My Very Efficient Alarm

The past year has been one of the most challenging years of my life. There have been times I found myself in situations that kept me up at night thinking ‘What if?’ ‘How?’ ‘Why?’. There have been times I made mistakes whose consequences would heavily affect my life negatively. Somehow however, things got better every single time by the grace of God. On the flip-side, there’s been proper positive things that have happened. While the bad outweighs the good (by a lot), I’m still very thankful cos things could really have been worse. Random but isn’t it funny how many of us are going through shit but act like everything is alright because we don’t want to disturb anyone with our problems? No? Just me? Okay then.

There’s so much to be thankful for. I have learned a lot, but one thing I’ve come to realize I’m most grateful for isn’t something that happened within the past year.

I’ve been away from home for the most part of the year, thanks to NYSC and it has been  quite an eventful experience. Very. Very. Eventful. Got myself a cozy place to call home for the year which seemed to be in a potentially drama-free location.

I have alarms set on two devices I own. Both go off in the morning to wake me. But you see, this whole time, I’ve actually been ‘using’ three alarms.

What is this third alarm? My third alarm turns out to be my neighbors. On days where the alarms on my technological devices fail to wake me up from my slumber, my neighbors come through; and for this I am thankful.

The best part of this alarm is it’s never the same sound. I’ve been here for roughly 10 months and they’ve probably only repeated the same alarm soundtrack at most 7 times. On days when it’s not Mother Neighbor shouting so ‘awon ara Ile le lo kirun’ , it’s eldest child neighbor doing the shouting. These two were the most common alarm soundtracks during the early days. Until… April.

Not to sound like an African grandma but I feel something came into this place about that time. The sound tracks changed. I still remember the first time. Alarms one and two had blared but I ignored and went back to sleep. It was only few minutes neighbor alarm came through.

It sounded like a stainless steel pan connecting with something but I couldn’t quite place it, until I went to my window and from the ongoing dialogue, one of the children was getting his/her ass beat with a whole frying pan. Mind you, the person doing the beating gave birth to the victim. The beating stopped and I went about my day as usual.

Over the next few days, I got to hear new soundtracks. The weapons changed. Sometimes a broom, sometimes a stick; sometimes a bucket, and other times a fist.

I feel bad cos I’ve gotten used to this consistent domestic violence. These children in my honest opinion may never be happy while they’re inside that house. Yeah, there’s times they laugh together and stuff but ah. While many would defend this nonsense and call it discipline, I personally feel that would be a garbage opinion.

Another neighbor lives with her daughter. 7 times out of 10, she’s insulting this daughter of hers. The other 3 times, she’s beating the shit out of her.

Morning, afternoon, night, it doesn’t matter. The violence is good to go. One afternoon, on my way back from work, alarm neighbor is beating her son; I’m talking MMA beating here, uno fists, kicks, the whole lot. I try to beg her to stop and come between when she insults me in Yoruba, tells me to mind my business and fake reaches to strike me. I didn’t flinch but I was proper scared cos 1. I don’t know how to fight and 2. I wouldn’t know how to react. Anyway, I take my leave and go about with my life.

Just this evening, for about half an hour, lives-with-daughter-neighbor spent the whole time insulting her daughter while punctuating the insults appropriately with nice slaps. She even went as far as telling her daughter, and I quote ‘you are not worth prayers. You are useless’. I’ve tried to talk to said daughter but every time I want to, I change my mind. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a bit scared, or because I don’t know what to say. Also, there’s the fact that she’s younger than me and, well, I don’t want trouble.

I’ve been here for a very short time; at least from the perspective of all these victims. From the look of things, they grew up under these conditions and are used to it now. It’s quite sad. I’ve been trying to imagine what kind of adults these kids would grow up to be. It’s a given that they’ll be proper violent. But what worries me most is how I can’t see them not abandon their parent if (and I hope they do) they make it. I mean, if I was in their shoes, there’s no way I would genuinely love my parents.

Sigh. In the end, as it has been made clear, it’s not my business.

If you grew up in a loving home, you should be really thankful. As I’ve come to realize, loving homes aren’t commonplace. The occasional ass-whopping is okay though, just to be clear.

I’m really thankful for the parents God gave me. Wasn’t much of a stubborn child so I was beaten very few times (It was mostly ordinary belting though), but there wasn’t a single time any of my parents said anything outright hateful or emotionally damaging to me; can’t remember a single occurrence. I can imagine how sad I would be if my Dad or Mum said I was useless or wasn’t worth a prayer.

Anyway, I really just think we should be grateful if we were privileged to grow up in loving homes. I mean, there’s many of us who relate with our parents like they are our close friends. Be grateful.

Also, if anyone has any idea how one can help these victims, I would love to listen. Cos I really can’t think of a way to come to these perpetrators as a woman.

Oh, I should really use the word ‘proper’ less.


7 thoughts on “My Very Efficient Alarm

  1. I have a particular neighbour that beats her child like no tomorrow. My room is very close to the backyard and I’ll be hearing her poor son scream and beg her while she continuously beats him with a cane. I’m sure it leaves wounds and this happens like 2-3 times every week. Sometimes, it is slaps and sometimes, very hurtful insults..
    I told my mum but she’s like we should mind our business and all but she’s not the one hearing the way the boy shouts and as I can’t take it, I go to their house to talk to the woman.
    I tell her that it isn’t right for her to beat her son like that no matter what. She gets aggressive which I expected and then I tell her that she’s disturbing the peace of the neighbourhood and if she continues, I’ll make them evict her and maybe she’ll get arrested for domestic violence. She believes me because my family has some stance in our estate, Thank God.
    The beatings have reduced, or that’s what I sincerely hope. I don’t hear the boy screaming so often anymore. Maybe I’ll pay her another visit.
    I feel more people should stop turning the other way when they see things like this. Silence kills most.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. If it’s Nigeria, It’s going to be really tough to get any parent locked up for ‘domestic violence’ against their child. It’s generally viewed as discipline.
      It’s so hard to talk to these people. What can you possibly say to make them understand they’re wrong?
      As for minding ones business, it’s what we do best in this part of the world. Tragic but then you can’t blame us. I mean, see how you went to talk to said woman and she responded with aggression


  2. This thing. The occasional belting is okay, to an extent but insults…nah. I just feel like that one is way worse. I mean, some words never ever leave your heart even after you and your parents become best guys. It’s always there. There’s probably no way to change it with our parents. The change will have to start from us. Learn to correct in love. Like, I feel there’s a way you flog a child and the child will know it’s not out of hatred. Some children are another thing tho, that one dey. Also we should try to not use insults as a form of discipline. It’s hard especially if you are really angry but remind yourself that this person is just a child. A little proper spanking won’t kill anyone just don’t turn it to fight. Lastly the butt may stop hurting and return to its original color but words are not easily forgotten.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. In some places, they’re big on these methods of discipline and it’s hard to make them understand it’s not the best way to go, considering bulk of them were brought up the same way and are only projecting the disciplinary methods they were exposed to as children on their own children.
      Extremely heavy beating, piercing insults; left to them, these things would shape their children into being better behaved ; that’s what they believe.
      And yes, many times, the hurt from words can last longer. The pain from beating will pass in a few days, but words?


    2. ‘Learn to correct in love’

      They’re quick to quote Proverbs 13:24 anytime this comes up to justify their actions. I wish there was a defined standardized methodology for this discipline thing cos everyone chooses to dish it out however they deem fit

      Liked by 1 person

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