CARMEN MCCAIN

Kaico! by Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino
Translated by Carmen McCain

CHAPTER 1

Anya jama’a, is it possible to keep living like this, as the very life is being squeezed out of us? Every day, prices climb higher and higher. Times have changed, so that these days it is every man for himself, grasping for as much money as he can find. Everyone just looks out for himself and his children. No one bothers to help his relatives or neighbors anymore. The rich no longer pity the poor. Although Allah has made it our duty to give alms to those less fortunate, now people give alms only if they feel like it. Others fly into a temper and energetically refuse to give anything, so that their wealth keeps increasing to no end. On the other hand, the poor man has become envious in his heart; he doesn’t want to get up and find work for himself. He prefers to keep hanging around the houses of the wealthy, begging. When he sees beautiful houses or cars, he bites his fingers and says, “If only they were mine.” After he’s gone on like this for a while, you’ll hear him lose hope and say. “Kai, I could never hope to own any of this.” Kaico! What a disaster it is! He who puts his hope in the Merciful Father will enter Heaven. When will he stop loving the things of the world if he doesn’t stop thinking about them?

Then, too, see how the education and public health systems have collapsed. The government schools don’t have enough qualified teachers. They don’t have enough supplies or work materials. If you go to the government hospitals, they don’t have enough medicine or qualified staff. Most of those who can do the job leave government work and go back to private businesses. What’s the reason for all this? Or is it that the government is less concerned about making things work than those in the marketplace?

As for watching over property, really, there’s nothing left for us to do but pray, because robbers and thugs and thieves and con-men—that is 419—those government thieves who steal with the pen get away with it easily. If you have a nice house and car and a lot of money, you can’t sleep at night for fear that robbers will come in the dark and steal them from you. If you are a trader, whenever you travel to another city with money, you can’t rest until you see that you’ve arrived safely and that no armed robbers have attacked you. It’s as if all the stories we’ve heard of other countries are now happening here. The things we’ve seen happening in foreign films have become a part of our own lives.
“Thief! Thief!! Thief!!!” The shouts woke me from a deep sleep. I quickly jumped out of bed, still half asleep, and stumbled to open the door of my room. Outside, people were shouting.

“Just now we followed him, but he disappeared down that ally. Shi ke nan. We looked up and down, but he’s gone. The bastard! It’s as if he had a disappearing charm.”
“What did he steal?” I asked rubbing my eyes.
“He stole a video player from Alhaji Sadi’s house.”
“He got away with it?” I asked.
“Since! Ai, it’s easy to take off with a video.”
“God help us,” I said, closing the door and leaving them to their discussion.

From inside the room, I heard one say, “Can you believe how bold that thief was? It’s only 10:40. It’s not that late yet. We only just got up from watching the video. And he didn’t even break in. The door was still open when he came in. The children saw him when he took it.”

Thoughts buzzed around in my head. It hadn’t been long since I’d emerged from a dream about all the problems we are facing. So I began to think to myself. “Now, even after all the judgment I’ve heard has been handed out to robbers and thieves and 419 fraudsters and corrupt office workers, people aren’t yet able to enjoy prosperity?” I lay in my bed, listening to the chatter of the voices outside my door grow further and further away until sleep carried me away. I didn’t wake until sahur, the early breakfast that we have during Ramadan. After I finished eating, I went to the mosque with Alhaji do the early morning asuba prayers. When we came back to the house I picked up the holy Q’uran to read. At 6:30, I prayed and went back to bed.
“Baba! Baba!! Baba!! Come Hajiya is calling you.”
The voice cut through my sleep. I looked at my clock and realized that it was past 8:00. Sitting up, I saw my junior sister Bilkisu at the window. When she saw that I was awake, she said “Baba. Come on. Hajiya is calling.”
“Ok, I’m coming now.” I got up and rinsed out my mouth before going into the house to greet my dad, Alhaji. Then I went into my mom’s room to greet her.
“Here I am, Hajiya.”
“Hurry up and get ready. I’m sending you to Malam Buhari.”
“I don’t need to get ready. I can go like this.” I told her.

Hajiya looked me up and down. “Oh, so you don’t need to get ready, do you? Get out of here and go wash your face. It looks like you just woke up. And put on a hula and babbar riga.”
I looked down at myself and said. “Ok, let me go back to my room.” I went to wash my face and then went into my room to put on a babbar riga and hula. I came out and locked the door. When I arrived back in the house, I found Hajiya sitting on the couch. I sat down and said. “Here I am, I’ve come back, Hajiya.”
Hajiya gave me the message, and said that when I got there I should greet Hajara. I left and got on my Vespa motor bike and headed for Malam Buhari’s house.

While I was on the way to his house to fulfill Hajiya’s errand, I met with a terrible accident that made me weep with pity. A car had run over a little boy and crushed his head. It was an awful thing to see. Everyone who saw it was weeping.
In this state of mind, mulling over the terrible accident, I arrived at the house. “Toh, God preserve us from disaster.” I thought to myself, “The way people are always dying in accidents these days—it’s too much.”

