Pojken Med De Gyllene Öronen

Mina barndomsminnen skulle vara ofullständiga utan min mammas vånda när hon satt och såg mitt spädbarnshuvud dekoreras med två ofullständiga öron. När jag ser tillbaka är jag så tacksam för allt bemödande min mamma la ner på att rengöra mina öron.

 

POJKEN MED DE GYLLENE ÖRONEN

Adeola_4years_old

av Adeola Aderounmu

Året var 1986 då jag fjorton år gammal tog bussen till Lagos Allmänna sjukhus för att genomgå en öronoperation. Det var menat att bli slutet på en rad tidigare besök på sjukhuset. När jag föddes var mina öron inte färdigväxta. Defekterna var uppenbara eftersom mina hörselgångar ofta var fyllda med en gulaktig vätska.

Mina barndomsminnen skulle vara ofullständiga utan min mammas vånda när hon satt och såg mitt spädbarnshuvud dekoreras med två ofullständiga öron.

Jag minns min barndoms dagar i grundskolan. Jag hade alltid en laddning med bomullsvadd hemma som jag ibland tog med till skolan. Jag lärde mig snart att vira bomullsvadden runt ett kvastskaft och stack in vadd i örat till både höger och vänster. Vid flera tillfällen tog bomullsvadden slut, så vad gjorde jag? Jag använde locket på min BIC penna istället. Detta lock blev min närmsta följeslagare i flera år. Hade jag inget annat på mig så hade jag locket till en blå, svart eller röd BIC penna som jag stack in i mina öron och grävde ut tonvis med vätska.

När jag senare i livet hittade bomullstopps använde jag dem istället. De hade de ett värde av guld för mig.

När jag ser tillbaka är jag så tacksam för allt bemödande min mamma la ner på att rengöra mina öron. Jag minns att hon varnade mig för skarpa föremål. Men ibland såg hon bara på mig med medlidande, för i mitt fall var det som att leva tillsammans med någon med ett missbruk. När begäret att stoppa något i mina öron dök upp fanns det inget i hela världen du kunde göra för att hindra mig.

Jag är också tacksam att mitt problem inte klassificerades som ett handikapp, eftersom i det avseendet kunde Nigeria ha förstört mig totalt. Jag hade tur att inte kategoriseras som någon i behov av specialundervisning på grund av mina hörselproblem.

Innan operationsdagen 1986 lärde jag mig att vakna klockan 05.00, ta bussen från vårt hem i Festac Town och resa till Allmänna sjukhuset beläget i Ikeja.  Vi, jag och min mamma, hoppade vanligtvis av Lagos gula buss vid hållplatsen med namn PWD och vandrade sedan utmed en bro hela vägen till sjukhuset.

Det var en obekväm resa. Den var inte heller helt säker eftersom det oftast var få personer på vägen där vi gick vid bron mot sjukhuset. Enligt min bedömning var hela resan ungefär fyra mil lång, kanske till och med fem. Det kunde ta oss en och en halv timme med minst två eller tre byten av olika bussförbindelser.

På operationsdagen lät min mamma mig göra resan på egen hand. Hon skulle anlända lite senare. Jag minns inte anledningen till det beslutet men antar att är du mamma till sex barn lär du dig snabbt att göra dem självständiga vid en lämplig ålder. Jag skulle kunna föreställa mig att jag vann min självständighet när läkarna väl bestämde att korrigera mina öron med en operation. När jag kom fram till sjukhuset mötte jag sjuksköterskorna och gjorde den nödvändiga registreringen. Sedan väntade jag. Och jag väntade, väntade och väntade.

Efter att jag blev tveksam till den ovanligt långa väntetiden frågade jag sköterskorna när det var min tur att bli omhändertagen? Svaret jag fick då kom som en chock jag aldrig kommer glömma. Det här sjukhuset hade jag besökt åtskilliga gånger tillsammans med min mamma, jag var en återkommande patient. Till exempel en gång när ett litet fiskben fastnade i min hals under en utsökt måltid och min mamma tog mig till öron-näs-hals på Allmänna sjukhuset i Ikeja, kände jag redan till den avdelningen lika väl som min egen handflata.

Så därför när sköterskorna, denna ödesdigra dag, svarade mig att de inte kunde hitta min journal med dokumentationen som fastställt min operation trodde jag det var ett enkelt misstag av felplacering. Jag antog att de skulle hitta den och att mina öron sedan skulle opereras.

