeria, where people feel they have a right of opinion over you because they’ve seen you a few times.
I was carrying a 10-litre jerry can while they both had 20-litre containers with them. On our way there, a group of boys sitting under a large umbrella started calling out to us. Apparently, they didn’t like the fact that I was carrying a smaller container than my companions. Maybe they misjudged my age. They taunted me till I was out of earshot.
On our way back home, still feeling very embarrassed, I persuaded my cousins to take another route. The fact that it was longer notwithstanding. I got home and cried terribly. I had never felt such humiliation… Ever. I got my mum to help me place on the 20-litre containers my cousins had carried on my head. It was so heavy I couldn’t carry it for up to a minute and afterwards, my neck felt like it was made of lead.
But, I was so determined to walk past those boys again, with my head held high. And so, despite the protests from everyone at home, I took a 20-litre bucket to the borehole. The journey back home was torturous. It took us nearly twice the amount of time it normally did. And for the rest of the day, I was weak and my back was in pain. But I was happy! I had shown those boys that I wasn’t some wimp of a girl. I could do anything I wanted to do.
Also read Nten’s Rantings Of a Silly Naija Teenager