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The Director led her into the room where the meeting was going to hold. It was a very comfortable room with about 50 boys in it. The entire floor was covered with carpet so they sat on the floor. Ireti sat on a sofa in the midst of them. She looked round and observed mixed reactions from the boys. “This was going to be some work” she thought to herself. She in that moment sent up a prayer to heaven, asking God to restore hope in the lives of these boys through her life.
It felt like the boys were seated in caucuses. The ones at the back looked like they needed more work and they weren’t even interested in the meeting. She was going to trust God to reach them beyond how she could even imagine.
Ireti cleared her throat. “Hi everyone, I’m Ìrètíọ̀la . I’m going to be sharing my story with you tonight. She saw that she had caught the attention of some of them. She had been praying since she accepted the invitation and she was just going to trust God. After all, even one precious soul meant a big-time party in heaven.
“My name is Ìrètíọ̀la . It’s a Yoruba name that means hope for tomorrow. Many of my friends call me Ìrètíọlá instead. This one means hope for wealth. Both ways, my name signals hope.” She noticed that some more boys had their interests perked now.
She continued, “I was born with maybe not silver spoon but at least, copper. I was the only child of two upper middle class parents who were willing to give me the moon if I wanted it. Life was as good as it could be until that day.”
Ireti paused to wipe a stray tear from her eye. She could see herself in that fateful Thursday afternoon. It all came back as if it was happening afresh.
The driver had just come to pick me from school. I was in Primary six, preparing for entrance exam and Mr. Dotun was his name”. “Good afternoon Mr. Dotun” I said as I hopped into the waiting car. He responded grimly with his eyes on the road. “This was very unusual” I thought to myself. He didn’t talk to me throughout the ride home which I thought was rather strange. I felt he had a rough day and wasn’t in the mood to talk so I just reclined on the backseat and enjoyed the ride in silence.”
I got home to meet my mum’s sister in our living room.” “Good afternoon aunty Linda” I greeted. She responded as soon as I greeted but there was something about her eyes I didn’t understand. Aunty Linda usually visited us twice every and oh how I looked forward to her visit every single time. Everything was not right. I could sense it even though the adults were doing a very good job concealing whatever it was that was wrong”
“Daddy” I shouted. “Your daddy is on his way home” Aunty Linda quickly interjected. “Go to your room, have a shower and come and have your lunch” she added. I obeyed immediately but I was convinced beyond any doubt that something was really wrong.