TIME TELLS!

Sitting in a bus, waiting for it to get filled…the woman approaches, dressed in white, from her head gear to her rubber slippers, together with the special effect the white powder on her neck and face created, she was ready for that day’s job. She was good, eloquent and fluent in the Yoruba language. She had learnt the tricks of the trade. She knew how to play her cards- employing all the aesthetics of the African heritage as she cajoled you to give to her. To a lady, she would say “Omoge adunmaran, olohun iyo, ayiluko, arewa, iya mi” all these sweet names she would call them till they were forced to dip their hands into their colourful purses and drop her a note or two. To a man, she would say “oko mi, oba, ekun, okunrin meta, olowo ori mi, olori oko” she would go on and on singing their praises until the soft hearted ones yielded to her schemes. When she was satisfied with your bus, she would say a few prayers and then move to the next goldmine. That was her occupation; it paid rent, feed the children, and bought a few clothes. She only hoped her husband would get enough sales too wherever he had chosen to pitch his begging tent for that day. Yes! She moved on.

You needed to use the toilet. You had only just spied the KFC signboard from across the road and raced towards it. You finished your business, came out, lifted your eyes to heaven with a silent prayer that your bowels remain calm till you landed Lagos. You crossed the road and walked into the filling station at challenge, Ibadan where cars and buses going to Oshodi and Berger were parked. You were told the fare of each and as you stood contemplating if to take to bus or car, you felt your trousers being tugged, before you could react, your other hand was also being pulled impatiently. You looked down and saw some Indian looking children. Where they have come from, you do not know but they keep tugging, pulling you, demonstrating with their hands what they want. They want money. Your money for that matter! They are not tired. They keep at it, especially since your watch is a bit shiny and your shoes look expensive. Soon, the mother sees them and hurries to where you all are, you are glad thinking your saviour had come. But she joins their silent plea, with eyes like that of a doe, a young one still clutched to her breast. They surround you, you feel molested. You try to be aggressive but they are not moved. You realize that they are desperate, you search your pockets, bring out a twenty naira note and offer it to the mother, she looks at it, shakes her head and looks away. You are baffled at first but then you realise that she has rejected your money- it is too small. You are angry but you want them to leave. The other smallest note in your pocket is a two hundred naira note. You contemplate whether to give it to them and have peace or call their bluff. Eventually, you do one…

At the crowded bus stop at CMS, everyone looking for the right buses to take them to their destination, you are lost in thought trying to decide if you should take the us going to Berger directly which would take quite long to get filled up or take the bus going to iyana Oworo which would take not less than ten minutes to be filled with passengers, and then board a bus going to Berger from there. You were calculating cost, trying to reason out the best option for your pocket. It wasn’t easy commuting from Akute to Lekki everyday. Berger bus going directly would be three hundred naira, but cutting your journey could save you fifty naira. Yes! The fifty naira mattered. After all, the BRT fare to CMS was 150. One had to be wise in spending. Suddenly, you are brought out of your reverie by a tap. You turn with a weary look to find a really attractive lady, more attractive than you are, well dressed also, standing by your side and you wonder what she wants. “please, help me. I’m going to Ogba but I don’t have adequate money to take me there. I wasn’t able to find any working Atm.” She says. You look at her and open your mouth to talk but no word comes out. “But I also do not have much money. I barely have enough money to take me to work tomorrow.” You tell yourself. You look at her, beautiful, well dressed, even a better dresser than you are and wonder what to do. You wonder at her story, if it is true or not…. You look at her, see that she is about to look for the next person to ask for help, and then you gently say “Sister!” and she turns back to you…How could you know that she had trekked almost half the way to CMS because a few of them had contributed money to help one of their colleagues whose son was hospitalized and needed to be by his side… you couldn’t know…

beggar-2

You pick up your phone, scrolling through your contacts. You go to your BBM, scrolling through, you do the same on whatsapp, because you realize that you are broke. It is valentine’s day in two days. You are without a boo and you are also broke. Haba! So you go through your phone, trying to recollect that rich friend, or your generous uncle because you didn’t want to ask your parents. You felt you are too mature for that. Then you hit on a contact of an old friend who had been generous in the past and you almost punch yourself in the head wondering how you could have forgotten him. You call, pretending to just be checking on him, you even pretend to be upset with him because he hadn’t called you in a while. You were being nice for a reason. Then, the next day, at exactly 11am, you send a text, telling him you were in a fix and needed money. You even tell him you are boo-less and you would really like to take yourself out for valentine. He is nice enough. “I do not have your account details anymore. Send it to me and I’ll try to send something to you before 2pm. Moreover, I thought you were upset with me.” you reply. His text doesn’t bother you, in fact, the slight shade at the end of it doesn’t even upset you. You go to your messages draft, where your account details awaits and you send the message quickly. Mtn deducts their usual four naira. You sleep. You are at peace because you know your friend would never disappoint. And at exactly 1;27pm, your phone beeps. It is GTB. Your bank! They inform you that your account has been credited with………..”sister Seun, please buy 1oo naira airtime for me nau,” your little cousin would beg the next day but you would pay no heed to her as you dressed up to take yourself out….

You are in the barbing salon, fully ensconced in the barber’s leather chair- the protective cloth around you. You are shielded from the grips of hair falling to their doom. You are far away in thought. After all, you left your wife at home, making Egusi soup, your favourite dish, in that little hot bum short. The day was looking good. You cannot wait to get home and devour all that was available. It was a good day. Your thoughts are rudely interrupted by the chants of “Allah uka asiri..bambiala…Asiri a bo!” being repeated severally. You open your eyes and then you see the two Hausa beggars, one sitting on a wheel chair looking despondent, the other pushing the chair, looking tired and worn out, also dusty. You wonder how long they had been out begging. You also wonder secretly if the man in wheelchair is really an invalid. You cannot know. After all, you cannot force him to stand. He also appears to be bling. His eyes are shut. ‘only him? Blind! Lame!” you ask yourself! “Allah ba musa!” the barber says as he tries to shoo them away from the front of his shop. “make una no con spoil business for me.” He said as he asked his apprentice to chase them away. You take it al in and you ask yourself if you should drop a few notes and then you remember that it was your turn to take the boys drinking that evening at Mama Christy’s pepper soup joint, so you restrain your thoughts and you watch them push themselves away… I have to remember to send that text to Oga landlord. He has to agree to collect just one year’s rent and not two. I will beg him well. Haba! Where will I get two year’s rent from? You think as you gaze absent minded into the television perched on a rocky shelf high on the wall…

Beggar! Giver! Receiver!   All have rewards!  Only time will tell… Do good at all times…

 

 

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