Tag Archives: true stories

Other people’s business

His phone rang twice. He tapped the green button on the screen and lifted the phone to his left ear. He spoke quickly in a language I did not understand.

A few minutes later, he dropped the phone on his laps. He looked into thin air like someone in a trance. He hit his right hand on his laps, then raised it to his chin. He sighed.

The phone rang again. He answered the call; speaking the same language again. Maybe it was the same caller, I assumed.

He ended the call and the previous gestures followed. Hitting the lap, shaking the leg and lost in thought.

Our conversations had never been more than “Good morning, good afternoon or good evening.”

Should I ask him if he was okay? Should I ask if there was a problem? Would he feel I should be minding my business? Would he feel I was poke-nosing into his private matters?

I decided to keep my mouth shut.

If you were in my shoes, what would you have done?

——
Photo Credit: https://www.news.com.au

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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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 😉

—–

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

Shine your eyes!

The popular market was busy. Passersby, buyers and sellers all struggled to walk past or have business transactions on the already crowded street. People and vehicles jostled for space as cars honked to get their attention. The sun beat hard and various bodies glistened with sweat. A conductor hung precariously on a yellow J5 bus as he shouted his destination at the top of his croaky voice. Passengers shoved each other to get into the bus.

“Na five five oh. Madam, dress. I say na five five.” The conductor shouted at a woman in the bus.

Within a few minutes, the bus was filled and the conductor tapped the roof of the bus to signal to the driver that they were ready to move.

A woman who was seated by the window at the back seat of the bus called a pure water vendor. She collected a satchet from the young boy and paid for it. As she bit the bag with her teeth to tear open a small portion, she dipped her head out of the bus and started to wash her face with the water. I was seated next to the woman and I noticed that as she put her head back into the bus, there was an expression of surprise and regret on the face of the bus conductor.

A hand appeared from outside and was on the woman’s neck. The woman held on to the gold chain on her neck but the guy who later showed his face was faster. As he pulled the gold chain, the man who sat beside me stretched his hand over me and tried to stop the thief. His outstretched hand came face to face with a shining metal and he withdrew his hand immediately. He did not want to get stabbed. Everything happened in the twinkling of an eye.

As the bus moved forward, the conductor said to the woman. “Madam, shine your eyes oh. You no dey do that kain thing for inside market. If you wear gold, you go comot am once you enter market.”

The man scolded the conductor. “Didn’t you see him when he was coming? You no fit tell her?”

“Oga, she don put her head outside already nau and dem don see the chain. If I talk, dem go know say na me tell her.

As the journey proceeded, the woman mourned the loss of her chain. While some passengers sympathized with her, others began to tell various incidents of robbery in the market.

——

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

Wedding Chronicles – Dress code

Preparations for their wedding was in top gear. The venue of the reception had been paid for, the caterers were ready, family and friends were excited. However, one thing was left. The wedding gown had not been shown to the church.

The couple went to the dressmaker who had been contracted to make the wedding gown. She had called the bride earlier to inform her that her gown was ready for pick up. The groom was excited as he looked forward to having a peep of how his bride would look on their most important day. As the dressmaker unveiled the gown, they both gasped. It was beautiful. The bride glided her fingers on the pearls that sparkled brightly on the dress. The dressmaker asked her to put on the gown so that proper fittings could be made. The bride nodded as she went into an inner room with the dressmaker behind her.

As the bride stepped into the room where her fiancé was waiting, a smile played on his lips. He thanked the dressmaker acknowledging the good job she had done. The gown dazzled throwing beams of light on the bride’s face as she smiled. The dressmaker stood before the bride as she used pins to adjust the dress at points which she felt needed to be worked on to give the dress a perfect fit. The bride went back into the changing room, took off the gown and handed it over to the dressmaker.

As the dressmaker got to work on the dress, the couple discussed preparations for the oncoming wedding, as they dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s. They talked about their honeymoon and the groom said he had purchased some pairs of jeans pants and looked forward to seeing his wife in them. His fiancée looked at him with confusion. “You know I don’t wear trousers, so why would you buy them?”

“Your church does not allow you to wear them. Once you are married, you will attend my church. We don’t have anything against women in trousers and I want to see you in them.”

The bride shook her head. “No, I will not wear trousers.”

“Sweetie, you will wear whatever I buy for you.” He responded with a tone of finality.

The bride pouted her mouth in anger as she crossed her arms.

