NI DA MALAMATA Complete Document Written By Fatima Batula


She descended the staircase of the house, gracefully lifting one foot after the other, collecting her belongings. Adorned in her school uniform, a navy blue skirt complemented by a striped shirt, she was dressed modestly, with a hijab secured on her head. From the small living room, an elderly woman observed her descent, offering a knowing smile as she remarked, “Little Paradise, you’re always running late. What time is it now?” Her voice was gentle and kind, causing Little Paradise to slow her pace slightly as she approached the woman. Despite her concern, the old lady maintained a healthy, reassuring smile.

Little Paradise, moving closer, overheard the woman’s gentle question, prompting her to answer, “I know, Hajiya. I don’t want to be difficult, but the English teacher…” Her voice trailed off, revealing her discomfort.

“Kam, whatever happens, let me know. We’ll find someone to speak up for you. They and I have got your back,” the woman assured her, displaying care and affection. Little Paradise beamed with pride and gratitude, embracing Hajiya before expressing, “I love you, my Hajiya.”

With those words of affection, she quickly made her way down the hall. “I love you too, Little Paradise. See you when you return,” Hajiya called out after her, but Little Paradise had already left the hall.

Arriving at the sprawling school, it was evident that this institution was not for the faint-hearted. Adorned in navy blue and white, the imposing building stood as a symbol of academic rigor. Pulling up near the designated parking area, the large car came to a halt. The driver honked the horn, but she wasted no time and swiftly made her way inside.

“JSS 3,” was emblazoned on the classroom she entered without any hesitation or doubt. As she stepped in, a voice scolded her, “Hey, how dare you enter my class without an excuse?”

Little Paradise struggled to comprehend the speaker’s flawless English, seemingly that of someone more advanced in their studies or someone who had studied in Europe. Undeterred, she raised her gaze to meet the gaze of the speaker. A first-class beauty, the teacher exuded a commanding presence. Tall and slender with a refined nose, she bore the look of someone who had recently become a mother.

Their eyes locked in a silent confrontation, neither willing to back down. Little Paradise stood her ground, unflinching under the teacher’s scrutiny. Unimpressed, the teacher muttered under her breath, “What an ignorant and insolent creature.”

In response, Little Paradise offered a small smile and retorted, “Oh dear, I don’t speak English, let alone your Chinese-sounding language.”

Her witticism provoked laughter among the students and staff present, turning the classroom into a theater of amusement. As she left the classroom, her heart weighed heavy with the hurtful words of the teacher. Her soul longed for reassurance, seeking solace in the comfort of those who cared for her.

“Sabreen Muhammad, report to the principal’s office,” the teacher announced loudly, scanning the classroom. The students sat in silence, as though frozen, scarcely daring to breathe, their apprehension palpable in the tense air.

Rising from her seat, Sabreen walked straight toward the teacher’s desk, her gaze fixed on the imposing figure of the woman who had entered the classroom alongside her. Standing in close proximity, she met the teacher’s gaze, her eyes devoid of fear.

“What did you say, Teacher Haulat Hashim Kabir?” Sabreen inquired, her voice unwavering as she locked eyes with the teacher, before turning her attention back to him. “Tell her I don’t speak Chinese or English, but Nigerian.”

Inexplicably, he found himself laughing along, despite the brewing tension. The entire classroom joined in, much to Sabreen’s chagrin, fueling her desire for retribution. Hastily, he followed her out of the classroom, unable to contain his amusement.

A glimmer of joy crossed Sabreen’s face, witnessing her adversary’s rapid departure. In the solitude of the staff room, the teacher pondered how to make amends with Sabreen and restore harmony. The chime of the bell punctuated the air, marking the end of a tumultuous moment.


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