Tag Archive | poverty

Greener Pastures…

Image result for images of palm tree plantations

Hazy eyes’ peered through the glass, gazing at acres of palm trees disappear as they sped past. The bleak look in them grew with each mile covered, widening the gap between her and home, between the known and unknown.

They told her that she is heading for better things; for greener pastures. They told her that she’s the only hope for the family, they told her many things…

Yes, Akunnia wanted to help the family. Indeed, she truly wanted to be a saving grace. Yet, she couldn’t stop the incessant trickle of hot tears and the lump in her throat from getting bigger with each speed bump the van took as it gradually wound its way away from the dusty paths of her village to the big city.

How did greener pastures leave her feeling like a chattel used to repay family debts to a grouchy tradesman well-known for his poor treatment of others? The weight of her looming situation sat heavy on her slight sixteen-year shoulders.

 

Some Day…

Little stabs of jealousy struck Cody as he stood at the corner and watched Josh and Sam cycle their latest acquisition around the neighbourhood park with such glee,

He envied how they always got the latest and best toys and momentarily, he felt sad and angry that poverty kept his mama from buying any of such things for him. He was tired of their scrounging for food, for hand-me-downs and their broken television.

From past experience, he knew not to ask them if he could join them because they would only laugh and make fun of him. Last time when they were flying a kite and he came closer to watch, Sam made fun of his ill-fitting clothes and oversized trainers and he had walked away red in the face and ashamed.

He really wanted to fit in and he was tired of feeling out of place, but what could a ten-year old do? Maybe if his dad hadn’t died, they wouldn’t be so poor with his mother juggling several jobs. He hoped mama was right in saying that things would get better some day.

© Jacqueline

Thank you, Dorothy, for the photo prompt and PJ for hosting.

 

Posts That Caught My Interest – 2

I recognize that a lot of bloggers – except few – bother to follow a link to read reblogs and now and again, I stumble on posts that I find myself nodding along in agreement as I read them and wish to share.

I offer these few. I found sense, laughter, reflection and inspiration. Do take a peek. I am disabling the comment button to encourage you to visit the blog sites.Image result for images of sharing

Healing properties of lemon

From homeless to Harvard graduate

Time for us all to bloom

Forgetting to be grateful

Crippling effect of poverty

Thank you for stopping by and do have a great weekend.

Jacqueline

The Visa Photo…


‘You have to look relaxed and smile Nkeonyelu. Abi, you don’t want them to give you the visa?’

‘I hear that they look at people’s picture to decide who they will allow to go abroad o.’

‘Aha! That’s a better pose.’

‘Oya, Patrick snap it like that,’ Nkeonyelu’s mother’s insisted.

Make sure she looks beautiful o!’

‘Can you believe it? You, my daughter, will be going to Germany.’ Her ceaseless excited chatter attracted the eyes of other customers.

Nkeonyelu was not as enthused as her mother.  Patrick’s busy photo studio was the best that the little town had and not far from it, was another shop where her heart lay.

Secretly in her mind, she wished the visa officer would look at her picture and dislike it.

She silently prayed that they would deny her the visa to join her unknown husband.

It was marriage by proxy and the past few month’s following the ties, she has nursed an unhappy heart.

Her secret love for Ekendili only seemed to burgeon more with each passing day, but she knew that her family would never welcome the suit of the poor cobbler when a golden opportunity has been handed to them right on a platter of arranged marriage.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Inlinkz

In response to the FFAW photo prompt above. Thank you, Uday for the picture and Priceless Joy for this enchanting story platform.

Quick glossary:

Abi – Don’t you?

Oya – Quickly

The Bill…Friday Fiction In Five Sentences.

She counts the coins over and over again.

It would barely be enough to purchase meaningful grocery.

‘Dear Lord, where will the next meal for the babies come from?’ She wonders in despair.

Hearing a shuffle of feet and a rap on the door.

She rises wearily to check who it is, but there is no one at the door, just a little note wedged into the space under the door, with a 50 dollar bill nicely folded inside.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

The Feast…

Beggar

With hungry eyes and gnarled knuckles,

He begged!

Please could you spare me something?

