and my roller coaster crashed! it came to a jarring halt my mojo kinda left my heart pursuing green paper to pay the bills with little time to sleep a wink several hungry mouths to feed my brain almost has no time to think the greenback has become the king the king of this jungle called life I need to get my mojo back
Please forgive my tardiness in responding to your comments. I’m usually not this rude but like my people would say ‘something bigger than the cricket has entered the crickets mouth.’
My life has been a bumpier ride of late, events beyond my control have been trying to take the drivers wheel, but I refuse and trying to get back the grip. I took a pause so that I can get back into the game asap. I have taken odd jobs to keep body and soul together as I ride the rough tide. All is well with me, yet turbulent.
Be well and I’ll be reaching you soon. I miss you.
Tara hated herself for what she was doing, but her clogged mind just couldn’t think of any other way out of her problems.
Her meagre earnings were stretched beyond its capacity that to eat one meal a day was now a hurdle.
Sending money back home to the Philippines to assist her folks with the younger siblings and her dad’s medication took virtually everything.
With a pounding heart, she prayed for forgiveness in the silence of her heart, cast furtive looks around and quickly dipped her hands into the offering bag; the small clutch of cash felt like burning coals in her palm.
John Paul saw her through the CCTV and smiled to himself; what a golden opportunity, he had her where he wanted her.
The call for prayers blared through the loud speakers, the pull of the voice sounds compelling, but prayers are the furthest thing on Aashish’s mind.
He feels sad. He has no money to apply for residence visa for his wife and two daughters to join him and the much that he earns is barely enough to tide him over, after he had sent some home.
It’s Sunita’s birthday today, he thought that by now they would have been with him.
His children are growing up without him and yet the fortune that he sought, leaving them behind eluded him.
He pulls out the crumpled, almost faded picture of his family. It was taken years back in one of the quick snap booths, on one of their rare visits to town. It has been five long years, since he last set eyes on them. He has failed them and his shoulders slump further.
Sometimes his spirits are buoyed with stories of people winning lotteries and he struggled to buy a ticket, but it was always someone else who won.
He felt he was better off back home on his farm in Nepal and doing odd jobs to augment their meagre income.
At least he will get to be with his family again and he will be happier again and Anu will understand, he hopes.
Being away from his wife has been the hardest part. The fees for entertaining himself with one of the willing ladies was just too much luxury for him.
With a sigh of pent up emotions, he fished out his rubber-bound telephone from his pocket and dialed his brother’s number.
Hello Aadit, tell Anu that I am coming home, he said.
Ego Ọne? Ikem asks. Picking up and dropping several T shirts from the pile of bend-down select clothes heaped on a tarpaulin on the market floor.
Hah! I don tell you say na N200 only! Replied the man with the bell.
Bros, abeg!I wan buy 2 or even 3 sef, if you fit commot something. Ikem haggles and they eventually settle for N120 each and he happily pays for the three that he chose, clutching his black nylon of new apparels with a bounce in his steps, he leaves for Mama Nwamaka’s canteen.
A plate ofhot ‘Garri and Onugbu soup’ with some ‘Show Boy’ and a bottle of ‘small stout’ is just the thing to set his World right today; he has more jingle in his pockets from a few days of work than all the previous weeks put together.
Preceding market days have been grueling but more rewarding. It seems the approach of Christmas has triggered off a flurry of more business and lots of off-loading of bags of garri and gallons of palm-oil has enriched him more than carrying baskets for housewives and their wares.
Some of these women came for their weekly shopping armed with scorpion stingers on their lips and taking out the grouch from their homes on unsuspecting recipients.
The last one had nagged and haggled that he was charging too much, that he was almost tempted to ask her to carry the things herself.
“Is it not just from here to the bus-stop, or are we going to ‘Ibagwa’?” She harassed.
”Carry that thing well o.” ”Hah all this shaking, my oil will pour o!” She went on and on.
”You are going too fast!” “I cannot keep up with you, she argued!” Whilst stopping to greet every single market woman that crossed her path and Ikem stood with her weighted load on his head.
Such women were very trying, but he needed all the money he could make.
He wants to buy several new items and to replace his worn out rubber slippers. Occupying his mind with happier thoughts of the jeans and canvas that he will purchase soon, he tunes out the shrewish woman’s voice.
A belly full of good food and a glass of palmy later- Mama Amaka had fresh supply and he couldn’t resist the intoxicating aroma of fresh palm-wine. It is not every day that you could get an authentic bottle that is not watered down. He hurries back to hustle for more customers.
A few more bags of rice and basket carrying for market late-comers, it is time to go home.
It appears like a throng or water-fall of humans. Everyone rushing to get done and go home.