När min mamma anlände blev hon mycket upprörd. Hon gav mig en tillrättavisande örfil för att uttrycka sin ilska. Jag kan inte minnas någon annan dag, varken innan eller efter denna ödesdigra dag, då min mamma slagit mig. Hon gjorde aldrig det. Därför blev jag nu mycket förvirrad. Det var ju sköterskorna som inte kunde hitta min journal. Vem borde då bli slagen?

När jag tänker tillbaka på hela det scenariot, kan jag bara gissa mig till olika skäl att min journal försvann. Ett är att sköterskorna förmodligen blev chockade att en pojke dök upp själv inför sin operation. Var fanns min mamma som skulle betala dricks så att journalen inte försvann denna viktiga dag? Eller, sett ur ett annat perspektiv, räknade personalen med att min familj skulle ha kontaktat dem i förhand med förskottsbetalning innan operationsdagen? Hur väl förstod mina föräldrar att sådana här möjligheter måste säkerställas genom att hålla koll på sjuksköterskor och doktorer för att undvika besvikelser?

Varför försvann min journal på operationsdagen? Ett tredje skäl kan vara att läkarna inte var kapabla att utföra denna operation och därför drog sig ur?  Det sista påståendet är rätt osannolikt eftersom mina minnen porträtteras en rad kompetenta, professionella läkare och undersökt mina trumhinnor, öroninfektioner och hals med instrument och redskap på öppenvårdsmottagningen.

Så, varför kom inte läkarna ihåg min bokning? En operation borde ju inte vara så lätt att glömma? Varför kom inte läkarna till väntrummet för att leta efter mig? Sa sjuksköterskan att jag inte dykt upp? Vad var det egentligen som gick fel?

Min mamma smällde till mig eftersom att hon fann mig sitta lugn och samlad, trots det troliga scenariot att missa ett tillfälle att korrigera mina defekta öron som man bara får en gång i livet. Hon visste säkert med en gång att chansen inte skulle komma igen. Många saker måste farit genom hennes huvud när hon kom för att höra de dåliga nyheterna gällande mina öron. Den enklaste vägen för att ge utlopp för sin frustration var slaget jag fick. Hon trodde troligen att jag bara kom dit och satte mig ner utan någon ansträngning. Men vad kan en fjortonåring göra när de äldre sköterskorna kastat eller gömt hans medicinska journal?

Jag kan inte minnas att jag någonsin var arg på min mamma. Hon var min gudinna. Hon var kvinnan som lärde mig nästan allt – att läsa, att skriva och sedan att laga mat. Min mamma lärde mig vara ödmjuk och uthållig trots de svårigheter och motgångar man möter i livet.

Så vi åkte hem. Det blev ingen operation år 1986. Jag fortsatte att sticka in allt i mina öron för att få ut vätskor och för att skrapa öronen när de kliade. Vid något tillfälle använde jag pinnar och kvastar för att skrapa ut smuts som fastnat på mina trumhinnor. Jag var expert på mina öron. Som öronläkare skulle jag varit den bästa i hela världen. Jag minns en dag när jag pillade i mitt öra med ett skaft och någon plötsligt sprang in i mig. Det började blöda från mitt öra och jag fick därmed en ny möjlighet att sticka in fler föremål för att få ut blodet. Mitt missbruk var hopplöst.

Jag har levt i Sverige sedan 2002 med ett fortsatt lidande av återkommande öroninfektioner på grund av mina trumhinnors sårbarhet. En dag när jag besökte läkaren rekommenderade han en operation. Mina öron hade testats under en period och resultaten var förkrossande. Jag har fått anstränga mig nästan hela livet för att kunna höra vad människor säger. Resultaten jag såg visade tröskeln för normal hörsel jämfört med min. Jag har varit döv!

Så år 2007, tjugoett år efter att sjuksköterskorna på Allmänna sjukhuset i Ikeja sabbade min då planerade operation, fick jag äntligen min öronoperation i Sverige. I ena örat var hörseln redan borta vid det laget! Efter operationen blev det örat det bättre av de två. Vilket betyder att i det bättre örat innan jag opererades saknades redan hörseln. Öronen var helt enkelt döva till olika grader. Operationen utfördes på Danderyds sjukhus i Sverige.

