If you haven’t read the previous episode, click YEJIDE (episode 11)
The following day, Kelechi dropped by to see Yejide again but this time, he came with a check that he indicated to Yejide was for her upkeep. He mentioned things like using it for house rent, clothes and food even though he tried not to make it known that he already knew about their rent issues. It was a large sum of money enough to pay their house rent for three months. When Kelechi handed Yejide the check, she exclaimed and revealed the sum to Dupe who was also seated with them. Dupe who saw this immediately went on her knees to thank him on their behalf but to everyone’s surprise, Yejide handed the check back to Kelechi and told him that she could not accept it. This was because she felt that he had done enough for them. Dupe who was beside Yejide gestured for her to take back her words and action but she ignored and insisted that he take back his check. Kelechi only sighed and begged Yejide to accept it.
“But why do you keep doing this? Where you dey work sef? How do you get all this money?”
“Don’t worry Yejide, I didn’t steal the money. God provided them for me so that I can give you…..” Kelechi talked some more and after some persuasion from him and Dupe, she accepted it.
Kelechi kept dropping by to look after Yejide and soon enough they got pretty close. One Tuesday afternoon, they had gotten into some deep conversation and revealed some of their past experiences. Their conversation went from Yejide trying to explain to Kelechi how she could speak English so well to how she ended up on the streets and becoming a prostitute. Yejide had just turned seventeen when she was sent packing by her aunt who she lived with since she was born. Her mother had died at childbirth living her fatherless because her father was unknown. Yejide had suffered maltreatment while growing up from both her aunt and aunt’s husband who were supposed to cater for her. She was sometimes called names and even labeled an abomination because her mother had given birth to her out of wedlock and her father was unknown or sometimes called a witch because her mother died during delivery. Even with all of these, Yejide was still very brilliant in school. She would always come out top of her class and represent her school for so many competitions and expeditions. She was also like a big sister to her younger cousins who were both two and fours years younger than her. She would take responsibility for everything and would try to do everything that was right according to her aunt and uncle but that did not keep her from being maltreated. She would be beaten up for little things and deprived of food for no reason. She was eventually stopped from attending school after her senior secondary school two (SS2) even though from the beginning she worked her way into funding for her tuition by selling on the streets. Yejide was that type of girl who was maltreated out of envy and for being a good child. It wasn’t until she was almost raped by her aunt’s husband when she was sent packing. She had gone to report the incident to her aunt but her aunt who didn’t take her side thought she was trying to break her marriage so she sent her out of her home and told her never to return. That was the day Yejide left her aunt’s house and never thought to go back.
Yejide had nowhere to go so she lived on the streets as a panhandler for about six months before she met Dupe. Dupe had been working in a small food joint when she came in contact with Yejide. Yejide’s purpose which was to beg that very day changed when Dupe offered to help her. Dupe helped Yejide to get a mini job in the same food joint and not long after they met, they became really close. Yejide managed to work at the food joint for three months until she was kicked out with Dupe after Dupe was accused of stealing. The duo went back to living on the streets after they couldn’t find jobs and soon turned to prostitution to earn a living.
To be continued…..
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