In a few minutes, the dressmaker was done and the dress was put into a garment bag and handed over to them. It was to be shown to the church the next day.

 

The next weekend, the couple was back at the dressmaker’s. A quick glance at the groom’s face and the dressmaker knew something was amiss.

“What is the problem sir?” She asked.

The groom looked at his bride who had an expression of resignation on her face.

“Please can you take off all the pearls and make the gown ankle length?” The bride said.

The dressmaker’s jaw dropped as she stared at the bride and then the groom.

The groom shrugged. “Her church said pearls are not allowed. They are also against flowing wedding gowns.”

The dressmaker sighed deeply as she collected the garment bag containing the wedding gown from them.

If only the church had outlined a dress code for wedding gowns to prospective brides during the marriage counselling sessions, maybe the dressmaker would have been saved the trouble and the couple would have managed their expectations.

 

Photo Credit: http://www.123rf.com

Wedding Chronicles – Red Rain

The church wedding had been concluded successfully. The bride and the groom had been joined together as man and wife. There was a massive hall adjoining the church which had been decorated in the colours of the day. Musicians were already dishing out music from a corner of the hall. Guests, family and friends trooped into the hall as they awaited the arrival of the couple.

Close friends of the bride and groom hung around waiting for the couple so they could accompany them into the hall in grand style for the wedding reception. All of a sudden, a close friend of the groom pulled another friend of theirs to a corner. “Do you have a pad with you?” He asked both confused and embarrassed.

“Pad ke? What do you need one for?” She queried.

“Erm….erm…her period just started and he said I should ask you.” He stuttered.

“Who? I don’t understand.” She asked looking confused.

He looked at her wondering why she failed to understand. “The bride nau.”

“Wo-hoo!!!” She exclaimed, understanding his dilemma. “I don’t have one. I doubt anyone will carry one in her purse. We may need to go outside the church to buy.”

The two friends got someone conversant with the area to quickly get a pack of sanitary towels, thereby saving the day for the bride.

——–

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Wedding Chronicles – Time to bless the Church

The three wedding ceremonies (the engagement, the church wedding and the reception) had been scheduled for the same day. The engagement started early in order to cater for the other ceremonies. In two and a half hours, the engagement was done with the early guests served finger foods and drinks. The church service was to start in about an hour and this gave ample time for the bride and the groom to get dressed.

Some guests proceeded to the church while some who were not present for the engagement ceremony arrived the church and sat down as they listened to the soft praise music oozing out of the church speakers.

The church service had been slated for two hours and the wedding proceedings started right on time. Vows were made, rings exchanged and the wedding register was signed. The couple, their family and their friends were excited.

As the church danced to the music dished out by the choir, the minister stated it was time for thanksgiving. He called mothers who wished to see such celebration in the life of the daughters or sons to come out for a “special” thanksgiving. The mothers danced rhythmically shaking their hips and bums with most headgears raised high as they moved to the front of the church to drop their offerings.

Next, the minister called the fathers to also share in the joy and proceed to the front of the church for their own “special” thanksgiving. A song was raised for the fathers and they all walked to the front even though they were meant to move their bodies to the music.

As the fathers walked back to their seats, the minister called all single ladies in the church who wished to get married someday to dance to the front of the church for their own “special” thanksgiving. Next, he called the single men to follow suit.

The service had gone for over two hours but the minister wasn’t done. He called the friends of the bride to follow suit in their own “special” thanksgiving and reminded the friends of the groom that it would be their turn soon. Different categories of people were called out for “special” thanksgiving; friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances etc before the whole church was asked to come out for a “special” thanksgiving. It was impossible for anyone present not to fall into a category. In fact, it was possible that some people fell into two or three categories.

A service that was meant to be done in two hours eventually spanned over three hours. By the time the service was over, some guests were tired and hungry. Those willing to attend the reception drove to the venue, while a few others just eased into their cars and drove home or stopped by at an eatery to have lunch.

There was no point going to the reception and eagerly awaiting item 7 which would probably take a while to be served. Those guests needed to bless their tummies just like the minister had made them bless the church.

——–

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Wedding Chronicles – Thou shall be prepared

The wedding ceremony in church lasted just an hour. Three members of the choir were getting married and the choir director advised that there should be representation in the receptions of each of the members. The choir members in attendance were split into three and advised on which reception to attend.

