Tag Archives: true life

Are we mentally aware?

“Aunty, I took care of your car while you were away”. The man said.

I looked at him briefly and ignored him.

“You have a nice car and you are very pretty.”

I tapped the unlock button on the car remote once and eased in. I locked the door and started the car.

“Aunty I just need hundred naira.” He said through the wound-up window. “Please Aunty….” He kept saying as I drove off.

*****

This is the fourth time this well spoken man probably in his late 40s or early 50s would be accosting me. He walks the length and breadth of the popular streets in Surulere every day. The first time he accosted me, I did not realize he had a problem. As I eased into the marwa that was to take me to my destination at about 6:15a.m, he walked up to me and complimented my hair. I had packed it all up and it fell like the leaves of a palm tree around my head.

“Aunty, I like the way you packed your hair. It makes you look like an African beauty.”

“Thank you.” I had replied as I looked away and hoped the marwa would fill up on time so we could move. I was already running late and not in the mood for any chit-chat with anyone early in the morning.

“I just need hundred naira, please.” He had asked.

It was at that point I actually looked at him. A tall, well spoken man begging for hundred naira early in the morning. I was confused.

Thankfully, the marwa filled up and the driver eased in and drove off.

 

The second encounter with him was in the afternoon. I was walking with my son. As we attempted to cross the road, he looked at my son and smiled at him.

“How are you? Hope you are taking care of mummy.”

“I am fine, thank you.” My son replied.

I immediately recognized him and I held tightly to my son as we crossed the road.

“Aunty, please I need just hundred naira.”

 

On my third encounter with him, I had stopped to buy suya from my regular customer. He walked up to me and said; “I thought you had a baby on your back. I didn’t realize it was your knapsack.”

He started with his compliments as usual and kept talking. I ignored him and faced my business. He asked for hundred naira and when he realized I wasn’t looking at him, he walked away.

The guy selling suya to me smiled and I asked if he knew him.

“Yes, I know am well well. He dey waka everywhere dey ask for hundred naira.”

“Ahn…ahn…” I lamented.

“I hear say na this street im papa house dey. Dem say after im papa die, na so he kolo.”

“Wow!!!” I exclaimed. “He no get family?”

“Dem say im brother just leave am for house. I hear say he don travel comot.”

I paid for my suya, thanked the guy and walked away.

 

Whether the story about his father dying, his brother travelling out and leaving him alone is true or not, I have no idea. But one thing is sure, the man needs help and it seems like he has been left to his fate.

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Photo Credit: http://www.chinalawandpolicy.com

The troubled N100 note

“I cannot collect this 100 naira. Please change it for me.” The lady said.

“I no get another one.”

“Please change it. No one will collect it from me.”

“I say I no get another one. Dem go collect am no worry. Wón ti cancel 100 naira, kò sí mó ní ta.” (The 100 naira has been cancelled. It is no longer available). The marwa driver said to the lady impatiently.

The lady refused to budge as she pointed the dirty, torn and cello-taped 100 naira to the driver.

“Aunty, no waste my time nau. Abeg, get down make I dey go. Mo ní wón ti cancel 100 naira.” (I said they have cancelled the 100 naira). He repeated.

I looked at the lady refusing to collect the money and the other passenger (a lady also) seated beside her. The three of us burst out into laughter as if on cue. The elderly man seated gingerly beside the driver smiled. “Ta ló sö fún ë pé wón cancel e?” (Who told you it has been cancelled). He asked as he looked at him.

Kò sí n ta mó.” (It is no longer available). The driver replied.

Wön ò cancel è. Wön kò ò print è mó ni.” (It has not been cancelled. They have only stopped printing it).

“Aunty ë jò ó, ë jé, owó ni.” (Aunty, please eat it. It is money).

The other lady passenger and I looked at the lady still holding the money. We both had smirks on our faces.

“Oya give me 500, make I give you 600.” The driver eventually said.

The lady opened her bag, pulled out a 500 naira note and was given three 200 naira notes in return.

She eased out of the marwa and we continued our journey with the elderly man laughing at the driver as he repeated his statement about eating the money.