But they hurried along!

No one cared to look,

They were in a rush and too busy!

ζ

In abject poverty and clad in rags,

She groveled!

Hunger had punctured holes in her innards,

She cried out for help!

But no one cared to hear.

They were too ashamed to cast her a glance!

ζ

Flea bitten worn blankets,

Torn cartons for bed,

Under the stormy weather,

It’s bitterly cold!

ζ

Looking in at the warm and shiny windows,

Where laughter and food overflowed,

Into plates, leftovers to the trash,

Thrown away to go to waste!

ζ

He scurries over,

Digging for leftovers,

And a feast did he find.

With tears in his eyes,

As he gobbles grungy droppings,

That were several days over!

ζ

He is thankful for the offerings,

Shared with his stray companions,

A lame dog that no one wanted again,

And a one-eyed cat,

His companions at the garbage table!

ζ

Sir? Could you spare me a piece of bread? Please?

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Please don’t throw away food, someone out there is dying from hunger.

”If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.”- Mother Theresa

”No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank

”A heart that gives, gathers.” – Tao Te Ching

DAY 3

Jennifer at INK and QUILL has invited me to participate in 5 day photo story challenge.

Challenge Guidelines:

Post a picture each day, for five consecutive days. Attach a story to your image.

*can be fiction / non-fiction
*poem / short paragraph
*each day nominates another blogger

I invite Kay Morris, my fabulous blogger friend  , to join the photo story challenge. I look forward to reading from you if you choose to participate. Enjoy 🙂

Its always a Hustle….a short story (Pt. 3)

The Hustle Part 1

The Hustle Part 2

”Hia!” ”Is this not where I hung the shirt?” Ikem queries the silent night. His brand new blue second-hand T shirt with the Chelsea logo was gone! Could it have been carried by the breeze? ”Ah! Ah!” ”I just washed and put it out here not too long ago to dry in the light harmattan breeze!”

His other frayed shirt is hanging and flapping in the wind as if in mockery of his thoughts. He knows in his heart that one of those crooked eyed boys in the neighbourhood has pilfered the new one! ”Maybe it is Jude that took it o.” ”Jude!” ”Jude!” ”Jude!” he bangs on the Jude’s door, to no response.

This reaffirms his decision to go home to the village for Christmas in a couple of weeks and proceed to Onitsha with his cousin Chuks.From the look of things Chuks seems to be doing well at Onitsha.” ”I will join him and start afresh from there.” ”I am tired of this place!”

”So what am I going to wear for tomorrow’s event now?”

He had just walked out of the dingy common bathroom of their quarters bare-bottomed feet; the sling of his worn-out slippers had finally died a natural death on his trek back home after a hectic days hustle.

It was dark in the neighbourhood. ”O boy, these NEPA boys have dismantled and collected the wires o”, says his neighbour Jude, seated on a heap of cement blocks outside, enjoying the nights fresh air. Their light connections are haphazardly and illegally done, coupled with their inability to settle the NEPA officials with something for the weekend.

Child naming ceremony

Child naming ceremony

Ikem chooses not to let such things bother him right now. He is moving to higher grounds in a few weeks time, besides he had purchased quite an assortment of apparels including two new sandals and sneakers that he will launch over Christmas in the village.

As a matter of fact, if fate continues smiling the way it has been these last couple of weeks, ”I might even consider buying a G.S.M torch light phone and a few items to take to Mama and Nwanneka.’‘ ”It is almost my turn to collect the accumulated funds from ‘Isusu’.”

He felt happier than he had in a long while as he quickly washes and hangs his shirt to drain before he retires for the night. Tomorrow will be a good day, he whistles as he goes along. Papa Emma’s is having the child dedication of his twins, and surely the celebration will be followed by several plates of rice and meat coupled with free drinks to go around.

Party Jollof rice with plantain and moin-moin

Party Jollof rice with plantain and moi-moi

He plans to join them to go to church. He has not been to church for so many months. It was tiring attending church services that were fast turning into fashion parades, whilst he had nothing fashionable to wear. It always made him feel ashamed.

