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Awon-Ga; my Truth

Episode Six

Shadow.


In Shao, i was not myself. I had spent six months and could not recognise the pain-striken, sorrow-laden face that stared back at me. I was doing things i never thought i could. I had become inhumane on various levels and i had forgotten my first love-Christ.

It was not enough that i went to church, was part of the Corpers’ fellowship or gathered for prayer meetings on selected days. No. I felt empty and knew that the only way i could be whole again was by reconnecting with my God and going home; Lagos. Too many days i had spent devoid of secretive talk with God. In my mind, i ran to school trying to douse the cloud that made directions seem bleak.My students were my saving grace. At least, there was one thing i had set out to do before service and with every dilligence i could muster, i taught my friends.

Six months into service, i remembered my first quarrel in Shao. It was with a senior corper who was living in the room i shared with my host. They were to leave in two weeks when i returned. My host, Lara, had gone to stay with a batch C corper so the room would not be more congested than it already was.

Grace was her name. She was not graceful. She was the definition of a nagging woman who stood as a test to every generation of men. On firstencounter with her erratic self, i was taken aback and wondered at what extremes a human being could encompass. I am stubborn, i know. I am no saint. But Grace, she was relentless in taking charge of what wasn’t hers and in making sure i understood that seniors existed during service.My first taste was one evening.

That evening, Aminu arrived from Katsina and i went to help him with his luggage. I was making dinner for myself and Grace asked if i would not share some with the tired traveller. How was that my business? Well, i made some extra even though i felt no obligation to do so and packed some for him. I went to his room, gave him the food and he smiled his thanks; asking me tohelp myself to a bottle of Viju milk. In my mind i was like; ‘please, this is just me being nice. Don’t reciprocate this with that.’ I smiled a no and left the room.

I was using Lara’s stove to,cook then. So, i put the locust beans i had bought beside the stove to preserve it. Almost immediately, Grace saw this and in alarm, said iru wasn’t stored that way. Well well. Woman, if my grandmother wasn’t dead, i would have called her to show you how wrong you are. It was surprising that an Igbo girl would teach me how to preserve Ekiti locust beans. I gave her a benefit of doubt and stored it in a container with a lot of salt. The next morning, it was spilling maggots.

‘Grace, this is the method you prescribed. Check out how effective it is.’

‘Really? It must have spoilt already before putting it there. Hmmn. That’s what happens when you put it beside the stove.’

‘Are you serious? Instead of you to just accept that you advised me wrongly, look at what you are saying.’

‘Excuse you! Mschew, you have no right to talk to me that way. You need to understand that this room still belongs to Lara and you have to do it the way she has always done. Your spoilt locust beans is a result of your stubborness.’

At that point, her voice was at a crescendo while i tried whispering so that no one would hear me. But it was useless. I could hear Aminu’s shuffling feet coming towards my room. I could hear words telling me to be calm and I saw myself throwing my precious iru away. From that moment, i wasn’t myself. I kept a grudge against Grace and till the day she left, my heart was not at peace with her. 

We had many fights afterwards; her telling me not to spread undies in the room. I had never spread my undies outside; especially not in Shao. I learnt to do that later. We went back and forth on her eating habits and her long beak that wanted to peck at every food i cooked. It was frustrating. The day she left, i heaved a sigh of relief and made plans to put the room in order.

The second person i had issues with was with Mama Amoke. Through the argument that mostly resonated on her part -as i locked my room so vultures seeking for gossip material wouldn’t see who she was referring to- i understood the meaning of being educated in attitude and the dangers of miscommunication. Mama Amoke thought i had called her an illiterate when i told her to let the person who studied electrical engineering tell us the solution to the incessant light problem that caused our floor not to have light while others had.

I didn’t greet her for a month until the landlady called me and said, ‘I know you are a Christian. I know you have been taught well. What do you want this muslim woman to say about our religion? Do what is right.’

That evening, i greeted Mama Amoke. It took her about 10 seconds to get out of the shock before she answered me.

When i had no one like Blessing and the landlady or my mother to caution me, i went on consistent malice-keeping sprees with Aminu. He was good, really good. He would keep malice with a person for days, sometimes weeks and felt triumphant when the other party called him. It was so despicable. Sometimes, i got bored especially during the holidays; tired of beading, reading and cooking and i would go into the room of my sworn enemy defying the consequences. He would look at me and smile with that silly tooth of his and say, ‘yes, can i help you?’ Or frown a fake frown while i looked for something that wasn’t missing. In the end, we would laugh the fight off after prolonged discussions and watch a movie or take a walk through Shao. 

