April 28, 2014
After a long walk in the hot afternoon sun, I went straight to the earthen pot, scooped the cold water in it and went straight to a place I enjoyed sitting each time I visit the village.
It was under some mango trees, and I always find it quite easy to squat on the massive tree roots that were exposed on the surface, and the tree trunk provided some support, perhaps a reason why I avoided my late grandmother’s favourite mat.
I hurriedly rushed the water down my throat, swallowing so hard as if my survival depends on it, and from the other side of the compound, Lami offered more, but I refused.
I appreciate Lami for her hard work, especially with the way she takes care of the earthen pot, she washes it every morning and replaces the water with a clean one. Although I travelled to the village with some bottled water, I always enjoy drinking from Lami’s pot, because of the way she takes care of it and guards it with her life, something the kids find exciting and started calling her a funny name; “Maman Randa”.
Lami worked for my late grandmother, but she has become a part of the family and resides in the compound. The family compound is indeed large, big enough to be an estate and yes if you may ask, the family is also large, an extended one with almost all relations occupying some part of it.
I can’t remember for how long I sat on that tree root, thinking about solutions that I need to come up with to make things better. I thought of so many things, funny ones, and serious ones.
The funny ones were more like J.D. Salinger’s thoughts on “The Catcher in the Rye” where he said; “I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids and nobody’s around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all.”
Quite impressive were his thoughts, but mine was so confusing, so disturbing, so severe too, part of the reasons for a rise in my blood pressure. I knew the cause even when I went to the hospital before travelling to the village, so I played it cool with the doctor, watching what she was scribbling in my folder after each response to her questions.
I know I have been thinking a lot lately, and it was part of the reason why I travelled to the village hoping to get some alone time and perhaps find a solution to the problem.
I am sure you must be eager to know what the problem was, and this was the beginning of a journey, a story of “Hope” and what it looks like for someone to lose it!
It’s a story of hope which many people in Nigeria today are losing theirs!
To be continued…