Now! The new Tshirt he planned to showcase tomorrow has disappeared. “Thank God I didn’t wash the Chinos jeans as well.” ”I will just have to wear something else!” He muses to himself.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Links to the earlier series are at the top of the page. Thank you

Quick Glossary for words that you might not know:

Child dedication: Child dedication is a symbolic ceremony undertaken by Christian parents soon after the birth of a child. This rite is intended to be a public statement by the parents that they will train their children in the Christian faith.

Chuks: A shortened form of an Igbo name given to boys which could be derived from Chukwuka, God is greater, Chukwuemeka, God has done so well, Chukwudi, God lives, Chukwuebuka, God is very big etc

Isusu: An informal means of collecting and saving money through a savings for the enablement of kith and kin ventures.

Harmattan: Harmattan is a cold-dry and dusty trade wind, that blows over the West African subcontinent, from the Sahara Desert into the Gulf of Guinea between the end of November and the middle of March (winter).

Hia! Just an exclamation like Oh dear!

Moi-Moi: Nigerian steamed bean cakes made from a mixture of washed, peeled black-eyed peas, onions and fresh ground peppers (usually a combination of bell peppers and chili or scotch bonnet). A very protein-rich food that is a staple in Nigeria

NEPA: National Electric Power Authority was an organization formerly governing the use of electricity in Nigeria now replaced by PHCN (Power Holding Company of Nigeria).

Nwanneka: An indigenous Igbo name given to a girl and it means: ”my siblings are supreme or very important.”

Onitsha: A city with one of the largest commercial markets in West Africa. It is situated on the river port on the eastern bank of the Niger river in Anambra State, southeastern Nigeria.

To settle: The act of adjusting or determining disputes between persons without pursuing the matter through the formal process. In this case, it is giving something under the table to the officials.

I found a lot of treasures in the neighbours backyards this past week. Will share just a few. Do take a peek.

 Ten anxiety antidotes from Chris the Story reading Ape: a lot of people do suffer anxiety attacks and it is not something to pooh-pooh at.

When silence is a virtue from Oba’s blog: we all need to keep quiet sometime and listen from within

Who am I by Amy Lou blogs :

A delicious looking platter from Lynz Real Cooking

International friendship blogging forum: You might be interested in joining.

The right way to grieve by Debbie Carroll Is there a right or wrong way to grieve?

A lovely quote found at Haddon Musings Do take a peek 🙂

Why a watched pot never boils from Blabberwockying. You need to read it to find out why.

Italian vegetable soup: Another warm platter for cold nights from What’s for dinner Moms.

Yes my voice will be heard: I fell in love with this poem found on Kay Morris blog.

Raging Joy Crusher: This thought-filled post from PamWitzemann speaks in very loud volumes.

Breast cancer awareness month: Early detection is key, have you done it!

It’s a weekend folks! Enjoy! Be happy and kind regards.

HUSTLE Continues….. A short story and a link to my neighbours

Bus Hustle

The first part of the series – Hustle – Part 1

Ego  ne? 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.

Second-hand aka bend-down-select cloth sales

Second-hand aka bend-down-select cloth sales

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 of hot ‘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.

Bitter leaf soup and garri

Bitter leaf soup and garri

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.

Show boy aka Kpomo/Kanda

Show boy aka Kpomo/Kanda

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  ne – 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 🙂

Wordless – Wednesday: I love food. Lucid Gypsy’s picture was pure temptation for me 😉

Value of life is measured: A precious tale from MLou. Bless you Ma’am 🙂

Help a Writer Out: From Christian Mihai. You might be in a position to assist.

How to keep dangerous jealousy and envy from destroying your life: I need not say more.

Going smoke free one year on: Her resilience is quite admirable 🙂

Woo Hoo: A challenge that might interest you.

New EMV chip card scam: A need to know security tip from Tasha.

A butterfly trapped in a school bus: This didn’t put a smile on my face. It made me very sad and ill 😦

Have a lovely weekend folks and God Bless.

Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

HUSTLE….A short story

Bus Hustle

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.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Mini Glossary

Ikem – An shortened version of an Igbo name for a boy; Ikemefuna – which means, may my strength not go missing.