Six months in Shao and a new me had been born. A new me who kept malice,  quarrelled and lived to see degrading things. Fights were no scarce commodity in Shao. Women married to the same man fought until their shame was exposed to the world. I always had a partner to share these moments with and relayed them in gist-form to absent Blessing. It was a recurrent tradition but i soon realised that death was also a cord that bound Shao together.

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Awon-Ga; My Truth

Episode Five

Hi guys! I want to use this opportunity to appreciate everyone for their thoughts, comments and for following the series on my blog post; Awon-Ga; My Truth. I have taken time to explain my first impression of Awon-Ga High School in Shao. The following episodes would show my experience living in Shao. Enjoy!

 

The Definition of Boredom

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I was back to the lodge provided by our school. My room was part of a three-storey building that seemed to be the centre of Shao; why,  I could not fathom at that time. However, after spending some weeks in Shao, I came to the realisation that it was one of the few storey buildings in Shao. It remained a spectacle to many even though there was algae growing all over the cream-painted walls that had become brown. Little children from the community’s  primary school came over to climb the winding stair-case located outside the landlord’s portion of the compound which faced ours menacingly. They often called it; ‘Ile oke’.

In the evenings, especially when everyone had returned from work, almost everyone in the compound  gathered and sat downstairs to talk about the day, work and above all, gossip about whatever ‘subject’ happened to pass by and mistakenly greeted them in Shao dialect. After some time, i noticed that no matter how quiet, reserved and taciturn you were (emphasis on how calm you were), you would eventually drop into one of their conversations. The way you would know that would be by the repetition  of “corper” pronounced in a strange way as ‘Koh-Pa’, in any of their conversations.

During this time, which usually spanned several hours, they would sit down, talk and talk. From snippets of their conversation, you could know the latest developments in the town, who got married to who, who ran away with whom, whose child ran away from the town because he did not want to be a victim of the witches who had recently been eating children for dinner, etc. It was commonplace and those evenings were productive, to me who listened in the dark comfort of my room and waited patiently till  they all retired, for me to cook dinner; whenever they retired. (Lara would relate to eyes that prey when one has to cook an evening meal.)

My life in Shao, during the first few weeks was quite scheduled. From school, after our thirty-minutes walk to and thirty-minutes from, my partner and I would branch by Mei Kisi (fish seller) and buy something to snack on till we got home. After clean-up, I would proceed to eat whatever was left from the morning and bead OR sleep OR gist with my partner on the veranda till it was evening, when I would enter my room and wait for the conglomerate to disperse before I went out to cook. I got tired of this at some point and endured the heat that came with cooking in my room. I had to get perfumes to douse the smell of the smoke but, it was all good.

Our principal told us in his usual half-talking half-rapping code-mixing and code-switching way that the holidays would begin as soon as exams were over. ‘No end-of-the-year party Sir?’ I asked quite surprised and disappointed in a semi-polite way. I could see my partner staring quizzically at me. I wished I had not asked the question.

His reply was surprising. He smiled. The first time I would see that. After the gesture, I wished he did not. He scrunched his nose in a peculiar way and smiled with all his teeth out. My expression must have been queer as his smile went quickly as it came.

‘Mosun o. Party KE! Except ehmm if we are ehinn going to ask our teachers to contribute. Hen en. Hehehe. Which is impossible hmmn. Impossibility, because who has been paid? hen? So, no party.’

 

Then, the holidays came. I remember when sometimes I shed tears as I stared at my laptop screen. I was tired of watching movies all day long. I was tired of seeing nothing but sharp light and characters of Game of Thrones series. I was exhausted from what had made me excited; days when I thought I knew what boredom was. A night came that opened my eyes to the infallible truth. As I sat in the night with Aminu and Tolu, fellow corps members, I shuddered when I realised that I had come to know what boredom was; my life was ticking away and there was nothing I could do about it. Nothing. As Aminu said, I had lost appetite for everything.