Till ålderdomens höst, som snabbt närmar sig, kan jag ana vad mina största utmaningar kommer bli. Jag har en dålig höft efter att ha spelat fotboll i tonåren and kommer definitivt inte kunna gå ordentligt. Jag får använda hjälp. Jag kommer också vara nästan döv på bägge öronen. Hörapparater finns att erhålla men om de är lämpliga för just min dövhet blir intressant att upptäcka.

Jag bestämde mig för att skriva detaljerat om min hörselskada eftersom det avslöjar mycket om Nigerias folkhälsoproblem. Jag vet inte hur mitt sjukdomsfall behandlades som litet barn. Kunde jag opererats redan som bebis och därmed botats för resten av livet? Det är troligt. Men med tiden blev jag medveten om, att trots tillgången till ett bra hälso- och sjukvårdssystem i Nigeria fram till 1980-talet, fanns luckor i systemet som gjorde det svårt att korrigera min hörselskada. Den delen var olycklig.

En operation blev bortslarvad. En vän sa till mig att min död på läkarbordet var uppskjuten! Men jag litade på sjukvårdssystemet i Nigeria 1986 även om sjuksköterskorna var illasinnade. Jag skyller den sabbade operationen på dem, jag tycker inte de var genuina och det är ledsamt att minnas nu.

Så hur är det nuvarande läget gällande hälso- och sjukvård i Nigeria? Med ett ord, katastrof! Nigerianska politiker och beslutsfattare måste tänka på medborgarna och arbeta hårt för att säkerställa att sjukvårdssystemet förbättras och anpassas till efterfrågan från den omfattande lant- och tätortsbefolkningen. Den vanliga medborgaren måste ges förmånen att kunna ha råd med ett sjukvårdssystem där livet prioriteras.

Som tonåring riskerade jag mitt liv och reste flera mil. Sedan gick jag längs vägarna till läkarna i Lagos i Nigeria. Jag är mannen med de gyllene öronen.

Om en nigeriansk politiker, vilket inkluderar presidenten, önskar resa utomlands för medicinska skäl bör de hindras från att göra det. I ett land med mer än 170 miljoner människor borde politiker som inte kan leverera avskedas. De förtjänar till och med min mammas tillrättavisande örfil.

————————slut————————————————————————————–

From the original text, The Boy With The Golden Ears by Adeola Aderounmu, 2016.

Translated to Swedish language by Louise Holmberg, Stockholm, 2018.

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Paying It Forward: The Way I want To Live

In this story l want to share some real life experiences of paying forward.

Paying It Forward: The Way I want To Live

By Adeola Aderounmu

One day my phone rang 5 minutes after l returned home from a shopping mall. I had done the weekly grocery shopping for the family at a store barely 2 km from our home.

I picked up the phone and the voice at the other end was not a familiar one just as the number also did not turned up any name. Have you been shopping at the store today? The voice asked. Yes l just came home, l replied.

Can you check your wallet if you are missing something? Sure l said and immediately knew something was wrong. Yeaaaa….l said….one of my credit cards is missing.

I have it, he said.

Another 5 minutes l met the man at the store and he gave me back my credit card.

How did you find me, l asked full of curiosity.

When l saw your name, l sent a text message to my son and he looked up your contact information on the address book online. That’s how l got your number, he concluded.

I was short of words. It came to me at as a shock. The speed at which he got in touch with me gave me the conviction that he didn’t think twice about what to do when he found my credit card.

He could have gone on a spending spree and l wouldn’t have known until the next day or the next time l need the card.

I was so convinced of the man’s honesty that l kept using the credit card until it expired. I mean l was not afraid that he could have copied the number and the 3-digit security code at the back.

I was pleased.

When we exchanged pleasantry further with each other, he told me that he migrated to Sweden from Iraq many years ago.

We shook hands and l drove back home. I explained to my wife and she smiled. We were both pleased.

I know that when you talk about righteousness that l cannot claim to be holy. But l am sure that l do the best l can. I try to radiate love and to show people that l care.

I have paid forward so many acts of kindness that have been done to me.

I have asked friends and acquaintances to pay forward, but not all the time. Sometimes l need some things back so l can carry on with a normal life as well.

Just two weeks ago, l was at another shop where they sell stuffs they claimed come from all over the world. I found Nigerian plantain there, so their claim may be true.

