Do Not Give Me Lime And Give Him Apples
Photo Credit (Creative Common) Rod Waddington; Little Deity. Madagascar
My name is GIRL.
However you can call me lady or woman as I don’t mind being addressed by my future tense. I am proud of being female and I own it. I do not write to you by chance but I write to you as a child who needs the love, care and attention of you my mother.
Mama Africa, why have you denied me of my right to mother love… Do you not consider me as precious and important as my brothers? I do not ask you for gold, diamond or platinum; all I want is basic live opportunities – my long known fundamental human right.
Protect me from all forms of inequality, discrimination because I matter just like everyone else and remember that I count and also vulnerable. Gender inequality has destroyed me and my sisters by limiting our active participation in decision making processes. Do not subjugate me hereby trampling on my right by treating me as one with past present or future. Do not give me lime and give him apples…
While I am still a child, please do me a favour, preserve my childhood and do not snatch it away with early marriage. Early marriage puts me in a state of confusion and makes me wonder if am a child or a mini adult. It exposes me to early sexual debut (sometimes without menarche) which is the choice of another without considering my opinion. It exposes me to marital rape by cohesion, too early unplanned pregnancy and other health problems associated with early pregnancy. This does not allow me to function properly or contribute to the society effectively because I live on the choice other people made for me without an opportunity to choose for myself. How can I forget visco vaginal fistula (VVF) and other trauma my body goes through as a result of too early childbirth. The shattered self esteem of being given away to a much older person or the fact that I have so suddenly migrated from a child playing in the sand to a child taking care of another child. Oh my Africa.
Give me quality education as a child and education. I matter, I am a girl and not a second class human being. Let me learn how to read and write; grow into an informed woman who knows how to fight and win. You need to understand I have values, needs and rights. Grant me access to clean water, good sanitation and teach me menstrual hygiene. Give me sanitary pads and I will learn how to use them correctly at home and in school.
”Take the girl child… Give her education, equal opportunity and all the support she needs. Watch her transform into a dynamite of endless development for her society and the world at large. Anything she holds turns to gold.”
As a girl I have medical needs but instead of subjecting me to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and destroying the original design of my body that I love so much please give me access to comprehensive sex education, tell me about family planning, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections as it is my sexual reproductive health right. Give me the opportunity to ask questions and get the correct answers without being judged or hunted. This will help me to make informed life choices in the future about my body without being body shamed.
Protect me from all forms of violence and abuse not just because it destroys my mind but also my body. Every girl deserves to be mentally, physically, emotionally and psychologically stable to function and contribute globally in school and the society. Don’t rape me, don’t expose me to rape, don’t set rapists free without conviction and most importantly don’t make excuses to justify rape or rapists. Child labor, child pornography, child prostitution, child trafficking and child marriage must be banned. All forms of abuse stalls the mental function of young people and hereby must come to an end. Do not expose me to pedophiles, they are childhood wreckers and should also be convicted.
Give me every job opportunity available for both sexes and you may be shocked at how very willing I would be to execute the job and prove myself. Just because I am girl is no reason for anything at all. Education and equal opportunity in the society is all I need to change the world.
This relationship is most likely to benefit you more than myself the girl. You my Africa would be the only continent benefiting endlessly from impact of all I would become. I can be a doctor, an astronaut , a chef, a teacher, a fashion designer or an entrepreneur but make sure that you OH Africa and the world at large will not deny me anything simply because ”I Am A GIRL”.
Chizaram Stella Eni.