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Echoes of Fulladu: Borogie, her strength unveiled… (Part 25)

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In the wake of the intense altercation that unfolded between Borogie and her co-wife, accompanied by the shocking revelation of her husband Yerro siding with her adversary, Borogie found herself ensnared in a tempest of emotional turmoil. The blows traded and the bitter words flung during the fight lingered in the air, resonating as fractures that shattered the family unit.

Foremost among the chaos was the profound betrayal by Yerro, her husband. Instead of standing by her side, or even taking up a neutral position, he unexpectedly became an adversary, aligning himself with her rival. This betrayal struck at the very core of Borogie’s emotional well-being, leaving her questioning the foundation of trust and unity within her marriage. The person she had counted on for support in times of turmoil had become the source of her deepest pain.

The verbal onslaughts during the confrontation deepened Borogie’s emotional turmoil. Neneh Dado’s unfounded and cutting accusations of betrayal targeted Borogie’s integrity, a facet of her identity she held closely. This personal attack triggered feelings of inadequacy, shame, and a profound sense of devaluation.

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The inflicted physical violence by her co-wife, combined with Yerro’s failure to intervene, left Borogie flabbergasted. Yet it was Yerrro’s forceful act of slapping a cutlass onto her back that intensified a feeling of desolation, fueling an added pain within her. The aftermath, marked by Yerro’s silent retreat into his hut, transformed the once-harmonious compound into a battleground, replacing familial warmth with an unsettling silence.

Guilt and self-doubt permeated Borogie’s conscience, prompting her to question whether a different approach could have averted the conflict’s escalation or if she played a part in Yerro siding with her co-wife. Societal expectations, especially the roles of being the first wife and mother, exacerbated these internal struggles, giving rise to a complex inner dialogue.

The influence of societal norms, particularly the emphasis on the first wife’s role in maintaining family harmony, weighed heavily on Borogie’s perception of her actions. In the swiftly expanding region of Kamako, where the standing of first wives, regardless of age, carried a somewhat ambivalent perspective, she wrestled with the idea that her response diverged from anticipated norms. This departure sparked a profound sense of guilt within her for not conforming to her designated role as a mediator and patient partner.

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As the neighbors who intervened to disperse the fight gradually departed, her shame persisted. Despite the potential solace her children could offer, Yerro’s absence intensified Borogie’s sense of isolation. The realization that even her children couldn’t completely calm the emotional storm within her spoke to the profound depth of her heartbreak. Never had she felt so alone!

In the midst of her tears, partly due to the heavy smoke emanating from the kitchen where she continued to prepare the evening meal, and mostly due to the ache in her heart, Borogie grappled with feelings of being unloved, inadequate, and useless. Borogie delved into her memories, recalling the brutal treatment her own father had subjected her mother to, resulting in a strange illness that had eventually claimed her mother’s life. Borogie balled as she recalled her mother in her sick bed, unable to do anything for herself. Wasting for years before her actual demise.

In connecting with her mother’s pain, Borogie saw a reflection of herself—a woman facing the harsh realities of polygamy, and the blatant bias of a brutal husband-who would fight and maim for her co-wife. This introspective journey added another layer to her emotional turmoil, intertwining the echoes of her past with the present devastation, and deepening her sense of kinship with her mother’s struggles.

Borogie found herself standing at the precipice of conflicting worlds—the rigid expectations of societal norms and the intricate contours of her individual identity. As a wife and a mother, she was thrust into a role laden with predefined expectations, one that demanded she navigate the complex relationship between tradition and personal agency.

The echoes of generational pain resonated through Borogie’s consciousness, haunting her like specters of the past. Strangely, she had felt immune to her history until that fateful day. For despite herself, Borogie couldn’t escape the haunting narratives shared by women she encountered at the stream in Kanjor, where she washed clothes. Their stories painted a bleak picture, where beatings from husbands were recounted with an odd sense of pride, as if enduring physical abuse was a badge of honor.

“He lifted his hand and struck my face so hard with his open palm; my lips gave up, and started to bleed,” one woman recounted, pouting out swollen and angry-looking lips. Another spoke of her husband breaking her front teeth during a violent altercation. Yet another, with a sling over her shoulder, proudly displayed her broken hand, explaining how her husband had stood on her hand during a fight. Each woman’s story seemed to escalate in the severity of abuse, with a strange sense of competition underlying the retellings.

Borogie stood apart from this grim camaraderie. Unlike her peers, she found no comfort, pride, or honor in enduring beatings from her husband. Each blow was a harrowing experience for her—a humiliating act that left her feeling scorned, belittled, and stripped of her dignity. The scars, both physical and emotional, were not badges of honor but rather painful reminders of her vulnerability.