The choir members began trooping out of the church; easing into their cars, attaching themselves to those who had cars or simply finding their way to the reception they had been assigned to attend. I found myself among the latter category. My friend and I decided to take a walk. The reception venue was a distance from the church but as we gisted, we realized we were soon at the venue.

We took our seats and waited for the commencement of the reception proper. The reception commenced with the arrival of the couple. Hours later, the guests began to look out for item 7. It was not forthcoming and the guests began to murmur. The family and friends of the couple noticing the look on the faces of the guests decided to bring out the bags of bowls which contained the food and began to share.

The hall had been arranged in a church setting and all guests faced the high table where the couple were seated. Soon, the friends of the bride took over the sharing of the food. For each row of guests they passed by, they looked at the faces of the guests before handing the food to whoever they deemed fit.

My friend and I watched as food and drinks passed by us. After a while, when all the “very important” people had been served. The bride’s friends went round and served the “less important” people. We were handed a small bowl of food which was just enough to feed a child.

I told my friend we had fulfilled all righteousness by attending the reception and asked that we leave. She agreed. I stood up to leave with a great lesson learned. I was reminded about how my parents ensured that we ate just before leaving for children’s parties’ years ago. And that lesson resonated that day.

Always be prepared!

——-

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Wedding Chronicles – The Important Parent

The church service was scheduled to start at 10.00am. All the grooms sat expectantly waiting for the commencement of the service. Their brides hung around the church premises. Most of them sat in the cars that brought them to church awaiting when they would be ushered in. 10.00am on the dot, the wedding service started. Vows were said and rings were exchanged. The minister declared the couples; men with their wives and proclaimed them the newest couples in town.

The service lasted one hour; after which friends, family and well-wishers started trooping out of the church to attend the reception of whoever they were there to felicitate with. Most eased into their cars, while those without cars looked for who to attach themselves to.

While this was going on, a woman gaily dressed walked into the church premises. Her headgear rose high. She smiled as she took calculated steps and walked up to me. “My dear, please when is the service starting?”

I looked at her confused. “I don’t understand ma. Which service?” I asked.

“The wedding nau. My son is getting married here today.” She said cheerily.

I opened my mouth as I looked at her. “Ah, the service has ended ma. Everyone is on their way to the reception.”

Her smile suddenly turned into a frown. “Ended like how? How can they start the service without me? Are they not supposed to wait for me to get here?”

I looked at her unable to answer her questions.

When she noticed I couldn’t, she stomped away in anger looking for who could answer her questions. I immediately scurried away before she returned to vent her anger on me.

——
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Wedding Chronicles – The Last Bride

The church hall was filled with various colourful headgears representing various families.

The nine brides stood by their grooms; an expectant look on their faces. Each bride and groom had a chief bridesmaid and a best man standing behind them. The minister looked at them. “This is to the grooms. Please face your bride and repeat after me. I…..”

“I…..” The grooms chorused.

“Mention your names.” The minister continued. “Do take you, please mention your bride’s name – to be my lawful wedded wife, to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, from this day forward, till death do us part and according to God’s law. This I solemnly vow.” The grooms repeated.

The church gave a round of applause as the minister repeated the same vows to the brides.

The tenth bride put her hands under her veil and dabbed her eyes incessantly. She was the only bride still facing the minister while the others faced their grooms. Even though the air-conditioner was blowing at full blast, her palms were wet with sweat. She moved the bouquet of flowers in her hands from the right to the left and turned to look at the door every minute. Her chief bridesmaid fanned her vigorously when she noticed the beads of sweat on her head. She heard only half of what the minister said. Her mind was in turmoil. She was barely listening when she noticed that the grooms were about unveiling their brides. Tears gathered in her eyes and she bit her lip to stop them from spilling.

 

Two of the grooms’ friends stood outside the church gate while another stood just outside the church hall. The men at the gate fidgeted as they strained their necks and scrutinized every motor bike that passed by. Where could he be? They asked each other every minute. There were no mobile phones and they had no idea where or how to look for him. If they decided to make the journey to his house, they were sure not to meet him at home. It was definite he would be on his way but what could have taken him so long to get to the church when he knew what time the church service was meant to start. Their friend who stood outside the hall monitored the church proceedings. He gasped and put his hand on his head. The minister had declared the newest couples and was about to show them to the whole church.

Just then, the groom ran into the church hall with his best man in tow. He hurriedly unveiled his wife and put the ring on her finger. The minister smiled as he asked the ten couples to face the church and declared them the newest couples in town.

——–

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