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I was still a little boy when I saw myself on top of a trailer.
Standing with discomfort, there, with me, were a dozen other boys
Some as little as I am and others slightly older than me
In the trunk were also animals; goats and sheep. 1 #Thread
The air stank, the scorching sun had a field day on us and when the rains came, we had no place to seek shelter.
I wondered who I was where I came from or where we were heading to. But one thing I remembered, we, all the boys, had a bowl in our hands. 2
What looked like a travel for weeks finally came to a halt
I had no idea where I was but somehow, I saw other boys like me
When it was dusk I followed to a building behind the city and I met a new click. 3
What looked like a group, I now belonged to
Our guardian was an old Rabbi, he spoke in my local dialect and Arabic.
And for the rest of my life, to date, everything became a tedious routine.
But in all, like the other boys, I always had a bowl in my hands. 4
We wake up just before dawn and recite from the "Holy book"
After which we are dispatched to the streets to beg for alms from strangers
I was taught my Faith is the only way and there is no other God but 5
but Allah, but I wondered why I was allowed to eat from people who didn't believe in my own inherited God.
I trekked in the sun, I sat under the rains to afford a day's meal
I often felt weak, exhausted and sick, my foot went sore. 6
I had forgotten what the trailer ride felt like because that was the first and only time I moved without the aid of my young legs
But in all, I never let go of the bowl in my hands. 7
As I grew older, I understood not everyone was born like me, not everyone spoke my mother tongue, read from our "Holy l book" or prayed the same prayer with me
I started to wonder where I came from and why I'm here and abandoned
No one knew our roots. 8
I understood other kids slept in well furnished homes and attended schools taught in a different but common language
I yearned to be part of them
But every night we went back to Rabbi's place, I understood I may never be one of them
No matter my curiousity and remorse, 9
I always went to bed with my bowl close to my hands.
One day, as Rabbi preached to us, he said Children were gifts from God and are to be cherished, educated and adored
But I wondered; If children they say are gifts, why didn't my parents consider me as one? 10
Why have I been sent out here?
Surviving on fate as the years go bye with only one possession, the bowl in my hands? I had come to understand that the older of my specie didn't end in the good books of the society. They were cobblers, tea sellers, gatemen and even gravediggers11
I wondered what would become of those coming behind in the same circumstance. But I silently prayed that they wouldn't have to carry a bowl in the hands, to survive. 12
I realised I would never amount to anything meaningful in the society
I was told a "King in the North" spoke for me and my specie but the government came for his head.
I was told there are 12million other children like me on the streets of Nigeria but the elite do not care. 13
I saw little girls my age hawk groundnuts and 'pure water'
I realised they were raped and molested by older men, most of whom pretend to be customers
In my sober state, I thought, my sister, wherever she is, is in the same danger as these ones. 14
And I prayed that it never gets to a point where she would carry a bowl, like I do.
I asked myself who is God
I remember a man holding a paper and sharing on the street
He told us that if we don't accept one man called Yeshua who is the true God, we would all perish. 15
I knew I didn't choose to come to the earth in this despicable circumstance
I wondered why this man was giving me a condition to enjoy afterlife even though this one is already hell
He didn't even had compassion on my innocent self, all he was after was my faith. 16
He didn't even worry that I was carrying my bowl which was dry, dirty and empty
My tender stomach was always hungry, but all the world cared about was my spirit
But I always cared and protected my bowl. 17
Am I a victim of faith or fate?
Some say my condition is cultural
Others say it is religious
But I see myself as nothing but a political tool to the elite
I have been abused and insulted
I didn't choose where to be born. 18
Yet, my circumstances of birth brought me to this inhumane life
I beg strangers for food
I eat from refuse dumps
My friends and brothers have become willing tools for perpetrators of crime to use
What is my crime? I, like the others, was born on the other side of the road.19
And so I would always hold on to my bowl.

What becomes of me?
I know I'm going to die of mystery
Or if I live old enough I would be like the others before me
But you who are reading my story
I beg you to change the destiny of those coming after me. 20
Cross the road and show love
Give education and enlightenment to my people on the other side of the street
Tell them no child should be thrown on the street armed with nothing but a bowl for survival. 21
It is to you just another story, but my likes are the miscreants terrorists and bandits today.
I don't want others to suffer my fate.
Pray to God that these ancient mysterious practice is eradicated.
Every child like me deserves to be educated and to live a decent life 22
with shelter over our heads.
I have been denied humanity and love
But please remember those yet unborn on the other side. And when you finish reading my story, like the proverbial Oliver Twist, here I am with MY BOWL OF SURVIVAL, please, feed me.
Written by: Agbutun Samuel Ayalo.
Cc: @I_Am_marwa @A_Salkida @ShehuSani @Awwal_ @henryshield
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