It was sad that serving my fatherland would never be as glorious as I had thought but I guess it spurred me to write. It was no great feat trying to change the psychological disposition of students who came to class just for show. During class one day, I asked them what they wanted to be in the future.  Wahab said, ‘ Soldier Mummy!’ I rolled my eyes as i told him for the umpteenth time not to refer me as such. Next, Fawaz wanted to be an engineer and Taiwo proudly stood up and said, ‘Alfa! Mummy.’ I shook my head and turned to the board. Most of them came to fulfil all righteousness, as, at the end of the school year, during WAEC, answers to the exam questions would be written on the board for them. What was the system of education turning into? I asked myself after refusing to help students with their NECO exam and was rebuffed by some teachers. Even my partner felt I was unfair, he knew it was bad but I was unfair for what I did.

I remembered my grandmother. She was a teacher, quite diligent in the art.  I wondered if that was what she stood for; ‘helping’ the inadequacies of the students and the system. Who would have known that in deed, the roots of our problems lie deep, beyond the high walls of the government house or the broken walls of kirikiri prison? It lay deep in rural schools and it had come to stay.

Every night we would sit outside, talking of various things and spanning different topics. We sometimes knew we had to stop talking, had to reflect on reality but we were wont not to be hit with the dawn of our reality. It was as though we were locked in a mystery, a maze of uncertainty that only talks of foolish, irrelevant subjects would repress.

Something new came up to excite us, like Aminu’s boiled egg and pepper formula but recently, he too sat in his room, not interested in the ‘sit-outside’ remedy that seemed to be waning in its soothing power. Some nights, we would stare into the night and wait for the sharp drizzles, then heavy rainfall to send us into our respective rooms. Even then, we could not wait for daybreak, for another day of repeated boredom.

Eating could be the best remedy at times. But when you are condemned to carbs in different forms and have to wake up several times in the night to pee, then food becomes boring too. The previous batch who were with us counted their days to freedom; theirs being perhaps  a worse fate  as they would not be paid for being jobless. They were heading to a different world that held mysteries and uncertainties. Aminu was almost always on the phone, speaking to loved ones in Katsina. Sometimes, I sat in my room listening to unintelligible conversations and realised that I was stuck here; in a place with no ATM within 10 kilometres or more. There was a lady who was quite vocal and one day, I heard as she mumbled among the conglomerate, something unfavourable about me locking myself indoors. Some of us recognise our reality and prefer to sink deeply into it.

 

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The man who bent to poo

I saw a man who bent to poo

He bent on the sidewalk beside the main road.

He bent as the buses passed 

He squeezed his face as the traffic loomed and eased a bit of the brewing discomfort in his belly.

A police van whizzed past

Its siren sounding in its wake

The man stood from where he bent

He stretched and yawned 

And 

Left the stench in the overgrown bush that lined the side-walk on the main road.

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Awon-Ga; My Truth

Episode Four


A landscape of nothingness

I was esctatic at the prospect that lay befote me. We had been going for about five minutes now, in a car and i was unperturbed. Mama, our principal had said things would be fine, that the school was of a trekkable distance and situated far from the prying eyes of the townspeople in an enclosed area. 10 minutes later, we got to the school.

The site before me was an uncompleted senior arm with bare windows that welcomed us with open arms and naked doors that looked on us in awe at the wake of our coming. Mr. Abdulrazaq ushered us in, Mama took a sit and before we could settle down, Baba, the vice principal for academics made us understand Mama was not a principal. She was only there as an acting principal.

I almost asked how that made any difference but i was grateful for her ambience and good gestures and how she smiled a smile that gave promises of better days ahead. My partner was still basking in the euphoria of a foreign graduate. I looked at him closely and wondered what would become of him few weeks into the scheme; psychologically.

‘See that place?’

We turned. We saw nothing.

‘There, behind the trees.’

There was a dilapidated structure of four open doors and a roof about to take flight. We nodded our assents and waited for Mama to swallow the pap in her mouth and bite off a morsel of moi moi which she had chanced to eat while we searched for what it was she had wanted us to see. 

‘Hmmn. That was done by some corpers years ago. Pit latrine. Nice initiative. We hope you can do better.’

I smiled a quick smile and looked around the office. It was plastered with a few cracks scattered here and there and as i scanned the room, my eyes fell on a poster. It was in purple and white, typical VSO and the words flowed into me; through my eyes, i could see myself acting out those words;

‘People are not honoured by what they receive. Honour has always been for what they gave.’

That perhaps reiterated the mandate i had. It sparked in me a jolt that erased the prejudices i was already building up and made me focus on the primary reason i was at Awon-Ga; to give without hope of recompense. 

