KULSUM Complete Document Written By Takori


Sunday morning arrived with a fierce storm, the wind howling and carrying the sweet scent of rain-laden earth from the light drizzle. These signs indicated an impending heavy downpour. Set in the midst of September in the town of Gaya, Kano state, was the neighborhood of Maza-Goma, with a rich history dating back to a woman who supposedly birthed ten sons simultaneously, giving rise to the neighborhood’s name.

Malam Jibo’s house, popularly known as Baffa Jibo, stood prominently in this neighborhood. Malam Jibo, a respected farmer, dedicated himself to agriculture, primarily cultivating peanuts, Hausa potatoes, and makani during the summer. Annually, he would sell his bountiful harvest in Gaya and neighboring towns on market days. His wife, Aishatu, known as Goggo Shatu, shared his passion for farming.

Baffa Jibo (Jibril) and Aisha (Goggo Shatu) faced infertility until their prime years, finally giving birth to Sugrah in their twenties. Sugrah got married at the age of fourteen to a high school teacher in Yalleman town, Jigawa state. Two years into the marriage, she gave birth to her first daughter, despite not living long enough to see her face.

Malam AbdulHadi, Sugrah’s husband, entrusted the baby to his mother Iyatu after Sugrah’s passing. Iyatu meticulously cared for the child for five years until her demise. When the girl started first grade, Malam Hadi desired to continue caring for her, but Lami’s neglect and mistreatment of Kulsumu compelled him to return her to her maternal grandparents, Baffa Jibo and Goggo Shatu in Gaya town.

Despite the hardship of infertility and the loss of their daughter Sugrah, Baffa and Shatu poured their love onto their granddaughter, Umm Kulsumu. Kulsumu, despite facing teasing and provocation, was enthusiastic about education, excelling in both secular and Arabic studies. Her resemblance to her mother only deepened the bond between her and her grandparents.

Malam Hadi visited every three months to check on Kulsumu, although Baffa shouldered the majority of her responsibilities. Her father also provided support, ensuring she had what she needed for school, including a hijab. Despite giving birth to five siblings with Lami, it was clear that Kulsumu held a special place in his heart.

One stormy morning around 5:30 am, misfortune struck Baffa Jibo’s household. Aunt Shatu, having completed her morning prayers, attempted to rouse Kulsumu from her bed. Kulsumu, half-asleep, mumbled, “Aunty, it’s not time for Fajr prayer yet, let me sleep.”

Goggo gently laid her back down, but Kulsumu, adamant about staying in bed, turned away and resumed her slumber. Baffa’s voice rang from the door, causing Kulsumu to jolt awake, aware of the consequences if caught not praying on time. Hastily, she tried to get up to perform the Asubah prayer.

Baffa halted at the door, composed his voice, and asked, “Has Kulsumu woken up and performed her ablutions?”

“I’m up, Dad, I’ve even prayed and put on my hijab. I was just about to start the prayer,” Kulsumu responded before Grandma could interject.

Baffa proceeded to his room, muttering, “You’ve indulged in excessive and frivolous sleep.”

Kulsumu, now sitting at the edge of Goggo’s bed, covered her mouth as sobs overtook her.

“Aunty, I wet the bed today too!”

Aunt Shatu’s countenance fell as she stood and switched on the dim room light. A pool of urine marked the bed, and Kulsumu was drenched from her dress down to the sheets. They had believed Kulsumu’s enuresis had ceased after Aunt Shatu had obtained medicine from a provider in Durbunde village six months earlier.

Without a word, Aunt Shatu grabbed the shirt, helped Kulsumu remove it, and as family members arrived, Kulsumu’s distress continued. She assisted her in changing the bedsheet and instructed her to go bathe and perform ablutions, her heart heavy with concern.

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