After I parked the bike, I went into Malam Buhari’s shop. We greeted, and I kneeled down as I gave him the message from Hajiya. Out of respect I bent my head and averted my eyes.
“I’ll go inside the house and greet them,” I told Malam, as he fingered his prayer beads.
“Ok, fine,” he said.
I went into the house and found Hajara sitting on a plastic mat. I kneeled down and greeted her.
Tugging her dankwali modestly over her head she called out, “Hindatu, bring a mat for Baba to sit on.”
“Ok,” I heard a voice respond.
Hindatu immediately came out from the room with a mat in her hand. She spread it out for me beside the wall. After I sat, Hindatu kneeled down and greeted me. After she went back inside the room, I continued my greetings with Hajara.
“Hajiya sends her greetings.”
“Ok, tell her I answer,” said Hajara. “When you greet Hajiya Binta, tell her ‘thank you,’” she said as I prepared to stand.
“Greet everyone at home,” Hindatu called. “Allah protect you on the road. Greet Bilkisu for me. Tell her I’ll come soon.”
Since I had finished what I came to do, I said goodbye to Hajara, and I went back out to tell Malam goodbye. He sent me off with another greeting for Hajiya.

I got back on my motor bike and headed home. Exactly at 11:00am, I got back. I went in and told Hajiya that Malam Buhari and his wife Hajara sent their greetings and that he answered her message. Hajiya was very happy, especially to hear Malam’s answer. I also gave Bilkisu the message from Hindatu.
After I finished talking with my mother, I went in to bathe and get ready. I put on a long riga, a cap, and white shoes. Then I went in to Hajiya and told her I was going to the market. She blessed me, praying that God would give me luck and protect the road. After I had gone out and gotten on my bike, my little sister Bilkisu came out and said, “Baba, don’t forget those things I asked for.”
I stared up at the sky without saying anything, trying to figure out what Bilkisu was talking about. After a minute I looked back down, shaking my head. “I forgot what you told me. What things was I supposed to bring?”
Bilkisu bent her head, showing signs that she was embarrassed to tell me.
“Oh, come on, tell me. What do you mean. Don’t be shy,” I said, revving the bike.
She pressed her hands against the bike and stared at her fingers. “Shoes and a bag like we talked about two days ago.”
“Oho, I forgot. That’s it then. Is that what you were embarrassed to tell me? God willing, I’ll bring them for you today.”

I revved the bike again and headed for the market. She went back into the house, her face covered in smiles at hearing the good news that I would bring her what she had been wanting.
As I sped along on my bike, I laughed to myself. “Only Bilkisu comes up with this kind of nonsense. I’m your big brother, but you’re embarrassed to remind me of my promise to buy you something you need? Since you’re the baby of the family, is there anything you want that we won’t give you? Unless we don’t have it… but we won’t ever say that since our dad, Alhaji Abdullahi has lots of money and houses and rental cars and imports clothes like shadda and boyel and waxprints and the rest.”

There were five of us children, two boys and three girls. Zainab and Hadiza were now married. Out of the girls it was only Bilkisu who had not yet married. Of the boys, the elder one of us, Alhaji Umar, had married. He lived in a different neighborhood, and he had his own business. I hadn’t married yet, so there was no one left in the house but Bilkisu and me. All five of us had the same mother, same father. And of all five of us, there was none whom my father favoured like me, since he had named me after his father, Muhammadu Auwalu. That’s why the people in our house call me Baba, so as not to say my name. Now, I run the family business with my father. From time to time, when there is travel to buy goods abroad, I go along with him. When my older brother got married, our father let him go into his own business, but I don’t know whether it will be the same for me if I get married. Also, my sisters didn’t stay long after secondary school before they were married. It’s only us boys who stay to do all the study we need before we go into business. My senior brother got his degree before entering business. I got my diploma, but I plan to continue in the future. Bilkisu is now in senior secondary 5, so she only has one year before she finishes. She is at the same school as Malam Buhari’s daughter, Hindatu.

I gathered my thoughts as I arrived at the market and entered our shop. I greeted Alhaji before sitting down in my accustomed place.
As was our habit, if I was around, he didn’t handle the money. I was the one who did that. In this way we continued with our business until closing time was near. Then, I went to buy Bilkisu the things I’d promised I’d get her. I also got her a few things she hadn’t asked me for and I hadn’t told her I’d get. After I finished up, we left the market.

After breaking our fast and praying asham prayers, I sat down in my mother’s parlour to watch television. When Bilkisu came in to sit on the couch, she kneeled and greeted me. I answered.
“Go to my room and bring me the large black leda bag that is close to the door,” I said to her, while she stared past me at the television.
“Ok,” Bilkisu got up cheerfully and excused herself.
She came back holding the bag and kneeled slightly as she gave it to me with both hands. “Here it is.”
I opened the bag and brought out the shoes and handbag and gave her. “Here they are.”
She grinned and put out her hands to collect them. “Thank you,” she said gazing happily at the bag and shoes.
I put my hand back into the bag and brought out a necklace, earrings, bracelets, and a ring and another kind of cloth that women like to wear and gave her. “Here you go, add this to the rest.”
“Oh thank you! God bless you!” She got up excitedly and headed for our mother’s room calling, “Hajiya, look at what Baba bought me.”
They came out of the room together, and Hajiya said, “Thanks be to God who meets all of our needs.”
“Amin,” I answered her. Hajiya and Bilkisu sat down, and the three of us continued to chat.