On this particular day, an elderly woman was ahead of me and she had paid for all her grocery and stuffs. She was packing her things and had forgotten to remove her credit card from the payment machine.

The machine was positioned so that the cashier does not see if the card has been removed or not. The idea is that cashier do not see your codes when you make a payment.

Luckily for this elderly woman she was still packing her things when l wanted to insert my own credit card. It went quickly because l bought only 2 or 3 items. So l took her credit card and handed it over to her.

She was pleased.

On my way out, l said to her trevlig helg! (have a nice weekend) and she replied tack detsamma! (thanks, l wish you the same).

I didn’t think twice when l had the chance to hand over the elderly woman’s credit card. She has completely forgotten it in the machince.

I could not waste the chance to represent. I mean l grew up in Nigeria and we were raised to be good, to be kind and to be helpful.

In my family especially my father always say, remember the son of whom you are.

I am so ashame of all the negative news about criminals in Nigerian government and the stupidity of Nigerian politicians.

I am not going to be a perfect man or claim that l am a righteous man but l do my best.

Last week, precisely on the 4th of december 2015 l was on my bicycle  about 2 km away from home when l noticed something unusual on the ground, so l stopped.

autumn_morning

Cold Autumn Morning in November, Sweden

If you don’t know how it is in Sweden at this time of the year, then it will be hard to comprehend the cold, dark, winter mornings.

On this day it was cold and raining.  So l had every reason to hurry up to work. I should ignore every object that intends to distract me.

When l stopped my bicycle, l looked down at the dark object lying on the wet ground on this dark morning. It turned out to be a mobile phone. It is a Samsung-Galaxy S5.

samsung_S5

The Samsung S-5 l found on the ground on my way to work

The first thing l did when l got to work was to check the mobile phone out properly. Luckily l could access the phone by just swipping the screen. Luckily too the owner had a facebook account where l saw a home-telephone number.

10 hours after l found the phone it was reunited with its owner.

She was very happy and she brought a gift when she came to our house to collect her phone.

choco_plant_1 (2)

The Gift l got in appreciation

I do not know what she and her husband whom l got at the other end of the phone in the morning have discussed but the gifts she brought gave volume to their thoughts. I accepted the chocolate and the special seasonal plant that she presented to me. (see pictures)

This is the way l want to live.

This type of paying forward is what makes the world go round.

I hope Charlotte is as impressed as l was when a man from Iraq gave me back my credit card which l had forgotten in a shopping wagon as l hurriedly left the store.

I hope that that elderly woman at the global market store was impressed that some of us are in this country not just because of what we gain from the country but also because we are good people who can contribute our bits to make the country a better place to live.

We came here to learn and to share our experiences too. Now Sweden is our home too.

We are good people.

I can recall that l have been good in uncountable ways both at work and at play.

Some people have touched my lives both in Nigeria and here in Sweden. l have tried so hard to pay forward by touching other people’s lives positively. But we soon learn that we cannot please everybody and some people will make good deeds look like divine favours. They don’t pay back and they don’t pay forward.

I have always thought of writing for the rest of my life, because everyday in my head, there is always a chapter that is left unwritten out of my life’s experiences- at home, work, with friends, families and the people l see everyday on the train, on the bus, and everywhere l go.

The way l live and work have given me adequate shield and buffer from the negativity that surrounds me. For examples, all those extra hours l have spent on my students since 1990, without pay, are the ones that count most.

For it is at those times that l have gone out of my comfort zone to give my students the extra help and support that they need.

I am happy when they find the motivation with which they succeed in the moment and subsequently obtaining the momentum that keeps them going throughout life.

This is the way l want to live-full of content and paying forward all the good deeds.

In my view, this is part of the secret of authentic happiness. It adds meaning to our lives.

 

aderounmu@gmail.com

 

No Love Lost  

One of the remarkable ironies of life is that we see other people’s problems more than we see ours. Life is short and problems don’t disappear. If we paddle our canoes hard enough, maybe we will still be rowing when the storm is over. Life is just too unpredictable

NO LOVE LOST

By Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

Lucy lives in Zambezi, until now anyway. This is where she has known all of her life. She was born here and this is where she blooms. She is a very beautiful woman. Some people spoke about her and said maybe she is a goddess. There was an artist in the town and he was convinced the gods took their time to mould her. He meant to say that Lucy was made with perfection.

