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'Iman!' My mother called me to the living room in a tone that promised nothing. She inhaled sharply and I knew even before she parted her lips to speak. Here was the single suitcase that contained the essential items I would need. Here was the dress I would wear during the journey. The plane ticket, warm from being newly issued by the printer, fluttered to rest on the table between us. I was being sent to my Grandmother's farm.
It is not uncommon for Nigerian parents to send children to relatives in rural communities for correction. I was thirteen years old and had developed a sharp tongue that dissected revered traditions. Therefore, my arrival on the quiet homestead in Port-Harcourt was inevitable. My Grandmother, 'Mami', an unyielding pedagogue, welcomed me with garden eggs and salty, roasted groundnuts. "It's so wonderful to have you here!" she crooned with a Ugandan twang. I proferred a tight-lipped smile.
I had determined to stand resolute in my belief and my attitudes, but I was helpless against the series of transformations to my character. These changes mainly arose from Mami's expectations that I conform to the mould conventionally assigned to women. I learnt, instead, to choose my battles. I murmured hymns obediently...
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