It was noon, the sun was up there in the sky and different patterns were formed on the ground by the many trees that graced the village of Dago. The villagers loved it; a marketing opportunity for them to go about and transact whatever businesses they had to do, which were essentially trading.
Mr. And Mrs. Okoro were retired teachers from one of the few secondary schools in the village and were held in high esteem. They lived in the village with their three children; two boys and a girl. The girl’s name was Ese. She was sixteen years old and was in her final year in secondary school.
Mr. Okoro sat outside at the backyard of his dusty compound reading the daily’s newspapers, which were brought to him every morning by the local vendor. Reading the papers was a routine for him before going to farm with his wife and neighbours in the evening when the sun had set.
His wife rushed outside to meet him. She panted.
“You have not won a lottery, have you?” her husband asked.
“It is more than winning a lottery, my husband! I got this from the postman a few minutes ago...” she brought out a letter.
“Alright, let me into it; maybe you have discovered the soft door to riches.”
“I have, my husband!” she made sure Ese was around and went ahead to read the content of the letter.
“Are you sure?” he asked.
“It is all here in the letter.”
“We have not heard from her since she travelled to the other side twenty years ago.” the husband said.
“That she has remembered us with this piece of good news shows that God does not forget his children.”
“This is not God, and something tells me we should tread softly.”
“Oh, my husband, this is an opportunity from God.”
“My children are all in school; we are poor, but not hungry. Did you say she said she would be calling us next week?”
“That is what the letter says.”
“Alright, next week then, we will wait.”
“Thank you, Jesus!” she said and held her daughter and both of them went inside.
Two months later Mrs. Okoro’s distant cousin returned from the other side to take Ese with her. She had promised Ese’s parents that she was taking Ese with her to give her a better life, better education and all the good things she could only dream of in Dago.
But three years later, Ese would write to her parents:
I missed you all! I do, mama! I am in the toilet writing this letter where my auntie will not find me and I plan to give it to any trusted person to put in the post since I am never allowed to step outside the house. I am worse off than a prisoner. I have not seen the inside of a school since I arrived here. Auntie lied to us about the better life stuff; I stay at home all day taking care of her five children and running errands for the household with her everyday nagging.
I sleep in a small room not up to the size of what I had in the village without the heater on when it is winter. She says the cold will make me strong! I am dying! And getting weaker by the day, I am dying, mama, I am dying! Will you and papa come for me?
We live in a tiny place in Yorkshire. It is beautiful and peaceful. The air is fresh and the grass green. They say it is a village, I think it is paradise. But auntie is a devil!
Please come and take me home!
I love you!