After our registration and Mama’s entreating that i teach English and Literature-in-English to the three arms of senior secondary school (which i bluntly refused and settled down for the latter), we were driven home and readied ourselves for the next day. I was to teach Literature-in-English to SSS1 to SSS3. While the foreign graduate was to teach SSS2 Physics.

It was at Awon-Ga i met my Shao friends; Mustapha, Hamzat(who still calls me), Ridwan (who refused to take a picture because it was against his religious beliefs), Tawa(the only girl in Ss2 class who inspired the writing of this blog post), among a host of my sss1 students. 

I was about to meet Shao through the eyes of my precious little friends who made me travel out of my comfort zone into the world of possibilities and mystery that marks rural life.

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Awon-Ga; My Truth

Episode three

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Obinna,super man

Let me escape the fluttering images of the rural and pristine nature i hoped to encounter. Let me remove prejudices that come with getting to an unfamiliar place and focus on the people i met before marching briskly towards the principal and following her lead to her car which would drive us to our Place  of Primary Assignment (PPA).

I met Blessing while on camp at one of the VSO trainings on teaching, adapting to the rural life and general orientation. It was a  chance meeting,  nothing special until we met at a family house and  a bond was brewing. Next, i met Ayo. A young man i was drawn to because of his way with words,he was never verbose, always concise and always hitting the nail on the head. I met mallam Zurmi, a young man who loved to hear himself talk and ironically made a lot of sense if carefully listened to. I met Akeem, a graduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University who studied Guidance and  Counselling. He reminded me  a lot of my friend Tola who was very proud of his course and always ready to ‘display’. Akeem eventually got married to a lady he met during service. The dividends of NYSC you would say. I met Obisesan Lekan, who happened to be my kinsman and who also served in my host community. I never met my school partner, Aminu.

After the weary night, we woke up to the smell of tea and fresh bread. The Deeper Life Family House where we stayed in had prepared a sumptuous meal of jollof rice and fish the night before. That morning, it was bread and tea. I was overwhelmed and really appreciated the gesture from strangers. After giving us advice, they helped us with our luggage to the road and got a cab for us. I think they paid our fare.

My first encounter with Ilorin was on a rainy day, there was not much to see or notice as i quickly jumped onto the bus headed towards Yikpata camp. This time, i took it all in. The streets were very much like Lagos. I had always thought Ilorin was a symbol of Kwara but a visit to Yikapata, Edu LGA faulted my prejudice.

That morning, as scheduled, we reported to the ministry of Education. We were introduced and it was time for principals of the host schools to pick their corpers. Awon-Ga High School was mentioned. I stood up, the principal did too and contrary to what

had been said, i was the only corper at Awon-Ga. The moderator looked at the list with him and mentioned the name of my partner, a guy.

Argh! An Hausa for

that matter. Even though Abubakar had abated my  fears and reservations about them, i had not hoped for it to happen that way. I smiled my widest smile and followed our principal who was already on her way.

She was really interested in the young man who had finished from Malaysia. Our duties there were sparsely mentioned and it was all about what Malaysia was like, wow, he finished with a first class, oh! he could help teach Physics and Maths since he studied Electrical Electronics etc.

It was a sting. At that point, i was jealous. I never knew it was a big deal to study abroad. That day, they made me understand the importance of studying abroad, why it was necessary  and why, despite the fact that the alumni of such school was a skinny Hausa-Fulani, it was the greatest form of achievement. At that moment, i made up my mind, to focus my energies on the students  that i had not met.

We got to the house rented for corpers and were left in care of a senior VSO corps member, Lara. After documentation, travelling down to Bode Saadu, a 2-hour journey which was dust-filled and replete with  gigantic potholes and shaky yet heavy trailers wobbling carelessly on the ‘expressway’, we returned to the house.

I looked at the room. It felt small. On impulse, i went to ease myself. Th.e bathroom was frowning. In the night, after serving me a  sumptuous meal of amala and ewedu, Lara went to sleep. My partner had returned to MCAN(Muslim Copers Association of Nigeria) family house. I lay down and shut my eyes tightly, trying to evade the reality i would live in for a whole year.

I shut my eyes to the door that could not be bolted and waited for dawn to come. Later that night, NEPA brought light. Lara  called me goodluck charm because  there had not been light for over three weeks.

I shut my eyes again and opened them the next morning. It was time for Lagos.

