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“You don’t have to worry, and don’t be afraid.
Joy comes in the morning; troubles, they don’t last always”
“Grandma, good evening ma”
“Michael, what did you just call me?”
“And why would you do that?”
“Because I am not comfortable with calling you by name”
“Do you think my name is Àwèró?”
“Is it time for Prayers?”
“Call others and let us pray”
I took my time in calling the other three occupants of the house. I was scared that Mama would scold me for calling her ‘grandma’.
The whole household was seated in the leaving room when mama pointed to an old picture sitting at the corner of the room and said,
“Israel, who is in that picture?”
“I don’t know Mama”
“The girl in the picture is my daughter, Àwèró, my firstfruit”
“Mama, where is she now?” Aunty Joyce asked enthusiastically
“She is no more”
There was perfect silence in the room, and Mama closed her eyes for some minutes. When she opened it, she kept her gaze on the picture and said,
“My father got me married to his best friend’s son, Olákúnlé. We were happily married but we couldn’t get a child until the seventh year of our marriage during which Olákúnlé had taken a second wife”
Mama’s face shone with joy and she was smiling as she narrated the story. I wondered where her smile was coming from despite the sad story.
“Àwèró came into the world and my joy knew no bounds, she gave me a new name. I was called ‘Iya Awero’ by all and sundry.
I devoted my life and time to grooming her, even though I had three still births after her birth. I derived joy from being a mother to Àwèró. She was my pride, my everything and more until she left me at the tender age of thirteen after a prolonged sickness. I was devastated and sad. My husband on the other hand would not allow a barren witch in his compound so he sent me out, and I had no one. My parents would not take me in and I had no choice but to leave the village and move to the capital town”
“What happened after that Mama?” Aunty Joyce asked wiping away her tears.
“I started teaching at a school and devoted myself to my work, but there was this hollow space in my life, and no matter the men I went out with, I felt lonely and alone”.
One of the men I dated back then was Johnson Clark, a white man working with the government. We went out a few times until I couldn’t find him again. I was told he has gone back to England.
I moved on with my lonely life until I noticed that I was pregnant. My sorrow doubled and I did not know what to do. I was wandering on the street one day when I saw some people gathering and talking about Jesus and how he can save. They were also giving free food, books and clothes, which I was in dare need of then.
I listened to them and joined them so as not to be lonely again.
It was several months and after the birth of John Adéníyì Clark, Michael’s father, that I came to the knowledge of Christ and I was truly saved.
That year, John became sick and I had nowhere to talk to. Pastor Anderson, the missionary Pastor in my church, asked me to pray to God and cry to him. I prayed and promised God that if He would keep my son alive, I would serve Him all my life along with my son.
My son overcame the sickness, I started serving God as an interpreter and a Sunday school teacher. I gave up my will to get married and asked everybody to be calling me “Mama Àwèró”, as a reminder of the love of God to me and the evidence of the garment of Joy He gave me for my sadness.
So, Michael, I am Mama Àwèró because God gave me a new life after I lost everything I held dear.
“Even if we are lost and dead, Jesus shall find us and give us eternal life.”
Let us pray…….
Read Episode 4 here