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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

LINGERING EFFECTS OF TRAUMA

I thought i had overcome my fear,until i heard a loud and hard rapid knock on my door. I woke up startled,confused and trembling like a leaf. It took a while before my brain registered the environment. My heart thudded and beat so fast,that i almost could not differentiate the loud pounding from the banging on my door. What time is it? And who could be knocking on my door with such arrogance and no decorum? Did something happen? Are they robbers? All these questions raced through my pounding heart,i could hardly breath,by now a large chunk of saliva had gathered in my throat,i was swallowing hard. I stood rooted to a spot,did not have the courage to peep through the window to find out who and what woke me up rudely from my sweet sleep that was interrupted. I heard a man's voice,asking me to put off my security light. He still kept knocking, by now my sister and i didn't want to make any noise,so we did sign language. I picked my mobile phone to check the time,it was a few minutes after six in the morning. What was anyone's business with my security light even if i decide to leave it for a whole day? In fact i have left it like that for weeks and no damage was done. My sister and i still kept mute,till the lunatic shifted to my neighbor's apartment. After he left,my mind strolled down memory lane. It wasn't a pleasant memory,but i can never forget it.  A few years ago,while living at Mararaba, Nasarawa state,an incident happened,precisely in May 25th 2010. I had gone to work as usual,then closed by 6pm,my younger brother and twin sister were around as well. We had dinner,watched a movie; while preparing for bed,i received a call that a dearest Uncle had died. None of us could sleep till midnight,weather was warm and trust PHCN;they had taken the power supply. So it was pitch black,no moon. It was quiet,except for crickets chirping and dogs barking. I lived in an eight flat self contained,as at that time the compound was not yet fenced. The Landlord kept promising to build it but did not until we moved in. My apartment was the fourth,all my neighbors were young as well.
Suddenly at 2am we were rudely woken up with loud bangs on the burglary and so many voices, we locked our burglary before going to bed, but left the door ajar with the curtain down. while they were banging the burglary, they were also flashing very bright torchlight inside. It was as bright as an Halogen Lamp. While trembling like a jelly fish, we were also very confused. We wondered what was happening and who they were. ''Open the door'', i say ''open the door'', they kept ranting and banging. My younger brother whispered to My sister and i, these are robbers oh. Robbers? we chorused rhetorically. What do they want? why are they here? What are we going to do? My mouth went suddenly dry, cold sweat broke all over me. These armed robbers seemed very impatient and were getting angrier and angrier. My twin sister and i quickly said a short prayer and began screaming at the top of our lungs, ''thieves, thieves''. Neighbors help!. No neighbor came to our rescue, neither did the respond to our call for help. It wasn't like our room was sound proofed or anything, but why are the neighbors not responding? I felt like someone who was in a nightmare, and was praying someone would wake me up from it. By now, these thieves who obviously came prepared, had started removing the burglary that led to our small corridor, by now we had closed the main room door. We heard them speaking pidgin English. ''Una wan prove stubbornness ba?'' We go burn Una alive today! By now they had removed the burglary with their tools and were on the corridor banging on the main door. Some had torn down the bathroom window net, another almost pulled out the kitchen window burglary. We usually leave the generating set ( i pass my neighbor) on the corridor. They began pushing the door, we pushed back, because we didn't have enough time to look properly. We finally had to let them in, when they opened our generator and poured out the fuel on the corridor floor and were about to light it up.They rushed into the room about ten of them;and we still heard more voices outside, and shouted "lie down all of you, Una no wan open door for us"? We obeyed and didn't respond. Though before they entered i had successful hidden our most expensive phones in my undies bag i hung on the clothes hanger( i was using a Nokia 5310 X press music,including my twin sister, while our brother owned Nokia 5320 X press Music) at that time and kept the cheap ones close by. Fortunately for me, i left my laptop at the office.One of them specifically for our communications( phones). I quickly pushed the cheaper Nokia (torchlight), My twin Sisters Motorola razor and another cheap Motorola i owned to cover up as my brother's own (congregation of cheap phones lol). The next question was, where are your wallets, before i could respond, they had located my hand bag and that of my sister. they opened it, removed my wallet, and i pleaded with them to take the money and give me back my wallet. Surprisingly, they removed the money i had in there ( N12,000) twelve thousand naira only and (N10,000) ten thousand naira from my sister's wallet and flung the wallets accross the room. They asked for our gold  jewelries, we told them we didn't have gold jewelries. They checked around and did not find any. Naturally we aren't jewel crazy, so did;t have to hide any. These boys did not wear face mask, they wore heavy boots and carried several weapons. I noticed that, they made sure not to call each other by name, instead, they referred to each other as "AREA". They were checking out the congregation of cheap phones we offered them, they flung back the cheapest Motorola, even in our moment of fear, we giggled silently because they rejected that particular phone.They went outside but did not leave the compound, another group wanted to come into the room, the group that robbed us said, "Area! nothing dey for dat cabal, just leave dem". I believe it was God who acted in our favor, because they could have easily raped my sister and i. They Robbed for an hour, before they left our compound. It was much later we discovered that they came with a twenty four seater bus and were as many as twenty. We discovered that our neighbors were robbed as well. By 5am we all met to recount our tales, my sister and i discovered that we were the only ones who gave them difficulty to get in, and we were the only ones that weren't molested or beaten up by them. Our neighbor's rooms were ransacked, but instead they only asked us where money, jewelries and phones were. In the morning, we heard of other people who were robbed and raped by these gang,we were most grateful it was just robbery, but very traumatizing. We went to report at the Police Station, the officers said, they had similar cases reported by many other people and asked us to pay some money so that our case will be attended to? You can imagine my shock, my eyes almost popped out of its socket. After being robbed by armed robbers, the police still wanted money? Where do they want us to get it from? My neighbors and i left the station in annoyance.
We informed the Landlord, then fixed the burglary door, window and net, but the trauma stayed. I became afraid of my room, i felt safer outside, whenever i came home the incident would replay in my mind. We could no longer sleep at night. Each day we prayed to overcome the fear, gradually it reduced, we were able to sleep again, until we moved out of Mararaba. We thought the fear had been overcome totally, until that lunatic came knocking on our door, and all the fear and memories i tried pushing at the back of my mind came rushing like a water fall.

5 comments:

  1. Oh wow!!!!! I can see how you were traumatized!!!!! Slade

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  2. ok! It is 12.16am in the Uk and I have just finished reading this piece, fresh from sleep with my lights off and everyone else fast asleep. Obviously your traumatic experience will need more than a dark room to relive; but can i say my heart beat so fast reading your piece? I kept hoping right in the middle of it that those guys weren't robbers, but turns out they were! Can't imagine what trauma that was...boy and your narration of it is so powerful, so arresting that I almost forgot it was written in the past tense. I could have dialled 999 right now if I didnt catch myself. That is how compelling your power of narration is! Well done girl!

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  3. So traumatising.security is too poor in dis country

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  4. Naija police.hian

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