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Awonga; My Truth

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With Nikky baby

Episode TwO
It’s May 28 2015. I woke up quite early, to the noise made by excited hostel mates than from the beagle that would sound hours later. It was permitted to be that excited as we were leaving this ‘hell hole’ after three weeks of inexhaustible exercises and drills that left us wondering if we had not made a mistake by signing up with #3,000 Naira, for the service year.

Thus, our excitement left us waking up around 1:00 am, when the stars in the sky were so bright and clear, twinkling with the same enthusiasm that we had as we bathed carelessly in the open and cold outside (the bathrooms were usually filled up). It did not seem to matter.

Everyone was packed, everything needed was packed for the unknown destination. This moment marked a very significant aspect of our NYSC lives. It was that moment when life , ‘bent on the undergrowth’ and the only way we could know what lay beneath, beyond that undergrowth was when we got our  posting letters. Fate was decided then. Some, who knew where they would serve were kind of relaxed but that excitement seemed to pervade the air and they were recipients of it too.

The Tapa people; those who sold us small stuff, washed clothes and cleaned the toilet for small fees were around us, asking for buckets we did not need, bags we thought were unnecessary and even clothes; the white shirts and shorts of cause. My Ghana-Must-Go bag, the bigger one with an opened teeth for a zip and a burst side was what i left. I was determined not to leave anything in a strange land. I guess my reservations were affirmed when an alarm rang from the only ‘box-room’ in hostel 2, that a phone had been stolen by one of the Tapa (Nigerian Christian Corpers Fellowship) women.

I remembered seeing her first at NCCF, when she came out like others to announce, through a testimony, that she had attended University of Lagos. She was slim, dark and had the ordinary face of a Nigerian who was determined to let accessories and clothing make up for toned down beauty. The lady was very active. She was in the choir, in the drama group and protocol group. She was among those set of people i often wondered if they had arrived camp a week before because they seemed to be in tune with everything and had adequate information, for Otondos, on anything.

I cannot remember her name now but i remember seeing her character being a shield to her face. She was a really nice girl and spoke with polite tones and smiles. I guess this was one of the reasons why i was sympathetic with her, the day her phone was stolen. As expected, the suspect was a Tapa. The woman, who was her washer woman had come over to her customer’s bunk asking for things she did not want and praying profusely for her when Mama Tapa was given more than she had expected. Minutes after she left, Slim lady was in search of her phone that was on the bed while Mama Tapa was seated beside her.

The wails were piercing, surprisingly and as most people ran towards the direction of another glimpse of drama before leaving, the wiser ones among us padlocked our boxes and put our phones into tightly strapped waist-bags before we became victims. Slim Lady, in the dark morning got help before she asked and vigilante groups sprung up, in search of Mama Tapa.

Mama Tapa was never found. I saw the girl when morning finally came. She was walking with a guy, laughing and i thought she had found it. I ran up to her and asked if she had found her phone. She shook her head and said she had left it in God’s hands.
‘For all i know, it could have been one of my cubicle mates. But God will catch the person.’
‘Amen dear. Pele’

She left. With her arms intertwined with the guy’s. I guessed the reason for her laughter.
I remember Olumide, the head of the vigilante group, cursing whoever had stolen the phone. Her cry was more than the bereaved and i doubt if whoever had stolen the phone would live a happy life with the weight of the curses Olumide gave.(one of the characteristics I disliked about her was her dexterity to curse at every given opportunity)

After the usual rush, after waiting for hours under the sun for the governor of Kwara state who was finally represented by a man in white agbada and a protruding stomach, we got our posting letters. The bearers of Baruten, Kanyanma, Ifelodun and Patigi local governments were horror-stricken and in tears. I remember Bola, a girl posted to Baruten whose tears left a trail she did not bother to clean, on her face. The people who seemed happy were those posted to Illorin and Offa. Those were the ‘it’ places in Kwara. We would come to understand otherwise.

I was posted to Moro local government, a place no one, not even the Kwara-based locals on camp were aware of. I nursed my disappointment. I joined a group, Volunteer Services Overseas (VSO) on camp. They influenced my posting to a rural area that needed educational development.

That was how i met Awon-Ga, in Shao. That was the point where my life changed, where i let go of many fears and met life.

I want to use this opportunity to  remember my friend and gist partner, Nike. I also remember Abubakar, my platoon mate and the first Hausa guy who changed my prejudice about Hausas being largely uneducated. I will never forget his impeccable English and accent.

