It was a cold, dry harmattan morning in Asaba and Nwike had just woken up. He went to get his broom and was about to start sweeping the sitting room when he realised that he had not taken his bucket to the tap. He quickly grabbed a bucket, rushed to the tap and immediately placed it right behind the neighbour's bucket. Electricity wasn't constant in Asaba and the tap only ran for at least 1 or 2 hours after the electric supply had been cut off. As soon as he was sure his bucket was in line, he went back into the house to sweep the sitting room. It was his daily chore. His younger sister Nneka had to do the dishes while the youngest one, Elizabeth had to sweep the rooms and make the bed.
All three siblings lived with their grand parents in Asaba, the capital of Delta state, Nigeria. Nwike was 14, Nneka was 12 and Elizabeth was 10 years old. Nneka had just gotten into a private secondary school where Nwike was in his 3rd year while Elizabeth was the only one still in a primary school. They were good children who studied hard and stayed out of trouble.
Grandpa Phillip and grandma Lucia were the kids' guardians in the absence of their parents. They were their maternal grand parents and since their father had never been in their lives and their mother (Fumnanya) had gone to Europe to live and work, it fell to them to take care of the children. She sent home money every month for their upkeep and the money was put into use to feed the children as well as pay their school fees and pay for other expenses.
As soon as Nwike was done with sweeping the sitting room, he rushed outside to the tap to check on his bucket of water. It was already full and had been set aside for him by one of the neighbours. He carried it to the bathroom for his bath. The bathroom didn't have running water and was just a room with a wooden door. The toilet didn't have running water either and had to be flushed every time with a bucket of water. Sometimes, to save water, people collected soapy water from doing the laundry so they could use it to flush the toilet.
When he was done with taking a bath, Nwike set about getting ready for school. He put on his school uniform as fast as he could, grabbed some bread and immediately left the house to be on his way to school. It was a 45 minutes walk and he always had to leave early since the first class was at 9 a.m. right after the general assembly.
To be continued next week ...