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