From the onset, I had this uncanny feeling that today day was going to turn out thus; I had lazied about all day, spent most of my morning sprawled out in bed and was reading a novel I’d just started the night before. Before long it was 2 pm, I hadn’t left the house all day, and I felt caged. Despite the fact it was threatening to rain, and the clouds had darkened, I set out for the ‘fish pond’ somewhere in New Layout, off Jakpa Road in Warri; a relaxation spot, with a scenery and tranquility, that had long since won over my heart.
The time at the pond was everything I thought it would be, except that there was always someone who would want to be all chatty with me. I longed to enjoy alone, in silence, the serenity of this joint. Take in the scenery, hearing but not listening to the sound of fishes swimming, while I read my novel by Robert Ludlum. After having relaxed myself entirely, I Day-dreamed briefly about being a CIA operative on some clandestine mission in Rio, forgetting occasionally, rather intermittently, that I was on some marshy land cum pond in the heart of Warri, South-South of Nigeria.
The walk out of ‘New Layout’ was always the hassle. It was hard hitching a ride or seeing a tri-cycle strut by. I made it through the seemingly long and arduous journey, and found myself a keke headed to ‘PTI Road’.
The destitute by the road side with arms folded, sitting on the square base, of the first street light pole at ‘PTI Junction’, was probably wondering where his next meal would come from. I’m also sure thoughts of where he would rather be, instead of out in the cold and under the rain, were running through his mind. The Lord’s divine provision encompasses us all. If He (GOD) can feed the birds of the air, and cloth the lilies of the fields, how much us made in his own image and likeness? Matt 6:25
With that passage right through to verse 35, I’m certain and confident of both my tomorrow and that of the homeless dude. He will in His divine manner, meet each of us at the point of our needs; be it, scholarship to go do your Masters abroad, or that new grounds breaking job that would literally enlarge your territory, or your next meal or customers for the products and services you offer.
The hustle and bustle, for MOFOR bus always takes a toll on me.
There are no marked or stipulated buses that go that direction, so it’s your intuition that matters here; speed and finesse at hustling cabs, amidst many desperate passengers also counts.
I had gotten used to this, but I was still always visibly taken aback by the scene of touts collecting their matching ground fee, from the rickety cabs and tri-cycle (keke) drivers. If you picked up passengers on their turf, you had to pay up; like I called them earlier ‘touts’, they were always crude in their approach and the drivers nearly always reluctant, despite being accustomed the norm. From the renegade look on the driver’s face, to the aggressive disposition of the ‘area boys’, a fight was always brewing.
The first keke I entered wasn’t going to take me all the way to my final destination, but I decided to enter it anyways because by the time we got to his last bus stop, I would have gotten half way home. Long before we got to the final junction, the other two passengers had alighted, leaving me alone with the mean looking driver with the stench of alcohol in his breath. Unconsciously, my sub conscious had started reciting ‘the Grace’, “May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with me, now and forever more. Amen.”
His Grace was the only thing I knew could save me, in case anything went wrong on this lonely stretch, especially with the way this keke driver kept slowing down and looking into the bushes. Surely, His goodness and mercies shall follow me, all the days of my life (this was one day in my life, so …) and I shall dwell in the presence of the Lord Forever and Ever Amen.
In my mind’s eye, it felt like ages, but I soon reached his last bus-stop. It was deserted except for three young boys, who could be anything from robbers to harmless delinquents, who kept fairly late hours (8pm). In seconds that didn’t amount to near a minute, another keke showed up, going my direction and I hurriedly filled the only space left. I could hear them boys murmuring something I didn’t care to listen to; maybe they thought I had stolen their ride, or were cursing at how lucky I was, to have gotten away in the nick of time.
Frankly, I didn’t care.
I was on my way home, and would soon be on my bed, clad in my dry Jack & Jones hooded sweater. Even the walk into the estate, because bikes had been stopped since 7pm didn’t matter, I just had my eyes on the bigger picture and soon it too passed away; I was home.