Friend for all my moods

Some days ago, I was in a keke leaving Terminus market in Jos on my way to the Polo ground area, when I heard a young man bemoaning to his compadre how his now erstwhile friends had abandoned him because he was now out of a job.
“. . . I used to send money to those greedy leeches, I practically put Kim on a monthly stipend, and now that he has that NPower job, he hasn’t picked any of my calls and I haven’t seen a dime from him.”
I was all ears on his matter, no need to remind me, I like gossip gan. I forgot temporarily about my unpaid light bill and my fearful anticipations of the men from the electricity company to come for my wire with a plier.
The man told tales of how he had supported his friends through their own terms of unemployment, he remembered with nostalgia how he had helped Simi with money to buy the State Civil Service form some years ago and now she was working in one government office oblivious to his plight and pleas.
I didn’t spend up to 10 minutes with the man but I knew that he had been working in Abuja with a private company until late last year, he had friends named Kim, Simi,  Matthew and Mafulul.
He was now unemployed, forgotten by his former friends, and his rent had been unpaid for the past 2 months, he was thinking of going back to Riyom but the rainy season could not be taken advantage of anymore by a prospective farmer as the rains were already here and he was unsure if his old farming skills will come back now that he needed them the most.
 “The shifts of fortune test the reliability of friends.” Cicero
I think it’s odd how human beings tell their life stories to absolute strangers. Personally, I think it’s good remedy because the odds of us meeting and me remembering your face is extremely slim, and you don’t know me that well to judge me in the way people who know me would.
As we neared Standard junction, the man on the other side who our weeping friend was talking to, I assumed was his friend. Paid for all our fares and told the man “don’t be scared of starting all over again. Be wary of the people you call friends.” With that, he gingerly dropped from the keke and pressed one #500 note into the man’s hands before crossing to the other side of the road, without waiting for the tear shocked man to say “Thank you”.
“Only enemies speak the truth; friends and lovers lie endlessly, caught in the web of duty.” Stephen Edwin Kind
As the keke eased into traffic, the man recovering from his shock said “Abun mamaki! Da ga Adam ban ta ba waye shi ba ama ya yi mun alheri”. I have a minor problem, interpreting this from Hausa to English, but I think it means “A thing of surprise! I don’t know this man from Adam but he has done me grace”.
I don’t want to brag being a Jos boy and all, but that is what Jos is about. Giving totally cryptic words of encouragement!
The rest of the journey was pretty much uneventful as the man whose name I didn’t hear sat quietly brooding. I reached my stop, and walked away knowing that my bill had been paid for by a total stranger.
Oh, I didn’t have any wiser words to impart on him or a fistful of Naira to thrust at him with closed fist so I went away rather quickly.
I tried thinking about the man’s predicament, well that didn’t go far as my mind went to my unpaid bill, and a phrase that I had not remembered in a while came to me. “Money go build him house for inside rock” from the book Chike and the River.
“True friends … face in the same direction, toward common projects, interests, goals.” C S Lewis
Me? I want a friend like Samwise Gamgee the brave from Lord of the Rings. That’s not too much to ask now is it?

Welcome To The World

Congratulations are in order. I celebrate this mile marker you are crossing and I am proud of you.

“Now you are going into the wider world…”, on my graduation from Secondary school, I heard this phrase from pretty much every keynote speaker who I had the pleasure or was it displeasure? of listening to. It was like one of those poorly rehearsed speeches and badly coined phrases to deter me from getting the experience.

I didn’t at the time understand what they meant, and I didn’t want to think too much of it, but the phrase stuck in my head and it was reinforced by another thought. I went around with the notion of a wider world without fully appreciating it’s meanings.

I don’t know if it has been said to you, but today, allow me to join the ranks of the boringly cliche, slightly older people, who will use a phrase as abstract as it can get without much care of explaining myself. “Welcome to the wider world”!

In your case, I know you fellas are smart, you now have the World Wide Web! If that doesn’t pass as one of the supreme manifestation of our cliches of welcoming you into the world then what can I say?

As you gear up for life after school, let me encourage you to do things that you love doing. Read as much as you can cause you’re going to have some time at the moment. Visit friends, we should never substitute the importance of personal meeting over internet connection, and learn a trade.

Learn a skill! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Go and learn a trade! It is not beneath your status as a secondary school graduate to learn tailoring or carpentry or barbing.

In case you haven’t noticed already, another phrase is going to become all too familiar in the coming days, “there is no money” or several other variations of the phrase. There really is no money, the country is in a recession and things are not looking all to bright.
If there’s going to be a time for you to learn frugality, this is going to be it.