Chukwudi – An Igbo name for a boy and it means; God lives

Ahia Ogige – A market in Nsukka. A town in the Eastern part of Nigeria

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.

Molue: Are the locally redesigned and fabricated 44-seat old buses that ply the roads of the city. The original buses are disused school buses imported from other parts of the World

In fulfillment of Writing 101 – Day 12 Assignment: Play with Word Count

I tried to keep my story within 500 words and I think I did it!

Jungle Quarters….a short story

mushin bungalow

I woke up startled by a scraping, sharp and niggling sound. It was that kind of sound that pierced and annoyed your eardrums. It’s persistence had managed to penetrate my sleep cocooned brain and I was forced to crank my eyes open, lying in the dark to listen.

No, it was not a pesky mosquito – the can of fleet that I bought had taken care of them. I spent a fraction of my meager monthly income for the purchase of cans of fleets which I rationed consciously in order to get good mileage for my money.

Neither was it a furry friend scouting for something to nibble. My apartment was so pauperized that I am sure even the rats knew I was poor.

The night was balmy and as was the tradition, there was no power supply whatsoever. I was practically spending a small fortune on those mosquito coils and fleets because I hated mosquito nets – they made me feel claustrophobic.

I had to diligently keep the single window of my one room shut in order to keep out the buzzing nuisance and in the evenings when I got back from work, I took a double insurance of spraying my room, just in case one recalcitrant mosquito had managed to sneak in. Those things could make a life miserable at nights you know; I’d rather they bit me, than buzz in my ears.

Well, I was glad that my situation would take a turn for the better in a couple of days. With my pay check, I planned to buy a small I better pass my neighbor” TIGER generator. At least that would power my ceiling fan to keep me cool on steamy nights such as this, as well as disorientate the propellers of the mosquitoes. I had been saving for quite some time and the thought of progress was exciting.

What is that infernal noise? I wondered to myself. The niggling noise had gone up by several notches and was now accompanied by husky whispers of unknown voices.

My curiosity was piqued. In my state of semi-nudity, I tip-toed to my iron barred window to take a peek out of my window which faced the dirt road of our street. It was those neighborhood hooligans. Those bad boys spent their nights awake and robbing people of their hard-earned meager properties.

This time around the object of their attraction was my neighbor’s newly acquired old Golf GTI. It was not even qualified to be called a Tokunbo and Bob was probably the 22nd owner of that vehicle. It looked as if it had survived some shifty and dodgy Colombian drug runs before making its way to my neck of the woods in Mushin, Lagos.

I knew how proud Bob was of his new possession. We had ”washed it’‘ with some goat meat pepper soup and  swirls of beer at Iya Bose’s beer parlour, whilst listening to Bob regale us with tales of his escapades with the small, small girls in the vicinity. He could hardly wait to wow them with his ride.

In all fairness to him, he had tried to tush the ride up a bit. He had put in a fairly used car stereo which he purchased at a mechanic’s workshop, blasting music to the high heavens to announce his pompous entrance. The reams of the cars misaligned tires were covered by shiny wheel covers; I presumed that he bought them from the man under the junction bridge who sold a bit of every piece of nuts and bolts imaginable – I always wondered how he obtained such a stash. Rumors had it that if your car parts were missing, you simply had to go to him and buy them back bit by bit.

Bob said he was going to spray paint his car pretty soon and it will turn into a new car. By no means was I jealous of his success. I also had my own plans. After buying my generator, I planned to buy a small television, then a table top refrigerator before looking for my own four wheels.

By my projections, if I eliminated too many visits to the local bukka’s around and prepared my own meals on my kerosene stove, maybe, I would save faster. My savings coupled with my winnings from Baba Ijebu by the way, I was so close to winning handsomely last week – would see better things flowing my way.

After observing the hoodlums for a bit, I decided to be neighborly about things. After all, I just couldn’t lie down cowardly and watch those crooked boys strip Bob’s car down to its bare bones. I decided to raise some alarm, using the hard end of my umbrella, which was the only weapon that I had, to rap against the iron bars and at least let them know that they were being observed, hoping that would deter them.

