By Ifedayo Ward

I’ve Got A Pocket Full Of Sunshine

I clasp my hands nervously in front of me. I am next in line for a scholarship interview. Although, I’m afraid I will be too nervous to answer any question, I’m more scared of going back to my homestead instead of getting the education I have always longed for.

Remember the beautiful Doctor? She has been very kind to me. Being an only child of her parents, they invested all they had in her education. Dr Grace took me under her roof and her parents have accepted me as theirs. Her mother, who is fondly called “Mayi” encouraged me out of what could have been termed as depression.

“Candidate 25- Miss Ngulinga “, an interviewer gingerly calls out, more out of haste than excitement. I smoothen the choblava Mayi had specially made for me to wear to the interview. I am shown to a seat and asked a few questions about my family, my future ambition and the plight that made me an outcast in my father’s clan.

I don’t know if I have a family apart from Dr Grace’s. My father refused to pay a dime on my health and education. In his opinion, I had not only disgraced him, but I had also brought shame to the clan and homestead, thereby making my sisters and cousins unmarriable. He didn’t understand why I had to seek help. Mother’s eyes were sad and as wide as saucers when she told me to run away from home. My step-brothers threatened to kill me for bringing “shame” to the family. My uncles swore to dismember me, if they found me anywhere.

The interviewer, who introduced himself as Mr. R. Peter was quick to tell me that the whole shortlisting process was a formality. A nonprofit organization was interested in sponsoring the education of girls that had run away from their families due to the hyena practice. I looked up to the ceiling and smiled. I gingerly packed my papers and ran out of the interview center in excitement.

I whistle a happy tune, as I run home to my new family, to the smell of Mayi frying banana fritters and my new papa’s colored television set. To my sister, Grace who has given me a new life and to my happily ever after.