More Designer Women.
Fatima (not her real name) , sat pensively amongst the tall okra plants. It was late November, smack in the middle of harmattan. The sun had peeled off the harmattan haze and beat mercilessly on everything and everyone. Even the goats had gone to find shelter under the asbestos roofs of their hostel but Fatima was immune to it all. She barely noticed the white butterflies that always hatched at this time of the year. A bumble bee flew past her ear. Her feet were all covered with red dust and her skin was cracked from the extremely dry wind.
For all she cared, it could have been raining. Fatima’s husband had died a year ago, and her little son barely two months after. They had called her all sorts of names accusing her of killing her husband and son. She couldn’t sleep at night for images of the angry faces pouring out accusation after accusation. They had called her “witch” , ” you donated your husband’s blood and that was not enough! You had to donate your son’s blood too” ” You must surely die, before you take another one of us.”
Fatima’s story is just one of many that belong to the lovely Designer Women who have passed through this oasis of love, growth, spiritual and economic empowerment and here are a couple more :
Asabe ( again not her real name), is a teenager who grew up in a dysfunctional family. Her mother had died during childbirth and her dad brought her up. Some men came to visit the school believing it was fertile ground to meet a wife. One of them gave her twenty naira (£0.03) which she accepted reluctantly so as not to appear rude. The man was a widower in his fifties and old enough to be her father. Unknown to her, he went back to her village to tell her father that she had agreed to marry him. Her father began wedding preparations immediately without consulting her and it was only when the invitations arrived at the school that she became aware of her own wedding. She couldn’t go through the wedding with a stranger. She would not. She stuck her ground until some people came to advice her from the village that something similar had happened to her older sister who eventually died by poisoning.
Halima’s husband ( not real name) died shortly after he was admitted into hospital. By the time she got home to prepare for his funeral, his brothers had packed all their belongings. Her mother in law became furious and ordered his siblings to at least return a bed and sofa but they only sent her packing from the family compound.
These are true- life stories told us by Miss. Cheryl Pridham when we were at Samaru for the 34th graduation ceremony of the. ECWA widows school, Samaru, Kaduna State on 25th November 2016. They belong to some of the Designer Women who have passed through the school. Founded in 1979 its purpose is to encourage and strengthen widows in their spiritual lives and to provide training in various skills to generate some income. At the hub of its activities are the principal Jummai J. Inuwa and two Canadian missionaries, Miss Cheryl Pridham and Miss Donna Pridham who have been working tirelessly at the school for over twenty years and who also gave us the platform to take the women through the Hausa version of the Designer Women Workbook which has been adopted by the school.
This Christmas, if the Lord lays it upon your heart to give something to our Designer Women through the ECWA Widows school, please feel free to contact Principal on 08064664707 or 08180026271. The needs are enormous and she will tell you more about them.
To all the Designers Women out there, have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.🎄🎄🎄🎄