Ever since she was a little girl there has always been an admiration for her beauty and her personality. People generally agree with Lucy. In her neighbourhood almost everybody she met respected her.

When she left home for the City College at Mongu, she already knew that respect and admiration were not going to be substitutes for love. We all need someone or some people to love us. So when Lucy left college the emptiness in her life began to manifest. Still she continued to pull through with the admiration and respect that folks have towards her. When she is alone she often asks herself: who will satisfy my soul?  Respect is a wonderful quality but it is not love. Even admiration is not love.

Now a working class lady, Lucy almost gave up on love. It was not hard to find a job when she graduated from Zambezi University. She is a brilliant woman and with her kind of beauty, she can open any door. But when it comes to love and satisfaction for her soul, she seemed to be lost. No one knew this but her. She knew that she is not perfect like the artist had insinuated.

One day she was waiting at the bus station. Quite unpredictably the sky turned cloudy that morning and it started to rain heavily. As it rained, Lucy started to cry. The buses were not coming because of the heavy rain. But she was not crying because of the rain or the buses that were not coming. It turned out that the weather gave her a picture of her life. She thought that her life was cloudy inside. She was alone at the bus station, and then she cried even more.

This is not the first time Lucy cried. She has read a lot of novels and she had known about the travails of many characters in tragic literatures and even in some romantic books. She learnt to cry when she is sad because tears wash away sorrows, so she thought. Once she read a book where it was stated that the men who committed suicide are often those who refused to cry because they did not give in to their feelings and pains. When people cry, they feel refreshed and often that gives them the hope that they can carry on.

Lucy was so carried away in her thoughts she almost did not notice the car that had parked right in front of her at the station. Someone had stopped to her help get to work that morning. The man did not know that Lucy had been crying. He thought it had rained over her face. In addition it was too dark to make clear observations. The man recognised Lucy though and that was why he stopped to help her.

That weekend Lucy saw the man again as she took a walk down the street. Thank you Paul, you are kind, she said. It was nothing he replied. But on this occasion Paul noticed something unusual about Lucy. Are you alright he asked? Then Lucy looked at him and started to cry again.

Paul gave her a tissue and she wiped her tears. But Paul was shocked. Until that moment he was one of those who thought that Lucy could have anything she wished for in her life. Lucy did not speak about all of her emptiness but Paul knew from the short conversation they had that the vacuum in her life is enormous.  

Paul was almost thinking out loud. So people can be beautiful, they can have good jobs, they may be admired, well respected and still be sad. Indeed many people often ignore the roles of physical beauty and clothes in covering the darkness and emptiness inside the human body.

In Zambezi there is a man who cannot finish his expressions without the use of proverbs. Paul thought about the day the man had a conversation with him. He remembered one of his sentences: lizards are always lying on their bellies, so we don’t know which among them have stomach problems.

He gave Lucy a hug and they parted ways.

Over several months that followed, Paul was visiting Lucy. There was no attraction between them because Paul had a woman in his life. But with his company, Lucy felt better. They talked about many things, some memories of growing up and now working in this commercial town where the fourth largest river in Africa took its origin.

Lucy also met new friends through Paul. These after-work and weekend companions helped Lucy to forget some of her problems. They filled some gaps in her life. Some of the people who admire her are no longer at a distance.

When she remembered how an unexpected rain facilitated her meeting with Paul, she cherished the moment. Then she decided to buy a car so that she does not have to be at the mercy of another man from the town on another rainy day. She already knew how to drive.

Lucy is happy. She felt she had leaped out of a shell. It was definitely a step in the right direction when people not only admire her but showed her some love through conversations and doing things together. Some people she spoke to talked about their travels and adventures.

Lucy became inspired and she decided that she will also take to travelling. She had always had the opportunities to travel but she never took them. She felt that it was a lot of hassles but now that she had listened to the stories about Paris, Berlin, London and Stockholm, she got motivated.

However she promised herself that she will not travel far. She learnt in geography about the different places and seasons in Africa. I will see my world in Africa before I see the rest of the world she told herself. In her mind she also made a decision to find love and never to let it go.

Lucy spent some of her weekends in Harare and sometimes she is off to Johannesburg. She also travelled to Accra because of the gold at the coast in Ghana. Once she was covering her hair in Cairo. Now she has a handful of pictures, maps and souvenirs from the West, East, North and South of Africa in her study at home.