I know you know about the slay queen trend, melanin beauty and the sort; which in my opinion only tries to appeal to your baser form of humanity, to make you think more about your shape and color of your body other than your value as a human.
You are beautiful just as you are, when you grow older, you will know that what you thought was a flaw will be one of your biggest asset.
I can assure you of this.

I know school prepared you for getting admission immediately after graduation; well some might have favour shine upon them and others will still have to wait for God’s plan for them. Don’t get sad if your plans don’t fit in together as you anticipated, we are humans after all, we propose plans but God in his ways determines them.

I am sure you have observed my constant use of God’s name? Well, it’s one of those things you come to enjoy doing. At first it will sound forced when mother makes you go to church on the weekdays for Bible study; then you discover youth fellowship and other events, I hope you fellowship in the right manner and not do the fellowship of the illegitimate.

I am not limiting my use of “God” in this context to mean only that of the Christian faith, our number 1 public enemy in Nigeria is religion. As much as I want you to have faith in something, I do not want you to carry that fanatic flair around and wave it like a magic wand when you don’t get your wish.

At this stage, I want you to know that all your actions have consequences, I know you are an impressionable young fellow and you have your “I Know” moments. Let’s just say that if those “I know” moments clash with that of mom or dad too often, you might want to reconsider that which you think you know.

I want you to be brave, brave enough to be honest to yourself. Brave enough to speak out when a wrong has been committed against you. Brave enough to ask for what you want and to work hard for what you want.
Be brave to stand up for others,which is the ultimate manifestations of bravery.

I want you to be confident, people don’t like confidence in young people, but I pray that for your sake, you be confident. There’s a slight boundary between being rude and being confident, thread that line with caution.

I pray you find something you love doing and make a passion out of it. I think your school prepared you for the blue collar jobs, what they failed to tell you was that the world no longer has space for blue collars. The only blue collar you will see are on Facebook and Twitter.

As you proceed from here, I want you to categorically know that our world is an evil place, and nobody is shielding you anymore. People who are close to you may try to rape and take advantage of you, some will steal from you, and others will want to use you for money rituals. God forbid! I know, but I want you to be careful of being too trusting. Don’t trust me as well, I have my moments of human weakness.

As much as I will always love and try to protect you, I do not have the eyes of God and my sight is limited. You however may be in a situation which can get sticky or out of hand. Follow your instincts.

I have a lot I want to tell you, but your keynote speaker has that daunting task. Today I am here, watching you morph into the beautiful person you were born to be, I don’t have tears in my eyes and I can’t say how excited I am at not having to seat through one of those boring PTA meetings your school so brazenly uses to vexs us all.

“Every day brings a chance to live free of regret and with as much joy, fun, and laughter as you can stand.” Oprah Winfrey

Finally, dear slay queens you now have stiff competition from the young and eager.

Importantly, let love lead the way. Find peace and happiness in your endeavors, don’t be too serious, smile, be youthful and exuberant, read a few good books, learn about politics and economics, you will thank me later.

Morning and Work

​Waking up in the morning is usually tough business for me, considering that I just woke up from a near death experience, and I can’t take any consolation in knowing what happened within that time frame. If I need a reason to pray, it’s the sole reason I do mine in the morning.

I used to go jogging after prayers, emphasis on the “used to” don’t ask me why I stopped. But It had to do with the finding of the body of a dead jogger some years ago and I can’t really say if that’s the reason or it’s the Jos weather that made me lazy. Look, cold silver droplets of rain has been threatening the skies.

Anyways, I am not a morning person. I drink tea to start my day, yet I am permanently exhausted. I scroll through Twitter and Instagram like devotion, post “Happy Birthday” messages on Facebook because I detest “HBD’s” and I don’t run even if I am running late.

Mornings are for quiet, peace and coffee

I don’t get how some people wake up all “good morning” and stuff, don’t you want to know what happened in between? Are you not a bit curious?

Oh well, that’s just me. My mornings are taken care of by silhouettes, imaginations and wishful thinking. I strive to appear full of life when I go to work.

If you’re a permanently exhausted person in the morning, try drinking water you might be dehydrated. Heaven knows why that doesn’t work for me.

I have to insist that you take your breakfast even if you are running late. I am sure you have read the story about the indispensable worker who got afflicted with ulcer and died; and someone else took his post. You haven’t? Well too bad, I had an awesome English teacher.

I don’t like you much if you wake up all chirpy and excited in the morning. Don’t mind me, I am a hater and I have no excuse except that you’re a better person than I am.

This is just me wishing you a wonderful day ahead in my own little way.

May the rains pour in their season. May our reasons for not wanting to go to work on a Friday like this come to pass! May we grab the umbrella stationed behind the door and dash out into the rain to do that which makes us happy. I hope you don’t forget your umbrella in the commercial vehicle as I was so fun of doing.
Thank God It’s Raining?
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