Maman Zainab, a young woman in her mid-twenties, tightly dressed and covered, walked swiftly toward a thatched room. She looks worried yet angry.
“Zainab, Zainab,” she whispered while searching round the abandoned and unkept thatched room. She looked beneath the bamboo bed and noticed that something was missing. She turned to have a look at the back of the cranky old wooden door and noticed something was missing again.
After thoroughly searching the room, Maman Zainab sat down on the bamboo bed tired and worried.
“Where could Zainab be? Kai!” she muttered, thinking so hard about where her eight-year-old daughter could have gone to. She feared Zainab had run away or hurt herself…
“Maman Zainab! Maman Zainab!” she heard her name, of course, she knew it was her husband calling. Her heart skipped, not knowing what to do, she ran out to meet him.
“Kadawo? Nawuni,” she greeted him in their dialect slightly bowing, she made sure she wore her hijab.
“Ina Zainab? Tashir- ya kwu’wa?” Baban Ali, an old man in his mid-eighties asked after his eighteenth child.
“Is she ready? Usman will be here any moment from now? Make sure she’s properly dressed, direct her on what to do,” he quivered while looking for a chair to seat on…
Maman Zainab ran to her daughters’ room. She looked through her window then saw Unmi, Zainab’s close friend. She ran out of the room to meet her.
“Where is she? Where is she?” Maman Zainab sobbed tightly holding Unmi’s hijab.
“Maman Zainab, please you’re choking me, I can’t breath,” Unmi choked, struggling to free her hijab.
“Please, where is Zainab? You know where she is, please tell me, where’s Zainab? Oh! Am finished!” she cried.
Despite promising Zainab never to tell her mother where she was running to, Unmi felt so sorry seeing her mother crying.
“Please tell me where she is, Usman will soon arrive, please tell me, else it will be terrible for her and even me her mother, please tell me, where did she go to?” Maman Zainab sobbed.
Unmi knew Zainab doesn’t love Usman and would rather die than to be his wife. Moreover, she wasn’t ready to be any mans’ wife.
Unmi turned to leave but Maman Zainab held her tight.
“Tell me where she is, please”
Tired and worried, she felt sorry for her.
“She went to Banba Kasuwa, she might get a bus from there and leave for the town,” Unmi explained, feeling guilty at the same time.
Maman Zainab ran as fast as her legs could run. Friends thought she has gone mad while