Ikem is happy with the days events and as he jostles along with the crowd, an unexpected shove from the back has him turning around to lambaste the pusher, only for the ensuing shouting chant of ‘Ole! Thief o!Onye Oshi!’ rings out in the crowd.
The pusher happens to be a wily young pick-pocket who was trying to make away with a woman’s purse. Out of reflex Ikem hot-foots after the escaping thief along with a several young men.
The crowd impedes the pick-pockets movements and he is nabbed a few yards away and beaten to an inch of his life.
It takes the pleading voices of some concerned women to save him from being pulped to death.
Jungle Justice! Quick to be meted out when the culprit is caught; especially among the poor culprits.
Ikem ponders on this issue as he makes his way home. Wondering why a young man would choose to bargain with his life over a paltry sum of Naira. The culprits face is one of those idling chaps that he sees around the market.
To be continued.. You can read the first part by clicking the link in red ink above!
Quick Glossary for words that you may not know:
Ego Ọne – How much is this?
Hah! I don tell you say na N200 only! – Ah! but I told you it is only 200 Naira (note that it is expected to haggle over price in the market)
Bros, abeg!I wan buy 2 or even 3 sef, if you fit commot something – My brother please! I want to buy 2 or even 3, only if you can reduce the price.
Bend-down-select: A heap of mixed used clothing where customers literally bend down to scrounge through the pile and select an item they want to buy.
Mama Nwamaka – Nwamaka’s mother. Nwamaka is a native Igbo name that means, ”the child is beautiful, the child is good” There are derivatives such as Amaka.
Garri- A popular West African meal made from Cassava tubers.
Onugbu soup – A type of soup which is peculiar to the Ibo’s. It is made from bitter-leaf vegetable and a thickener of coco-yams.
Show Boy also known as Kpomo or Kanda – These are processed cow hide eaten as meat. It is regarded as a delicacy.
Small stout also known as Odeku – This is a dark beer made from roasted malt or roasted barley, hops, water and yeast.
Ibagwa – Ibagwa is a community located North of the great University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
‘Ole! Thief o!Onye Oshi!’ – The three words mean the same thing: Ole is Yoruba for thief, and Onye Oshi is Igbo for thief. It is not uncommon to mix English with broken/pidgin language and another tribes language.
Palm-Oil – a reddish – yellow butter-like oil which is derived from the fruit of the oil palm. It is used as edible cooking fat and also for making soaps, candles and cream.
Palmy – a shortened name for Palm-Wine, which is an alcoholic drink made from fermented palm sap. It is used in major traditional occasions in Igbo land such as Traditional titling occasions, Traditional weddings, burials, child naming ceremony and general entertainment.
The posts that I would like to share because they spoke to me:
When great trees fall: This poem from Maya Angelou featured by JoHanna Massey’s blog spoke loudly to me. Almost felt as is Maya was talking about her demise ”in my mind” because she is indeed a great tree. This is my first time of reading it.
Evening Chuckle: Nutsrok does know how to bring the mirth out of me. She offers rib-cracking laughter each time 🙂
Ikem couldn’t stand the penury anymore! He stared at his worn out T-shirt with the words “making a difference” printed on it’s back in disgust and dissatisfaction. He had purchased it three months ago from the bend-down-select aka flea market to add to the other two that he possessed, but frequent use and wash had slackened its neckline and faded it’s vibrant colour. It was time to visit the man with the bell; he sold good second-hand clothes from a heap of clothing on the market floor.
With that dissatisfaction dragging him down, he pulled the T-shirt over his head and shoved his feet into an equally worn out pair of rubber soled slippers. Picking up his wooden pallet, he hastened off, making quick strides to the bus-stop where he could hitch an early morning ride by hanging partially on the side of a Molue. Sometimes the conductors were difficult but on a some good days, they also showed their humane sides.
It is a main market day at Ahia Ogige today and there would be a throng of lorries bringing in goods from neighboring villages. If he rushed, he would probably make a good turn around from customers who needed their goods carried from one end to the other.
Yet, as his strides swallowed the distance from his living quarters at the shanty, to the bus-stop, his grumbling mind would not cease to taunt him. How much difference was it really making in his life, eking out a living that was barely enough to put food in his stomach, pay his own portion of rent and minor bills, not to talk of sending money home to his folks? He queried himself.
Christmas was fast approaching. It would soon be time to go to the village to celebrate, but he wasn’t sure he was up to that this year. He thought he would have achieved more by now and he didn’t want to watch in envy as some of his clansmen came home with their new motorcycles and garbs to show off. Chukwudi had really irritated him last year with all his loud talk of making it big.
His angst grew within him as the day wore on. Wearied of carrying back breaking heavy load for peanuts at the end of the day, he stretched out on his small mattress which had a pride of place on the floor and slept like a log of wood.