It takes a village to raise a child, and I completely agree because it certainly took one to raise my siblings and I. So last night my friend and I went to the grocery store and while we were there, she wanted her little daughter to do something but the little girl refused and screamed so loud that she had heads turning in the store. My poor friend was so distraught as she tried to cajole her to keep quiet, and while she did this, a thought popped in my head, if this was back home, one stern glance from her or a smack on the derrière or even a remark from a complete stranger would have done the trick.
So this post is dedicated to the street that raised me. This street happens to be Sadiku Street, somewhere in Olodi Apapa, Lagos. I lived there from birth until I went off to the university. My mum did a pretty good job raising my siblings and I, matter of fact, my mum is a super human, but that is another post for another day. What I am trying to say is that she was a good mum but she worked so much that we saw very little of her. While she was raising five children, she had a full time job at the bank, a fabric business, and was running her Master’s Degree at the same time. In her absence though, the street stepped in and did an amazing job as well. The street consisted of all the mothers in my neighborhood, there were always there, always watching, and always ready to discipline now and report back to my mother later.
So basically, I didn’t have the luxury of doing a lot of the things my peers were doing or of getting into trouble, I was always on the straight and narrow, I couldn’t even so much as slouch on my way back from school, one mother was sure to yell from a balcony or kiosk and remind me to walk upright. When my sister and I were much younger, it wasn’t weird for a mother on the street to stop us and inspect our homework on our way to school and to check that we had enough food in our back packs. One time, my little brother who is over 6 ft tall these days, annoyed me and I beat the crap out of him. Unbeknownst to me, I was being watched and my mother came from work and gave me a double measure of the beating I gave to my brother, without saying a word. That was the day I knew the streets had eyes, ears and a mouth!
This constant surveillance annoyed the heck of out me as a teenager but looking back at it now, I am super grateful these women stepped in and kept an eye on me and my siblings. It kept us in check, kept us from making stupid mistakes that might have altered the course of our lives today, I couldn’t glance or speak to a boy on the street without my mum getting a report on it, couldn’t detour on my way from school, couldn’t sneak any make up that wasn’t authorized by mother on my face. And it wasn’t just me, it was every kid on my street that experienced the same, even my mother did the same on the days she was home. Some Saturday mornings, it wasn’t uncommon to see all the mothers from the beginning of the street to the end of it casually gather right there in the middle of the street to have meetings that usually resulted in one child or another getting a good smacking later that day.
If I close my eyes I can almost see them, and although some of them have passed away, all the lessons they instilled in me are still very much with me. I am so thankful to God that all the kids on that street turned out well, every single one of us. Some are parents today, some doctors, all of us doing great things in our corners of the world. To all the mothers on Sadiku Street, Thank you!