**

On Monday, the 23rd day of Ramadan, after we broke fast, my good friend Kabiru visited our house. I saw him as he came into the room, and I quickly got up and grabbed his hand.
“Kai, look who we have here in town today. Kabiru, ashe, are you around? Long time no see!” I said, holding on to his hand.
As we sat down, Kabiru said, “I traveled for a week, that’s why you haven’t seen me. You know that if I hadn’t traveled, it would have been hard to go for seven days without seeing you.”
“I was thinking maybe the fasting was keeping you from going anywhere,” I answered. “You know how the fasting wears you out when the sun is beating down.”
“Well, the sun may be hot, but there’s no sun at night. I was told that you came to my house looking for me while I was gone. Have you forgotten?”
“Oh, I know. I just asked to see what you would say.” We both smiled.
Kabiru looked at me. “Oho, so you want to catch me out, do you?”
“Ai, well, that’s why you should marry relatives. They know you. You know them. If you take the bait, it’s not my fault,” I laughed.
“Ok, well, jokes aside. I have something important I want to talk to you about.”
“I’m listening. What’s up?” I tilted my head to one side to listen.
Kabiru was quiet for a minute and then he turned and looked at me. “You know that if a man’s parents are still living, it is good if he keeps improving and keeps following their direction as much as possible, not dodging the rules they set for him. If he does this, he will find blessing and live in peace with everyone. If his parents give him their blessing or if they die happy with him, he will be successful at everything he attempts in this world. Most people if you see them fighting against an evil life, you can be sure that they have followed the example their parents have shown them. Then there are others, who don’t respect their parents. They don’t listen to anything they tell them. They don’t take their advice. This is why I came so that we could discuss what’s going on in my house. While I was on this trip to my senior sister’s place, she told me that they have been discussing with my parents, saying that I should get married since I’ve finished everything I need to do before marriage. I’ve finished school. I’ve gotten my diploma. I’ve started up in business. So, there’s nothing left for me except to marry. At the time, my sister was talking to me about one girl, but I told her my mind didn’t rest easy on that girl.”
I looked at Kabiru in surprise. “Why? What didn’t you like about the girl?”
Kabiru smiled. “I have good reasons. The first is that I’m always seeing her with all kinds of different boys, worthless as well as respectable ones. She has no shame. If she quarrels with a boyfriend, you will hear her abusing him and insulting him, and saying all kinds of disrespectful things. Then, too, this girl really wants to enjoy her life. She needs a rich man who has a beautiful house and the latest car. She’s as greedy as a fly. She’s also full of lies; she tells one after another. And, she is not clean. Kai, if you see how slovenly she is. They say a man shouldn’t marry a woman like that. And finally, the parents of this girl are not respectable. They say one thing and do another. One time, they set the date for her to marry one boy. About three months to the marriage another one came along who had more money, so they sent back the engagement gifts the other one had brought. In the end, the girl wound up quarrelling with the second boy. She abused him so much that he picked his things and left.”
“E gaskiya, this definitely is not someone you want as your wife. A man of good character wants to marry a woman of good character. So what did you tell your sister?” I asked.
“What I told her was just that she should stop talking about this girl, that I’d look for another one that I liked and I approved of. Then I told her if they discussed the issue again, she should explain to my parents what I told her. Since they didn’t talk to me about it, it’s not me that should talk to them. No matter how far up you throw something, it will still come down. Since they didn’t talk to me now, they will talk to me later. They were just clearing the path for me with my sister. So, I want to think through my course of action before they come back to the conversation. When they come back to it, you know, I’ll know what I will say to them. We know the direction to face for prayer.”
“Everything you say is true, and I think you are thinking things through wisely. So now, since you don’t like the one they picked out for you, who is it that you like, or maybe I should ask who is it have you decided to talk to them about?”
Kabiru laughed and shook his head. “I give you one thing, and you keep begging. Ai, every fool who rushes in will wait to find out. Haba, Baba, you know that I know how you spoil things when you are reckless. Since we were children together, we’ve been lucky that we’ve always gotten along. As the Hausas say, you’ll be close friends only if your personalities mesh. You know as well as I do that there is no girl who can go around beating her chest and saying that I am her boyfriend. I know that you, too, are in the same boat, because we don’t have girls on our mind, we are too busy with other business.”
Before he was finished, I interrupted him, “Daman, what’s the use of going to girls’ houses if you aren’t ready to get married? Two wrongs don’t make a right. You waste your time and you waste the girl’s time. Then also if you play the trickster—today you go to this place, tomorrow you go to that place, you’re always in a different girls house, ai, then you’ll lose respect. It’s better for a man to look for someone to marry when he is ready for marriage. If it is not the proper time, or if he doesn’t know how to settle down with one and be faithful, he shouldn’t keep running around between lies and truth.”
