A flicker of hope???? Part II

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

The burial was a quiet one. Friends, family and neighbours were present and their church pastor. Ladi only stared into space throughout the ceremony. Her grief could be felt strongly. When it was over, everyone said a word of comfort to her and her brother. She only nodded; she cared less.  She simply hated everything. Why did it have to be her parents? Poor innocent people, merely looking for their daily bread? Life is so cruel.

Immediately after the death of their parents, their extended family member took Ladi and Tobe in. They thought it best for them not to stay at home alone during the grieving period. They tried their best to cheer them on and make them forget the incident but they were just inconsolable. For Ladi, the death meant the end of her dreams.

Her parents had formed a habit of saving most of the money gotten from the farm produce sales for their children’s schooling. Mrs. Bello would not buy new wrappers but recycle the old ones, saying, “When you grow up and become successful, you will buy me many wrappers that I won’t even be able to finish wearing” this thought brought fresh tears to Ladi’s eyes and sadness into her heart.

The door opening jolted Ladi out of her thought. It was Tobe, rushing in carrying clothes he had washed earlier that morning. “Ladi, so you are in the house and you couldn’t help me bring in my clothes from the hanger? You want them drenched in the rain?” He repeated himself a second time and when he got no response from her, moved closer to see what was wrong with her. It was when he moved closer that he saw tears running down her cheeks. He forgot the wet clothes, dropped them on the floor and held his sister in his arms. He knew the cause of the tears, it isn’t as if he doesn’t miss his parents too, but he also realized that no amount of tears would bring them back. It is a sad reality and Tobe made up his mind to help his sister get over her grief and become the lively girl she had once been. Ladi just kept weeping and Tobe stoked her hair and tried to whisper comforting words to her.

***********

Since the death of their parents, Ladi and Tobe had stayed with the Adamu’s. It had not been an easy transition. Umuleke village had been in the news for the past 3 weeks since the plane crash incident. Reporters had thronged the entire village. The plane company also came, asked questions and paid condolence visits to Ladi’s family. They also visited the Njoku family, they had a farm besides the Bellos. Their crops were also affected. It was a very unfortunate incident and all affected parties tried so hard to put it behind them.

Mr. Adamu is Ladi’s maternal uncle. He and his wife, tried to help Ladi and Tobe adjust to life without their parents. It had not been easy, but it is a task they determined to pull off. Gradually, Ladi came to terms with her parent’s death and decided to live again. The fourth week after the demise, Ladi and Tobe returned to school. Their school mates and teachers had been sympathetic the first week but everything returned back to normal the following week. Besides, they are not the first people to have lost a parent.

It wasn’t easy for them, their parents had saved up and ensured that their education was top priority, but with the Adamu’s, it was a different ball game. They had three children of their own and struggled to pay fees from the meager salaries they both earn as local council workers. Having Ladi and Tobe as extra mouth to feed just wasn’t easy on them. Ladi had just promoted into SSS II while Tobe was supposed to be writing the junior WAEC few months from then. The Adamu’s on the other hand had all their three children in primary school, the oldest being in primary six.

Ladi called Tobe aside one day after school and shared her plans with him. “Tobe, I know how our parents wanted us to be a medical doctor and an accountant. But death has done otherwise”. “I have thought about it and the situation of living. You know our uncle is really trying his best but it is still not easy. In view of this, I will step aside for you so that they can help train you to university level. I will go learn a trade and support. Then when I have saved enough, I will go back to school and finish up and become the medical doctor I have always wanted to be”.

“Noooooo!!!” screamed Tobe, “this cannot be happening. You are the smartest and deserve the opportunity. I am a man, let me find some work to do and I will help you through school” “I will support you until university and till you get married too”.  “No Tobe, I insist” replied Ladi. “My mind is made up. I am the eldest and I have spoken. We will tell uncle our plans after dinner”. And she stood up and walked out of the room. She went to the back yard, into the garden and cried her heart out. It wasn’t an easy decision to take but she believed it was the best given the situation of things. “Papa, mama, I know you wanted to see us through school but the cold hands of death snatched you away from us. I promise to take care of my brother and to live the upright way you have always taught me. I will not let you down” she sobbed.

