So, it was 1982, when i was six or seven, that my great aunt decided to return me to my parents in Sokoto from Takum because I was becoming too much of a handful and she couldn’t ‘manage’ me anymore. It was true that I was absconding school…it was the cane you see, I didn’t like being flogged for coming late or in dirty uniform, so on the days those would happen, I went somewhere else. And oh, there was the issue of ‘talle’. I hawked ‘kayan yaji’ for Baaba and before I knew any other hawkers, my accounts were always balanced. The day I met some other hawkers my age, was the day I knew that I could really play a fast one on Baaba and get away with it.


First I had to have sold some  kayan yaji, then I spend on alawa some of the money I made. In order not to have to explain any missing money, I take a piece of ginger from every other gwangwani and ‘refill’ one or two empty ones (depending on how much i spend. The girls taught me to spend money from just one, but I thought why not more? I was smart like that) Anyway, when I realised that taking that much from the other tins was surely going to gine me away, I emptied out every tin unto the tray, threw some tins away and was calling Baaba right from the zaure. 

“Baaba! Baaba!” I screamed. She came running towards me.

“Patu yaya?” she was worried.

“Baaba yau kam munyi hasara”, I told her, behaving like an adult, I had one hand holding on to the tray on my head and one on my chin, like I was surprised such a misfortune could befall us. Before she could ask what the hasara was, I brought down the tray and held it towards her, making sure that my sticky alawa fingers would not show, I told her

“hmm Baaba, yau nayi bari”. ended


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