“That’s true, Baba. This is why I don’t want to get mixed up in looking for a girl until I’m ready. But, now, since talk of my marriage has been brought up, what do you advise me to do?”
“My advice? Just tell them the one you like, if there is one. If there isn’t anyone, let’s start looking now. Also, when we go looking, we mustn’t just think about her looks. No, there’s only beauty if there is good character. If she doesn’t have a good character, then her beauty is like a snake. There are other things that we should look for. In the first place, religion, education, and a good upbringing. Also, we should make sure that she has family who keep their promises and parents who are respectable, even if they come from a humble background. If we find all these things, then we can talk about other things we may want. If we do not find these things, nothing we search for will please us. So anything else we look for should come after these—it should just be 10 out of a hundred. The attributes I have added on top are 90 out of 100. If a man finds 90 out of 100, he’s done well on the exam. If he gets only 10 percent, then he fails.”
“I agree with you. And actually, I’ve got to tell you… There is a girl I really like. I’ve completely lost my head over her.”
I grinned. “Ai, it’s all falling nicely into place. Since there’s one that you like, why not tell them about her if they start talking of marriage again?”
“Yes, yes, I will,” said Kabiru. “But there is one thing I want to be careful of. I don’t want to rush into things because I don’t know if she’ll agree or not.”
I turned and looked at him. “What would keep her from accepting you” I asked.
“Well, there’s a certain relationship that I think might complicate things and keep her from accepting me. On the other hand, if you think about it in a different way, this same relationship could also make her accept,” said Kabiru.
“Who is this girl, and what type of relationship are you talking about?” I asked him.
“It’s a friendship,” Kabiru answered. “Her senior brother is my friend. This is what I think might cause trouble. Since she thinks of me as a brother, she might not be able to think of me as a lover, as well.”
“Oh no, Haba. This type of friendship won’t prevent anything, unless she has been promised to someone else, or if you aren’t equally attracted to each other. But how many times have people in the same situation gotten married, and you see how strong and trusting the relationship is?” I smiled reassuringly at him.
“The girl I love is Bilkisu,” Kabiru blurted out.
“Which Bilkisu?” I asked.
“I mean, your Bilkisu,” said Kabiru.
I didn’t say anything for a minute, as if I were waiting for him to say something else. After a moment, I looked at Kabiru and smiled. “Don’t think anything of it. This is an easy thing. Give me two days and I’ll let you know what she thinks.”
Kabiru’s face showed his delight at my words. “Ok,” he said “Shi ke nan. Everything in God’s good time.”
As we finished up, Bilkisu brought me food. She sat down and greeted Kabiru and blessed us on the breaking of the fast. After we answered her, she looked at Kabiru and said. “So, are you around these days? It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you.”
“Oh I’m around. It’s business that kept me away.”
After we chatted with her for a while, she went back into the house, and Kabiru told her to greet Hajiya for him.
“Toh,” Bilkisu said and went back into the house. We chatted as we ate, and around 12:15 we said our goodbyes. Kabiru got on his motor bike and went back home.
The next morning, I went into the house and greeted Alhaji in his room and went into Hajiya’s parlour to greet her. After greeting, I went to my chair and sat. Before I could say anything, Hajiya said, “Yesterday, Kabiru came but he refused to come in and greet. He just sent Bilkisu in to greet me.”
“Oh, it wasn’t that he refused to come in. We were talking, and before we knew it, it got late. When he left, you were already asleep; that’s why he didn’t come in to greet you. He was intending to come in, but when he saw how late it was, he said that I should apologize and tell you the reason.” I told Hajiya this so she wouldn’t be offended with Kabiru since she knew that usually every time he came for a visit, he would go in and greet her. I knew what kept him from going in. It was this talk of Bilkisu.
“Hajiya, I was talking with Kabiru yesterday, and he told me that his parents are pressuring him to get married. It’s gone so far that his elder sister proposed a certain girl, but he told me he wasn’t happy with the girl for a lot of very good reasons. In truth, I agree with all the reasons he gave me. So, now his family is pressuring him to find another one that he likes, since he didn’t like the first girl. At the end of our discussion, he told me who he really likes.”
After I told her this, I stayed quiet and didn’t say anything else.
“So, who does he like?” Hajiya asked me.
“He’s in love with Bilkisu.”
“Which Bilkisu?” asked Hajiya.
“Our Bilkisu.” I said, watching Hajiya’s face. Her face showed signs that she was agreeable to talk of Kabiru.
“Ai, shi ke nan. This is no problem. If she is sure that she also likes him, then he’s already one of the family. Let me talk to her and hear what she says. If luck has it that she’s interested, then we’ll discuss it with Alhaji.”
“Toh, shi ke nan. I told him if he gave me two days, I’d let him know what was going on. He wasn’t sure whether or not she’d love him, since he’s my friend.”
“Haba, friendship does not prevent marriage. It happens all the time,” said Hajiya.
Since Hajiya was showing all the signs that she supported the matter, it was only left for Bilkisu to tell us her mind.
After I finished discussing with Hajiya, I got on my bike and headed for the market.

