The day I saw him was the day the idea of a new commodity I wanted to research on dropped into my head.
He was fair and he had adult acne and pothole- like scarring covering most of his face. As he approached my car, looking longingly at the clean, air conditioned interior, I contemplated and discarded the idea of giving him money. Instead, I gave him the packed, untouched lunch (oghwo soup and starch. I still hadn’t made up my mind as to whether or not I liked it) that my mother had given to me earlier that day along with enough money to buy a cold drink (I hoped he’d buy something nutritious though). He genuflected, tears in his eyes and started praying for me. The traffic light turned green and I zoomed off only to halt about a metre away. Looking in my rear view mirror, I saw that he and a child, presumably his, were going to a private place to eat the food. The traffic light turned green again and this time, I zoomed off without glancing backwards.
When I got home, and put my dad’s share of the food in the fridge, I started up my laptop and while it was booting, I switched on the internet and went to make myself a couple of sandwiches with some of the coleslaw I’d made yesterday.
When I returned the laptop was already on, connected to the Wi-Fi. I opened about 6 windows, directed them all to Google and searched: places where maize/corn is being farmed in Nigeria, what can I produce out of corn etc.
The research lasted well into the night. I heard my dad come into the house, heard the generator go on, heard the microwave being switched on, but I was too fascinated to leave my position. And I was craving boiled corn.
For 6 days after reading one of my mom’s letters, I was swamped with a longing for her. Her warm hugs, the way she smelled of cinnamon and pineapples even when she was bathing dead fishes, the way she deliberately mangled my native name in front of my dad. He’d glare at her, she’d put on an innocent face, the-transplanted-American-woman-who-is-doing-her-best-please-don’t-yell face and then the both of them would burst out laughing.
I missed her so much. My little sister had helped us cope with her death but now, she was back in the US, doing a second masters degree programme, quite unavailable to be used as an emotional crutch by two fully grown, supposedly self sufficient men. It had been over a year. Would the pain never go away?
On Friday, at work, although I still hadn’t seen Ebube, a couple of my colleagues invited me for an outing.
We went out, I met 3 of my colleagues and had instant camaraderie with one in particular, named Kelvin.
When I got home that day, tired and happy, my thoughts didn’t drift to my mom or my family situation. I was content.
Blog and Article Recommendation
http://youareneveraloneng.tumblr.com. This blog made me cry. I’m not saying you should read the stories with a view to sobbing. I want you to read the stories with a thought running through your head; what part can I play so that this NEVER happens again?
https://muomelu.wordpress.com/2016/01/29/do-you-have-a-pg-playlist/. This article is from a new blogger friend. I’ve been a bit too busy to do more than scroll down her posts but in all, she strikes me as witty, funny and very intelligent. Check her out!
I had never heard of a homeless shelter in Nigeria before this year. Then I heard of Touch A Life Charity.
If you want more information about it, just head on over to http://www.touchalifecharity.com.