Life Necessities

When I think of some of the things we did or experienced in the boarding house, I sometimes wonder how we survived without disease outbreaks.

I remember the periods we had no water; the rain just like yesterday’s heavy rain was welcomed with a grateful heart.

We opened the gutter slabs in the hostel and allowed the first stream of rain water to wash away any debris from the gutters. Once the stream of water was clear and we could see the bottom of the gutter clearly, we would begin to scoop the clear water with a bowl or cup into our buckets.

This water served for bath time and for garri 😀

During these water scarcity periods, we sometimes had to walk miles to fetch water from a village stream which was actually a pond because it never flowed. It was stagnant water in a large mass. The villagers washed their clothing on the brink of the pond and scooped water out of the large mass to rinse the clothes. So there was a possibility that soapy water from the brink splashed into the larger body of water.

We fetched our water from the large mass of water. Did we care whether there were soap splashes in it? The road to the stream/pond was so steep that coming back, we had to be careful not to trip with the buckets on our heads. We would cut banana leaves and place it on the water in our buckets. The idea was that the leaves stopped the water from pouring backwards as we came down the steep road. Thinking about it now, I don’t know who came up with that logic but it definitely worked for us.

The first bucket of water was for the kitchen where we would write our names down. This signified that we had earned our dinner. We would then go back and fetch another which would be for personal use. I remember there were a few seniors who were particularly wicked and sent juniors to get them a bucket of water from the stream/pond. Such juniors ended up going three or four times on a journey which was full of torture.

The water we fetched always had tadpoles swimming in them but that did not stop us from using it to drink garri. Once your bucket of water is settled in the hostel, we scoop out all the tadpoles and leave the water to settle. We would then blow the top of the water with “mouth breeze” and viola, it becomes purified 🤦‍♀️ ; what were we thinking. Students that had alum were considered kings. They broke the alum into their buckets to purify the water.

It is difficult to understand how we never had typhoid or cholera outbreaks. We however lost a student to typhoid in my final year. It shook us and it made us realize that we were all exposed to death.

Water is definitely an important necessity of  life.

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Photo credit: https://www.aces.edu

Lost Opportunity!

Tolu opened the door to her boss’ office and walked back to her desk. She began to pack up her things and put them in a box. She was surprised by her boss’ reaction to her resignation.

It had become a sing song that he was doing her a favour during her appraisals. He always told her that she deserved a below average but refused to score her that because he did not want to get her sacked.

“Before you will go and tell the whole world that I was the one that made them sack you.” He would always say during each appraisal process.

Tolu got tired of hearing the same thing every six months when her appraisals were due. The constant reminder of her inability to meet her job expectations affected her morale.

 

On her way home a year ago, she bumped into the car of one of her course mates from the University. She had been lost in thought and did not notice that he had stepped on his brakes. When she realized what had happened, Tolu covered her face with her hands and burst into tears. She had just gone through another round of appraisals and each time felt worse than the former.

“Hello!!!! Will you at least come out of the car?” Tunde said as he stood by her side.

“I’m so sorry. Please, it wasn’t intentional. I’m really sorry.” Tolu said as she sobbed.

Tunde gaped at her; his mouth open in surprise. “Tolu!”

She looked at him carefully; shock and embarrassment registered on her face.

“Let us clear off the road so we don’t obstruct traffic. Just park over there.” Tunde pointed to the kerb.

Tolu simply nodded.

When they were both off the road and parked at the kerb, Tunde strolled towards Tolu’s car and sat in the passenger seat.

“What is wrong?”

“I am okay now.” Tolu replied. Even though, they had both graduated with a first class from the University of Ibadan, she could not really call Tunde her friend. He was just a course mate.

“I understand if you want to be alone. I just feel maybe if you shared your problem, we could discuss it and maybe find a solution together.” Tunde shrugged.

Tolu took a deep breath and sighed.

“It’s fine.” Tunde said as he opened the door to let himself out.

“Tunde….I’m really sorry about your car.”

“I have comprehensive insurance.”

“I….I….I am having issues at work.”

Tunde sat back and closed the door. “What kind of issues?”

Tolu told him about the appraisals she had earlier on in the day and her previous appraisals. They discussed at length about her job and Tunde encouraged her to apply to his organization. He worked in a rival company and there was currently a vacancy for the same role she held. He told her maybe what she needed was a job change to prove if she was actually doing that bad.

********

As Tolu boxed what was left of her drawers, she remembered her interview with Orange Financial Services. The interviewers had been surprised when she did a short presentation of the issues bedeviling the financial services industry and how the issues could be resolved.

Tolu had been careful to present only two points whereas she had done an extensive research and had a ten-point agenda.

Orange Financial Services wasted no time in making her an offer. She was offered three times what she was currently earning and was asked to resume immediately. They told her they were willing to pay off her organization her one month’s salary in lieu of notice.

********

The door behind her opened and her boss walked out of his office. “Please reconsider my offer, Tolu. I have discussed with HR and we will match what Orange is willing to pay you.”