**

On Wednesday, the 25th of the month of Ramadan, in the morning, Hajiya told me that Bilkisu was agreeable to the intentions of my friend Kabiru. Hearing this put me into an excellent mood. It would be no small problem if your best friend said that he loved your sister and she said that she didn’t love him. As the Hausas say, “it’s a lucky find, if you come across leftover chicken in the bowl.” Others say, “It’s a lucky find if your neighbors pay for your wife to go to Mecca.”
I left the house, and headed straight for Kabiru’s house. I called out my greetings as I entered his room. When he saw me, he got up quickly and extended his hand. After we sat, he asked me. “Where are you going from here? It looks like you have somewhere else to go.”
“I’m going to the market from here. But I came this way to tell you that I’ve passed on your message. And all is set. Hajiya has already told Alhaji, and he is very happy to hear the news.” I grinned as I saw his expression.
Kabiru burst into happy laughter. “Alhamdu lillahi. Allah has assured me his blessing. Now that I’ve found a strong support to lean on, I need to tell my seniors. It’s important that nothing is started until they know. Since the negotiations have already gone far, I’ll inform my senior sister. Once we discuss, then I’ll tell the others.”
After Kabiru and I finished this discussion, I went in to greet the house. From there I came out to say my goodbyes and left.
No doubt about it, I was filled with happiness about the union we were plotting to build between my little sister Bilkisu and my best friend Kabiru—if not for anything else because I know his character.
Kabiru and I have been friends since we were children. We went to primary and secondary school together and also to the College of Education, where we both got our diplomas. He is an extremely religious man, putting nothing before his devotion to God. Worldly things have no place in his life. Our friendship had connected our parents in friendship because when we were children, I’d go to Kabiru’s house and spend the night, and he’d come to our house and spend the night. His father Alhaji Sani was a businessman. His mother’s name was Hajiya Nafisa, and her co-wife was Hajiya Habiba. He had lots of brothers and sisters. In fact, there were ten of them in the house.
On Friday, the 27th of Ramadan around 9pm, Kabiru came to our house. He came into my room, and we greeted as he found a place to sit. We talked for a while before I went into the house and sent Bilkisu out to him. Before Bilkisu finished preparing to go out, Kabiru came in and greeted Hajiya. Then he went back to my room. Bilkisu finished getting ready and went out to Kabiru, while I kept on talking to Hajiya.
Around 11 o’clock, Bilkisu came back into the parlour. “Baba, go, you’re being called.”
Bilkisu sat down and I got up and headed to my room where I found Kabiru. We chatted until around midnight, then we said our goodbyes. Kabiru went back home, and I went to bed.

**********

Kaico (Hausa)

1
Anya jama’a rayuwa za ta yiwu a haka, matsi da k’uncin rayuwa duk sun gallabi jama’a? Kullum farashin kaya sai hauhawa yake. Zamani ya zama zamanin ‘kowa ya samu kansa’, neman kud’i kamar a yi k’wace. Kowa ya samu daga shi sai ‘ya’yansa, ba ruwansa da taimakon ‘yan’uwa ko mak’wabtansa. Mai kud’i baya tausayin talaka, zakkar nan da Allah ya wajabta a baiwa marashi ba a ba shi sai an ga dama, wasu kuma sun daina yin zakkar da k’arfi da yaji don dukiyarsu ta dad’a yawa. Shi kan sa talakan ya zama wani iri marar kishin zuci, ba ya son ya tashi ya nemi na kansa, ya fi son ya dinga bin gidajen masu kud’i yana yin maula, day a ga gida da mota kyakkyawa ya ciji yatsa ya ce, “Ina ma ni ne da su.” Idan tafiya ta yi nisa ka ji ya yi sab’o ya ce, “Kai, da wuya kuwa na mallaki irin wad’annan kayan alatu.” Kaico! Wanda yake sa rai da rahamar Ubangiji, wato shiga Aljanna yaushe zai yanke k’auna da abin duniya in ban da rashin tunani?

Bayan haka, ga harkar ilmi da kiwon lafiya duk sun bi sun dagule. Makarantun gwamnati babu k’wararrun malamai isassu. Babu kayan aiki da abubuwan zama isassu. Idan ka je asibitocin gwamnati babu magunguna isassu da k’wararrun ma’aikata, duk mafi yawansu sun bar aiki k’ark’ashin gwamnati sun koma na ‘yan kasuwa. To duk mai ya kawo haka? Shin ko kuwa gwamnati ba ta kula da su kamar yadda masu yin na kasuwanci suke kula da su ne?

