Ruth and Naomi were twin sisters living in Cross river state in the south eastern part of Nigeria. They had parents, but had a long time been separated from them, because of a practice which arose from a mere superstition which if hadn't existed, a lot of children would still be alive.
It all began long ago. Their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Obi had been married for more than five years and never got to conceive. They sought several doctors, priests and herbalists but all were in vain. After so much praying and fasting, they managed to conceive and thankfully, it was a success. They gave birth to twins. It was a great but devastating news because after so much effort into getting a child, they were blessed with two and sooner or later, these two would be taken from them.
Seeing as it was considered a taboo to have twins because the people thought that twins were from the devil and therefore took to separating twins from their parents, killing them with knives, leaving them to suffocate to death in clay pots or leaving them in deserted areas so they’d starve to death.
Mr. and Mrs. Obi on knowing this, hid both children in their home and whenever they had a guest, they introduced one to their guest and hid the second one. At another time, they introduced a different child and hid the one who had been introduced the last time they had a guest. They just kept inter changing their children to meet the guests without arousing any suspicion as they did their work perfectly. If one got injured, they’d ensure to get the other injured so that no one could have the slightest hint of what was going on in their home.
They wanted to stop guests from coming because it was getting rather difficult and exhausting to interchange the children, clean up any evidence of the presence of twins in a hurry because guests rather showed up impromptu but since the people in their area knew that Mrs. Obi was expecting, people would surely come to pay her a visit after the 9 months gestation period.
This continued for five years until one day, when few men came to thoroughly search their house because they felt the Obis were behaving suspicious. They kept searching and when they didn’t find anything, the Obis told them to leave since there was nothing suspicious about them. The men didn’t budge and kept searching the house. They finally found what they were looking for -the second daughter. Mr. and Mrs. Obi felt devastated as their years of hard work in keeping their children safe was about to go to waste.
Mr. and Mrs. Obi started struggling and pleading with them not to take their children away, Mr. Obi got shot in the leg for this as the family wailed in agony. These men just came from no where, tore them apart and no one knew where they were taking the girls or what would become of them.
Ruth and Naomi got dumped in the bush along with other twins with no food or water with the intention of starving them to death. This is what the men did. They either kill the children or dump them in areas where they’d be starved to death.
They lived there for weeks, watching as other innocent twins dropped dead everyday and clutching to eachother in fear of losing one another.
They somehow managed to survive as they took to either eating grass or drinking water when it rained. Some days had no rain and they had no container they could use to store the rain water so they just starved themselves. Following this, there were series of tears as more twins dropped dead everyday, some of which they’ve made friends with and already got attached to.
The twins wouldn’t have food- their regular grass as they did this to mourning the death of their friends. They would then drag the body of their friends to another area where the body would decay and get washed off when it rains. Nobody was happy with the turn out of events and they kept praying hard, hoping that their prayers would get answered which didn’t seem like it.
They continued like this for weeks, happy and grateful that they were able to survive until one evening.
Ruth and Naomi had been starving along with other twins for days as they've eaten up all the grass and there was no rain for them to drink from, they were already in fear that they'd die soon and they kept praying to God to save them.
All the children were lying on their backs and shivering from the cold except Ruth. She was standing and staring at the sky, wondering why the God her parents introduced her to hasn't helped them yet.
Naomi was half watching her sister and half crying at their fate when she saw a wild animal running fast and in her sister's direction. Her eyes widened with terror as she tried to scream. “Ruth. Ruth, watch out.”
She said but her voice was too faint for her to hear as she was weak.
Naomi wasn't about to lose her sister after losing her parents so she gathered the little strength she had in her and walked. To her she seemed to be walking slowly but she walked fast enough and got to her sister just in time. She wasn't able to pull her away but she was able to stand in front of the animal and protect her dear sister.
For a moment, Naomi wondered why the animal stood right in front of them without attacking. They watched it for a while before it finally dropped dead. It had been hit with an arrow and standing behind it was a woman- Fierce, bold and strong with a bag full of arrows and a bow in her hand.
She crouched in front of the girls as other twins gathered. “Hi Children. I'm Mary Slessor.”
They all watched her, expressionless until Mary said. “I've come to take you home.”
All their faces beamed and shone brightly at the thought of going home. Alas! They've found a saviour.