****

In recent times, with the unavailability of clean 100 naira notes, I have also had to avoid buying things that would make me receive the note. Most of the notes in circulation are in a sorry state and you begin to wonder as there are so many insinuations about the note.

Does anyone still have clean and new 100 naira notes in their possession? Do well to share 😉

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Photo Credit: http://www.naijaquest.com

Forest living

I attended a secondary school that was surrounded by thick forests on three sides with no fences. The fourth side which was the school gate had farmlands opposite the school . The school was a natural habitat for rats, snakes (mambas and pythons), scorpions, beetles, crickets, millipedes, centipedes, soldier ants and termites.

I remember the day I was almost bitten by a scorpion. I was walking towards the back of the hostel after dinner with my friends to go shot-put. It was dark and I was carrying a lantern with me. As we were gisting and heading towards our mission, for some strange reason, I decided to take a step back. I turned the lantern towards the ground and right in front of me, where I was just about to place my feet was a scorpion with its sting facing up. I was terrified.

A black snake also fell on my shoulder in another incident. I even remember a student doing his morning duty of sweeping the administrative block when he felt a huge stone fall on his head. He assumed a friend was playing pranks and looked up but saw no one. Another look at the ground revealed that a snake had been the culprit.

A room mate packed her clothes which she had dried on the grass outside the hostel and carried a snake with the clothes. If I ever had any intention of drying my clothes on the grass; which I never did because of beetles and crickets, the incident that evening in my room ended such thought.

A senior boy once killed a large python and carried it on his shoulders like it was an award. A green snake which I assumed was a mamba slithered out of the field right in front of my friends and I when we were going for an afternoon prep.

Rats had a party running around in my hostel and also eating students feet. This happened mostly to students who went to bed with dirty feet. Students took joy in killing them but they gave the rodents a slow and tortuous death. The rats were caught and their tails were burnt in a lantern. Next, students put their whiskers into the lantern. It was funny hearing the cries of a rat. Trust me, their cries warned all other rats to stay away and for the next few weeks, we saw no rats in the hostel.

At night, after lights out, we often heard the cries of foxes in the forest. Their barks and cries were so loud on some days that we almost felt like they were right behind our room.

Different students had encounters with soldier ants and termites as they walked into their long armies. I learnt early to always look on the ground while walking to avoid becoming a victim.

A classmate had a weird liking for millipedes and she picked them up every time she saw one and caressed them like a baby……ewwww.

I look back today and I still wonder; how did we survive living in the midst of all these?

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Photo Credit: http://www.canstock.com

The Baby Thief

It was a Vigil and the pastor asked everyone to stand up and pray. While some closed their eyes for full attention on their heart desires and to avoid distractions; some prayed with their eyes open. The prayers were going on for a few minutes when suddenly noise emanated from outside the church auditorium. Many who had their eyes closed opened their eyes to find out the source of the distraction.

A woman was carrying a baby, who was about six months old. The baby was sleeping peacefully, unaware of the commotion around her. A young girl who would probably pass for an eight year old was standing beside the woman. Another woman, clearly agitated held on to the woman carrying the baby. She was screaming at the top of her voice as she refused to let the woman go.

“Give me my baby.” She cried.

Her screams attracted stares from the congregation who sat at the far end of the hall and the church security operatives swung into action. Prayers were still ongoing; so they moved both women, the young girl and the baby away from the prying eyes of the congregation.

“Give me my baby. She’s a thief.” The woman kept shouting at the top of her voice as she attracted more stares.

“Madam, is this your child?” The security operatives asked the woman carrying the baby.

“No, she is not. I saw this girl carrying her and I was wondering where she was taking the baby to; so I accosted her and collected the baby from her. I was going to meet the security when this woman started calling me a thief.”

“It is a lie.” The second woman shouted as tears rolled down her cheeks. “I put my baby on the floor beside me while I was praying. By the time I opened my eyes, my baby was no longer there. I searched everywhere to know maybe she woke up and crawled away. It was when I looked outside the hall that I saw this woman with my baby. She stole my baby.”

“I did not steal your baby.” The first woman said.

The security operatives looked from one woman to the other; unsure of the true situation of things. “Do you know this girl?” One of the men asked the second woman.

“No, I don’t know her. I have never seen her before.”