Ta fuskar tsaron lafiya da dukiyoyin jama’a abin sai dai addu’a, domin ‘yan fashi da makami da b’arayi da ‘yan damfara, wato (419) da b’arayin gwamnati masu sata da biro, abin ya zama ruwan dare. Yanzu idan ka mallaki gida da mota masu kyau da kuma wasu ‘yan kud’i masu yawa, kullum idan ka kwanta barci kana tunanin kada a far maka cikin dare a k’wace maka su. Haka kuma idan Falke ne kai, kullum ka tafi da kud’i zuwa wani gari ba ka da kwanciyar hankali sai ka ga ka sauka lafiya ‘yan fashi ba su tare ka sun k’wace maka ba. Wato dai irin labarin da muke ji a wasu k’asashen duniya shi ne ya shigo k’asarmu. Ko kuma a ce abin da ake gani a cikin fina-finan k’asashen waje su ne suke faruwa a rayuwarmu ta hak’ik’a….
“’Barawo! ‘Barawo!! ‘Barawo!!!” Wannan ihu da ake yi shi ya farkar da ni daga barcin da nake yi mai dad’i har ina had’awa da mafarki. Na yi sauri na tashi zaune cikin magagin barci, daga nan na tashi tsaye na bud’e k’ofar d’akina na fito waje na tarar da mutane a tsaitsaye suna maida zance.

“Yanzun nan muka biyo shi, amma yana shan kwanar lungun nan shi ke nan muka neme shi sama da k’asa muka rasa, ka ga shege kamar mai layar b’ata”.
“Me ya sato ne?” Na tambaya ina goge idona da d’an yatsa.
“Bidiyo ya sato a gidan Alhaji Sadi”.
“Ya tafi da bidiyon?” Na tambaye su.
“Tun yaushe, da an samu bidiyon ai da abin ya yi sauk’i”.
“Allah ya sawwak’e.”

Daga nan na koma cikin d’aki na rufe k’ofa, na bar mutane suna mayar da zance. Ina cikin d’aki na ji wani yana cewa, “In ban da satar rashin kunya yanzu fa k’arfe goma da minti arba’in, ba dare ne ya yi sosai ba. Ba a dad’e da tashi daga kallo ba, kuma bahaura gidan ya yi ba k’ofar a bud’e take ya shiga ya d’auko; yara ne ma suka ga lokacin da ya d’auka”.
Ni dai al’ajabi da mamaki sun cika mini ciki, domin ban dad’e da fita daga mafarkin da nake yi game da matsalolin da muke ciki ba. Sabo da haka sai na shiga zancen zuci ni kad’ai. “Yanzu duk hukuncin da nake ji ana yanke wa ‘yan fashi da b’arayi da ‘yan damfara (419) da b’arayin biro, duk da haka mutane ba su shiga hayyacinsu ba?” Haka dai na kwanta ina sauraron hirar da mutanen da ke k’ofar gida suke yi sama-sama har barci ya d’auke ni, ban farka ba sai lokacin sahur, da yake lokacin azumi ne. Bayan na gama cin abinci, da lokacin sallar asuba ya yi muka tafi masallaci ni da Alhaji. Da muka dawo gida na d’auki Alk’ur’ani mai tsarki na karanta, da k’arfe shida da rabi na yi addu’a na kwanta.
“Baba! Baba!! Baba!!! Ka zo Hajiya tana kiran ka”.
Wannan kira da ake yi mini shi ya tashe ni daga barcin da nake yi, na duba agogon d’akina nag a k’arfe takwas ta wuce, na tashi zaune sai nag a k’anwata Bilkisu a jikin taga, da muka had’a ido sai ta ce,
“Baba, ka zo in ji Hajiya”.
“To, ga ni nan zuwa yanzu”. Na tashi na kuskure bakina da ruwa, na bud’e k’ofar d’akina na shiga gida na gaishe da Alhaji wato mahaifina sannan na shiga d’akin Hajiya mahaifiyata na gaishe ta, na ce, “Ga ni Hajiya”.
“Ka yi maza ka shirya zan aike ka wajen Malam Buhari.”
“Ba sai na yi wani shiri ba, haka zan tafi”, na ce da ita.

Hajiya ta dube ni sama da k’asa ta ce, “Ko ba za ka yi wani shiri ba ka wanke fuskarka domin ta nuna alamar daga bacci ka tashi, kuma ka sa hula da babbar riga”.
Na kalli jikina na ce, “To, bari na je d’aki”. Kafin na shiga d’aki sai da na wanke fuskata sannan na shiga d’akina na d’auki babbar riga da hula na sa, na fito na kulle d’akina na shiga cikin gida na sami Hajiya a falo tana zaune a kan kujera, na zauna na ce, “Ga ni, na dawo Hajiya”.
Hajiya ta gaya mini sak’on, sannan ta ce idan na je na gaishe da Hajara. Daga nan na tafi na tashi babur d’ina Besfa na hau na nufi gidan Malam Buhari.

