May 31, 2008

Esther's Diary: My Baby

Dear Reader, Esther's Diary is a short story series. Please go back to read the first part "Exiled", the second part "Settling Down", and the third part  "Untitled".

Diary Mu,
All I think about now in this ninth month is my baby. Will it be a girl or a boy? I’m seriously thinking of what to christen either one. My baby's first name has to be Igbo, followed by an english second name and then Ezeilo (Emeka’s surname). It’s funny how a prerogative like christening my child excites me. My baby kicks hard now. He or She will be a fighter. A strong ‘Ada’ (first female child) or ‘Okpara’ (first male child). I'll raise him here in the village so that he will pick up Igbo first and when he begins school he can learn English. My parents were raised that way and they turned out alright, I’m sure it will be the same for my baby. Uzoh has promised to be around when I put to bed. Since it’s anytime from now, I don’t know if he will make it. I hope he will, it would be lovely to have someone by my side as I push out my baby. He bought me a phone (NOKIA N1112 model) from his pocket money(my phone was seized by Dad after I became pregnant). This phone is made especially for the Nigerian market because it has Igbo among its phone languages. I have changed it's language setting so the phone Menu is in Igbo. "Message" is written as "Ozi", "Contacts" reads "Kontakti".... The most hilarious part is the speaking clock. It tells the time out loud in Igbo language! Mama clapped her hands together and said "Te-ki-no-lo-gy!" when I showed it to her. If the time is twelve minutes past two, it will say "Nke gi iri na abuo gafee elekere abuo".

I no longer care what people do or say, I follow Onyinye to her stall everyday and have a nice time. I no longer think I’m the worst sinner in the world. The Bible says Jesus came for sinners like me. The Bible is a wonderful book, it’s what keeps me occupied now instead of trashy romance novels. One of my favourite passages is Revelation chapter 21 verses 3 & 4. I haven’t lost anyone close to me in death but this scripture resonates in me. It reads “ With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look the tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. 4. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” I love to dwell on this promise and when I do, tears cloud my eyes. I also love Romans chapter eight verse thirty-five. It reads: “Who will separate us from the love of the Christ?...” Certainly not those people who judge me like I’m the greatest sinner on earth; those people who tell me with their eyes that i'm living in sin; those who look at me and shake their heads; those who won’t let me pass by before they begin to gossip maliciously. My parents have abandoned me. In these nine months, the woman who bore me has come to see me only nine times. “Check-up visits” I call them. I have told my parents that I’m due, but neither of them has promised to be there. I have lost their love. But I love Uzoh. He’s the one who supports me. He calls me regularly to check up on me. He worries about me constantly. My eyes are clouding as I think of the many ways this fifteen year old boy has supported me in these months when everything went haywire . My tears are salty, it has made the ink on this page blotched. I love him, Diary. If I come back, I could not ask God for a better brother than Uzochukwu (which means 'God’s way'). He constantly tells me not to worry; it’s not the end of the world or everything will be okay. I sometimes don’t see how everything can ever be okay, but the hope in his eyes make me strong. The way he says it, the way he wipes my tears as the roll down my face- “Be strong, Udoka.” he says. He’s planning to skip school once the new week begins so he can be with me. That will mean missing some of his exams but he says he doesn’t care. I worry for him. The sacrifice is too much to make on my behalf, he might have to repeat a year. I’m truly touched. No one has shown me this much love in so long. If you ever read this Uzoh, I love you very very much.

Uzoh and I went to the market to buy baby care products. We bought a plastic bath tub, a plastic basket for babies, some feeding bottles, diapers and a few clothes. I chose to buy the ones coloured blue because I think my baby is a boy. His kicks are tough. The baby feels like a fighter. He plays in my stomach. He’ll be strong. He’ll stand up to people. He won’t let people make him feel inferior just because of a mistake made in the past. He won’t be like me at all. I think it’s better to buy baby care products in colours meant for a boy and then I give birth to a girl than the other way around. I think he’ll be irritated by soft pink while the girl would tolerate blue (I don’t know where I get these ideas from). I’ll teach him to respect women and live up to his responsibilities no matter how hard it might seem. I’ll keep him away from Emeka, though I doubt he’ll come calling. I’ll teach him to be like his Uncle, Uzoh.

Mama worries if my body can handle childbirth. I push that fear out of my mind often. I think it will be tragic for me to enter the labour room wondering if I’ll make it out alive. She says she’ll keep the baby so I can go to school. I’m grateful, but make no mistake, I won’t abandon my baby. I’ll go to a school closer to home like IMSU (Imo State University). I can’t wait to deliver this baby, lose my post pregnancy weigh and begin to straighten out my life.


Follow Esther's story!  Part Five - The Scribbles of a "Stranger"


  1. Dear Reader,

    In further response to comments on Esther's Diary, I want to state that I do not intend to give my readers Igbo lessons when they read this story. My intention is to portray a girl born and bred in the city, who is not fully acquainted with her mother tongue. She can't speak it fluently, neither can she spell the words properly.

    As anyone who has ever kept a Diary knows, when you pen your thoughts in a Diary, you do not strive to write in grammatically correct english. You write your thoughts the way you think them. You repeat yourself, make mistakes here and there and spell words without checking the dictionary. You pen your thoughts in the hope that your diary is secure and the knowledge that no one is going to criticize your english. The grammar in your diary will only be as polished as the level of education you have attained.

    The final part of 'Esther's Diary' will be posted on Monday.

    Thank you for reading my scribbles. I hope to read your comments.

    Osondu Nnamdi Awaraka

  2. "instead of trashy romance novels"

    How does this fit with the previous part? There were no trashy novels mentioned there?

    '“Check-up visits” I call them'.
    A nice, ironical phrase...check up visits normally being supportive visits to hospital.

    The story is well told. I do, however, have one question: What is unusual about it? So far it is just a story about a teenage pregnancy. The quality of English lifts it above pulp magazine romance, yet it is--ultimately--in that field.

    Perhaps, Section V has a surprise....

  3. No, no, Osondu. Do not use this to confuse us for your-not-knowing Igbo very well.

    It's nkeji, and not nke gi. Igbo is a superior language and can't be bastardised like Englisg, please. Correct that.

    Your character is Igbo. We assume she doesn't speak nor write Igbo very well, but man, correct that.

    Nice one. This part of the story makes me want to tell you that if adapted into a movie, will shake the world. It's too graphic and spectacular.

  4. Igbo is a superior language and can't be bastardised like Englisg, please.

    Prejudicial clap-trap of the highest order. No language is superior. Any linguist would point to the fallacy in this statement.

  5. Spectacular! Only in the mind of someone whose imagination is at Disney level.Why must everything be over-praised rather than just for what it is?

  6. Dera kennedy-igweJune 26, 2008 at 9:26 AM

    Very gud.... The Critics will always bite.... and the haters will always say... But its all gud... The work is perfect.. Keep up.... It can only get better...

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