In the evening, when everyone had had dinner, Ladi excused her uncle and aunt to the veranda that she had something important to discuss with them. She insisted that Tobe stayed back with the younger children when he also wanted to follow them. She started by thanking them for accommodating her brother and herself and for being their new father and mother. She particularly thanked Mrs. Adamu for her patience and love. It really isn’t easy taking in two grown-ups into one’s house. She then went on to tell them of the decision she reached earlier in the day and how she thought it was the best under the circumstance.

Her uncle and his wife listened to her speak and couldn’t utter a word. They were shocked at her decision. Mr. Adamu felt it was his fault, if only he had studied harder and obtained a higher grade in the college of education; he would have been able to secure a better job in the city and would be able to take care of them all. Because, even a blind man could see they were struggling to take care of the home. He begged Ladi to rescind on her decision, that he was able to sort it out. Ladi only reminded him that he is yet to complete the fees for his children; it would be heartless to add theirs to it. Mrs. Adamu then stood up, hugged Ladi and promised her that she would return to school as soon as things got better. Ladi knelt and thanked them and went into the house. Her uncle felt really bad but he also knew that if things didn’t change for good, something drastic would have to be done to sustain the family.

A flicker of hope?????

Hope
Hope

Hope in life should not be lost. Belief in oneself should not be quenched. One must always have the understanding that God can make a way where there seems to be no way. “Spiri” talk it seems, but no, it isn’t “Spiri” stuffs but a necessity. Life can only happen when there is even but a flicker of hope.

Hmmm!! The famous man Job, known to have endured such hardships and untold misery, who despite all, didn’t allow his spirit to be broken, once said: There is hope for a tree, if it be cut down …that even at the faintest smell of water, shall sprout again. Such amazing belief that it isn’t over until God says it is!!

The breeze whizzed furiously, “weee, weee”, the sun had gone to hide behind the dark clouds, it seems like a heavy downpour is about to be witnessed.  Feet can be heard shuffling hurriedly in the compound, hens scampering for safety, goats running for shelter; every living thing around seemed to be avoiding being drenched in the rain that is about to fall.

Ladi Bello just lay on her mat, totally oblivious of the helter skelter going on outside. To her, be it rain or sun shine; life has lost its meaning. What is there to live for? She can barely wait for nightfall but still, the dread of the dawn of another day sets her on edge. How can anyone ever tell her it’s okay? That time heals all wounds? For her, the wounds will never heal. It just can’t!!

Growing up had been filled with so much fun. The Bello’s are not an affluent family, not in the least possible way; but they are hardworking and resilient. They believe that the next day could bring the miracle they so eagerly looked forward to. They farm and sell the produce at the local market close by. Ladi’s younger brother, Tobe assists their parent on the farm after he comes back from school. Ladi on the other hand, hawks the produce and eventually stops at the local market where she finally sells off the remaining.

Ladi’s prayer is always to sell off her wares completely. It made her parents very proud of her and means an extra bush meat or mushroom in her soup bowl that night. And because of her beautiful looks and calm disposition, this feat is always achieved. You can imagine the envy Tobe feels towards her. How can he be the one to go to the farm, work tirelessly and simply because Ladi sells it, she becomes the hero? It just didn’t seem fair.

Tobe then devised a plan. He deliberately stayed longer hours in school playing football with his friends. He did it for three days, giving the excuse that they had extra lessons. On the third day, when the workload on the farm became unbearable, Ladi was asked to join them on the farm. Ladi suspected Tobe all along, but didn’t have any proof, besides they school in different locations. It wasn’t until the fourth day; Mrs. Bello had taken ill and didn’t go to the farm.

Tobe, thinking they were all on the farm, came home trying to sneak into the house. He suddenly stumbled upon his mother lying on the mat in their living area.  She was able to pry the truth from him. When she learnt the reason behind his acts, she decided to stop the extra meat for Ladi. Of course, this didn’t go well with Ladi but she always stills completely sells off her farm products.

The day had seemed like every other day. People going about their duties like they always do. No one had any inclination that things would be any different. The neighbour’s goats running and jumping around in the compound like it was a thing in vogue. The Bello’s had taken the previous day off from farming as it was a Sunday and since God commanded that no work on the Sabbath, it was obeyed to the letter.

Mr. Bello and his wife went to the farm the next working day to farm as usual, it was around 7am in the morning. They rested at noon in their farm hut, roasted some bush fowl and yam for lunch. They kept some aside for Tobe to eat when he comes to join them later in the day. They finished eating, rested a while and was about to start the second round of work. As they worked, suddenly there was a loud noise. Mrs. Bello looked up and froze. Run!! Run!! Shouted Mr. Bello and he pulled at her. Then there was a deafening noise. Sound of metal clashing. And everything went blank.

