By Peter Paul Adolinama
( From The Cockcrow, a compilation of short stories, drama, and poems by John A. Sackey and Lawrence Darmani )
A Social Issue
This story unfolded around the life of an unfortunate 14 year old girl called Amina. She was given into marriage to a man old enough to be her father. Amina was never seen smiling during her two years marriage in her husband Mba Sayibu’s house.
Sayibu was a wealthy man known for marrying young girls. Amina became his fourth wife. As a fourth wife she enjoyed so called privileges such as spending more nights with her husband, attending functions with him and cooking for him. She had to endure her husband’s hot temper and lived in perpetual fear of him. She also had to endure the jealousy of the third wife, Safia, who was also as young as she was but had been in the marriage two years earlier. This eventually led to their constant fights.
Two years into Amina’s marriage, thus at age 16 and in the process of delivering a baby girl, she lost her life. The baby, Abiba (Abi as the short form) was entrusted into the care of the first wife Mama Adamu.
A Message From The
gods Verses The Medical Report
What really surprises me is the fact that Sayibu never learnt his lesson of losing the 16 years old Amina to childbirth. According to the post-mortem report, she died because her womb wasn’t matured. On the contrary, her husband’s family ignored the medical report. They rather consulted the gods who said that it was the girl’s destiny to die young. Really?
Mama Adamu gave Abi her mother’s diary when she also reached 14 years and was about to be shipped off into another death trap called marriage.
The content of the diary was a symbol of the story’s title: Ripples. Apparently, Amina’s mother had said that her granddaughter, Abi, would also be given out into marriage at the same age 14 and would suffer the same fate as her mother and even her grandmother.
Light At The Tunnel
The author gave hope to Abi. This hope was in characters of Mr. Ambrose Yakubu, the primary school headteacher and his daughter Jamila. Mr Ambrose had waged war against child marriages. So, on the day Abi was supposed to be shipped off into marriage, Mr. Ambrose together with officers from the Social Welfare Department and the Police rescued her. Finally, Abi saw light at the at the end of the tunnel.
A Social Problem
The author, Peter Paul Adolinama, creatively addressed one of the problems facing young girls in Ghana, Africa and the world at large. These young girls who are given into marriage suffer all forms of abuse. Most are given off into marriage due to tradition and poverty in their families. They eventually have to unwillingly drop out of school, neither are they allowed to learn any vocational skills. I can visually imagine the sad lives of these teenage wives and mothers. Men who engage in this practice must be arrested and imprisoned.
All Hope Is Not Lost
There are child marriages taking place in Bangladesh, Ghana, USA, Malawi, Syria, Nigeria and many countries in the world.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals call for global action to end this human rights violation by 2030.
There are many NGOs fighting against child marriages all over the world. Examples are:
1. Plan International ( https://plan-international.org )
2. Girls Not Brides ( http://www.girlsnotbrides.org )
3. UNICEF ( http://www.unicef.org )
4. UNFPA ( http://www.unfpa.org )