***please drop your thoughts, like the post and share on social media platforms. The third episode is cooking:):):)***

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AwonGa; My Truth

Saying it has been a while is an understatement. Some years ago when this blog started, i had hoped it would thrive within few months. Inconsistency and loss of zeal contributed to the absence. Well, i am back.

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Drained

The mandatory service year in my home country Nigeria was an experience i would not forget. A lot happened, it was not just a PAUSE in the movie of my life but a script written that i had to live. The events that occurred, experiences i had with people, mistakes i made and meeting people who would remain with me for a lifetime shaped me to who i am today.

I was posted to Awon-Ga, Shao, Kwara state. A write-up about my hopes during the service year is available on my other blog page; http://www.profmossie1.wordpress.com. Please visit as i want you guys to have a mindset of what i shall unveil in following episodes.

I have come to stay this time. I am motivated by those days of tireless surfing, writing and consistency. I am starting a review of my experience during the service year. The posts would focus on my development, the change in my psyche, the new things i learnt, the new culture i came in contact with, my frustrations with this change and how i fell in love. Yes, i did.

The service year was a journey into my soul; let’s explore together as i relate from the day i set off to YIKPATA CAMP.

***
After the necessary registrations, i got into Hostel 2 and trudged towards my cubicle; which housed 14 ladies. 80% of us had board the same bus from Illorin and were assigned to that cubicle. The ladies were quite nice and formal with the normal ladies’ approach to getting familiar with each other. One person stood out though. She was Olumide, my bunk mate.

Olumide was a cheerful talkative who had an opinion about everything and seemed to know a bit of anything. She knew it was wrong that three Deeper Life girls in the same cubicle had to be different. All Celestial (she was one and her endless spiritual songs were crazy) were the same, Cherubim and Seraphim also. However, the Deeper Life girls were distinct from each other. Two were comfortable with hair extensions, one was comfortable with light make-up, one was very comfortable with bum shorts just below her bum and just one was the ‘real’ Deeper Life girl. (I am one of the three)

Olumide made it a duty to remind us everyday of these differences but i would,never forget her kindness when i least expected.

As required, i registered with a trainer for the SAED( Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurial Development) programme. I was interested in bead- making and my trainer was quite lenient with her policy of keep-your-materials-with-me-until-you-pay-complete-fees. It was so generous of her.

During one of such trainings, while making a collar neckpiece, the iron rod was hit to announce that lunch was ready in the kitchen. I dashed into hostel 2 (which was quite close to my trainer’s tent) to get my food flask before the throng of empty bellies filled the kitchen environment. I was right on time as i was opportune to get the well-cooked and hot beans and garri on time before it was exhausted.

Before eating, i dropped my waist pouch on my bed  but did not forget to take my purse that housed my allowance during the last week on camp; 10,000 Naira. I could not afford to leave that with cubicle-mates i was not sure of their honesty.

After lunch, i went off to the parade ground with my purse and after the training, proceeded to eat dinner. After dinner, as usual, i went back to the training tent to continue with my project, with my purse in hand. Around 9:30, a warning sound of the beagle was made. I packed my stuff and left them neatly as was the custom and proceeded to have my bath before sleeping. Before leaving, my trainer reminded me that i had some fees to pay. I promised payment the next day.

Olumide, my lousy bunk mate made sure she always woke us up at 3:30 am latest, every morning, to her endless jokes and stories. Well, i woke up and after my bath, decided to plan my schedule for the day. After drawing up the plan, i decided i would pay up my trainer after the morning drill. I reached into my pouch for my purse but did not find it.

‘I must have locked it in my box’, i thought to myself, it was not there.
I searched and searched and my cubicle mates stared suspiciously at me and asked me to retrace my movements the day before. Then, it dawned on me that i last saw the purse at my trainer’s.
Quickly, i jumped off the bed and ran towards the tent. In the dawn and the flickering light of the moon, i saw it. Ha! My red purse laying gently on the floor. Thank God.

I picked it up but it was lighter than usual (naive me). I opened it and it was empty.

OLUMIDE liased with my cubicle mates and they raised 1500 Naira for me. Someone in the adjacent cubicle who learnt of my sad story added 200 Naira to it. My trainer gave me 2000 Naira and NYSC was good enough to pay our bicycle allowance that day.

Olumide, i remember you today and despite your lousy talks and endless spiritual songs, you had a heart. You were an angel and i am sure you still are.

***

A

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