A kan hanyata ta zuwa gidan da Hajiya ta aike ni sai na tarar an yi wani had’ari mai ban tausayi, wanda sai da ya sa na yi k’walla saboda tausayi. Wato abin da ya faru, mota ce ta kad’e yaro, ta taka masa kai, abin da ba kyan gani, mutane da yawa sun yi k’walla saboda ganin wannan had’ari.
Haka dai na isa gidan nan cikin jimami da tausayi da kuma tunanin wannan had’ari da na gani, har ina had’awa da zancen. “To, Allah dai yak are mu daga had’arurruka, yadda mutane suke yawan mutuwa ta hanyar had’arruka abin ya yi yawa.
Bayan na kafe babur, na kasha, na shiga shagon Malam Buhari muka gaisa sannan na isar da sak’on Hajiya gare shi. Kaina yana sunkuye lokacin da nake gaya masa sak’on, sabo da kunya da girmama shi da nake yi, shi ya sa ban d’aga kai na dube shi ba.
“Zan shiga cikin gida na gaishe das u”. Malam ya d’auki carbi lokacin da na fad’i haka.
“To, madalla,” In ji Malam.
Na shiga cikin gida na sami Hajara a rumfa, tana zaune a kan tabarmar leda, na durk’usa na gaishe ta.
Cikin far’a Hajara ta ce, “Hindatu d’auko tabarma ki kawo wa Baba ya zauna”. Tana gyara d’ankwali lokacin da take kiran Hindatu.
“To”.
Cikin d’an k’ank’anin lokaci Hindatu ta fito daga cikin d’aki rik’e da tabarma a hannunta, ta shimfid’a mini a gefe d’aya, can jikin bango. Bayan na zauna Hindatu ta durk’usa ta gaishe ni, daga nan ta tashi ta koma cikin d’aki.
Bayan ta koma d’aki muka sake gaisawa da Hajara.
“Hajiya tace tana gaishe ki”.
“To, ina amsawa”. In ji Hajara.
“Idan ka je ka gaishe da Hajiya Bintar, ka ce mun gode.”Hajara tana fad’in haka ni kuma ina shirin mik’ewa tsaye.
Hindatu ta ce, “Ka gaida gida, Allah ya kiyaye hanya, ka gaishe da Bilkisu, ka ce mata zan zo nan ba da dad’ewa ba”.
Bayan na gama abin d azan yi, na yi sallama da Hajara, daga nan na fito wajen Malam muka yi sallama, shi ma ya k’ara gaya mini sak’on gaisuwa zuwa ga Hajiya.

Na hau babur na nufi gida, daidai misalin k’arfe goma sha d’aya na isa gida. Na shiga na shaida wa Hajiya sak’on gaisuwar Malam Buhari da matarsa Hajara. Da kuma amsar sak’on da na gaya wa Malam, Hajiya ta yi farin ciki sosai ita ma, musamman da ta ji amsar sak’onta daga Malam. Na kuma shaida wa Bilkisu sak’on Hindatu.
Bayan mun gama magana da mahaifiyata na shiga wanka na fito na shirya na sa doguwar rigata, had’e da hula iri d’aya takalmi k’afa waje na fata, wato silifa, sannan na shiga wajen Hajiya na gaya mata zan tafi kasuwa, ta yi mini addu’a Allah ya ba da sa’a, ya kuma kiyaye hanya. Na fito waje na hau babur d’ina, kafin na tashe shi sai k’anwata Bilkisu ta ce, “Baba kar ka manta da sak’on nawa”.
Na yi shiru na d’aga kai sama ina tunanin wane abu Bilkisu take nufi, jim kad’an na dawo da kaina k’asa na kale tan a girgiza kai, “Na manta abin da kike nufi, wane sak’o kenan?”
Bilkisu ta sunkuyar da kai k’asa tana nuna alamar jin kunyar gaya mini.
“Gaya mini mana, me kike nufi, ki daina wani jin kunya”. Ina buga babur nake gaya mata wannan magana.
Ta dafa kan babur tana kallon inda hannunta yake, ta ce “Takalmi da jakar nan da muka yi magana shekaran jiya”.
“Oho, na manta, shi ne kike jin kunyar fad’a? In Allah ya so yau za a kawo miki.”

Na buga babur na tafi kasuwa, ita kuma ta shiga cikin gida fuskarta cike da murna saboda ta ji na yi mata albishir yau za’a kawo mata abin da take so.
Ina tafiya a kan babur ni kad’ai ina zancen zuci ina dariya, “In ban da shirme irin na Bilkisu, ina matsayin yayanki amma kina jin kunyar tuna mini alk’awarin da muka yi da ke zan sayo miki wani abu da kike buk’ata, bayan ke ce ‘yar autarmu, me za ki nema mu k’i yi miki? Sai dai in ba mu das hi, mu kuwa ba za mu ce ba mu da shi ba, tun da mahaifinmu Alhaji Abdullahi yana da kud’i da gidaje da motocin shiga da na haya, kuma yana shigo da kaya daga k’asashen waje, kamar shadda da boyel da atamfa da dai sauransu.