They were simply unfazed and they carried on with their business. I crept out of my room to Bob’s room which was just two doors away from mine, in the face me, I face you housing block that we occupied. I rapped urgently on his door, whispering “Bob, Bob, na thief o!” ”They wan comot your motor o”. I repeated this severally and eventually, after much shuffling and groaned complaints, he asked me to go away that I was disturbing his sleep.

Mouth agape, I went back to my room but I couldn’t sleep again. At the very break of dawn, I got up to fetch water from the shared tap  to take my shower at the common washroom in order to avoid the morning rush and squabbles of neighbors who would want to use the facility all at the same time.

I had just passed Bob’s door and was almost at the end of the lengthy corridor, when I heard the squeaky creak of a door opening. Out of reflex, I turned to see who it was, and it was the live-in partner or wife – I never seemed to know who was what; at the rate girlfriends, wives and baby-mama’s came and went in the neighborhood – of Rasheed, sneaking out of Bob’s room.

Rasheed was one of the neighborhoods baddest boy. He was known for his famous thievery, but everyone seemed afraid of him. A popular belief was that he was in cahoots with some bad apples amongst the police, who were willing to lend their firearms for nefarious activities for handsome rewards from the stolen booty.

It was a confusing moment for me, because I was so sure that I heard his raspy smoke cracked voice amongst those decapitating Bob’s car last night. So it did seem that when he goes moonlighting, his partner/girlfriend/wife got engaged in her own private forays.

Half an hour later or so, Bob’s bellow was heard down the corridors. The enlightenment of his reversed status had just dawned on him. They had stripped his car down, taking everything including the brain box.

I didn’t know whether to feel sorry for him or not, but I listened patiently to his repeated curses and complaints for several days non-stop.

It was pay day. I happily purchased my generator. I couldn’t wait to hear the umm’s and aah’s that would float my way. I finally had something to gloat about. For days, I felt like a champion. My ceiling fan worked. My single light bulb glowed in the perennial darkness of the area. I had a new spring in my steps, sure that the young chicks I saw putting heads together and whispering when I passed were talking about me. About how eligible I was becoming. I puffed up some more – if I was a rooster, I would have crowed in delight.generator

My friend Bob was back to trekking and cursing. He needed a lot of money to rebuild his ride. After a lot of yabs and prodding from him, I agreed to give him a treat at our popular neighborhood hangout, in order ‘to wash my generator.

We boozed into the night and eventually, half tipsily made our way back to our rooms to crash. My door was ajar. That surprised me. I blinked a couple of times to clear my vision, but my door still stood ajar.

In trepidation, I stepped into my humble abode, only to find that my beloved generator and all the wires had been kidnapped – it was small enough to fit into an big overnight bag. Unbelievable, I thought. It was all gone. I raised a hue and cry, searching for my possession in nooks and crannies but no one knew what had happened.

I gazed into the darkness which had only a few bulbs dotting the night shaking my head in sorrow and dismay. I knew that I would have to save for many more months to buy it back from the man under the bridge.

Maybe? I am not sure.

It’s a jungle our here!

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

P.S.: To aid understanding, please check below for meanings of words which have been written in pidgin English.

Glossary of words.

Pidgin: This is an English-based pidgin and creole language commonly spoken across Nigeria.

Mushin: A suburb located in Lagos State, Nigeria. It is a largely congested residential area with inadequate sanitation and low-quality housing.

I better pass my neighbor, generator:  Refers to the small generator (tiger) that is below 2kva.

Tokunbo: This has multiple meanings, but the predominant meaning here refers to used cars.

Wash it: To celebrate something good, like a house warming for a new home, a new job etc

Goat meat pepper soup: Goat meat made in a hot and spicy broth

Iya Bose: Bose is a shortened Yoruba name, and Iya Bose means Bose’s mother

Beer parlour: A tavern where beer is served

Bukka: Local food canteens

Baba Ijebu: Indigenous Lotto

Face me, I face you: A term used to describe a type of residential building in Nigeria, where a group of one or two room apartments have their doors facing each other along a walkway that leads to the main entrance of the building which consists the apartments.

Na thief: It is a criminal

Comot your motor: Remove your vehicle