"For there is a time and a way for everything, although man's trouble lies heavy on him."
Ecc 8:6 (ESV)
The war had raped our land,
taking all that we held dear and considered valuable.
For six years it had taken its toll and turned us into prisoners in our own homes;
Afraid to sleep with our eyes closed or to leave the haven of the ceiling tops.
For fear was the only food we knew.
I found solace having you at my bosom.
Ireti, my jewel, my daughter
The doctor had said I wouldn’t conceive.
Akanni, my husband although sympathetic, had married a second wife.
Then suddenly you appeared on the scene, wiping all my tears and years of ridicule.
Only for the war to snatch you away, along with every good thing.
I was at the market square,
Dancing and jubilating with the entire town folk that an end had finally come to the war.
Unknown to me, the war had dealt a final blow.
Wasn’t it a few hours ago that we were both hurdled in the ceiling?
When Akanni, your father rushed into the house shouting, announcing the end of the war.
You screamed and jumped into his arms while the other children came out of their hiding places.
As I tied my wrapper in preparation to go to the market square,
To join the other women in the dance,
You begged me to let you visit Tinuke your best friend.
I always knew that hers would be your first point of call,
So I smiled and told you to come home early.
Unknown to me that was the last time I was to see my Ireti.
When I got back and you didn’t greet me at the door,
I was worried.
I entered your room expecting to see you sleeping, tired from all the playing.
But you were not there.
Akanni said he hadn’t seen you and he had assumed you were with me.
I ran like a mad woman with your father tailing along to Tinuke’s house.
When Tinuke’s mother said you never came.
The journey of searching for my Ireti began.
It’s been six long years,
since I last beheld your beautiful face.
Six years of weeping and mourning the loss of my identity.
Before that faithful day I was “Mama Ireti”,
the proud mother of a brilliant eight year old.
Since you were declared missing by Akin, the village town crier,
I have ceased living.
I still look over my shoulders,
when I hear a girl shout “ Mama”,
Hoping it is my Ireti.
You now have a little brother
and he is looking forward to meeting you.
I have not given up.
Some say you might be dead and I’m crazy for still looking,
but I’m not bothered, for I shall find my Ireti under the sun.