A 15-year-old Halima Isaak was forced by her father to submit as a second wife to a vicious 50-year-old monster. Displeased but meek, Halima could not dare rebel against her father’s choice and with a heavy heart walked into the gates of this violent and unpropitious marriage.
During the nights he spent with his first wife, Halima’s husband seemed jovial. But as soon as he walked through her door, he saluted her with unwarranted beatings and a sharp abusive tongue. She suffered the repercussions of his clearly manic episodes. Lacking an alternative, Halima lived through this maltreatment and in a couple of years, she gave him six children back to back. No sooner had the final child been born than her violent husband succumbed to the clasp of death. Despite the horrendous experiences he took her through, Halima graciously forgave him.
Halima had to find a means to keep her children from starving. Suffering from this surplus of responsibility and shortage of capabilities, Halima rolled up her sleeves and constructed a small wooden restaurant. Every day, at 2am, she would be ready in the kitchen preparing her children’s breakfast and cooking for her customers. By 6am, she had already fed her children, sent them to school and opened up the restaurant to the masses. Halima would then enclose herself in her shed until lunch hour, focusing all her time and attention in preparing various dishes for her customers.
Halima was proud of her self chosen struggle. “Instead of begging I preferred burning my hands in the kitchen,” she reminisced with clear satisfaction. Through her admirable efforts, her children never slept hungry. Looking back now, it seemed like a daily miracle of survival.
Three years ago, Halima closed her 20-year-old business due to an accident in which she tripped at the marketplace and shattered her knee. Unable to afford proper treatment, Halima tried healing herself using traditional remedies. Since quitting her restaurant, everything seemed to go dead wrong. All her children except two abandoned her. Living near a smithy, Halima has attempted cooking for the blacksmiths, but that venture has failed. She has now surrendered to an actionless life, watching the days go by and patiently awaiting her fate.