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Amadou, Amadou (8): The story that made Binta cry then smile, by Ladyba

17 August 2020, Ladyba

I heard screams, I went out into the yard and these screams came from my uncle's room; we rarely put our feet up there. I approached. The door was made of wood and there was a small space but sufficient to see what was going on inside...

“I arrived in Dakar when I was 8 years old and I thought I was coming for a vacation but in fact my father wanted to get rid of me. What I did not understand until later, my uncle who was supposed to teach me the Koran and educate me used me to make money. And to tell the truth I did not even have the time or peace of mind to learn the Koran. I only know a few texts, so my fear was to have the daily 700 Fcfa that was imposed on me. Demba was my new brother, he took more care of me than my own family who never came to see me, yet I know that one of my brothers often came to Dakar but he never came to see if I was doing OK. I feel like, and this I only found out later, that they just wanted to get rid of me, I was just one more mouth to them and they were unable to feed me. I still wonder today what I did to deserve all of this.

But hey, luckily, one day I was sick and I came across a golden lady. Her name is Marietou. She looked after me, pampered me, and took care of me even more than my own mother did. She had forbidden me to go begging and every day I went to her house or to her work, she gave me the daily 700fcfa, let me have a shower in her bathroom, fed me… noooo she loved me so much. She could not have children and I started to ask God why giving my mother the possibility of having had several children when she did not have such a pretty heart as Marietou who only wanted one. Let it be clear I love my mother and today I miss her because I don't know where she is, but I will never understand that you can abandon your child, and even worse she never did anything to find out if I was okay.

Marietou had enrolled me in the school in her neighborhood, so in the morning I left my daara very early before 7 a.m., I went to her house to wash, get dressed, have my breakfast and I went to school, then I went back to the daara as if nothing had happened at the 1 pm break, I went back to the daara and returned to school around 2:30 pm, admittedly late, but the principal knew my story and therefore let it go; in addition he was a cousin of Marietou. I had trouble keeping up because even though I had taken lessons in the village, I had gone a little over 2 years without touching a notebook.”

He paused for a moment because Binta was crying bitterly:

Amadou : Binta I need to tell you my story
Binta : Yes, yes I know
Amadou : Please stop crying, this is the past now.

He couldn't hold back and took her in his arms asking her to calm down

Binta: I'm sorry it was you who lived this story, but I realize that I never missed anything in my childhood and yet I always played my capricious card.
Amadou : Loool but everyone has their story, that's life
Binta: Yes but it's not fair, people like me have had absolutely everything in their life and you didn't ask to be born or to live this life.
Am: Oh noo, please stop crying, I don't like to see you cry. Well let’s stop if it's too hard for you. Know just that it does me a lot of good to tell you about it. It’s neither true that I wasn’t fortunate enough to have parents to confide to, nor a sibling or sweaty by my side. But I had some cheerful people on my way like Marietou, Demba and now you.

Binta was already smiling

Amadou : Whar are you smiling for? Wasn’t it you who were just crying...
Binta: I'm happy that you count me among the most important people in your life.
Amadou : Lol that doesn't mean that I'm going to go out with you. But I have to admit that since I’ve known you, I really enjoy being with you.
Binta : Good… continue, I promise you I won't cry anymore
Amadou : Lol good ok… Our strategy with Marietou lasted three months, and one day when it was the December holidays, I was with her:

“Marietou : Amadou, I wanted us to have a discussion…
Amadou : Yes Ma… (I quickly called her that because for me she was my mom even if she didn't carry me in her belly she loved me so much and cherished me…)
Marietou : How would you like to come and live with me here?
Amadou: Yes, yes of course, I jumped on her so much I only wanted that.
She began to laugh...
Marietou: Me who thought you were going to refuse.
Amadou: Yes but my uncle will refuse...
Marietou : That's my problem, we have to look for a good excuse, I was wondering if we could not go directly to your parents in the village.
Am: No, no, no...
Marietou: But why? We'll go with my husband, and we'll ask them to leave you with us.
Amadou : they will never accept, I know it.
Marietou: We have nothing to lose you know?
Amadou: Ok, but you have to talk to my uncle first.
Marietou: Ah... You know him. We just meed to hand him over an envelope of money, and he will accept whatever I ask…
Amadou: But why then won't he want me to stay with you?
Marietou: Do you think that if he lets me adopt you he will still get some money? Lool no you have become a source of income. Besides I'm sure he is aware that you stay with me instead of begging in the street but my envelopes silence him.
Am: Looool, ok thank you very much Ma...
Marietou: And why so? It’s for me to thank you, God didn’t give me the chance to be a mom but you bring me so much joy in my life. Now, go take your dinner. Today, I made you your favorite dish, Spaghetti Bolognese.”

Amadou to Binta: And yes I had become a normal child who had whims and preferred such or such dish. Lool. She would cook me food in the evening around 6 p.m. before it was time to return to the daara just around 7 p.m. Arrived at the daara I pretended to eat but hey it must be said that my uncle did not even control what we ate. The only thing that mattered to him was “his money.” The rest even clothes food medicine, he did not care... Marietou and I had a close relationship, I don't know if that was the love of a mother and her son, but I had never been so happy in all my life.

One day, I dozed off in the daara room. Everyone else had already left and it was during the school holidays, I was less stressing now for the pennies. I heard screams, I went out into the yard and these screams came from my uncle's room; we rarely put our feet up there. I approached. The door was made of wood and there was a small space but sufficient to see what was going on inside...
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