Mu biyar ne ‘ya’yan da mahaifinmu yake das u, maza biyu, mata uku, matan biyu sun yi aure, wato Zainab da Hadiza, sai Bilkisu ta rage ba ta yi aure ba a cikin matan, a maza kuwa babban wanmu ya yi aure, wato Alhaji Umar yana zaune a wata unguwa daban, kuma yana harkokin kasuwancinsa shi kad’ai, ni kuwa ban yi aure ba, wato dai yanzu a gidan daga ni sai Bilkisu. Mu duka biyar d’in nan uwarmu d’aya, ubanmu d’aya. Duk cikin mu biyar d’in nan babu wanda mahaifinmu yake gatantawa kamar ni, saboda sunan mahaifinsa aka sa min, wato Muhammadu Auwalu, shi ya sa ‘yan gidanmu suke kira na Baba, sabo da ba sa fad’in sunana. Yanzu haka muna gudanar da harkokin kasuwanci tare da mahaifan, wani lokacin idan za a je sayo kaya k’asashen waje ni nake zuwa. Kodayake lokacin da babban yayanmu ya yi aure mahaifinmu ya ware shi yana yin kasuwancinsa shi kad’ai, ban yi zaton ni idan na yi aure za a yi mini haka ba. Kuma ‘ya’yan gidanmu mata daga makarantar sakadare basa dad’a yin gaba ake yi musu aure. Namiji kuwa ana ba shi dama ya yi iyakar karatun da yake buk’ata sannan a sa shi a harkar kasuwanci. Babban yayanmu sai da ya yi digiri sannan ya shiga harkar kasuwanci, ni kuwa difloma na yi, amma ina sa ran nan gaba zan ci gaba. Ita kuwa Bilkisu yanzu tana aji biyar na sakandare, saura shekara d’aya ta gama, makarantarsu d’aya da Hindatu ‘yar gidan Malam Buhari.

Ina gama wannan zancen zuci na isa kasuwa na shiga shagonmu, na gaishe da Alhaji, na koma wajena na zauna. Kamar yadda Alhaji ya saba, idan dai ina nan shi bay a karb’ar kud’i, ni ne mai karb’a. Haka dai muka ci gaba da hada-hadar kasuwanci har lokacin tashi ya kusa, na tafi na sayo wa Bilkisu abin da na yi mata alk’awari, na kuma k’aro mata da wanda bata nema ba, wato wanda ban yi mata alk’awari ba, daga nan muka tashi daga kasuwa.

Bayan an sha ruwa, an yi sallar asham, ina zaune a falon mahaifiyarmu ina kallon talabijan, sai Bilkisu ta shigo ta zauna a kan kujera, ta gaishe ni cikin ladabi, na amsa mata.
“Je ki d’akina ki d’auko wata bak’ar leda babba, tana nan kusa da k’ofa.” Fuskata tana kallon talabijan lokacin da nake gaya mata.
Cikin hanzari Bilkisu ta tashi tana fara’a t ace, “To”.
Jim kad’an Bilkisu ta dawo rik’e da jakar leda a hannunta na dama, ta sa hannu biyu ta mik’o mini, cikin ladabi ta ce, “Ga shi.”
Ta sa hannu biyu ta karb’a tana murna, “Na gode.” Fuskarta tana kallon takalmin da jakar lokacin da take yi mini godiya.
Na sake sa hannu a cikin ledar na d’auko sark’a da d’ankunne da awarwaro da zobe da kuma wani yadi da mata suke yayinsa, na mik’a mata, “Ungo wannan ki k’ara.”
“To, nag ode Allah ya saka da alheri”.
Tana gama fad’in haka ta tashi da sauri cikin fara’a tana tsalle ta nufi d’akin mahaifiyarmu tana cewa, “Hajiya kin ga kayan da Baba ya sayo mini”.
Jim kad’an suka fito daga d’akin tare. Hajiya ta ce, “To, an gode Allah ya biya buk’ata”.
Na amsa wa Hajiya, “Amin”.
Hajiya da Bilkisu suka zauna muka ci gaba da hira mu uku.

AUTHOR
Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino is a Hausa-language novelist, playwright, publisher and film producer living in Kano, Nigeria. Winner of the 2009 Engineer Mohammad Bashir Karaye Prize in Hausa Literature for his play Malam Zalimu. He is also a founding member of the Hausa film industry, and has produced or directed sixteen films in Hausa, including his most recent “Sandar Kiwo”, which has been shown internationally.

TRANSLATOR
Carmen McCain is a free-lance writer, columnist for the Weekly Trust newspaper, and PhD candidate in the Department of African Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She currently coordinates the Hausa Home Video Resource Centre in the Department of Mass Communication at Bayero University in Kano.

One Response to CARMEN MCCAIN

  1. Pingback: My translated excerpt of Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino’s novel Kaico! published in Sentinel Nigeria | A Tunanina…

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