I haven’t blogged recently not only because I’ve been so swamped with enough curveballs, but I really needed to get myself what with all the recent happenings…trust you’re well though. Grateful to all who emailed and called requesting the completion of my last blogpost. You’ve become my inspiration!
I can’t really recall exactly what happened after I got up…but I know I felt so much better. Aunt Tosin was buried a few days later. As my mum and I paid a condolence visit to her family, it struck me hard-I’d never sit in front of her house talking to her, at the same braiding my hair. I won’t hear her speak so passionately about her prayer group and her life plans. I sure won’t hear her say to me ‘Nkem, oya, you can take a break now’.
For over a decade, she had been the one who made my hair, right from primary school to my university days, down to my working days. Due to the length and thickness of my hair, plaiting or braiding this hair of mine could take hours! When I was younger, my mum would arrange a snack pack for me so in between my hairdo, I could break for a snack. Aunt Tosin knew this and it formed a part of our routine all these years. Even without the lunch pack in current years, we still observed the ‘break’ where I’d just basically get up to stretch, take a stroll to the gate and then back again. She was one of the very few people who just got me without words involved. Sitting down with her mother, I confirmed what I always knew and said but seldom felt-
Life is short.
Aunt Tosin’s mother went on to tell us the details of her death and other stuff. One thing she said that baffled me was the fact that even people who were dead in hospitals(in this case a government hospital) donated blood! Before they are moved to the mortuary, the families had to sign their consent for blood donation before the corpse could be taken away. It just seemed so twisted to me!
Options were given as well-If you don’t want blood to be taken out of the person you’ve lost, you or anyone you bring would donate blood on behalf of the person or pay the sum of N6000 (about $35)
Really, couldn’t believe my ears but they sure heard right.
Together we all prayed and leaving there, I stood on the spot where Aunt Tosin and I sat-sometimes she would stand, making my hair. I stood there for a moment, with my eyes closed. Opening them, I see my mum, patiently waiting, a sad smile on her face. At that point, she totally understood what went on in my head and on my mind.
We get home and relate the story to my friend who oddly enough, seemed interested in donating blood for the financial benefit it comes with. My mum in humour mode does the math for her-if she donated blood every week, N6000 per week, at the end of the month she would have earned N24,000. I look at my friend, who by now has the look of someone who is about to start a business venture. Even-though my mother thought my friend was just being funny, I knew for certain that she wasn’t. If it was just for the reason of helping whoever might be a match and in critical condition, I’d understand why she wanted to donate her blood, heck, I’d even applaud her for it. For the life of me, I couldn’t fathom what the money would do for her. She was earning well over the standard six figures monthly. Financially, she was comfortable, or so it seemed to me.
Indeed, she is one of the many puzzles, life has trusted me to solve…
The next week was the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment exercise where about 10 applicants lost their lives and some were badly injured in our nation’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja as a result of a stampede. In my honest opinion, this was due to the shambolic pattern of recruitment that was adopted.
First school certificate holders, WASSCE Certificate holders, OND and HND holders, Degree holders-everyone writing the test in one place! One would think that each level of certification would have been categorised and called for the test on seperate days for the common sake of orderliness. The recruiters sure had other plans! I imagine they must have squealed ‘eureka’ when they decided that using the stadium would indeed be their latest discovery in trying sit a multitude ( about 67,000 applicants in Abuja alone!) for the test with only one of the stadium doors open. In their minds eye, they would kill two birds with one stone as they would have this test once, for all, no need to bother with the hassle of segregation and of course, reduce whatever cost of recruitment that might be accrued.
Well, kill they did, but this time several young applicants. I just flare up more when I remember that these people paid N1000($10) to write the so called test. A test that would eventually employ only 5000 youths across all the states this test was conducted. Lagos and Abuja had about 125,000 job applicants alone-not to mention the 34 other states.
The President’s decision to compensate the families of those who lost their lives and those who were injured with automatic employment in the NIS was pretty commendable. Nevertheless, I still imagine a Sayo, the only child of her parents, leaving her house that fateful Saturday morning, trying to seek a brighter future. If only this test went well and she would just get the job, start fending for herself and her family who are now hugely depending on her. Of course, Sayo never made it back home but her mother who is way out of her mind now, cringing in pain and full of tears, need not worry too much. Sayo’s death has brought for the family 3 employment slots in the National Immigration Service.
“God, please have mercy”! I exclaimed when I read the newspapers. My neighbour who happened to be in my house that minute, tells me- “God is indeed merciful, that is His name and it shows in His nature. We are the ones who have no mercy for each other”.
I couldn’t agree more.
Today, we are faced with bombings and killings of innocent blood by an evil-crazed group whose name I won’t dignify to speak of or even mention in my personal space, the kidnapping of young girls who were at the right place at the right time and apparently, a desperate need for blood donation, amongst other things.
True, we are a people who have and continue to survive all these odds. My question always is, we keep on surviving, when will we start thriving?
At times, some questions are best answered as questions…..
This goes out to all the lives lost from the beginning of this year to date, who’ll always be in our thoughts and prayers. May their souls Rest In Peace. Amen.
In Hope and Love of the Risen Christ,