True Story Series (2)
Itoro, The Lady Who Refused To Buckle Under
By Mary Odiong
Life has different shades and once you're presented with a dark shade, tribulations, misery and difficulty will unfold. This was the situation of Itoro who was not lucky to be born with a silver spoon. She was born into a polygamous family where love and hatred was shared evenly. Itoro did not enjoy parental love, she started suffering from a tender age having been forced into hawking of food items and fruits on the streets after school hours. Her father was a strong, aggressive and violent man. Her mother was a typical example of a house wife. She had no say in the family, maybe because she was totally dependent on the husband for everything. She had little or nothing to offer her children when it comes to maternal love and concern.
Itoro was physically and emotionally controlled, abused and tortured by her father through his arrogant lifestyle. She was forced to believe that the man she called 'father' was not her biological father, but it dawned on her when she enquired from her mother and she confirmed that he was. She kept wondering what she did to deserve the ill treatment she got daily. Itoro was a hard working girl, she never allowed her misfortunes to affect her industrious lifestyle. Unfortunately for her, she could not complete her secondary education due to lack of support from her parents. Her father believed that training a female child was not going to be profitable.
At the age of 13, Itoro was given out in marriage, a union she reluctantly embraced due to excessive coercion. Itoro learnt a lot of things in the marital home, including cooking and doing house chores. She did not understand what marriage meant, she would escape from the house when she was expected to fulfill her marital obligations to the husband. This, the neighbors helped in explaining to her that 'it was part of it' and tutored her in the how-to of the affairs. Itoro soon took-in and was expecting a child, and tradition demanded that she be sent back to her parents until she's delivered of her baby.
Itoro returned from her mother's house only to discover that the husband had married another wife.
This broke the young Itoro that she could not bear it . She was kicked out by her husband and she returned to her parents. She went back to hawking in the streets with the baby, worked for people as sales girl, from there, she made little savings and sent her daughter to school. She had promised herself that her children will go to school since she wasn't able to. Gradually, she went into her own business and saw her daughter through school. At 26 she met another man, they became friends. She got pregnant for him, only to realize that he was married but lied to her.
She continued pressing hard alone and made sure that the children were well educated. Both graduated from school. Itoro's wishes of living a good life was met, she is currently living well and investing in real estate. Yes, Itoro surmounted her challenges and she is living well in relative opulence now but it took a lot of suffering , tribulations , heart wrenching agony and above all perseverance for her to achieve her goals.
Should a woman go through all of this to live and survive in a society? That question is begging for answer from many young but deprived women today. As strange as it may look, it is the story representative of what many are going through. The choice is therefore yours. You either buckle under or insist that you shall survive and survive well..
Join me next week Thursday for more stories.