01 Jun Ndidi – The Story About a Girl, Who was Different
People often discriminate against those who are different from them. Ndidi did not let that deter her.
Ndidi – The Story About a Girl, Who was Different.
Ijele Kingdom was known to raise beautiful maidens, women whose signature ebony skin shone like the sun, and their thick tress of hair was always well-oiled and styled to perfection.
Over the years, these women perfected the art of native skincare routines, and this made them the envy of other maidens from neighbouring kingdoms.
Historically it is believed that Ulumiri, the goddess of beauty, fell in love with an indigene of the land, which is why the women carry traces of her ageless beauty. This was why Mazi Oduchie was shocked at the look of the child the midwife handed over to him. The child looked so pale, yet weirdly, her face reminded him of his dead mother. Perhaps the gods were telling a joke only they understood, but he didn’t understand why.
“Obiageli, you have to push harder,” the midwife pleaded.
“Mama I have no strength left in me. Allow me to close my eyes and end this misery,” Obiageli cried out in pain.
“May the gods forbid!” the midwife exclaimed, “I have never lost a child or mother in childbirth, and I won’t lose any today. None. I can see your child’s head push a little harder, and the gods will give you victory.”
“Mama, I’m trying,” Obiageli cried out.
“Nnem,” the woman sympathized. I know, just one more push.”
With a loud cry, Obiageli gave her very best, and she finally heaved a sigh of relief at the sound of her child’s voice.
“Chi mo!” The midwife exclaimed
“In all things, may the gods be praised,” she whispered.
“Nne, is something wrong,” Obiageli asked
“Nothing my dear, the ways of the gods are sometimes mundane to we humans.”
Mazi Onochie could not contain his Joy, “Nwayiomma, I can hear the voice of my child. People of Ijele, I am now a father”.
As Mazi Onochie was rejoicing and sharing food and drinks, the midwife handed him the child, and the whispers began…,
“Why is the child looking so white?” a woman whispered.
“I think the gods are punishing his wife for infidelity,” another retorted.
“Ewooo!, Chim egbuna m o, tufiakwa!” a man exclaimed
“I best be on my way. I cannot celebrate with the ones the gods have punished,” a drunk man jeered. “Anna m.”
Little by little, they all began to leave until the compound was empty.
“Obiageli, Obiageli, what have you done?” Mazi shouted.
“My husband, I don’t understand you,” she exclaimed amidst tears.
“Why is the child so pale?” her husband asked.
“How do I know? I only give out what you put in,” she replied.
“Don’t you dare act smart with me, Obiageli? Your sharp mouth will not save you from this, Obiageli. I have given you all the love, care, and protection a man can offer. Why will you do this to me?”
“I swear by the gods, I have never looked at any other man not to talk of cheating on you.”
Mazi Onochie, looked at the child in his arms. The child obviously had the family face; her legs were full and thick like the women in his family, but her skin, her skin was too pale.
The couple looked at their child and wept quietly in each other’s arms, not because of them; but because of the discrimination, she would face. They named her Ndidi – meaning Patience and Endurance.
Time passed and Ndidi grew up.
“Ndidi, nwayioma come and help me peel this cassava so I can soak it for tomorrow,” Obiageli called out.
“Mama, I will, but you know I don’t like doing this; it hurts my skin.”
“Nnem ndo, sorry ooh,” her mother replied.
“Nnem!” Mazi Onochie called out
“Why do you like disturbing this child? My dear, go under my bed, I kept dried meat there for you, my dear.”
“Mazi, Mazi, you will spoil this child,” his wife scolded.
“Ndidi cannot even set fire to warm water for her bath, not to mention preparing Abacha, yet she knows what even the elders are yet to understand.”
Mazi Onochie laughed, “which is why I am so proud of her, my dear wife. Some of the things this child says, when I share it at the clan meeting, they wonder at my intelligence. They will be surprised the day they find out about her intelligence.” He said this because everyone, including the elders, discriminated against the child still.
“My husband, you know a woman’s place is by her husband’s side. If we start enabling her now, won’t she disregard other people around her?” Obiageli asked.
Mazi looked at his wife lovingly and replied, “we both know Ndidi is too smart and well-behaved to turn out like that. Enough of all this talk. Is my dinner ready?”
“I will be served it soon,” Obiageli replied.
A few years later, Ijele and its neighbouring kingdoms were affected by a terrible draught, all the water reservoirs dried up, and crops started dying. The king was troubled greatly. None of the village chiefs had any solution to this impending doom. Everyone waited patiently till death arrived at their doorstep.
“Mama, are you saying the whole village doesn’t know what to do? We can’t all fold our arms and wait for death to come knocking,” Ndidi told her mother.
“My dear, we can only hope that the gods will come to our aid,” her mother replied.
“I will wait for papa to return. I have a few things to discuss with him,” she said to herself.
When her father returned, she told him about her dream. “Papa I think I have a solution, to our problem,” she spoke softly.
“I had a dream I saw a very fair lady, and she sure directed me to a spot close to ugwelli hills. There, I could hear the sound of rushing water, and she told me the water supply hidden under there would serve the village for a long time. I have designed a plan to help us draw out this water and also sell it to other kingdoms. Do not worry Papa, the gods have not forgotten us.”
Never judge anyone based on how they look. The saying – Don’t judge a book by its cover – holds here. The pale girl delivered the entire village.