Does anyone really wake up to “zero worries”? Oh please. How is that even possible? Wishing you wake up to no worries is like wishing life itself away! A friend once told me this. Do you agree?

My aunt, her husband, the kids and I have been through a lot, recently. It’s been such a long month for us.

Everything happened so fast: from the declaration of Corona Virus (Covid-19) as a global pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO), to the explosion at our residence, Abule Ado, here in the city of Lagos, within 3 days.

That massive explosion consumed our house and 50 others, exactly 19days after Nigeria announced its first case of the Corona Virus. What a colossal disaster!

We had all paid deaf ears to the pandemic and hoped that it will go away just as it came.

I heard many believed it won’t ‘catch’ an African man, what a ludicrous thing to think. Others made jokes out of it, calling the virus several names; Corobaby, Coronwan, darling corona etc.

My aunt, during the morning devotion, mentioned that we should pray so hard for God to heal the land. She mentioned that God is on our side at this end of the globe because we haven’t committed as much atrocities in Africa combined, as those in America alone.

Fast Forward

“We can’t afford to reject a government home at no cost, only to come stay here like refugees” my aunt told her husband.

“Ife mi, why in God’s name do you want to put us in a difficult situation?” my uncle appeared stressed out.

Sigh!

How did we get here?

After the explosion occurred. We had no place to perch, not even on a neighbour’s corridor to pass the night. Everything was gone.

In just few minutes, we all have quickly transitioned into victims of circumstances. Yes! We are victims of a lawless community governed by the sinful lots.

My uncle had lamented that for the umpteenth time, security agents have been reported to be allies in these never-ending acts of vandalism.

Or how do you explain the police station and NCDC posts housing drunkards in uniform who will simply turn a blind eye for a penny.

Those who are meant to watch over the affairs of the community are the ones the community is now forced to watch out for.

What do you call this?

So, when the incident happened, we had two options. First, an access to the government social housing scheme for displaced persons.

We heard, It’s a face me I face you apartment, if you get the drill. There are 28 neighbours on each floor, there are 4 floors and one toilet on each. But it’s just hearsay, we never bothered to find out how true it is, yet we know it could be.

So, you would wonder why my aunt will then prefer this, Right?

I was devastated and cried more than them all. So, all the things I was planning to go show ‘dem boiz’ are gone.

Ah! Now I fully understand what it means to be in pain. I was in a terrible pain and regretted ever staying back.

I’m sorry if it sounds unsympathetic or self-centered, but that’s exactly how I felt.

Why did I not leave? Why? Why? Why?

The second option we had was to consult family and Friends who can take us in, we needed a change of clothes because by now we are stinking and have lost everything.

So, that was how we got here!

My uncle’s friend took us into their apartment in Badagry, it was such a relief. The atmosphere is serene and the environment, green. I loved the feel it gave already – heavenly.

I have come to describe Badagry as the town where the ocean washes the coconut.

Need say we were welcomed with so much pity and pain combined?

There went the case of one woman

She came in and rolled on the floor, crying bitterly and expressing pain in how much we have acquired, but lost.

“This life is vanity” she started.

“You will see someone today and not see the person tomorrow”, she wailed and rolled some more.

“But nobody died” I quickly chipped in, in hopes she took us for some other people or heard the news, wrong.

“Ah! Ehen? Ehn… But your cars and properties nko?. Ehn…That one too na!” she concluded and repeated action.

Then, I fully understood she knew what she was doing. Only she was wailing more than the bereaved, equating our properties to human lives.

So, the journey continued…

This family we are putting up with operates their kitchen with a timetable, which is totally amazing because the woman of the house is a nutritionist. This was grand for me!

But right now, my aunt is pissed with them. She doesn’t appreciate that the family decides exactly what we eat.

She has raised the issue of having a separate kitchen from them, but my uncle was quick to tell her to abort such idea as it might be misinterpreted.

“After all, they are taking good care of us”

“Indeed”

The other time

The woman of the house was about to prepare Egusi soup and my aunt visited her in the kitchen. My aunt has a special way of preparing it, of a truth she is a good cook and I have missed her cuisines.

My aunt uses the fry method to prepare her egusi. She will add all the orisirisi (Yoruba for varieties) that will transcend your taste bud and do shaku shaku in your brain for a while.

“Don’t put that in…” she yelled

“I know exactly what I’m doing ma”.

“Of course, you do. I just think putting the crayfish without blending kills the intention”

“I know. But this is how we do this today. And if you don’t mind, kindly excuse me” she concluded.

That really got to my aunt and she told her husband to hasten up so we could leave. But he wants us to get a tad bit comfortable place at the least, so, we are still on it.

Then, Lagos went on a Lockdown!

Just before the lockdown, my aunt mentioned that I return to Ibadan, in such a rush she made me agree to it. I was stunned by this action.

After all we’ve been through and I’m left with nothing, she wants me to leave? I feel heartbroken but she said it’s easier to cope with a fewer number. So, I thought it’s smart, but I didn’t want to leave.

I picked the few dresses we got from Agbalata market in Badagry and pretended to be set. She gave me some money for transport and asked me to leave quickly before nightfall, since the lockdown will soon begin.

We were on it when her husband walked in. Let’s say I delayed so he will intervene.

“what’s going on here?”  

“Feranmi returns today”

“Thought we discussed this Ife”.

“I changed my mind”

“She is going nowhere”

I quietly moved out to avoid witnessing more. But I couldn’t avoid the tears that rolled down my cheeks.

I could hear their voices clearly

“what’s going on here?” My aunt screamed

“She is needed here more than ever”. My uncle said

 “What’s your agenda with Feranmi staying around?”

“Ife”

Quiet

More tears rolled as I sat outside, staring into space. I heard the door open. It was my aunt’s husband. He came out to meet me, pulled me up, placed his hands over my shoulders, and gave a slight hug, hoping I’ll be comforted.

But I was far gone away from his hands. I was thinking about all of the happenings, with mine being a little part of this world drama.

Bravo!!!

Who is directing this well-crafted script?

Author

Rebecca Maulome Padonu is an enthusiastic writer with a soft spot for factions. A RubyWrites 2016 finalist. She has completed several freelance writing projects, including BBC Media Action’s Drama series, Story Story (series 32 & 33).

13 Comments

  1. I saw what you did there director…..
    Lovely piece, I enjoyed every bit of this…
    Kudos to you Becca!

  2. Anthonieta Kalunta Reply

    Amazing plot. I want to hit next but sadly I have to wait

  3. Becca, this is some brilliant stuff you’ve got here. Kudos to you.

  4. Abdullahi Ibrahim Reply

    I can’t believe I’m just reading this now.. Wow

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