Thick dark smoke rent the air. Everything was quiet except for fire burning some distance away. About ten minutes later, little moans could be heard faintly. The Cessna 401 Titan cargo plane, travelling from Abuja to Lagos with computer hardware had crashed landed in Umuleke. There was a cry for help was from the pilot who had been trapped in the plane, he must be in a terrible state.

News of the crash filtered into the village. Fire fighters from the city had been called upon by some of the villagers and had not arrived at the scene, since the village is about 50km from the city. Villagers had rushed there in the meantime with water from the well to quench the fire. Rescue operation had begun in earnest by the villagers. No one knew how many people were on board; the task ahead was to save as much lives as possible.

Tobe ran as fast as his legs could carry him when he heard the news. And that it happened near their farm land. He got to the scene as rescue operations were going on. He started shouting “Papa, Mama!!”  There was no response. The hefty village men were seen, lifting heavy metal, some using cutlasses to wield their way through. Some others were busy carting away computer hardware scrap scattered all over the farm, from the crash site to their respective homes.

The smoke prevented some people from moving near but Tobe kept on, shouting “Papa, mama!!””. And then he saw them, both holding themselves close, under a pile of rubble. He ran there, screaming for help. Some of the men, ran to him and started lifting the metals. Moments later, they were pulled out from the rubble and moved them some distance away from the smoke. Tobe held them, shouting “Wake up papa, wake up mama. Your son Tobe is here”. His parents lay there lifeless. He kept on shaking them until one of the villager pulled him up. “They are gone”, the man said.

“Noooooooooo!!” Shouted Tobe and he started running back into the village. He was running and shouting; he ran past Ladi who had also heard the news and was rushing to the scene of the accident. He didn’t know he had passed her, he didn’t even see her. He just kept on running. Ladi froze in her stride. She feared the worst. What could make Tobe behave like that? Without even noticing her presence? She ran on to the scene and when she saw the bodies of her parents on a side of the farm, her worst fears were confirmed. She had lost the two most important people in her life. Her parents were gone. She curled up on the ground and wept her heart out. Life became meaningless.

Thereafter, the fire fighters arrived at the scene. The major work had been carried out by the villagers. There was nothing left to do but to write down reports and ask questions. The only crew on board the ill-fated plane died too but the pilot had already been taken to the nearby village clinic. It had indeed been a sad, sad day at Umuleke.

Watch out for the concluding part. Stay blessed

My Dreadlocks journey!!

Transition into the dreadlocks hair style,

dreadlocks pic

When I made a post two years ago about the natural hair frenzy…I remember I said I might join the wagon soon. In all honesty, I didn’t think too much about what i said then. It was just for conversation sake, you know!!

Not long after, I got tired of the weaves and Ghana weaving. Not to mention the heat in this part of the world we find ourselves. I then decided to go to the salon and do something about it. I did the big CHOP!! The hair dresser didn’t want me to cut it; some other ladies and salon workers also begged me, because I had a considerable amount of lengthy hair. but my mind was made up and the deed was done.

I rocked my Hale Berry Short hair style for three months and was particularly happy i could pour water on it whenever i felt like it. Wake up the next morning, bring out my hair straightener and spray gel and voila! I was ready to hit the road. Then as the days went by, I realized that i could do something more with the 20-30 minutes spent styling my short hair and sought for “what else i can do to make my hair more manageable”.

Then i did a little research, asked questions from friends….and I decided to join the dreadlocks train.The journey started at a salon at Surulere in Lagos. The guy explained more to me about the “journey i was to embark upon” and possible hitches. I took it all in and said ” I was ready”. The process was a bit painful at first because mine was locked from day 1. And since it was short hair, and with some little traces of perm, it saw me going back to the salon frequently.

Now, I am loving my dreads. I have more time on my hands for more stuffs, I get to bathe with the shower and get my hair wet; it is easy to style; there is no more complaints of weave strands on the room floor(married ladies will understand this part) and i get to scratch the roots of my hair easily without having to hit my head like a “raving lunatic”..lol

Are you on dreadlocks? Or simply rocking your natural hair? Let’s know why you embarked on the journey and how it has been. Till then…stay blessed.