Donatus my Valentine

I used to have this toaster, let’s call him Donatus. I met him when I worked at a bank. He came in one busy Monday morning to cash a cheque and was tossed from one teller to another till he ended up at my desk. One minute into our conversation and I understood why no one wanted to attend to him. It was difficult communicating with him. The little English he knew was spoken in a thick Igbo accent and a mumbo-jumbo of tenses. I found out later that it was his first time in a bank.

I helped him fill out an account opening form and do all the necessary paper work so he could pay in the cheque, a painstaking process that took almost two hours. He asked for my phone number and I obliged. I didn’t think he was going to call anyway. I was wrong. He called later that evening to thank me for my help. He told me he was 34 years old, a bricklayer and was in his words, ‘finding wife wey dey like you’. That was the first of a myriad of phone calls, boring conversations and an awkward friendship of some sort.

Dona made it a point of duty to stop by my office everyday, bearing gifts of course. Typically it was biscuits and bottles of soda. Once he even brought okpa. My colleagues teased me all day. The attention was become embarrassing. Whenever I sighted Dona at the revolving door I did all I could to run away and hide till I was certain he was gone. Sometimes I succeeded, sometimes I failed. I had to plead with Dona to stop the visits and only come around when he needed to carry out a transaction. He obliged me, or so I thought. A few months passed by, Dona didn’t show up in the bank, and I forgot all about him.

It was Valentine’s Day 2014. There was the usual cheesiness in the air, everyone at work was wearing a touch of red and making turn-up plans. I never understood the hullabaloo that comes with February 14th, so I  was simply going about my business and making my own plans to turn-up in my bed when Dona showed up at my desk with an elderly lady. It was his mother. There was an introduction, mostly in Igbo. From the little I could decipher, he had told her we had plans to see my parents soon. Apparently I was engaged and I wasn’t even aware. I have never felt more embarrassed in my life!

Fast forward years later, and I obviously didn’t end up with Donatus. Oh, did I mention that he asked me in the presence of his mom to come spend the evening of Valentine’s with him? Don’t ask me how he pronounced Valentine’s, and please don’t ask me if I said yes.

It’s Valentine’s Day 2017. As usual there is the cheesiness in the air, people around me wearing a touch of red and making turn-up plans. In the past few days, social media has been agog with all things Valentine’s. Date ideas, meal ideas, even special Val’s day make-up ideas. I hail all entrepreneurs out there who have somehow found a way to cash in some money on this day. I will be like you guys soon, after all who writing epp?

I still don’t understand the hullabaloo that comes with this day but it’s cute watching people around try to out-do each other with displays of romantic love; wether real, imagined, to spite an ex or simply to garner likes on Facebook and the gram.

Maybe my stance on Val’s will change some day and I will join in all the fuss but till then I’m deeply content going through each day knowing I’m loved, no questions asked. Loved by God, loved by the Bestie, loved by family, loved by friends, loved by you my dear readers.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

What’s the size of your poop?

This morning I helped a friend mind her 3 year old daughter for a few hours. Let’s call the 3 year old Kay. She’s as cute as a button but as restless as they come. “I want this, I want that. Aunty this, Aunty that.”

“Aunty I want to poo”

I was drained from attending to her incessant demands, and I grudgingly carried her to the loo. I helped her get on the toilet seat and waited at the door.

“Let me know when you are done, Kay”

30 seconds later.

“Aunty I’m done, clean me up”

“Kay did you really poo?”

“Yes. I’m done, clean me up.”

I was certain she was just out to waste my time. We hadn’t been there long enough for any human to do the big one.

I was wrong.

The stench that welcomed me couldn’t have emanated from a 3 year old! I helped Kay get off the toilet seat and cleaned her up.

Wow! I did a double-take when i saw the size of her poop! The stench was bad, but nothing prepared me for the size. My eyes went from the loo to Kay, back to the loo and then to Kay again in sheer disbelief. Small madam skipped away happily humming ‘Old McDonald had a farm…’ oblivious of the damage she had done, while i watched her with new-found respect.

Church girl that i am, I walked away thinking of the scripture 1st John 4:4 “… greater is He who’s in you..” Who would’ve thought little Kay had something so ‘great’ in her? 🙂 Moments later i had forgotten about the incidence with Kay, but the scripture remained in my thoughts.

