Monday, January 7, 2008

love from Warri

It was a cool evening in Warri, there was no light as usual and nothing seemed to be happening, the latest echo of gun shots had already faded away and the nearby church had not yet started their customary night vigil songs. I was bored so I decided to take my usual spot by the window and observe the going ons of my fellow waffarians. I soon noticed a man on a bike that stopped right in front of my home; he was talking to another man....

“How you dey?”

“long time oh”

“any better?”

“ssssssssssssssss, where you!”

Much to my astonishment, the man was looking straight at me, the signal was for me.


“abeg, bring two tumblers there”

Although I could not imagine why I would give tumblers to strangers that I have never met before, the waffarian in me jumped to his command without once questioning the total lack of etiquette displayed by my fellow countrymen. Needless to say, I gave them two “tumblers”, and much to my astonishment, they proceeded to start drinking ogogoro(where the ogogoro materialized from, I cannot say, I am assuming he had it in his “French suit pocket”)and chat about old times right in front of my home. Their conversation soon bored me though and I headed towards the junction which can always be counted upon to produce enough action. A little girl stood by the roadside; she could not have been up to two years old and seemed to move with a speed very abnormal for a child that age. One can only begin to wonder how many children around the world are forced to grow up faster than they should due to circumstances. I noticed that nobody seemed to be in care of the little one, I started asking around....

Me: See as you leave your pikin for road anyhow!

Nearby newspaper man: sista, no be my pikin oh!

Me: which person pikin be dis? If car jam am nko?

Nearby newspaper man: Ah, car no fit jam dis one na, u know see as she don dey waka already?

The little girl seemed to know the area well, going around the huge craters by the side of the road and expertly dodging the mad okada drivers coming from the opposite direction. I sat with other busy bodies on a bench and decided to wait for the mother or whoever was in charge of the child. The little girl soon got tired of the road and proceeded to sit on the ground, beside the bench. A girl in a nearby store soon appeared, going over to the little child, she roughly nudged the child with the balls of her feet

“oya, fight me na,”

The child looked up at her and pushed the feet away....

“you no wan fight? Oya make we go chop”

The girl in the store was not in any way related to the little girl but had decided to share her food and take care of her until the mother showed up. It’s no wonder the small girl was a tough cookie, everybody around her seemed to be preparing her for a tough world. The girl’s mother never appeared while I sat there, but I met Monday, a man who I had known since childhood.

“Ah Uncle Monday wetin dey happen?”

“No work oh, my sista, you know say my white man don comot warri ,e be wan fix me job with another white man for Port-harcourt but my sista, I don work for white man all my life, abeg, I don tire to work for whiteman, I don tire”.

I left the little girl and uncle Monday at the junction, leaving them to the fate of a city that is worn out and tired. As for me, I crept into bed with the familiar sounds of Christian songs and gun shots in the air. Na so life be.

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