I was young, about14 years, when I came to live with my uncle and his family in Lagos.
I was the poor relative they were helping to get an education, in return, I was to serve as house boy; I ran errands, took care of the house, cooked, took care of my younger cousins, all boys; ages-3, 6 and 10 then I went to evening school.
They didn’t send me to a regular school. I attended afternoon school with adults…you know adult education centres? Classes began at 4pm and ended at 8pm but I was never in class at 4pm; I usually got to class at about 5pm, sometimes 6pm and many times not at all.
That’s because my aunty, who worked in the state’s parastatal got home at past 4pm and many times she had errands for me to run before leaving for school. Her children were dropped off at about 2.30pm and I would have to bathe and give them their food before their mother returned.
Now, my uncle and aunty belonged to a popular Christian fold, I won’t name names. These people believed in destroying their enemies, real or imagined and so we were regular members of this church.
In fact, when I came to live with my uncle, he invited his church people to pray over me, telling them to remove And destroy any kind of witch craft I was bringing from the village. They prayed and cast out all the demons in me before I could begin to live properly with them.
As far as I knew then, I was no witch and I was no member of any coven but you just never know with these things, I heard one could be a witch and not even know it!
However, my uncle and his wife knew Jesus but didn’t know of the love Jesus preached.
They were mean spirited people who believed too much in their own righteousness. They beat me for every wrong and always threatened to send me back to the village. In their house, they separated everything of theirs from mine.
I even ate separate food from theirs…if they were eating rice, mine would be fufu; if they had bread and egg, mine would be bread and margarine. To be honest, I couldn’t complain because what they gave me as their leftover, was often better than my regular meals in the village. So I really wasn’t even bothered, so long as my stomach was full, I was a happy boy.
I was also a boy growing up. I was rascally, I told lies to get out of trouble, especially when I took more time than necessary on errands- I often stopped by soccer fields to watch matches ….so I had my own faults, too. One time I broke a crate of eggs and lied that the money for the eggs was stolen from me on the way…yeah. I could lie!
When I was told I would not attend regular school, I didn’t worry about it; to me, school was school.
Anyway, the evening school I went to was filled mostly with adults…it was an adults’ education class, after all. My classmates did not even consider that I was a child in their midst; they were raw, in their language and in their manner. But I became friends with one mechanic boy, his name was Rafiu but he insisted on being called Rufus.
Now Rufus was like 19…maybe 20 but he was the closest in age range that I could truly relate to in that class, apart from the teacher, who was about the same age as Rufus.
Now, Rufus had this phone that all he downloaded was porn!
At 14, I wasn’t exactly naïve about sex. I grew up in the village and sex was rife, don’t be deceived! But it was never in your face, the way Rufus and the rest of my classmates made jokes about it and viewed it on their phones. They let me watch and made fun of me, too.
I didn’t have a phone, God forbid my uncle buy me one but I would eagerly look at Rufus’ phone whenever he came to class.
See, I was kid that had seen things. I was often left alone in a dark room with a mat and thin piece of cloth to cover my body. The room I was given in my uncle’s house used to be a store, it had no window, so I had to leave the door slightly open for air every time.
Again, I didn’t mind. I didn’t mind because when I went into my little cousins rooms and made their beds, I would bounce on their soft beds and even softer pillows. I washed their bathrooms with the same soap I used for my bath. When they threw the remnants of their scented soaps away, since I was in charge of emptying dustbins, I would pick up the soaps and enjoy a little of what they too were enjoying. Same with cornflakes…they always had leftovers their mother tells me to trash…who sai? Same thing with indomie and boiled eggs…they never finished eating their food…I was happy because, I would lick off everything in the kitchen.
I would pour the remnants into a bowl and slip into my room to enjoy when they were all gone to work and school or when I got back from evening school.
Anyway, I was talking about porn, right?
I began to have these images of big breasted women in my mind…I was a young boy growing up…and women intrigued me.
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I began to have erections, simply by recalling the videos I had seen in Rufus’ phone. I began to pleasure myself…the way Rufus taught me.
I must have been wanking off seriously one night when my aunty burst into the room. Thinking back now, maybe she had been calling me or maybe she heard me moaning, I don’t know. I didn’t hear her, I swear! I had reached a peak where I was shooting like…I heard a loud twak on my face!
It was a slap she delivered to my upturned face…why do guys look up when they are jerking off?
Anyway, she called her husband and they both witnessed my shame! I was naked, of course
They accused me of everything they could think of:
I heard names I never even knew existed.
I begged them to forgive me but instead from the following day and for days after…they would strip me naked and invite ‘brothers’ in the church to come and conduct deliverance on me! They would sweat and spit and pound me with their bibles and their fists, in the name of deliverance…
I wasn’t allowed into my cousins’ room without supervision, I wasn’t allowed into my uncle’s room without supervision except when I was sent outside on errands. deliverance had been conducted on me, 7 times!
They told me I was a sinner from my mind to my body…I guess they were right because the porn images are still in my head to date…
Do I blame them?
Eventually, I was sent away because they said they couldn’t continue to keep me in their house because they feared I would corrupt their own children.
Today, their children come to me for help. I was the one their parents sent away; thankfully someone else took me up and sent me to school and told me there was nothing wrong with me.
Sometimes when people do you wrong, just keep moving, so you don’t miss your good turn.
Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories