Vivian Writes

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Forgive Us, Father — September 18, 2018

Forgive Us, Father

Touch down finally. The Adewales were depleted from the flight back to their father’s land. They were lucky enough to board Mr Ali’s cab, one of the few good men they’ve met in a long time since their interactions with humans. Mr Ali took them to the closest hotel, where they could rest their weary selves for the night. He stepped on the break heavily in front of a three storeyed edifice, standing like a giant, it must be one of its kind in town. Its green and white paints were instantly appealing to the eyes.

“I can’t wait to get energized in here”, The wife threw a smile at her husband, who nodded quickly as he made for their luggage in the trunk. The porter was sighted speedily rushing out of the hotel, Mrs Adewale’s heart was filled with joy, ‘the reception here is superb too’, she concluded too soon with a grin.

“Let me help you with your briefcase, sir”, she heard the porter who had ran past her, say to a white man just behind them.

“Thank you, but that won’t be necessary”, the white man politely rejected the help. The unyielding porter swiftly collected the briefcase with a smirk. The foreigner had no choice now, but to prepare his tips.
Mrs Adewale couldn’t make out the little drama that unfolded in front of her…the porter obviously abandoned their luggage for a mere tip of five hundred Naira. “Don’t they get paid anymore?”, she asked her husband.

“If you find fish then you don’t have to eat bread”, her husband uttered as he carried his cross and left the handbags for his agaped wife. The couple refused to let bad vibes tear them down completely and strode towards the main entrance of the hotel. The doorman stood paying no heed to his environment.

“Hey, man. Can you open the damn door”, an impatient man of about twenty-five bellowed. The doorman forcefully jerked the hideous red door open. It was no doubt a damned door, seeing that the doorman passed through turbulence to open and close the door which had uncountable missing hinges.

“I can’t wait to leave here, first thing tomorrow morning”, the young man sighed.

“Good Evening… Kedu?”, Mrs Adewale greeted the receptionist in a native language and added immediately when she got no response, “You’re Igbo I presume”, with a fixed gaze on the receptionist’s name tag which reads, “Chioma Okeke”. The receptionist nodded slightly and responded in English language, “Welcome to our prestigious hotel. How may we help?”. She sounded like a robot, programmed to lie to people even when the truth is blatant. Meanwhile, in Mrs Adewales head, the issues of overdependence on the English language that has torn the cords that binds us as brothers, kept on replaying. Our language is vernacular, their language is international.

“We’ll like to book a room for the night, Miss”, Mr Adewale said as he scanned through his wife’s face. He saw defeat of expectation written all over her face. They’d traveled down for their three years wedding anniversary with the idea that celebrating it in their father’s land would be great but with the recent encounters it was beginning to look like a bad decision.

“We’re sorry sir, but all our rooms are full tonight…we greatly apologize”, the voice of the receptionist disrupted his thoughts.

“What?!”

“Are you trying to say as big as this hotel is that there is no room for my wife and I?”, Mr Adewale was getting furious.

“Sir, please you’re drawing unnecessary attention. I’ll see if there is any spare room on the ground floor”, she said pitilessly.

“What about the white man? Did he get a room”, curious Mrs Adewale asked. The receptionist shot her a ‘how is that your damn business’ look and added still in a matter of fact attitude, ” In our hotel, there are reserved rooms for our foreign customers”.

“Oh…I see”. The intercom rang interrupting the mouthful that stood in front of the reception. Chioma picked the call absentmindedly and informed the Adewales, that there were five empty rooms on the ground floor. She handed them the room keys which were in a state of decay, like the last person to use that room got his blood splattered all over it.

“If you don’t like the room, don’t hesitate to return the keys or better still call the concierge”, she said reading the objectionable look on their faces. “Next person, please…”.
The tongues of the couple were tied. To search for another hotel would be like traveling to another continent, a total waste of time which their weary state wasn’t ready to embark on. They silently strode to the ground floor in search of room 419, the room avoided by everyone in the hotel. It clothes itself in deceit and nothing gives it joy than stealing from its occupant, leaving them barren and hopeless. The choir of mosquitoes ushered them in with a resounding welcome song along the pass way which looked abandoned, some doors had fallen off, it was like the last civil war took place down there. The soiled white paintings on the wall was unpleasant to the eyes. They couldn’t believe such errant.

“Here, darling. Room 419”, she stopped her husband who was lost with shock. As he fumbled the key into the lock, the door nob fell off, “I wonder what will fall off next”, he let out in an irksome tone. Soon they heard footsteps and waited for the owner to come into view. It was the young man from the main entrance. He read their shocked faces and shook his head in a somewhat sad manner.

“You two don’t look used to the system down here”, he said when he came closer. He sounded like one who was totally used to it and no strings pulled would affect him in any way. He cautioned them to watch their steps as the foundation was a shaky one.”Down here, there is no hope, no one is comfortable here”, he said with great resentment.

“Why are you down here by the way? You two look like you can afford the deluxe room, joint room and even the suite”, he asked with raised brows.

“The rooms were all occupied by the time we arrived”, Mr Adewale reported with no worldly experience. This made the young man laugh so hard and had to stop when he thought he heard the walls crack.

“What’s funny, Mister?”, an irritated Mrs Adewale asked.

“Did you actually believe that this enormous edifice is full for the night? You’re too naive. What the receptionist meant was a little bribe…and boom there appears an empty deluxe room”.

“Such Bunkum…don’t they get paid for working?”, the cultured Mr Adewale asked. The question was after all a rhetorical one because they all knew the answer.

“Why are you here too?”,

“I’ll simply say, the poor and the rich man do not play together”, with this statement, he entered into his room and banged the tired door behind him. The environment he found himself in was one which have turned its back and therefore made him invisible. Nothing was hitting the Adewales as a surprise anymore, not even the stercorous smell that welcomed them into the disarrayed room. They both scanned the room from the stained ceiling to the windows that lack windowpanes, inviting all kinds of evils into the room; down to the sheet less bed and the damp floor; which all ooze with the remnants of yesterday’s guests. They sang songs of sorrow for negligence on the path of the management, who were enemies within. These enemies within have paid deaf ears to their cry for restoration of the lives they once had, the hope they once felt and the equality they once dreamt. The management have long forgotten they existed. The foundation of the edifice was being treated like slaves waiting to hear the final whistle.

The Adewales flung their luggage on the quarter to go bed and fled to the restaurant adjacent the main edifice still in the same premises. They tried to catch their breathe when they got to the restaurant. Food at last, the only language they understood at that moment.

“Waiter!”, an almost fainting Mr Adewale called out as they took their seats at the far end of the restaurant close to the window for easy inhalation of fresh air, that is if the air is fresh.

“I want Egusi soup and two folds of fufu with a bottle of chilled water”, his wife ordered, salivating to the sound and thought of an African food.

“Uhm…I am sorry Ma, we don’t serve such here”, the waiter vomited the words which brought Mr Adewale who was about to place an order for Okro soup and Amala, to a sudden stop. He referred to food ordered for as ‘such’ with a tone of disdain. People lodging in a brightly painted hotel as the “Giants Hotel “, shouldn’t be caught serving such with the fear of scaring their foreign customers away.

“What do you have then?”, the angry hungry man asked.

“The menu is on the table”, he said pointing at a laminated green worn out cardboard paper on the table and on it were scribbled some foreign dishes. Mrs Adewale picked it up with great disgust and read them out loud.

“Seafood paella”, she began,

“Chicken parm”,

“Fish ‘n’ chips”,

“Chicken rice…so how is it prepared?”, she asked in a vexed tone. The foods on the menu were not going to do much for their strength less bodies. ‘How difficult was it for a brother to stick to what he knows best’, she thought deeply.

“French toast?!”, this one made her husband laugh out loud, “French toast for dinner?”, he asked the now mute Waiter. His wife couldn’t bare to finish reading out the dishes as she flung the paper, called menu away. She was certain that those dishes would be poorly prepared by people who called themselves chef in that kitchen. She wondered the reasons the management of the hotel bypassed the inclusion of their native foods which were easy to prepare with available ingredients. The grasshopper which is always near its mother eats the best food, but not in this case. The grasshopper left its mother and journey to a faraway land where it is now dying of starvation.

“Get the chicken rice”, the couple said indifferently to the Waiter. By now, they heard the sound of the drum played by their stomach and were left with no option.

“You should know what is being cooked in the kitchen otherwise you might eat a forbidden food”, a man in a black suit with a little patch of white on his neck collar, who have been watching the couple since they came down for ‘dinner’ advised as he came closer.

“It’s sad we can’t boost of eating our delicacies in public places for fear of one calling us bush men”, with this he sat down in an empty seat and introduced himself as Father Francis.

“Nice to meet you, father”, the couple introduced themselves with lamentations.
“Have you asked yourselves, what happens to a person who can’t afford to buy these foreign dishes?..they starve”. Father Francis shook his head tragically. The land is barren from promoting a foreigner’s food and paying no attention to theirs…which stood as a mark of identification. That identity is gradually fading away. One who eats an African food in the hotel is seen as not orderly or mannered. They’re also seen as lacking swag in the scenario where they eat with their God given hands.

“Chim O”, Mrs Adewale voiced out with the revelation dawning heavily on her.

“Mr and Mrs Adewale, you say?…but I heard your wife speak Igbo not too long ago”, he looked puzzled. Mr Adewale gently explained that his wife is from the south eastern part of the country. “Love did all the magic”, he added,
“This is lovely indeed…you two are the perfect definition of unity in diversity”, the Rev. Father remarked and pointed out, that the hotel lacked what the couple shared.

Reverend Father Francis, a typical African man was on an evangelistic mission. The hotel out of no options became a temporary refuge to rest his head. He holds the strong belief that if brothers don’t treat each other with love, they shouldn’t expect such love from a stranger. Genuine love, not the one based on status, power or wealth. The management have so far treated him with great respect as due a clergyman. They claimed to be notoriously religious as indicated by their motto, “service to humanity” but their actions are all shades of ugliness. The true beauty of a place, isn’t by its look but by how many people it has made to smile. So far, the hotel haven’t placed any smile on the faces of Mr and Mrs Adewale.

“Have you met the hotelier?”, the Father Francis asked,

“What business does the occupants of the ground floor have with the hotelier?”, Mr Adewale was beginning to adapt to the terrible conditions just for the night until when they both find their square roots tomorrow morning. This made the wife laugh to the point she had tears rolling down her cheek. They’ve not seen the manager not to talk more of the hotelier.

“We need to make a positive impact instead of leaving the hotel just as we met it…so that others, our children will benefit from our efforts one day”, he tried to resurrect the enthusiastic spirits, he sighted in them which were unfortunately dimmed by frustrations.

Just as they were about to accept and move towards the part of redemption with Father Francis, the power went off throwing the edifice into abject darkness even the brightest teeth of a black man couldn’t be seen. Immediately the power on the executive suites for foreigners, top business men and other big dogs were restored with no attention to the ground floor as usual. What do they need power for to start with…was it to see the mosquitoes clearer or to admire the sullied walls?

“I can’t wait to see the dawn of a new day”, Mrs Adewale cried. Every time the couple think they’ve seen it all, something more alarming proves them wrong.

“That new dawn is only possible, if we put our voices together and raise the banner of equity. We’re all humans, same before the eyes of God. Let us look into one another’s eyes with love, firmly holding hands that can’t be torn apart by any vices. Let us be united by one voice”, Father Francis slowly stood up as he spoke and his face shone with hope for the rejected to see.

“A single bracelet does not jingle, together we make a difference”, the waiter who have been squeezing his foot to fit an undersized shoe for ages, shrieked. Those who knew how it felt to be snuffed down the ground floor because they chose not to dance to the tune of the master, or because they were not privileged like those on the top floors, joined their bracelets so as to produce a life changing jingle. They recalled the promises made by the hotelier and its management, ‘Our doors will be open for all and all will be treated as BROTHERS’, but they have long forgotten the meaning of brother. They have over night turned their services to those who pay in different currencies and look nothing like brothers to them. They have cherished this new man’s food and made theirs vanish into the thin air, even their unique mother tongues have gone missing. They disguise their ugliness with a smile plastered on their faces and have turned their workers to robots, always saying ” Yes” when its a “No”. There is no beauty in their actions.

“Let us pray…” Father Francis held the hand of Mrs Adewale and she did same to her husband’s, who in turn held that of the waiter and extended towards so many others who have passed through cold passages and knows what it means to see the walls painfully loose its once colorful splendor. People who also deserve the good things of life came together to cry out for love in the hearts of all.


“To the ever Supreme Being, who created us in his own image and likeness. We pray this night that tomorrow will bring joy to our hearts and lifelong satisfaction for our generations to come. Let us love our neighbours as our selves just as You have instructed”, this followed a resounding Amen.

“Plant in our hearts the seed of unity, when we see our brothers let us rejoice. Let us work together without resentments for one’s origin but stick together as people from one mother, Africa. Help us to build our father’s land and not travel far away in the search for nothing. O God, let our efforts and labour not be in vain”.

Iseeeee“, an Igbo man responded and others chorused in their various mother tongues. Its fusion indeed penetrated through heaven.

“Give us leaders that will take us to the promise land, not leaders that will abandon us and run alone to the promise land. We want leaders who are open to our opinions and who our cries touches the inner most part of their being. Give us leaders, who are beautiful both in appearance and action. Every one-sided leader, throw them away for we have no use of such O God!”

“Teach us Supreme Father, to learn to appreciate our own and be contented with what we have. Let us not be hungry in the midst of plenty. Help us not to be agents of discrimination. In one another, let us see our selves”, Father Francis felt the grip on both his hands tightened.

“Forgive us, Father our grievous sins which have clouded our blessings. Wash our hearts of all hatred and malice. Help us that bribery and corruption won’t be the order of our day. Hear our prayers and perform your mighty miracles. As we stand in one accord, Father there must be a change…a permanent change with your unending blessings”, the chest exploding ‘Amen ‘ brought the manager out to find out what could be amiss.

Immediately, the potbellied manager was sighted, they all stomped towards him with the intention of a better tomorrow at heart. A new dawn!

END

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Prickly Prank — September 10, 2018

Prickly Prank

Two days after the proposal, she found a card at her doorstep, written in a messy handwriting. “DO NOT MARRY HIM!” At first she thought it was one of those jealous girls who were after her handsome fiancé and since they couldn’t end up with him, decided to stomp her with threat cards but as she carefully studied the card, she came to terms that the card was actually a warning from one who cares deeply about her happiness. Now the big question, “What is the reason behind this overwhelming care?’, was planted in her head with hope of germinating into a gainful result.

She transformed speedily from a fashion designer to a detective scanning the messy handwriting to see if she could trace it to that of her friends or family members. It was like the harder she looked the less she sees. She was filled with too much pride to engage anyone with the situation, seeing that her traditional marriage was in three weeks time. Now the bigger question hit her, ” Why the rush on the part of her fiancé to get married?” They met eight months ago and she was agape when he proposed on the ninth month. With such card which even carried a date, “30th March, 2018” and the haste to be married, indeed calls for urgent attention. This means she needs to level up her detective skills and real fast too.

Day two after the four lettered words that stood mysteriously at her doorstep, she sat helplessly with a face that had been denied decent sleep, with the card still in her hands. “God please give me a sign’, she prayed. Her head was filled with the thought of her beloved having another family and perhaps the card was from the first wife or maybe he wasn’t human. Oh God!, she erased the crazy thoughts but was encroached with more horrendous ones.

“What if he is a ritualistic…”, another thought struck her. She has somehow been suspicious of his wealth which he claimed was a journey of a thousand miles. She picked up her phone and dialed the number she had contemplated calling the day the card arrived.

“Hello…Mike. Where are you?”, she asked in a hoarse voice. It took her a while to realize she didn’t ask how he was doing. Not like it would change the way she felt even, he haven’t bothered to check up on her either, abandoning the wedding preparations on her table.

“Are you okay baby?…you sound cold”, a sweet voice from the other end of the phone asked. It sent chills down her spine. This man promised her the world, just him and herself in it but now it seems like he came dragging in a baggage of people who are now planning a coup.

“You haven’t answered my question “, she bellowed, taking the bull by the horns. She was getting angry with Mike’s cool and calm attitude meanwhile she has been impassioned for days. She planned to trace the origin of that card. The card that have given her sleepless nights and workless days.

“Calm down babe…am coming over let’s talk”, with this the call ended. She was about to scream into the phone, “DO NOT COME OVER” but it was too late. An hour later, there was a knock at the door and she ran like a child expecting his mother. She needed to talk to somebody, so as to ease the burden a bit. When she opened the door, it wasn’t Mike but another card with same messy handwriting. “APRIL FOOLS DAY SWEET HEART, LOVE YOU LOADS!”

First Born Like Us — August 29, 2018

First Born Like Us

As a human being, there are so many things rushing one in life. In fact life is a rush itself. Everyone isn’t excluded from its rush. The rush to grow up and start schooling…the rush to finish school and be rushed by responsibilities and even the rush to settle down as a married person…then comes the rush to procreate. The rush circle continues over and over again.

The rush in focus here, centers on the first born…please you all should get in line and indicate when I step in any spot that looks familiar in your rushed lives as the first child of your family.

Permit me to use the adverb ‘sadly’ for us first born…responsibilities rush us from all directions to the extent we even forget ourselves…we hustle for others all our lives. We’re flooded with responsibilities to the point, we forget to breathe. True or false? TRUE!

There are special perks that comes with being the first child, reason we’re almost choked out with responsibilities. The first child is always the first to get or experience anything. In Africa, a first born is an eye for others to see with and African parents ensure that their first child don’t miss out on being responsible people in the family and society at large.

Amara a fellow first born, shared her responsibilities filled life and had this to say, “Being the eldest child is a blessing and a curse”. Blessing…because every first child brings joy unending to his parents; he enjoys brand new clothes, toys, baby cot and so on. Everything that a first child uses is brand new and then he passes it on to others. According to Amara, it is a curse because one becomes an adult trapped in a child’s body while growing up and before he knows it…life have rushed him with responsibilities before he could even say, ‘jack’. While growing up Amara was made to behave and act like an adult, why? So as to set good examples for her siblings.

But do you think its a curse? Anyway, that’s Amara’s opinion!

Gerald also shared his first born experiences while growing up. Everyday he woke up at 4:00am, heat the water for everyone to bathe, prepare breakfast (his mother passed away when he was only eleven years old, leaving him with his father and four other siblings) and afterwards prepare his siblings for school. Gerald lamented, “Most days, my father would leave me behind because I was ‘late’ for school, forgetting that the responsibilities were just too much for me”. Gerald would end up trekking to school after been the first to wake up and his siblings who got served like princes and princesses, enjoyed a free ride to school.

Tope, the first child in a family of seven, who grew up in Lagos had this to say, “As the eldest, in order to be loved and accepted, one need to be responsible. It comes with a huge sacrifice. You deny yourself of some pleasure so that others can benefit”. It isn’t easy to sacrifice for others you’ll agree with me but being the first born you just got to sacrifice. Tope shared a story of her visit to her auntie’s place one Sunday alongside her six siblings. Her auntie offered to serve them rice and chicken with some local drinks, it was a tempting offer but the instructions from her parents was loud in her head, “don’t collect or eat anything outside this house in our absence”. Tope saw six eyes shooting at her direction, waiting for her to give the shot…is it a Yes or a No? Whichever… so far the first child have spoken they were all down with it.

At that moment, Tope would be responsible for any decision she makes. Whether good or bad as it would affect herself and others.

I recalled one time when I packed my belongings and waited for my parents to come home from work (remember am also a first born). The minute they arrived, I started crying and pleading with them to take me back to me real parents, the responsibilities were beginning to choke the young life out of me. I was denied the opportunity to play with my peers…I was either washing my siblings clothes or arranging the house my siblings left in disarray or doing something that kept my hands full. There was no break time I tell you.

“After school everyday, I journey to my siblings school which was miles away from mine. Sometimes under the scorching sun or rainy weather to go pick them up from school. After picking them up, we took a taxi home…I never trekked with my siblings back home but it was okay for me to trek to their school. Pheww!”, Rodiat bewailed as she shared her first born experiences while growing up.

Frankly speaking, we no too dey find responsibilities, na dem dey rush us!

Amara, Gerald, Tope, Rodiat and myself agree that as we grew older, the responsibilities are still ever present. In fact they got bigger and hornful. The responsibilities wake one up in the morning, gives one reason to worry in the afternoon and storms you with sleepless nights.

Thanks to the built-in immune system to rush of any kind, we can proudly say, we don’t allow these responsibilities bring us down rather we’re stronger everyday!

Hello, share with me those responsibilities that rushed you and still rushing you as the first born.

#Coverpicture @lexonart

Readers To Leaders — August 27, 2018

Readers To Leaders

Hey Parents,

Get in here…don’t let the summer break go without your child reading at least two books. Or more!

Reading is like going into the writer’s brain and borrowing what he knows, and add to yours. Imagine reading about ten books…you’ve just borrowed ideas from the brains of ten different writers.

This will make a child crave for more books.

Remember, your children are what they read…so get them books that boost their reasoning, intellectual development and understanding of their environment. There are lots of awesome children books with the above qualities that your kids will love.

Reading elevates.

Parents, don’t forget that “A reader today is a leader tomorrow”.

Books does all the Magic.

Once A Church Girl |Part 2| — August 26, 2018

Once A Church Girl |Part 2|

My night was filled with the thoughts of Kwame…I know its wrong, my father calls it lust. I was thrilled with his appearance and not his character which was even nothing to be write home about from the little I’ve seen but still, you can’t blame a young girl. Let me drool in lust just this once or should I pray about it?!

Never mind…its nothing too serious to worry God about.

The next day, I slowly walked that path where my heart was dazed with great anticipation to see “Charlie” again but to no avail. My day was already ruined because I couldn’t pay attention to the lectures being delivered. Gosh! This must be love!

“I’ve warned you several times about coming to my lectures late”, I heard the lecturer warn and I followed the direction of his hands and the heads of the students.

I couldn’t believe it. This is a miracle. Just the person my heart have been craving for.
He shot the lecturer a smile that reads, “better late than never” and finds a seat behind. “I should have sat behind”, I thought…what a mistake!

I still couldn’t pay attention…in fact it was now difficult with him in class. I took permission from the lecturer to leave the hall for another lecture…that was a lie. As I strode towards the exit door, I made sure there was an eye contact between us and immediately waved at him.

Guess what?

He waved back with a melting smile. Oh someone catch me…because I am indeed falling in love.

“Hey girl”, I heard someone chase after me on the school’s walkway.
“Hi Kwame…” My being leaped for joy. My guardian angel is obviously putting everything in order to work for my good I must say.
“I didn’t get your number yesterday…so unlike me”, with this he handed me his phone.

What does he mean by “so unlike him”. Whatever, I don’t want to spoil the joy bottled up inside of me. I handed him the phone after typing in my CORRECT phone number.

“Let’s go to the quadrangle over there and talk”, he suggested. I loved the sound of that.

When we got to the quadrangle, he wiped off the dust on the spot I was to sit and shot me that beautiful smile of his again. You see, one shouldn’t be quick to condemn others. Imagine if I had condemned him yesterday for shouting at me, I wouldn’t have met this attractive side of him.

“Thanks”, I appreciated.

“I have a confession, mind you am not this direct with every girl I meet. I thought of you the whole night. I can’t place my hands on the reason though but I just know you must be special”, he winked at me. I was tempted to scream, ” I thought of you too”, but my tongue was tied with shyness. We talked about regular things and I laughed all through. Kwame was the funniest and my heart was glad to have found a friend. It was time for my next lecture which was far into the school.

“I am almost late for my next class…I’ve got to go”.

“Not to worry, I’ll drop you off”, he offered and held my hand towards his car.”You’ve got soft hands”, he complemented. This made me blush like a ten years old.

Kwame was a lively person, no boring moments with him as I noticed within this short period we’ve spoken to each other. He just has something to talk about.

“Hey girlie, I’ll call you later. Let’s hang out properly… Okay?”, he said when we got to the engineering auditorium. Kwame was studying African Studies but we shared only one class together, which is General English.

“Okay…I’ll love that…”

Did you remember me saying something about my day been ruined? Please scratch that out. It is the most fabulous day since I landed in this country.

“Chizzie, look up”, Mercy cried drifting my thoughts away
“Hey…I didn’t see you when I woke up today. Did you disappear? “, I asked my roommate, whose behavior sometimes scared the hell out of me.
“I had an early lecture”, I heard her laugh and beckoned on me to come meet her through the stairs.
“I saved a seat for you but unfortunately the lecturer won’t be coming”, a happy Mercy said when I climbed up.
“Why now?…besides you should have called to inform me earlier. I was having a swell time you know”, I think I was pissed.
“What’s up with you…you sound like someone whose meat was snatched outta their mouth”, Mercy was scanning my facial expressions.

Exactly…my fresh meat was snatched by the lecture that won’t hold anymore.

“Whatever “, I managed to say.
“Anyway, was that Kwame who dropped you off?”
“Yes…”
“Gosh! You’re blushing. I have never seen you blush before. This must be real”, she noted. Even Mercy believe that its love.
“But, how did you know Kwame? ”
“Who doesn’t. He is a popular kid plus his father is a professor in the university”, she looked at me with the ‘I know more than you do’ look.
“I don hear! Let’s go home am starving”, I said and began to climb down the stairs.
“Your new fish didn’t buy you lunch?”
“Mercy…just by mere looking at him and his company gets me full”
“So why are you hungry then”, she let out a small laugh
“Mind yourself o…am sure you’ve never being in love this girl”
“Wait first…who is teaching you these pidgin English, Miss?”, Mercy couldn’t help but ask. I recalled when I was still the newest kid in the block and all I do was cover my ears whenever I hear them speak pidgin English… now look at me!
“Bad influence…I guess”. This made mercy laugh so hard and I heard her say, “If you wan spoil, you go spoil”.

Her statement shut me up and we silently walked to the apartment.

To be continued…

Do you agree with Mercy’s last statement?

Is there more to these ‘bad influences’? Find out next Sunday.

Happy Sunday Lovelies!

Diary of a Lekpa Girl |Episode One| — August 22, 2018

Diary of a Lekpa Girl |Episode One|

Growing Up…

My name is Mary, I grew up in the central part of the country where they call tall people, “dogo” and if you’re slim, “lekpa” is the most popular name that is used.

The first day, I was called lekpa by my teacher, I cried bitterly to the point of dizziness. Mr Kelechi, our new government teacher…wasn’t remorseful after pricking the heart of a sensitive fifteen year old girl.

“You, over there. Yes…stand up”. I slowly stood up not quite certain if I was the one he pointed at. When I was fully up, with my height in full display and almost reaching the class roof…am not exaggerating; he said, “You look too tall for your age”, and my classmates giggled. I didn’t know how to take it in, as a complement or notification.
Then he asked, ” In what year was Lyttleton constitution set in Nigeria?”
I had no clue to the answer, truth be told I didn’t even know what a constitution is to start with and I humbly said to him, “Sir, I have no idea”.
“As tall as you are, you mean to tell me that there is nothing in that head of yours?”
I was already getting emotional and my sit mate noticed. She made gestures with her hands, telling me not to say a word.
“Huh?…am I not asking you a question? Lekpa…are you still here?”
I couldn’t hold myself anymore… I sat down quietly and let the tears flow. My classmates started whispering to each other, some were for Mr Kelechi and some against him. My love for government diminished just for that singular word.

My friends, both in school and at home didn’t reached my elbow in terms of their heights. I was always the tallest one, which made me look awkward when playing with them. It looked like Goliath playing with a group of Davids…only that this Goliath is a slim one.

There is a few good sides to my height though and that was because it benefited those around and not me…like one time in the library, Joyce wanted to pick a book at the top most shelve. Anyway, you know the rest…Mary saved the day!

Growing up as the tallest and slimmest amongst my peers was a hard meat to chew, I often cry and when am owing up to it, something or someone comes from nowhere and scatters it. I remembered vividly when my class wanted to take pictures for the school magazine, I took my tall self to the front because I really wanted my face to show unlike the last time it wasn’t captured, only to be shouted at, by about twelve persons behind me,

“Mary!!…move away abegi”, Desmond was the loudest
“There is an empty platform behind us…not to worry, the photographer will still get you. If its just your head…be grateful “, Arinze added and this made everyone laugh…even my friends.
“So when people that are up to my elbow speak, you that ain’t close to my waist will want to say something too?”, I asked with raised brows. I had to attack back because my classmates were beginning to see me as a cry baby and made sure they used every opportunity to make fun of my height.

Before that day, my mum told me something about self love, that one got to love themselves first by so doing others won’t have the guts to say otherwise. This gave me a little boost but it didn’t stop me from wondering why I had to be so tall and slim altogether, unlike my peers.

Something happened, that made me embrace my beloved height and shape. You know what happened? I grew up and got to know that my type was a hot cake…

To be continued…

Finger crossed for episode two!

Jazzed to Jigawa |now on Okadabooks| — August 19, 2018

Jazzed to Jigawa |now on Okadabooks|

Unlike other well mannered young girls in Nigeria, Stephanie took a bold daring step to visit a friend she met on Facebook, who stays in the northern part of the country. It was a decision she had thought out for about four months and since she was less busy at home, she gave him a call and they both arranged for the trip. The transport fare was sent to her bank account and directions sent to her phone.
Early one Thursday morning after a seriously dedicated prayer to God for divine protection and forgiveness in case something goes wrong; she bordered a bus to Kano which was five hours from home. She met a young man in the bus who chatted her up and helped ease the tension of traveling to a ‘strange’ place to go see a stranger. She was glad eighty percent of the passengers used the lingua franca to communicate and had convincing reasons for traveling to the north unlike her, who told her mum she was traveling to Abuja.

When she got to Kano, she had to take another transport to Jigawa which was an additional three hours to the journey.
Finally she got to her destination and gave him a call to come pick her at the park. Stephanie over rated him to the extend that when she saw him, she almost took the next available bus back home. She wondered why the camera didn’t capture his big head and bulgy eyes in the pictures of him, she do see on Facebook, but she had to play cool except she wanted to find herself sleeping with the ‘al’majeris’ that night.
“Finally…”, She said, when she got into his dusty car,
“Yes oh”, he replied trying not to look so pleased. But deep down she was sure he was jumping completely naked for joy. Which pretty girl as herself would leave home just to visit a big headed bulgy eyed guy in a far northern state. What happens if he visited her instead? Common sense was beginning to kick in.

Continue reading on blog.okadabooks.com/jazzed-jigawa-facebook-friends/

Once A Church Girl —

Once A Church Girl

There is something about missing church once…it becomes a habit and then you’re like, “I missed church once and nothing happened…O my soul let’s be merry”.

But

If you miss church once and you struggled to attend the next time then remember it wasn’t your might but that of God, who strengthens his people. This spirit of ours is willing to follow his words but the flesh…Oh!…the flesh is weak.

I was once a regular church girl, never missed church except if I don’t want to face the rout of my father. My father was the head pastor in church. So imagine when his children misses church…what kinda example will he be setting for his congregation.

Pheww! My life as a church girl was tough but as I said earlier, it wasn’t by my might.

After I graduated from secondary school, I got admitted in a tertiary school abroad, to study Electrical Engineering. The head pastor, my father wasn’t okay with me traveling to a neighbouring country to study.

“You rejected admissions from reputable institutions here”, he said with voice slightly raised.

“I wasn’t given the course I applied for in those institutions”. Imagine applying for Electrical Engineering and one is given either Botany, Chemistry or Microbiology. How were they related even?

“Now you want to travel to be on your own”. Am sure my father didn’t know when he said that. He was only scared I might drift away from his teachings and join the bad wagons, as he called them.

I was the only girl born in my family with four boys. So now you understand my father’s fear. It wasn’t easy assuring him that I was going to still be the good girl he trained.

Promises were easy to make but damn difficult to keep. Five months abroad and I was still a good girl, went to church, attended lectures, called home everyday. Until I bumped into Kwame on my way to my little apartment. I was so pressed that day, that all I could picture was my loo.

“Hey…Charlie, watch where you’re going”, he raked.

I muttered some apologetic words and picked my books which were now scattered all over.

“Chi…ee…aam”, I turned behind me to find the person who just shouted at me not to long ago, trying to pronounce my name with one of my note books in his hands.

“Let me have my book”, I requested and dared to look him in the eyes. I felt cold chills down my spine. He was the perfect description of striking. Lo and behold, I was struck.

“I’ll give you, if only you tell me your name”. If only he knew that was a good deal for me.

I smiled at him before I told him my name.

“Hmmm…Charlie, I bet you’re not from my country, right?”. I nodded. He told me his name which am sure you knew before now.

“But am not Charlie, call me by my name”, with this he laughed so hard that my bladder almost broke, reminding me that I still had an undisposed urine in it.

“I have to go”, felt sad with those words and ran to my apartment like I was about to go crazy.

To be Continued…

Will Kwame and the pastor’s daughter click? Will she bring him to her side of the world, or will Kwame do so? Find out more next Sunday.

HAPPY SUNDAY LOVELIES!!

A Cry For Help — August 18, 2018

A Cry For Help

The menacing image of the demon I battle with, glued my mouth every time it pops up in my head. His eyes had fire in them and threatens me when he shows up for “dinner”. His ears, deafened to my cry and plea for discontinuity and his hands are made of iron, leaving me damaged. This demon took away my sleep and in my dreams, he is there to suffocate me.

Life was gradually loosing its taste for me. I wanted an end. Things I liked became bitter, those who posed as my friends, I labeled as my enemy. I searched for a hiding place but found none. Home became hell.

My mother was also oblivious of the placard of a cry for help I carry around. Day by day I am torn apart by weary, fear and death too. I even pray that the next day passes me by. Yes! It is number one on my prayer list. I wonder why I am surrounded by blind people. People who can’t read my expressions and actions…perhaps till I give up this stained and stolen life of mine, before they act.

School was a temporary bone, I hid here hugged with fear for what awaits me at home. I got angry with everyone. My friends were no exception, after inquiring what the matter was but to no avail, they fled. I was getting overused and would kill for the chance to sleep and not wake up!

One gloomy afternoon as usual for me, a teacher entered the class. In between the lesson, something happened.

”Ekene!”, that was my teacher’s voice. She pronounced my name like one who had office pins in her mouth. I lifted my head from my locker and met reddened eyes piercing into my inner being. Hope Miss Adewale didn’t finish a bag of peppers before coming to school because I smell trouble already.

“You better not be sleeping in my class…let me see your Basic Science exercise book”, she snapped, stretching her hands towards me. As I brought out the outdated exercise book, I noticed my teacher’s hand drop slowly with a fixed gaze on me.

“Are you well?”, I heard her ask, scanning the awful figure in front of her.

Hallelujah!

The question I have being dying to hear for the past four weeks and two days. My inner being sure jumped for joy.

I opened my mouth to answer, but nothing came out just air. Noo! I can’t lose my voice now, I want someone to help me wipe away my tears. By now I noticed all eyes travelling towards me, still I tried even harder for my voice box to function but to my amazement, I was stuck.

“Follow me”, My teacher ordered seeing my mouth go open and close, yet not a sound was made.

As I obeyed the order, I heard some of my classmates whispering to each other. Unfortunately one got to my hearing. “She has being isolating herself lately, what is it she has that we don’t?”.

“But she looks terribly sore”, one tried to be considerate.

I was tempted to scream back, “Misery!”. I faced hell every day especially at nights, when the fire is heated and everywhere is dark for the DEMON to carry out his ills. The arrival of a distant relative have shattered my life and at the same time gladdened the hearts of my parents. That was the answer I prepared for their question but I withdrew…too weak to engage them. All the same, I managed to throw a psyched up look their way.

“Sit down”, another order from the angel God has sent my way. I sat down gently pulling my skirt to the edge of my knees.

“You haven’t being getting enough sleep, right?”, I nodded to that. “Why so?”, she asked immediately.

“I…I…”, now my voice box was active but the image of his face stopped me. He threatened to kill me. In fact I was sure that he would. I have seen him kill harmless domestic birds swiftly without remorse and constantly reminds me how he will do same to me, if I open my gutters to tell another. He calls my mouth ‘gutters’.

I looked into the caring eyes of Mrs Adewale and I felt a push from within to spill the milk come what may. If I die, I die knowing I told the world my tragic story.

I recounted my ordeal from the first day Odinaka stepped into my home from Ebonyi State, to my teacher and in between I itched my sheath so hard that a staff at the extreme of the staff room, cried out that the noise was becoming too much and wouldn’t tolerate a second time. Miss Adewale cautioned me with her eyes.

Odinaka, made my parents happy with his presence. He is hardworking and had the face of one who couldn’t hurt a fly. The house was always sparking like no evil ever occur in it. Not forgetting, he was a good cook too…that was the trap that entangled me and took me straight to hell. Before the arrival of ‘Uncle Ody’ as I called him, my mum placed me on food delivery, afternoon and evening. Every morning at four, she prepares breakfast before dashing out with her husband to work. So you see, Odinaka was indeed a life saver to the people I called father and mother who comes back from work every day excluding Sunday at ten or eleven in the evening. What does a little girl like myself, do with my parents at that time rather than be fast asleep in bed.

Oh…about how I was entrapped with food. You won’t blame an innocent girl that had being placed on food delivery for a long time and then out of the blues; abacha, goat meat pepper soup, nsala soup, cat fish pepper soup, garnished noddles, Moi-Moi surfaces in my home. Foods that don’t get to be delivered on a normal day and you said I shouldn’t salivate?

One evening as I was savouring my porridge beans with plantains and spinach sprinkled by the corner. Uncle Ody started playing with the switch in the kitchen. “I see you…I don’t see you”, he said with the switch going on and off. When the light came back on, he had a suspicious smile placed on his face.

“Let’s play hide and seek”, he suggested. I was then convinced that this “papalolo” is suffering from the highest level of boredom.

“Okay”, my tiny voice agreed.

“I’ll off all the lights, then you find me out”.

Huh?? Hide and seek in the DARK?

“No, don’t off the lights “, I cried.

“It will be fun, jareh“, he insisted and began to switch off all the lights. Fear gripped me when suddenly darkness visited the whole house, even the light under the staircase went off. I lost interest in the horrendous hide and seek, and carefully traced the path to my room.

Finally on my bed, I took a deep sigh of relief and made for the wall switch. I jumped out of my skin at the figure that was revealed.

“You found me!”, someone screamed. Uncle Ody hid in my room and on my bed and under my blanket to be precise. I thought I had escaped this silly game. All I heard was the sound of a snare drum played by my heart.

“Sharp Ekene”, he hailed and I felt his hand under my gown. I sharply threw his hand off and ran towards the door but like flash, he was there.

Uncle Ody switched off the light and the sexual assault henceforth till the day I die.

Miss Adewale’s mouth was threw ajar at the implausible account of event and my eyes saw something that looked like a patch of dried tears…have she being crying? I asked myself.

“Why didn’t you tell your mother, eeh Ekene?”, she asked angrily. I could count the number of times I had set eyes on my mother…two! And never did she ask of my well-being. She chases the paper blindly…they all do.

“She’s never around, Miss”.

“I’ll follow you home today, and we’ll both wait for your parents to be back”, her smile was reassuring. It rekindled my hope to live again. With its little effort, it scrapped the thoughts of suicide that I had planned to execute on my way home. She was indeed an angel, sent to take me out of the torture I passed through all nights.

“Or better still I’ll call your parents, they must leave work and come respond to this grievous situation. What nonsense?!”. She matched straight to the landline and dialed my parents number.

In no time, my parents were seen flying out of the car…so they cared this much. There a well filled with great anger for them in my heart. How could they entrust me in the hands a demon in disguise?

My parents, the principal, my guidance angel and the school nurse headed home. The school nurse had the tests result that was carried out on me to ensure that I was on a safer ground but I doubt, with the look on her face. My father kept staring at me…I wonder what was running through his mind. His eyes apologized each time they met mine. Too late, he realised how nonchalant they’d been.

My mother, she ran mad ready to face this demon I had being locked up with for about a month now. She screamed at the top of her voice, exposing every veins on her neck.

“Odinaka!”, my mother called out for the third time. We heard foot steps and the face that gave me nightmares came into view.

My mother pounced on him with her artificial nails diving deep into his skins. I heard him cry for help, just like I did daily in his hands.

But I was certain, no amount of beating, biting, raining of insults or locking him up in jail would amend the shattered being of this poor twelve year old girl.

Selected Few — August 16, 2018

Selected Few

What happens next when one gets admitted to the university?

The selected few who finally got admitted into college to study courses applied for or imposed; are now faced with other major challenges. When they think they’ve seen it all, something jumbo comes crashing in and everything gets shattered instantly. Imagine a candidate, who after many years of praying and fasting and making vows to the Almighty all in the bid to get admission, only to find out that there are still terrifying bridges to cross such as burning midnight candles, paying for textbooks and handouts, feeding and accommodation and the list goes on. So many of these factors are faced with repacausions like being awarded with lower grades if you don’t meet up with the lectures demands of buying handouts or sorting (cash or in kind), getting into a relationship in campus just to survive and have someone cater for your basic needs and breaking personal vows all for the fear of been lonely in other to conform to the new environment. Most challenging is campus romance (applies to both the male and the female gender, but this write up would focus on female gender), since female students are mostly at the receiving end and tend to easily give in to fear.

According to Berger, a romantic relationship may ease environmental stress. For some this is true; juggling academics, personal responsibilities combined with social life is hard work and “a break won’t kill though”. This can take different forms, using a case study where your college sweetheart happens to be your class mate whom, ever since you walked into that GSP lecture hall has refused to stop being sweet and caring, always checking up on you when you’re not in for lectures and also covering up for you when it comes to assignments, research papers, studying together and reserving front sit for you during lectures. Now a lot can go wrong, one may get too distracted with focus on nothing except the object of their passion. They begin to concentrate more on the phony images of their sweethearts than on CHEMISTRY 101 or sadly, the romantic entanglement could be just for the benefits one get such as knowledge or connections.

Girls in campus most times, break the stress by getting romantically involved with the gurus in class for academic benefits…likewise rich kids whom they obviously take advantage of but the fact still remains that very few stay true to themselves and their reasons for coming into the university which is to study, make good grades and carve an edge for themselves in the society, while being pressured by their peers and also by daily challenges in life.

These “few” always keep the big picture in mind staying focused and avoiding all forms of distractions…these results into being called several names like “the Jew girl”, “ triangular student” and the list is endless. These set of students who avoid the so called campus relationship tend to stay focused in their studies because for some of them it wasn’t a day’s job getting into the university. Some of these few get struck by bad luck on the journey after carefully avoiding many obstacles…here, even their lecturers (the ones that want anything on skirt) starts making advances at them resulting into cases where they have to go the extra miles in studying and praying to God just to come out of such snare, though for some the experiences make them fall on the road side but believe me so many still stay true.
Campus romance is with no doubt filled with deception. Heads all in for what they’ll get at the end, hardly producing something genuine. This brings me to the other category of students, the “I know what’s up” category, these ones has no academic stress to break not like they undergo any, they ooze unseriousness all over, they confidently keep two to four relationship right there in campus, they gladly seduce the lecturers and take it further just to make sure they don’t fail their courses. With no doubt, they believe there is always a way out and trust me you can bet they also had a way into the university too. Their life on campus is surrounded by extravagant life styles, they always have to stay on top of their game resulting into milking who so ever that falls into their snare of romance. Out of hundred girls in campus, ninety are looking to romantically entrap anyone. Therefore, forgetting vows made while seeking admission with reasons as, “if you can’t beat them, you join them”.

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