Tolu smiled. “No, Thank you sir. It is time for me to move on. Like I said earlier, it has been five years working with you and I’m grateful for the opportunity you gave me.”

********
Photo Credit: https://www.123rf.com

Introductions!

I was in a gathering of both men and women. We were asked to introduce ourselves.

I introduced myself by my first name. The others did as well.

Then, it was the turn of a particular lady; she introduced herself as Mrs……

We all got talking and even though what we were discussing had nothing to do with the family; Mrs. informed the rest of us that she had kids. I smiled.

The facilitator of the meeting had initially introduced herself to us by her first name but when she was asked to repeat her name; she repeated it as Mrs… I have no idea if the change in her introduction from her first name to identifying herself as a Mrs. was a result of the initial Mrs. who introduced herself but well….
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A few social gatherings I have been a part of, I have noticed a few women do not want to be identified as their first name. I am yet to understand why.

Does calling them by their first name belittle them? Or does it reduce the bride price that was paid by their husbands?
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To my fellow married women, how do you introduce yourself in a social gathering?

To my single friends, what is your take on introductions?

Do share your thoughts below.

Irresponsible Mother, Irresponsible Daughter

Date:                     December 31, 2018

Time:                     About 10.30pm-ish

Location:              Church premises

Everyone was dancing and praising God when I noticed the young boy seated on the aisle in front of me throwing up. I would put his age at about 5 or 6 years. A young girl who could pass for a 3 year old was sleeping beside him. I noticed the boy was holding a girl beside him who seemed to be oblivious to what was going on. She was a teenager; maybe a 15 year old. Another girl probably about 8 or 9 years sat on the other side of the teenager. They all looked alike; so my calculation was that they were siblings.

I tapped the teenager and told her the boy beside her was throwing up. She looked at me without any feeling and walked out of the hall leaving the boy who continued to throw up on the floor. I assumed she left to call the attention of their mother or their guardian. I wondered at her attitude, though. She did not give the boy a second look.

Two women sat on the same aisle; not far away from the boy. Another woman and a young man seated on the aisle in front of the boy all noticed him. The woman seated closest to him tried to pat his back. I would call her “Madam A”. The young man seated in front asked the boy to go outside to throw up. I said no, he could be weak and could faint on the way outside. After his episode of vomiting, he and the 8/9 year old girl left the hall.

The second woman seated on the same aisle, farther away from the boy went outside. She would be called “Madam B”. She came back with a dustpan filled with sand and poured it on the vomit. She made a second trip and came back with more sand. She must have informed one of the ushers because a lady came later with a mop stick. Madam B advised the lady that what she needed was a broom and not a mop stick.

Some minutes later, the boy and his immediate elder sister came back in. He didn’t look like someone who had just thrown up. He was smiling and they made an attempt to go back to their seat. The place was still a mess with sand mixed with vomit.

I noticed Madam B scolding both of them. She turned them back and refused to allow them go back to their seat. The children left the hall and went outside. I tried to follow their movement and noticed they were talking to a woman outside.

I recognized her. Before the service started, she hit my leg while trying to pass by and talk to the kids. I ignored and moved my feet away. She didn’t have to pass by my aisle to talk to them. She could have gone through the aisle where the kids sat; but well…Did she realize that she hit me? I couldn’t say but there were no apologies from her.

She left the hall. She came back a second time and hit me again while trying to pass by. This time I looked up and gave her the look. She apologized immediately and while leaving, she actually opened her mouth this time and uttered an “excuse me.”

Apparently, she decided to sit outside the hall while her kids sat inside. Madam B must have also traced the kids’ movement because I saw her walk outside straight to the kids’ mother. I noticed she was having an argument with the kids’ mother. I saw her point into the hall as she gesticulated. She stormed back into the hall in anger. I heard her tell Madam A and Madam C (seated in the front aisle) that she asked the boy’s mother if her kids related what had happened inside the hall. She had responded in the affirmative. Madam B said she told her that the place was a mess and that she should have at least come inside to see instead of just sending the kids back to sit in the midst of vomit. She said the kids’ mother told her she did not need to come inside; that someone will come and clean the mess.

Madam B said she was shocked. Someone will come. The someone that she did not deem fit to call or at the very least; send her teenage daughter to if she couldn’t. She had no words for the woman. She left her alone.

The two young kids came back into the hall. This time, Madam B quietly allowed them to go in and sit beside the vomit/sand mix. The usher came later to clean up the mess with a broom and dustpan. The teen girl came in much later after the place had been cleaned up. She sat down beside her siblings as if nothing had previously happened.

Maybe on a different day and in a different situation, I would have given the teen girl a little education on responsibility. But I realized my education would be a waste. She definitely wasn’t trained by a responsible mother.

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Photo Credit: https://www.highschoolsandhelicopterparents.weebly.com

The Red planet and Nigeria

I just watched little kids in the U.S rejoicing with adults over Nasa’s successful landing on planet Mars. Even at their tender age, they understand such developments.

