My name is Zainab Hashim i am 27 years old. I would like to share my Divorce Diaries with you.
I was born in Badarawa, Kaduna where I lived and schooled for seventeen years until I met Ahmad. Ahmad and his family had just moved to our neighbourhood from Kano where they used to live. He was tall, fair and handsome and kept a beard. a few weeks after they moved, Ahmad started to frequent our house. He wold come immediately after isha to see me and stay till it gets late and my mother or father called back in. in those occasions, he professed his love to me profusely. He was the perfect suitor and I just couldn’t ignore him even if I wanted to.
After a few months of zance, he finally proposed, my parents agreed for me to marry him. They only had one request that the marriage shouldn’t stop me from pursuing my education. Ahmad and his family agreed. We got married a few weeks into December 2009. Even though Ahmad didn’t have a stable job, my parents did all they could to make sure that I got everything I needed to make the wedding a joyous and memorable one. My parents loved him and believed he was hardworking enough to become successful in the future. The few months that followed our wedding was beautiful. Although at the time we were feeding from hand to mouth, i never complained because i loved and believed in him.
Around October the next year, our child arrived. He was named him Muhammad after my father.
Everything was going smoothly until I decided that I wanted to apply to the University. My father knew someone in Kaduna State University and we had planned that I will be going there after my delivery. But all of a sudden, one day when I brought up the topic of furthering my education, my husband’s face turned sour. He claimed that he didn’t have enough money to pay for my school and still provide for me and Muhammad. I said it won’t be a problem, my father is willing to take care of that. But that annoyed him even more and he hissed and left the house. He came back the next day and suggested that instead of telling my father to borrow us money, why don’t I sell my gold. I thought it was reasonable enough and gave him the gold to sell only for him to come back a few days later with a brand new car claiming that it was more important for him since he had just gotten a job with Nigerian Immigration Service in Kano. I was torn, should I be happy for his new job or should I be sad that I may probably not get to start university? I didn’t know what to do so I went to my cousin and told her what was going on. She told me to be patient and said maybe it’s because he feels ashamed to let my parents sponsor me since it was his duty. I let it go.
So my husband began his work in Kano. He would only come to kaduna once or twice a month. Whenever he was not around, he wouldn’t send money for feeding and Muhammad and I were forced to stay at my parents during those days, only going back to our house in Barnawa whenever he was around. It was hectic. It felt like I wasn’t married at all. I was also embarrassed to see my mates securing admissions in Universities, polytechnics and colleges of education while I hid at my parents waiting for a husband that seemed to have abandoned me. This went on for nearly 2 years.
One day, he came to Kaduna and told me to dress up that he was taking me to the hospital. I was confused and told him I wasn’t sick why would I need to go to the hospital? He said because I needed a birth control implant as he wasn’t ready to have another child. I became angry and yelled at him for the first time. Why would he assume I would do that without consulting me? And why is he avoiding the topic of my studies? He got angry and stormed off, leaving for Kano. He didnt show up for months after that. What used to be once or twice a month became once in two months. I had to beg before i could see my husband sometimes. While we were talking over the phone one day, i suggested that i move to Kano with him. He agreed and told me to sell my furniture and send him the money So he could buy new furniture. I told my cousin and she helped me get people to sell them. I sent the money to him. But weeks turned to months and I heard nothing about my moving to Kano. He would bring up excuses each time I brought up the topic. I sent that something was fishy so I told him I would come on my own and he shouldn’t worry too much about buying new furniture, we would manage we have. Ge agreed and sent his address. I went to Kano two days later. I followed the address that I had scribbled on a piece of paper and got to the house. That was when the real horror began. My husband was waiting for me in front of the house, he had his arms wrapped around some woman’s shoulders and they stood like that looking at me like I was the intruder while Muhammad innocently toddled towards his father. Ahmad introduced the other woman as his wife. I was broken and betrayed, I did not know what to do as I could not turn back and go home. I cried myself to sleep and wished that I had never married. I wanted to ask him for a divorce, but I was ashamed of going back home a divorcee. Ahmad and his new wife Kamila showed me pepper during that period. She was a graduate of accounting and worked at an accounting firm in Kano. they would both leave the house to go to work and come back late in the evening. Before she leaves, Kamila would lock the door to the kitchen and store and Muhammad and I would stay hungry throughout the day. The cycle continued until I couldn’t take it anymore. I confronted her one evening. She laughed and told me it was her foodstuff and her kitchen.
“Ba abinda za ki yi. I decide when and whether you and that stupid child of yours eat in this house, if you don’t like it go to school, graduate and get a job then you can come and complain like a real human being. Stupid village girl!”
I was so angry that I slapped her. And we got a full-blown fight. Ahmad came in just in time to stop us from tearing each other apart.
“Haba Zainab, what is all this nonsense? Don’t you even know not to pick fights with people that are not your mates? Ai wannan gida ma da kika zauna nata ne! so you better give her the respect she deserves and be grateful that she is housing you.”
Ahmad said. I was too ashamed to respond and watched them go back to the room together. I felt betrayed. I had asked him several times to let my Parents sponsor my education but he refused, now he uses the same education to insult me as if I intentionally refused to go to University. The next morning, I took my bags and Muhammad and left Kano. I went straight to my parents house in Kaduna and old them everything while in tears. they comforted me and my father immediately contacted his friend KASU to help with my dmission. Ahmad did not contact us for five months after the incident. Suddenly one morning in April 2014, he came to my father’s house in Kaduna with my divorce papers claiming that when he married me I wasn’t a virgin. He even added that after our marriage, I remained unfaithful and would bring men into our matrimonial home whenever he was away in Kano.
“Is this true”? My father asked
“No” I simply replied.
My parents bid him farewell and he left. All the while he sat beside me, he couldn’t meet my eyes.
I broke down in tears as I felt my mother’s arms wrap around me.
“We believe you” she said. That was all I needed to hear. I knew the divorce won’t be easy, but with my parents’ support I will pull through.
It’s been five years after and my life has taken a turn for the better. Ahmad tried to come back into my life. First he spread rumours about me to get my attention, next he tried to take my son from me and now he claims the divorce wasn’t valid as I was seeing my period at the time he gave me the divorce. Of course I didn’t give him the satisfaction of a response. I have long moved on from him and if anything, I am grateful for my experience because now, I have learnt to always put myself first.
All thanks to Jaruma Magazine for allowing Us to share this beautiful and educative episode
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.
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