Mother or Ma ‘Ali as she was usually called told me that jewelry and lace clothes were not everything. She said that I should marry a man if I loved him and he loved me back and build with him. She had married father when she was a teenager and had served him all through the years. She was a trader, selling local Hausa beaded jewelry. Ma ’Ali was very hardworking and industrious. Sometimes, she made more money than father and this made him very insecure so her friends advised her to stop letting him know how much she made each time. Father was a very proud man, my brother Usman was taking after him very much. Usman would not eat from the plastic plates anymore and would not drink water from the tap. He said that he wanted to be like father and that if father drankpure water, water in sachets, then he would also drink pure water. I always scolded him for trying to grow up faster than he should but when he went to university, I stopped.
He never even listened to me anymore just because he had an education and I didn’t and when I complained to Ma’Ali, she told me not to worry that Allah never slept. Mother tried to talk father out of his biased and preferential treatment towards his male children but he never listened. When he found out that mother had been saving up money from her jewelry sales to send Rabi’ah and I to school, he reported her to her useless and older relatives. Father took the money and used it to pay for Usman and Ali’s school fees. Eventually one day, father came home and said that mama should cook a lot of food and make drinks for the family and to share with the neighbours. It was after we had finished celebrating, that he told us that I was going to be married Ayuba, the son of his old time friend.
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