The security operatives turned to the first woman. “We are just outside the auditorium. Which other security operatives were you going to meet?” They asked her.

While they questioned her, one of the security operatives took the young girl aside to interrogate her. He knew that if she worked with the woman, she would probably refuse to say anything while the woman was beside her.

 

A few minutes later, the mother walked into the church auditorium holding tightly to her baby. She knelt down; her baby on her left shoulder and her right hand lifted up in thanksgiving. Members of the congregation who had witnessed a bit of the drama tried to stretch their necks to see how the security operatives would handle the woman and the young girl; but they had been taken away from prying eyes.

The incident gave the biblical injunction “Watch and Pray” another meaning.

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Photo Credit: http://www.shuttershock.com

THE AGE DRAMA

As the driver moved the bus forward, the conductor shouted his destination. Passengers at the bus stop flagged down the bus as they walked briskly towards it. The conductor tapped the bus asking the driver to pull to a stop to pick them up. Among the passengers about to embark was an elderly lady. As she was about to get into the bus, the conductor shouted; “Dúró, arúgbó ni o.” (Wait, she is an old woman).

The woman got into the bus, faced the conductor and asked; “Arúgbó báwò o? Mi ò kí n se arúgbó o. Mi ò tí ì pé 70.” (Old? I am not old. I am not yet 70).

I looked back to catch a glimpse of the old/young woman and she was an elderly woman even if she wanted to refuse the “old” tag.

This however, got me thinking.

When a child is born till the age of about three, the child’s age is calculated in months. You hear parents especially mothers say “Oh, she is 13 months or 18 months or 28 months. You hardly hear he is a year old or 2 years old. The child’s age is graded in months.

The child becomes a toddler and till the age of about 12, conversations on a child’s age graduates to; “He is 9 plus or 6 plus.” Plus becomes an additional appendage to the age at this time of the child’s life.

From about age 13 when the child becomes a teenager, the plus is dropped and the age becomes fast forwarded. So a 15 year old will probably tell you, he is sixteen even if he hasn’t had his 16th birthday. This happens till about the age of 40/45 when we want to feel older.

Fast forward to the age of 50 upwards, we don’t want to be seen as growing old. We want to be seen as still young and if possible compete with the younger generation. Our age becomes our actual age. No additions, no pluses.

I have always wondered why there is a bit of drama with our ages and the scenario in that danfo bus highlighted my thoughts again.

You think you have an idea or an explanation, drop them in the comments section and let us hear from you.

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Photo Credit: http://www.playbuzz.com

Heroes!

The maid sat on a low stool in the backyard washing the baby’s clothes. The two older kids were in one of the bedrooms overlooking the backyard. They were playing hide and seek behind the curtains and saw a match box on the table. It was probably used the previous night. They decided to change the game. They would light a match and blow it off almost immediately.

They did this for a while before one of them got distracted and did not blow off the match when he should have. The match burnt his fingers and he threw it on the floor under the curtain. They got tired of the game and left the room to play another game. The match stick lighted the curtain and gradually, the other curtain went ablaze. Soon the room was on fire and smoke seeped into the next room where the baby slept.

The maid wondered why she could smell something burning. She wasn’t cooking. Maybe it was from the next house. She stood up to dry the clothes she had washed on the line and her eyes caught sight of the landing. She ran into the house, up the stairs and to the room where the baby slept. She picked her up, dragged the other two kids out of the house and started shouting for help.

It was a weekday and most residents of the estate had gone to work. A neighbour heard the maid’s cry for help and came out to see what the problem was. The three rooms upstairs were on fire. He quickly went into his house and called the kids’ father’s office on his NITEL landline. A call was also placed to the fire service and the location was given.

By this time, the rooms in the second house was already on fire. The houses in the estate were built wall to wall. Residents started to gather to see how they could help salvage the situation while they awaited the fire service. Some took buckets of water and poured omo into it. They tried to douse the fire but it was difficult. No one could risk going into a burning house. The only option was to try to put off the fire from the outside by splashing the soapy water upwards.

