The Orphan Girl I Met Eating Pig Food -By Opeseyi Adegboyega Q.

Filed under: Forgotten Dairies |

It was a boiling-hot afternoon so I decided to take a quick bath to impede the heat. On getting to the well side , I saw this young beautiful but stinking girl scavenging something that looked like faeces , the pungent smell of ammonia gas was better off. On a perusal, I noticed it is the left over food my pigs fed on earlier in the morning. I was dumbfounded immediately I conceived that. Somehow I managed to ask her “kid, what are you doing” , “I am surviving” she replied with a cogent smile. I later learned she is called Aishah, the double orphan (someone who has lost both parents). As she has no relative, the harsh society became her closest friend. This not fictional, it is real in the rural and bucolic settlements.

Happiness is not measured with success, it is measured by survival. Survival literarily implies the state of co-existing among all odds. Streetwise to someone like Aishah, survival is just having what to eat at a particular point in time. It is of paramount importance to disclose that there are over 153 million orphans in the world today, also proficient research shows that about 36% of the world’s population are children. That is the young ones constitute the masses, some of which have been neglected and abandoned by the adjacent society. The neighbouring environment deprives the orphaned masses of communication, making the orphans realise they have no place in the society. The naked-truth is that the orphans have no home, mantissa how are they sheltered ?.

Little Aishah

We must discern that every child deserves unending care from their parents but it is disheartening that occasions such as abandonment, child abuse, stigmatization or death makes this impossible. The abandoned and stigmatized children end up in the orphanage where their immediate needs are catered for.

The orphanage is an institution that caters and protects the orphans, unlike the society it doesn’t act nescient of the cries and whines of the deprived. Most orphanages depend on the donations of people who come to visit. Unfortunately, you and I don’t visit nor donate to these homes. This is a minor challenge the orphanage faces.

The major challenge facing the orphanage is voluntarism and visitations as we know that students and aspiring politicians go to visit the orphanage in the name of tourism and sponsorship but that is not the problem. The puzzling circumstance is that not all who go for orphanagesvisit have that intention, some go for kidnap, pedophilia and what have you. This is a negative effect of visitation as it stigmatizes the abused child.

Mantissa speaking of volunteerism, decipher that many orphanages in Nigeria lack adequate funding, therefore, face understaffing . Humane individuals go to the orphanage to take care of orphans (on unpaid employment) so as to reduce the issue of understaffing. Although this is humanely and charity but the orphan gets acquainted with this staff without knowing he/she is not staying permanently. After some months, the staff decides to leave for home. This has more setback than advantage as the staff leaves the orphan in his/her initial state of turmoil, forlorness, melancholy, woe, misery, and grief.

Colloquial to all these whether visitation or volunteerism, the only language an orphan understands is hope, for hope is survival. When you address orphans you don’t flaunt your success with speech, you don’t express how much parental care you receive, you don’t make them feel deserted, all of these will only expedite their grief. Unlike you and I, they don’t have the opportunity to compete or aspire for positions, they lost fillial love, all they seek for is hope and platonic love!

written by;
Opeseyi Adegboyega Q.
Student, Lagos State University.