Many stories have been told about great people, it’s a tradition to write about success of people may be they should also write about failure so that people can learn.
These great people don’t live life by themselves, there is always someone who may seem unimportant but without whom these great people could not have survived.
My name is Ladi Bukar T, am a handmaid born to a handmaid and this the story of a handmaid without which I don’t know what would have become of my mistress.
My mother Masi rendered her lifelong services to Hajiya Raaliya, my Mistress’s mother, when I became of age she taught me how to serve people, with number one rule being never ask questions just do what you are asked to do.
My mistress Hajiya Shahnaz is one hell of a mistress, she assumes I can’t speak english and talks all day long in english but speaks hausa to me when I understand every thing she says in English or so I thought, I grew up alongside her, but she never played with me because I was born to a handmaid.
When I got married, I was lavished with so much gifts, you’d think I was lucky but non of them attended my wedding, it was not important, I was given 2weeks break.
2 years later my mistress got married in a ground breaking ceremony, you’d think they plucked money from trees.
I had followed for her shopping as well as her honeymoon, when ever I travelled with her I’d follow her about buying things worth my salary a lifetime.
At her free time she hands me wads of cash to shop for myself.
My journey with my mistress has been quite interesting with me as silent spectator. Her father loved her the most because she was an exact replica of her mother, both are amazingly beautiful, and it got into my mistress’s head and she grew proud and arrogant.
She never does chores, like never, not even to cover her cream after applying it to her skin, I had to do it, I washed even her undies, with machine though.
We travelled together whenever she was going to have her baby which she always did outside the country for reasons best known to her.
Once she had a tiff with her husband, she ordered me to pack her things and we went back to her father’s house.
There she got the shock of her life when her father sent her back, since then she knew how to thread on her husband’s path though we spent a considerable time in the hospital several times when she “misbehaved”.
One strange day she decided to wake up early, that was not all she even did laundry ruining her husband’s clothes almost getting Makun the laundry guy fired. To top it she went to the kitchen too and almost burnt down the house trying to Cook.
What ever she was up to, she succeeded because her husband fell for it.
I won’t forget when her friend brought pastors to pray for her, the look on her face was satisfying because we all thought she deserved it, but she lashed back with fury setting the lady up badly and disgracing her publicly.
I was curious when she asked me to clean out a room in a part of the house no one uses, I couldn’t check cause she carried the key about, then came her suspicious movements and phone calls and I kept wondering what she was upto.
Her behaviour became extremely secretive, even though she assumed I couldn’t speak english she stopped answering her calls in front of me.
Days went on and she became stranger spending more and more time either in that room or outside the house.
One day she gave me lots of money to give my family, that we are travelling and I should pack light for all six of us, her four kids me and her.
We went to the airport with a strange car, stopping in front of an estate for a while where she went in to do something.
Then we headed to the airport and boarded a plane, on the plane my mistress passed out.
She was first noticed by an attendant who raised alarm and the plane made an emergency landing in somewhere they said Porthacourt, so she could get medical attention.
We left the airport in an ambulance with our luggage and went straight to a hospital, my mistress was wheeled in, and I a handmaid without any form of formal education, who understood english but never speak was left with four arrogant children who thought of me as shit, an unconscious mistress and english speaking doctors.
What will I do???????
The doctors took her into a room with red signs on top, I can’t read so I dont what it meant, they kept staring at her, even almost dying she was haughtily beautiful. One of them came out and spoke rapid english, the accent was very different from my mistress’s, I didn’t understand so I just stared, she waited for my reply when she didn’t get she left and returned with another.
‘Madam we need identification for documentation.’
No one has ever called me madam, no one has ever addressed me with respect before I was overwhelmed. I didn’t know the meaning of identification for documentation, though I understood most things my mistress said I never spoke english how do I ask for the meaning.
I was scared but I knew I had to speak English, so I swallowed hard and I spoke english for the first time.
‘Wwwhat is is identification and documentation?’ I was shivering, I dont know if they noticed.
The nurses and doctors gasped.
‘A name.’ The second doctor said.
I swallowed again, Shah, I stopped I’d never call her name before, am a married woman with kids, never thought I had all these insecurities, maybe its because I never speak back or ask questions.
‘Is there a card eye deeeee carrd.’ The second doctor said gesticulating.
I nodded and surfed my mistress’s bag and produced many cards, they surfed through it took one and left, a while later another came and said.
‘Payment.’ Gesticulating with her fingers,
‘Follow me.’ I did and I payed from my mistress’s bag.
Then I remembered her kids, they were still in the waiting area, I ran there, these were kids that have never experienced any form of discomfort in their lives, they looked devastating sitting in the waiting area, they looked so pitiful as they stared into nothing, lost in a world new confrontations.
Thanks to Sakki their nanny, they understood hausa perfectly, I asked if they were hungry, they nodded, I took our luggage, we proceeded outside where I stopped a taxi.
They looked at me with awful eyes, they have never entered a car but it was a luxury car, they stared till I told them to get in, Asad jnr, and the twins stayed at the back seat, their discomfort clearly visible on their faces, I sat in the front with Amir on my laps.
Asad pls tell him to take us to good restaurant.’ He looked at me like I’d committed a crime to ask him to do something.
You I know I can’t speak english.’ He seemed satisfied with the explanation and spoke to the driver who nodded and took off.
We went to a restaurant that looked big and expensive, we got a table and they ordered when it was my turn I looked at the expectant waiter and nodded no english, then Nazia said she would help me order, I was surprised but took the help anyway.
After eating she read out the bill for me, and I payed from my mistress’s bag, I ate on the same table with them, that was the first time.
I knew we needed a place to sleep, so I tried asking one the waiters for a hotel, this time Shazia spoke and after sometime the waiter showed us a stair case. ‘This place is a hotel we can lodge here.’ Shazia told me and we booked a grand suit that had 3 rooms in one, I told the twins to stay in one Asad in one and my self and Amir in the last one.
‘Ammi , where is my Ammi.’Amir cried.
‘She is in the hospital, you will stay with Asad I will go to her now.’
I wanted to go back to the hospital, then I remembered I didn’t know the name of the hospital, I didn’t even know the name of the place we were, I came back upstairs and asked Asad jnr if he knew the name of the hospital, he said he didn’t read the signs.
I went back and tried to communicate with the receptionist, all to no avail because of the language barrier after sometime I went and picked the sleeping Amir and went to my room.
I didn’t know how to get back to the hospital, my mistress was lost, I checked her bag, their was loads of cash and cards, the cards she inserted into machines and money came out.
The kids kept asking for their mother, I kept lying that she was still in the hospital and every morning I will go from hospital to hospital trying to find her, I took the card of the hotel from the reception and that was how I got back to the hotel, we kept staying at the hotel where I was referred to as madam, and it occured to me that my title of hand maid was on hold as I had become the mistress since it was I who was calling the shots.
To be continued