If you’re a Nigerian living in Nigeria, events in recent times are enough to leave you feeling anything but great. While you’re still recovering from the madness that has been the exchange rate of the Naira to the Dollar, you’re slapped in the face with the hike in petrol prices and the accompanying hike in the value of everything else, except your paycheck of course. I went with the bestie to get his car tyre fixed, and the cost of inflating a tyre had gone up from N50 to N150. Yes, in Nigeria the cost of petrol somehow affects the cost of air.

Times like this have a way of making you second-guess yourself and ask questions, oftentimes rhetorical. Should i have remained on that job that was paying more even though i was being sexually harassed?  Should i have married serial-cheat, Mr X, who is wealthy and would’ve given me some much needed financial security? Would i ever build the financial muscle to start and grow that business? Would i ever give my kids that standard of living that i desire?

If you’re of God, then remember that “Greater is He who is in you!”  Don’t assess yourself merely by your physical ability. Don’t get caught up making plans in your own strength. Yes, you may get some results that way, but why not rely on the ability of the Greater One who lives in you? Why not rely on the size of your God? Don’t get caught up in worry, don’t despair. Events of the day may seem overwhelming but you’d be fine. You’re a thousand times bigger on the inside than you think. Greater is He who is in you!

 

 

 

Of Lagos Danfo Drivers, Abuja Cabbies and Iya Bose

Moving to Lagos in 2010 for my compulsory National Youth Service came with a huge dose of culture shock, having done Primary School in Benue, Secondary School in Plateau State and University in Zaria. Everything fascinated me; The seemingly seamless stretches of water, the fast-paced nature of the city, the strong commercial presence, the crowd, the way fights broke out spontaneously and insults were hurled out so easily, that awful stench that lingered everywhere from the backstreets of Ebuta Meta to the posh parts of Ikoyi, the yellow ‘danfo’ buses that literally drove bumper-to-bumper.

Bus rides were an exciting part of my stay in Lagos even though I didn’t care much for the sweaty bodies that pressed against mine in the crowded buses or the way the bus conductor shouted abruptly at every bus stop, leaving me with palpitations. The names of bus stops in Lagos usually left me amused- Oshodi-Oke and Oshodi-Isale (which i never got right till I left), Transformer, Century, all sorts of unlikely names, even Cemetery. Uncomfortable as the rides were, I relished the opportunity to watch and study people; the careless drivers, the aggressive bus conductors, the impatient passengers, the drug peddlers who always had that one miracle drug that could cure everything from cancer to a heartbreak. The most amusing passengers were the religious preachers. These ones seemed to have a similar calling to declare an eternity of fire and brimstone for all fornicators and knew it was time to collect an offering when they had successfully manipulated the passengers into feeling guilty. The drivers particularly amazed me, with time i came to look at their recklessness as simply a survival instinct.

I moved to Abuja in January 2012, and it felt like I had lived in Lagos all my life. Every thing seemed so different. Everything except that reckless attitude of commercial drivers, especially the cabbies. This recklessness seems so out of place in Abuja with its wide paved roads, bright lights and easy-going populace. Four years later and I have come to the conclusion (true or not) that it’s the same danfo drivers in Lagos who moved here to become cab drivers. I however won’t make an excuse for the Abuja cabbies like I did the Lagos danfo drivers. Here, It’s beyond a survival instinct. It seems they are simply on a mission to frustrate me to tears every morning.

Have you ever questioned if the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) is manifest in your life? Just visit Abuja for a week and drive around or commute by taxi.
Abuja taxi drivers will test your patience and self control! They will make you question your love walk. I can assure you the week won’t pass by without one ‘along’ driver making an abrupt stop right in front of your moving car because he sees a potential passenger. Yes, the 50 Naira he’s about to make is more important to him than your life.

Then the old Yoruba cabbies? Ah, they will test your gentleness! Those ones understand English perfectly till you guys get lost or it’s time to pay, then all he understands is Yoruba. The younger Yoruba cabbies aren’t as annoying as their fathers. But i must warn you that those ones have to make a stop at ‘Iya Bose’s’ to ‘make change‘ and have a quick shot of agbo, especially those mornings when you’re late for work or an appointment. By the way I noticed that the Iya Bose around the corner from us now sells ‘kpomo‘ in addition to the agbo… But I digress

What have been your experiences like with the cabbies and bus drivers? What has been the greatest test of your patience with these guys?