The fire continued to rage taking with it the three rooms in each of the two houses. The fire service arrived and everyone was hopeful. They however, apologized that they had no water so they could not kill the fire. The third house was about to lose its rooms when a water tanker passed by. The driver was meant to deliver his product to a house within the estate. He saw the houses burning and people frantically trying to douse the fire. He immediately drove towards the houses and poured all the content of his vehicle killing the fire instantly.

The driver of the water tanker became the hero. He saved the day.

——-

Photo Credit: https://www.shutterstock.com

Encounters with men in uniform – Part 2

I was in a hurry to get to my destination. I was attending lectures for a professional course and I was beginning to run a little late. I drove the car with deft hands and was soon on the expressway; my destination totally on my mind.

About fifteen minutes into my drive, an officer standing on the right side of the expressway flagged me down. I hissed as I imagined this would take a few minutes out of the time which I did not have. Another car was parked on the right side of the road and I noticed some officers talking to the driver behind the wheel. With nothing to fear, I applied the brakes but left the car running.

“Good morning.” I said to the officer.

“Good morning madam.”

“How may I help you?”

“Can I have your driver’s licence?” The officer asked.

I handed over my original driver’s licence to the officer. He looked at it, was satisfied that it was still valid but held on to it.

He asked for two more items and I stepped out of the car, opened my booth and showed the items to him. He looked at both of them, scrutinizing them as if they were items which had just dropped from space. After a few minutes, he stood behind the car and asked me to go in to step on the brakes.

I sighed. This was beginning to take longer than I thought. I eased into the car and stepped on the brakes.

He walked towards the driver’s window and said; “I knew it. I knew one of your brake lights wasn’t working.”

I looked at him, anger clearly written on my face. “You flag me down right in front of the car and tell me you knew one of the brake lights wasn’t working? In broad daylight?” I asked him as I stepped out of my car,

“I have to seize your driver’s licence and issue you a ticket.”

“Go ahead but I think you should stick to your duties and quit the lies.”

“Madam, it is not that. I….”

“Can I have the ticket and a covering note because I cannot afford to get stopped by another bunch of officers on the way?” I said interrupting him.

A senior officer who stood by their official vehicle some metres away noticed the heated exchange. He called his report and asked him to come closer. “What is the problem?” He asked him.

The report tried to explain the situation to the senior officer.

“Hello Madam.” The senior officer said; calling my attention.

“Yes.” I said as I walked towards him.

“I see that you are upset.”

“Of course, I am. No one is stopping your officer from doing his duties but he did not have to lie to prove a point.”

“I am sorry. He should not have lied. He mentioned that he is booking you because one of your brake light is out.”

“That is what he said.”

“Please try to sort out the brake light ma.” He said.

“I will. Please can I have the ticket and the covering note so I can get moving? You guys have delayed me for my lectures and I am late already.” I said as I looked at my wrist watch.

“Okay. Do you know where to make payment for the seized driver’s licence?”

“No, I don’t.”

“Our office is located at Ikeja. You will need to come with the ticket and make a payment of N2,000 to the bank.” He said to me.

“Can I send someone? I don’t have the time to do this during the week. Besides, my office is on the Island and I am free only during the weekends.”

“Yes, you can send someone but give him/her a letter of authority so that your driver’s licence can be released. This cover note is for any officer who stops you on the road asking for your license.” He said as he handed over the sheet of paper to me.

The senior officer apologized once more for the delay and told me I could go.

I eased back into my car angrily but heaved a sigh of relief.

——

Photo Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com

Never Forgotten

The white Volkswagen beetle moved steadily in front of the Peugeot 504 on the expansive tarred road. A couple sat in the front seats of the Peugeot; the husband behind the wheel while their kids sat behind. It was a bright day and everything seemed to go smoothly until the still morning was shattered by tragedy.

Three little girls stood on the right hand side of the road; the eldest holding the hands of the other two on each side. The Volkswagen beetle swerved of the road and in an instant, the oldest girl was rolling on the bonnet of the car, her head hitting the windscreen. The occupants of the Peugeot 504 watched in horror and wondered if the scene was actually happening. The piercing scream of their mother made them realize this was no dream.

The beetle moved forward a few metres before halting and a man eased out of the driver’s side in confusion. He put his two hands on his head in shock and regret looking at the ground as the girls lay there unmoving. Screams and shouts rent the air breaking the serenity of the once still atmosphere.

