Since the age of 9, Lola Ogunwole has written a diary. Born in London to Nigerian parents, Lola and her brother Adebola grow up in a foster home after their mother abandons them. They are briefly reunited with their father when, in danger of losing them for good, he moves them back to Nigeria to live. For Lola, the trauma of leaving London and settling in Lagos is soon overshadowed by separation from her father and the only constant in her life, her brother. They are sent to live with different relatives and Lola ends up with her aunt, in a small village called Idogun. With no light, no water and no-one who can understand her English, Lola finds that Idogun is where her struggle for survival really begins.. The novel is a compelling story about the human spirit and resilience against the odds.
He never asked Adebola and me what we wanted. He just came home one day and said we were going back to Nigeria to live. We didn't want to come to Nigeria, but we came and now he's breaking our family up again. I'll be eighteen, an old women, before I ever see Adebola again. He probably won't recognize me. How could Daddy do this? Doesn't he love me any more? Maybe he found out I broke all the glasses on top of the fridge. I didn't mean to, I was just throwing the ball against the kitchen wall because I didn't have anyone to play with.
Everything here is so confusing. I have too many relatives and I don't know how we're related. It seems like I'm related to the whole village. We came to visit once before and I didn't like it then. No-one could understand what I was saying, and hey still can't. Now I'm going to have to spend the rest of my life here with no-one but you to speak to. I prayed and prayed because Daddy said that God answers the prayers of little children, but I must have been really naughty because God didn't answer my prayers.
Father turned up late; I refer to him as father now because that is how I think of him. Daddy is someone you love, someone who kisses away your tears, tells you everything will be all right with your world, someone who is there for you. Father is someone who had a part in your germination but didn't bother to water the seeds so that they would bloom into flowers. A father doesn't care and that is what I have, a father. I've wished with all my heart that I had a Daddy, but as Mr Abraham always says to me, "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride."
Father stood by the grave with me, his hand on my shoulder. His eyes were red as if he hadn't slept. He wasn't supposed to be there. Neither was I. It's taboo: but Father didn't care about tradition and custom; he wanted to see Adebola buried. They buried him in the graveyard between Ugbe and Ishara. The graveyard is on the way to school and I'll have to walk by it every day. Will I ever stop hurting? Will everything really be okay like Uncle N said?
I remember Uncle Joseph asking Father to forgive him, he hadn't realize how sick Adebola was. Father just looked straight through him and didn't say a word. How could he not say anything? I HATE HIM and I'll never forgive him for as long as I live. If we hadn't left London, I'd still have a brother. He'd still be alive. It's all HIS fault.
They say a man does not run among thorns for nothing. Either he is pursuing a snake, or a snake is pursuing him. A venomous snake is definitely pursuing me and I've decided it's time for me to leave. Let them have their flat and their cars and their money. Those possessions means zero to me; there is nothing left for me here. Alhaja advised me and I know it's the best thing to do. I can start again in London. I hope there is money in the accounts over there. If there isn't, I'll still survive. According to the papers I've found, the house in London is now mine. I'm so glad Uncle N gave me Daddy's death certificate for safe keeping. He wanted me to give it back to him the other day but I pretended not to know where I'd put it.
The government in England will pay for my tuition and give me money to survive on. It's better option than the one I have here, particularly as I'll have my own house. I'll finaly free on their charity.