In contrast to the unsettling camaraderie she witnessed among the women at the stream, Borogie never discussed the things that caused her shame. Her reluctance to glorify or normalize the violence she experienced set her apart from the prevailing mindset. To many of her peers, the equation was simple: if a husband beats you, it is a manifestation of love. They saw it as a twisted expression of affection, a sentiment Borogie couldn’t comprehend.

Borogie’s perspective bore the imprints of the painful realities she witnessed within the confines of her own home. The savage beatings her mother endured, reaching a point where the violence became so extreme that her mother involuntarily soiled herself, left an indelible mark on Borogie’s psyche. Faced with such brutality, Borogie harbored no pride or honor, only a resolute rejection of the toxic mindset that normalized physical harm. Her refusal to conform to this normative ideology wasn’t a manifestation of a superiority complex, as some of her peers claimed behind her back. Instead, it stood as a testament to her resilience and an unwavering rejection of cruelty.

Her love for her father, despite its pure nature, was forever tainted by his violent actions towards her mother. Though their relationship seemed cordial, it bore the scars of distrust and latent fear due to her father’s merciless beatings of her mother and siblings. Borogie nursed a deep-seated desire to confront him, to condemn the brutality he inflicted upon her mother, especially. She yearned to make him understand that, no matter how much he sparred and pampered her, his kindness meant nothing in the face of his cruelty towards her mother.

Among her father’s three wives, it was his targeted cruelty towards her own mother that acted as a constant thorn in Borogie’s side. Despite being beaten to a stupor and thrown out of the house repeatedly, Mariama, her mother, resiliently returned each time. She’d wipe her tears and suck in her pride, fully aware she had nowhere else to go with her many children. Borogie, grappling with the shame her mother endured, saw her father as a bully in hindsight, preying on her mother’s vulnerability and ultimately contributing to her demise.

In their complex family dynamic, Borogie recalled how she moved huts to stay with her mother’s elder co-wife, Dabel. It wasn’t a rejection of her own mother but rather an acknowledgment of the contagious nature of shame that seemed to permeate through familial ties. Borogie could not bear the shame she felt as a result of her mother’s mistreatment and shame. Consequently, she found solace in moving to Dabel’s hut, a move driven by a quest to maintain a sense of dignity.

Despite being the most favored wife, Dabel was blessed with only one son, Malang. This circumstance fostered a deep sense of gratitude within Dabel for Borogie’s companionship, leading to a close bond between them. Borogie became an integral part of Dabel’s life growing up, accompanying her everywhere she went. Consequently, in the eyes of the community, Borogie became widely recognized as ‘the daughter of Dabel.’

While pulling out the firewood to cool the simmering soup, Borogie winced in pain, haunted by the memory of abandoning her own mother for Dabel. The weight of the isolation and loneliness her mother must have endured during those times gnawed at Borogie’s conscience. Regret for her past actions and a yearning to treat her mother with the understanding and compassion she deserved filled Borogie’s thoughts.

Amidst the heavy smoke in the kitchen, her daughter Matou repeatedly inquired about her tears, coughing from the fumes. Borogie dismissed it gruffly, leading her children away from the kitchen. Khadja Bobo, satisfied after breastfeeding, slept soundly on her back.

As Borogie dished out the evening meal, a palpable emptiness lingered. Only the soft sounds of her children partaking in the meal echoed through the somber atmosphere, emphasizing the shattered dreams now looming large within Borogie’s heart.

Preparing for bed, Borogie confronted the crossroads ahead, each path offering a distinct narrative for her life. The realization that the narrative was still within her control echoed in the stillness of the night. One thing became clear—Borogie wouldn’t apologize for standing up for herself. The embers of resilience burned brightly within her, a flame known all too well by Yerro, her husband. The day’s events laid bare the fractures in their family but also exposed Borogie’s unwavering strength and determination.

Later that night, after tucking her children into bed, Borogie found herself in the quiet of her room. The weight of the day pressed upon her, and she lay there contemplating the choices that lay ahead. The journey to reshape her narrative and break free from tradition would undoubtedly be arduous, but the fire within her promised self-respect and empowerment.

As the night wore on, she found solace in the knowledge that her story was not yet finished. Unbeknownst to her, the unwritten chapters awaited the pen of her progenitors, and the ink of her resilience would define the path ahead for them. The dawn held the promise of a new beginning, a chance for Borogie to navigate the uncharted territory of a life guided by her own principles and aspirations.

To be continued…

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