Philo, Philo, where are you? Philo, ‘where could she be on a sunday monday’ I murmured to myself. I had to run the length of the compound pushing through the plantain trees and water pots littered around the compound, ‘where could she be?’ I murmured again to myself. I was already panting and in tears, exhausted from the search , now anxious. So many thoughts came to my mind, I stumbled on a root of the only tree that kept the compound decorated and acted as a shade for harvest time.

I was now crying and letting out the tears, her children where nowhere to be found, who do I call? who do I run to?, she has no one in the world. ‘God why is this life so unfair? why do some people have it all’? I kept weeping uncontrollably. I suddenly remembered today is Mothers day, I need to fry the puff-puff for the christian mothers today. What do I do now? I am all she has got. Philo my friend is a very strong woman. I remember vividly her wine carrying day, a great day for the maidens and women in our village, the mothers role was the most important. She will organise her friends, and cook for her daughter for two weeks who was restricted to a room. The bride to be will be pampered, massaged, fed and taught her role as a wife and mother.

The women taught how to take care of husbands, in explicit words, how to sleep with your husband and make him satisfied. I was opportuned to be in one of Philos session, and I was in awe of the extent of the lessons. I would not forget Mama Nkoyo as she said ‘whenever he wants sex, you have to give it to him, climb on top of him, make him happy, suck his penis, massage his body later till he sleeps like a baby’. Of course I was ashamed to hear her mention all those words that I thought were forbidden. I later summed up the courage to ask, ‘Mama, is my husband to be also expected to give it to me anytime I need it too’? and she immediately hushed me ‘don’t say that, you are meant to satisfy the man not the other way round’. After the ‘Fattening room’ process, the bride comes out on the traditional marriage day with the mother taking the glory of a work well done. The mother has to buy every thing that belongs to the kitchen- mortar, grinding stone, brooms, Efa(stick for turning fufu) etc. She dances with her friends, cry with her daughter, takes her daughter to her husband’s house and stays with her untill she gets pregnant. When she gets pregnant, she goes back home and returns on the birth of the child to take her place once more as a MOTHER.

It was on Philos traditional marriage day that her mother died. It suddenly dawned on me that today is Mothers day, there is only one place Philo will be. I ran stumbling on the roots of trees, my bare feet suffered immensely from the rose flower thorns littered on the way to Eka Philo’s house, my bulky frame swayed producing a rhythm from the harsh morning wind. I ran straight to Eka Philos grave, behold Philo was sprawled on the grave with her three children distributed around the grave. She wept uncontrollably, Eka mi, Mummy mi, Uwem mi, she gave me life and left me alone in this harsh world without a tip on how to take care of my children, what have I done to deserve this’, She wailed uncontrollably. All I could do was run straight to my mother’s house and hug her, I begged her not to leave me, I thanked her for everything she has done. What will I do without a mother? happy mothers day.

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