A flicker of Hope?? Concluding part

Courtesy hope fellowship podcast
Picture courtesy hope fellowship 

Mr. Adamu sat Ladi down the morning after she told them about her shocking decision and asked her what exactly she would like to do. Ladi said she had decided to learn the art of tailoring. She told him how she had gone round the town two days earlier in search of a tailoring shop. She had found one not too far from the weekly market area. She spoke with the madam who owned the shop, Madam Abigail about her intentions. Madam Abigail had told her that the shortest duration for learning is three years, especially since she is educated, if not she would spend about five years. They had agreed on the fee of fifty thousand naira that can be spread into three installments till she completes her learning. Mr. Adamu was impressed that Ladi had thought it through and done all the findings. Sometimes, he believes she acts more matured than her age. They ended the discussion with her uncle promising to visit madam Abigail’s and starting the process.

Two weeks later, Ladi started her tailoring apprenticeship and found out it was not as easy as she had envisaged. She was told as a beginner, she had to run personal errands for her madam, like going to the stream to fetch water for her water pot; helping with market runs and so forth. Ladi was shocked that after six weeks of learning, she was yet to neither handle the scissors nor even fix buttons on clothes. She began to think that maybe opting out of school was a bad idea entirely. Her only solace was in a friendship she had started with Chidiebere Obi, a fellow apprentice who had been there for about a year.

Chidiebere Obi is an only child. Her father is the community priest and her mum sells hand woven wool shawl at the weekly market. They are not a rich family but have learnt to be content with what they can afford. Her father also fishes and sells to earn extra income to support the family, since Umuleke is a small community and one cannot earn enough wages from the local assembly. He was posted to Umuleke five years earlier and he had come to love its serene nature. He had married his wife when he was twenty five and she was twenty. They had to wait for eighteen years before they had Chidiebere. She was a miracle that had long been awaited. People had insulted them and some advised that the delay in childbirth must have been as a result of witchcraft operations in his wife’s family. But Mr. Obi held unto his unwavering faith in God and always consoled himself with the story of Abraham in the bible. When Chidiebere finally came, everyone marveled and could only join them to give thanks to God. The Obi’s family is one filled with many trials and challenges but God had kept them through it all.

Chidiebere had started learning tailoring because she discovered that she always found it hard to understand her academics. The simplest subjects were like a mountain before her, very insurmountable. Her parents had gotten several tutors for her with a view to getting a solution to her problem, to no avail. All she loved to do was knit and fix any loose buttons on clothes. Her teachers then advised her parents to withdraw her from school and let her follow her passion, and to get trained in the fashion line.

It was then such a huge shock for Chidiebere to discover that Ladi wasn’t learning tailoring because she wasn’t brilliant but because they was no means to continue her education. Ladi’s warm heartedness had worn her over and they became inseparable. Every opportunity they had, they talked at length sharing stories of their childhood and families. It was on one of those days that Ladi learnt about Chidiebere’s mother. .One of the Obi’s many trials.

Mrs. Obi had woken up one day to discover she couldn’t move her right hand and leg.  She had been rushed to the hospital and the doctor had told them her mother had suffered a stroke. Her father had been devastated. In a short time, her mother had become an invalid. They had to help her do everything, even bathe. The doctors had told them that her kind of stroke might be permanent. They took her to another teaching hospital and after three months, they were asked to take her home as they can’t help her anymore.

After two months that Mrs. Obi had been brought back home and after spending all their savings and the ones friends and church members helped them with; Mr. Obi suddenly realized that he had not yet exhausted all options. He was angry with himself for considering the options as the last resort. He turned to God. He told his wife about all the stories of great men in the bible had faith and how it worked for them. He reminded her of Naaman’s leprosy that was healed. Also about Lazarus who was raised from the dead. He spent a whole month working on his wife’s psyche. He needed her to believe that all things are possible to anyone who believes.

He started vigorous prayers and waiting on God. Chidiebere herself also had to join in the waiting. A month after they started the prayers, Mrs. Obi said she could feel a sensation on her toes; this was a sign that God had started the work. Exactly two months after the vigorous prayers, Mrs. Obi got her complete healing. She had regained the full use of her hand and leg and what doctors had written off, God did!! It was a moment of great joy and since then, her mother had had such unwavering faith in God. And so does Chidiebere!!

Ladi listened with rapt attention and was amazed at such miracle. It seemed to her as if she had never heard about God before. Chidiebere then told Ladi, that if she wanted to continue her education, she should simply have faith and trust that God will do the miracle. It was the most difficult words to believe, her question was “How on earth will God perform this miracle?” It seemed highly impossible. That night after the story, Ladi could not sleep. Her mind was agog with the thought of what God can do. She then decided to begin telling God to turn her situation around. There was no harm in trying she thought. She started exercising faith.

Six months into her tailoring training, one cool evening; two men were escorted by a policeman to the Adamu’s house. They were all seated outside taking in the fresh air when they saw the men approaching. When the men got to the porch, there was a grave silence, such that the sound of a needle dropping would have been heard. “Is this the house of Mr. Adamu?” asked the police officer. The sight of a policeman is not a pleasant one, especially if you live in Nigeria….Stuttering, Mr. Adamu replied with a shaky “yes, is there something I can do for you?”

“I am sergeant Usman from the zone 2 command and these men would like to have a word with you” replied the policeman. The two men then stepped forward and offered Mr. Adamu a handshake which he accepted. All the while, Mrs. Adamu and her kids, including Ladi and Tobe stared with trepidation.  Mr. Adamu took them inside and after about forty five minutes, they all came out smiling and exchanging pleasantries. They left promising to return two days later with the documents.

After they had gone, everyone looked to Mr. Adamu to tell them what the meeting was about. He looked at them, smiled and said nothing. They all almost died of anxiety, not able to take the silence anymore, Mrs. Adamu gave the command…they all pounced on Mr. Adamu and tickled him so hard he begged to be set free. After he had calmed down, he sat them all down and explained what the two strange men had come to tell him.

The men work for Virgo airline. They had explained how sorry they were about the plane crash that had claimed the lives of Ladi’s parents. They had gone in search of the deceased’s relatives and had been told by neighbours that they had vacated the house and gone to live with their uncle. But no one was willing to tell them where the uncle stayed. After two attempts, they gave up. But four months ago, their MD remembered the case and made it a matter of compulsion to find the deceased’s children. Because of the resistance they got at first, they decided to get the help of the local police in the search, which led them to finding the Adamu’s.

Virgo Airline felt the need to pay compensation to the family of everyone affected by the crash; they had visited the Njoku’s and given them their entitlement. Now they have come to give Ladi and Tobe the compensation for their parent’s death. Virgo airline promises to see to the education of Ladi and Tobe till the University level and master’s degree. They would also support them with monthly allowance for the whole duration.

It was like a dream for Ladi. She didn’t know what to say at first. Tobe jumped up screaming excitedly, Ladi only wept for joy. In all her imagination, it never crossed her mind that her story will take this turn. She remembered what Chidiebere had said “That there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail….but at the scent of water it will flourish and put forth sprigs like a plant”.

The promise made by Virgo Airline is a flicker of hope, Ladi doesn’t know what the future holds but she trusts the one who owns the future. He had started it and she believes He will surely bring it to a glorious end.

THE END.

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