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Photo: Ruqayya Dala

By Ruqayya Dala

My childhood holds some of the most interesting and fun-filled experiences anyone could hope for. Born in Potiskum, Yobe State, Northeast Nigeria, I developed consciousness of my surroundings, my siblings and parents, quite early. My life has been an endless stream of beauty and joy.

I cannot forget the harmattan season, which usually came with strong dry winds, freezing temperature and dust from the Sahara Desert.  

The haze usually affected visibility and kept us indoors. But as the season progressed, the temperature became hot and the entire neighbourhood witnessed scant vegetation. At such times, one could see from the distance, an endless expanse of bare land and herds of cow grazing lazily about.

Shortly after the first rains, it was common to see donkeys and bulls working the farms – tilling and creating ridges. We lived as a community. We played with other kids on the dusty sands in Potiskum. We were not afraid.

Often, I awake to listen to sweet songs from my mom as she prepares the most delicious meals for the family. She also sang beautifully while preparing me for school.

School life was yet another beautiful experience - I attended a school where teachers cared and taught with love and passion. They made learning interesting and we loved going to school.

I sang in the morning, played hide and seek and many other games with my friends. But Potiskum was not the only childhood experience I had because at age seven, my parents moved to Abuja.

With this, I had new friends, a new home, serene community and a beautiful school. I remember how excited my siblings and I were, when we first arrived in Abuja. We were always ready long before Mom pulled the car out to take us to school.  

The love and care lavished on me by my parents made me feel like a princess. However, when I misbehaved, the corrections came with compassion and love and these gave me a sense of dignity and confidence.

As a child, I had almost everything I needed. Whether in Potiskum, Kaduna or Abuja, I had a good time with my parents, siblings and friends.

Imagine being provided your favorite meals, dolls, beautiful clothes and shoes? This is how God has blessed my life and I am very thankful.

My childhood experience is a beautiful piece of memory I will always keep but I wish every child enjoyed their childhood like I did.   

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