Nigeria, my country!

Adults are still bickering over minute, teeny weeny issues. Social media is awash with grumpy and angry people. People who could divert that same energy into making a change in their environment. People who could stamp their feet in the sands of time and do something our future generations will remember us for.

Nigeria, what aileth thee?

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

Stolen Innocence

“I say who give you belle.” Mama Ngozi shouted as she inched closer to her daughter.

“I…I….” Ngozi stammered.

“You wetin.” She shouted as a resounding slap landed on her daughter’s cheek.

Ngozi looked at her step-dad. Hot tears dropped on her cheeks as she saw the look in his eyes.

“You no fit talk? I say who give you belle?” Mama Ngozi shouted as she pummeled her daughter who was now crouching.

Emeka stood back watching. “E don do.” He said quietly. “I say e don do.” He said raising his voice.

Mama Ngozi turned to look at him with blazing eyes. “Wetin do? Ehn, I say wetin do?” She ignored her daughter for a brief moment.

“No kill am nau!”

“I go kill am if she no tell me the person wey give her belle.”

As Mama Ngozi charged towards her daughter again, Ngozi opened the screen door and ran out of the house in tears.

It was 9.00 pm but she was not bothered. She continued running until she was confident she was far away from her mother’s house.

She walked to the bus park and sat down on a bench. She had three thousand naira with her. The money she had been given to take out the unwanted baby.

She bought a bus ticket and sat in the bus. The tears came again.

Only one person came to mind right now.

Tomorrow morning, she would be embraced by her paternal grandmother.

She would relay the events of the past six months.

She would describe how her innocence was taken away at the age of fifteen.

She would tell her grandmother how she became an object of satisfaction.

She would mention how she cried every night because her heart and her body hurt.

She would explain how hatred burned in her heart and how she had thoughts of killing him each night with the kitchen knife; while he snored loudly beside her mother after visiting her room.

——-

Photo Credit: https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk

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?

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

Two Hearts

“Eko Idumota, Eko Idumota!!! Mi ò ní change o, wölé pèlú change ë. I no get change, I dey talk my own now oh.”

Adeola froze when she heard the voice. She was on her way to the market to buy black clothes for her mother. Her mother had never liked the colour black as she associated it with death.

Growing up, Adeola had been warned many times by her mother against wearing black. Her mother was of the belief that the colour was a bad omen and attracted evil. She and her mum always had a running battle over this, as Adeola loved the colour black. She sometimes dressed in all black while she was in the university and was unbothered by the strange looks she sometimes got.

Her mother who never wore black was now forced to wear it. Her husband’s body was lying cold in the mortuary and tradition expected that she was garbed in the colour black.

******

“Aunty, comot for road if you no dey go make another person enter my moto jo. Eko Idumota!!!” The voice boomed above the other voices shouting their various destinations. A passenger trying to get into the bus shoved Adeola to the side and she turned.

Their eyes met. Shock registered boldly on their faces and they stared at each other.

“Eko….” He stopped mid-sentence; his eyes locked on hers. The bus was about moving and she flagged it to stop.

“O n wölé.” The conductor shouted and the bus halted.

Adeola entered the bus as she continued to stare at the conductor.

The conductor was speechless as he also couldn’t take his eyes off Adeola.

“Bèrè sí gba owó mí o.” The driver shouted at the conductor.

The conductor began to collect the fares from the passengers. Adeola stretched a two hundred note to him but he refused to collect it.

“Collect your money, Deolu.” Adeola said.

Deolu ignored her as he turned his back to her.

“Deolu!” Adeola called out again.

Deolu burst out into tears. He began to wipe off his tears with his hands, embarrassed by his sudden breakdown in the presence of strangers.

“Ahn…ahn, wetin happen?” One of the passengers sitting beside Adeola asked.

“Wetin you tell am wey he dey cry?” Another asked.

Another passenger looked at Adeola and looked at the conductor. She opened her mouth wide and exclaimed. “Olúwa ò.”

“Wetin dey happen for dia? Kí ló dé?” The driver shouted. He took his eyes off the road briefly. “S’ó ò lè sòrò ni? Mo ní kí n ló sëlè níbè yën?”

“Driver, take am easy oh. You no look the face of your conductor and this girl.” Another passenger said.

“Wetin do dia face wey I go dey look am?”

“E be like dem be family?”

“So how that one take consine me?” The driver snorted. “Me I no get family too?”

“Driver, ó wà o.” Adeola said. She turned to Deolu. “Daddy is dead, you can come home now. The burial is next Thursday.”

Deolu shook his head as his tears flowed freely down his cheeks.

Adeola touched her twin brother’s shoulders as she made an attempt to alight from the bus. “Please come home. Maami’s heart has been broken since you left. Don’t let her die without knowing you are still alive. Please!” Adeola pleaded.

Deolu nodded as his sister alighted and watched the bus zoom off  to its destination.

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