Ayodele Oyebanji Written by Ayodele Oyebanji · 1 min read >

Maybe we aren’t capable of ever truly loving.

I wonder why we seem so perfect yet so flawed.

It’s like we have a single major flaw. The one we can’t explain but we acknowledge.

I reminisce being welcomed and accompanied by a little homeless girl whom I presumed begged as some fun game. I watched her as she goes from person to person.

Usually on my way to work (Gudu Local government, Sokoto State) in 2009, we have a small conversation that starts with a ‘how are you?’ and ends in ‘goodbye’. Though short, somehow we tend to understand each other, and the fact that she lacked a proper knowledge of the English Language made it difficult to communicate.

I am accustomed to conversing with this kind of kids and sometimes I playfully request some money for food or transport, and they become obliged and often willing to lend the gesture.

Rukiya, the girl in question was probably 8 years old, full of life but I couldn’t understand why she usually wore makeup. This was not strange as during my service year in the northern part of Nigeria I saw a lot of these homeless kids that roamed the streets.

What I found difficult to imagine was what kind of fate the future must’ve dealt them or what it was they envisaged.

I wondered, with no career or dream to look forward to but marriage as girls I feel life for them is both complex and unimaginable.

One time, abandoning her food, Rekiya ran with a gloom face to greet me and it was easy to discern that she was disturbed. As I asked her what the matter was, she struggled to convey her point but then I managed to gather that maybe her parents were taking her away. Away? From this place she enjoys? Where to? I thought.

As she stopped the conversation halfway and walked off without saying her usual ‘’bye-bye’ I wasn’t bothered because I felt it was normal, and besides, I had my problems to deal with.

That evening, I recalled what transpired that day in my head and began to imagine what might have worried Rekiya about this travel so much. New things are supposed to excite us somehow right?

Was she going to be married off? Was she scared of change? Or knew things could get worse for her? We will never know.

These kind of social issues are prevalent in society: kids getting married off early, girl child education, and the boys growing to be a menace. Rukiya happens to be one of such children. From statistics, One in every five of the world’s out-of-school children is in Nigeria. Even though primary education is officially free and compulsory, about 10.5 million of the country’s children aged 5-14 years are not in school.

How can you and I make a difference?

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