Meanwhile, a woman was sleeping in the backseat of the beetle. Maybe it was the screams that rent the air, maybe it was instinct; but she woke up and looked around her. She pushed the passenger seat forward and opened the door. She assessed the situation around her, removed her head scarf and started crying. She looked at the girls and ran helter-skelter. Onlookers realized she was in shock and held her; before she decided to run into oncoming vehicles.

Never forgotten

The mother in the Peugeot car was frantically telling her husband to park the car. She ran out of the vehicle immediately it stopped and rushed to the scene. The three girls lay on the ground. Rescuers carried two of the girls while the mother in the Peugeot carried another girl. A hospital was just across the road from the scene of the accident and people flagged down cars so the three girls could be rushed into the hospital.

The children seated in the back seat of the Peugeot were shaken from witnessing the accident first-hand. They waited for their mum who was still in the hospital across the road. She came back some minutes later and told her husband that the victims were twin girls and the eldest girl presumably a maid. The car brushed one of the twin girls to the side, hit the eldest girl making her somersault on the car and rode over the second twin with its tyres twice.

She confirmed from her position as a medical personnel that the eldest girl and one of the twins would survive the accident. Chances of the other twin surviving was very slim. The accident scene and the resulting tragedy will leave an indelible impression on the hearts of not just the unknown parents of the girls but also the kids in the Peugeot car who had witnessed it.

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Photo Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com

When the sun shines

The sun beat hard and we felt the heat in the air-conditioned vehicle. It seemed the sun was intent on unleashing on the occupants of the earth. The air-conditioner had little effect even though it was working at the lowest temperature. I wiped my brow and looked at my kids. I felt sorry for them but we were better off this way than with the air-conditioner switched off and the windows rolled down. The heat outside could be better imagined than felt.

As we were about to descend a slope, the car in front of me danced backwards trying to maneuver the edge of the slope. It was a red saloon car. I am very poor at brand of cars, so I would leave the brand to your imagination. Three men were seated at the back while the driver and a passenger sat in front. The car got stuck and its tyres rolled in the sand whipping up dust. I backed up a bit as I realized the car would need to do same and re-maneuver its way.

Why don’t the guys at the back just get out of the car so it makes it easier for the driver to maneuver the edge of the slope; I thought.

I stood still as there was no other way around unless I faced oncoming vehicles. I decided to wait it out till they got their act together. Besides, I wasn’t in a hurry. I moved back again to free up more space for the car. The car started to reverse and I waited for the driver to re-maneuver his tyres. Instead, the driver kept on reversing without looking backwards. I pressed on the horn continuously until it happened like lightning.

When the sun shines

I thought I was watching a movie where I happened to be the main actor. My jaw dropped as I saw glass shatter. The car had backed up till it hit my car. I was driving a four runner which had protective metal guard rails. The heat of the sun coupled with the force with which the car hit the metal guard rails caused the rear windshield to shatter into little pieces. The three men seated at the back seat looked at me. They got down from the car and it had a free ride down the slope. So what were they thinking before? I thought as I rolled my eyes.

I drove down the slope and the three guys were by my side in a jiffy. “Where do you think you are going?” One of them asked. “Excuse me!” I responded.

“Can’t you see what you have done to our car?”

“What I did to your car?” I asked in astonishment. “I am sure everyone who witnessed the accident is aware that you reversed into my car”.

“You can’t go away. You have to pay for it”. Another said.

I looked at them like they are speaking in another language. “Pay for what?” I asked. “I should be asking you to pay if my lights are broken”.

At this point, other drivers who witnessed the accident, got down from their vehicles to talk to the guys harassing me. “Leave her alone”. One shouted. “She kept on pressing her horn”. Another said. “How person go dey reverse and he no go look back?” “And all of you siddon for back, una no fit get down”. “Why all of you comot when the glass don break?” “Which driving school una go sef”. Different voices scolding the men.

The driver who was all along checking the extent of the damage to his car came to meet me. I waited expecting him to join his friends in the blame game. “I’m sorry madam for the harassment. You can go”. He said. “I am sorry about your vehicle”. I responded and drove off.

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Photo Credit: http://www.jaguar-swansea.co.uk