One day, Paul left a note for Lucy. He wanted to see her again. Lucy did not understand. She just came back from Cape Town where she went on holidays. Zambezi had been warm and she wanted some experience of winter from the bottom of Africa. Lucy is a woman in search of balance and fulfilment. She came home to Zambezi and found the note in her letter box.

Paul’s relationship with his long-time girlfriend had fallen apart. They did not get along as they had dreamt. They had a few problems and they both agreed on one thing only: to end the relationship. It was a sad occurrence but they both felt it was better to do it now rather than trying to make it work at all cost. They have no children yet. He is now 32 and she is 28, so they still have their lives ahead of them.

Sometimes things are not always what they seem. We all make mistakes and our passions can mislead us. One of the remarkable ironies of life is that we see other people’s problems more than we see ours. If people stop pretending, maybe they wouldn’t have to run away from their problems. Life is short and problems don’t disappear. If we paddle our canoes hard enough, maybe we will still be rowing when the storm is over. Life is just too unpredictable.

Lucy met Paul at the coffee shop down the street. She was sorry to hear Paul’s sad story. Paul’s heart was obviously broken. But he cannot blame it on Lucy. Lucy did all she could not to be a distraction. They are close friends, true. Still there was neither attraction nor intimacy between them. Lucy was missing something in her life but her head was clear about what she wanted and desired.

In her mind, she knew that Paul is confused. He has just broken up with someone he had spent a substantial part of his life with. Lucy is quick to draw inspirations from books, stories and her own life. So she said, give it sometime maybe you will find someone new. Your heart will heal and you will go on with your life.

She continued: When I went to Johannesburg in February, I met Vincent. I like him a lot. He adores me. He respects me, but above all he loves me and I love him too. We spent the last two weeks together in Cape Town and he’s planning to find a job in Harare. Apparently 7 months after their first meeting Lucy and Vincent have concluded plans to move to Harare as expatriates.

Paul is not a novice. He too had always known that people must learn to pass through their own troubles, their travails. They must learn to conquer their fears. They may need some time and a little help but they must learn.

The best way to learn is through real experiences.

Goodbye Paul. I must go now. Take care of yourself and we’ll see sometime.

Paul was close to tears but Lucy showed no emotion whatsoever.   

She gave him a tight hug and left.

aderounmu@gmail.com

(c) Adeola Aderounmu 2014

 

 

The Kings Are Mad (Part 2)

Bawa cried when he knew it was normal for men to cry too. People need to set their souls free from the sufferings of their bodies. Tears are the medicine of nature and they cure men from suicide

By Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

All is not well in this place, this land.

The people have diverse and confusing opinions about the true meaning of life, so it was difficult to find the solutions to their problems.

When Bawa was born and raised, no one provided him with the education he needed. He is from the north part of the land. His parents told him it was enough to obey. Everyday he prayed but he didn’t know if his prayers hit the roof or if they went above the clouds. His family did small retailing and didn’t have to depend on food tickets from the local councils like several urchins in the north did.  

When the expanding family business brought him to Ebute Metta, his life changed. He became rebellious and started asking questions every time he went back to the north. He found a perfect companionship with some co-travelers and a few men who have been away also, even further north. One day he looked at the extent of ignorance in his village and felt extreme bitterness in his heart. Someone told him that men are not supposed to cry but he knew that until that moment, he had lived the life he didn’t choose.  

The colonial thugs who invaded the land several years ago told the foolish kings in the north never to educate their wards. Stupidly, there was an agreement to the insane treaty. How can anyone think they could be kings or rulers for life? Without the royal blood, no one is born to rule. Even royal bloods do fade. 

How can anyone even think that knowledge is the reason for the crises in the Mediterranean?  Knowledge is power, not war. It’s true; humans always blame objects and abstract concepts for their foolishness. Sometimes they say they are looking for a scapegoat, as if one was lost. They always find the reasons to go to war. 

An old man from the east once said to the people, “10 kings own 10 eras”. He said those who forget their history can never be free. He also said “if you fight a war, make sure it is for your freedom”. He added that “peace comes from freedom and absence of injustice”. But the people are reading less and not showing understanding for the wisdom hidden in books. 

The stupid king in the north, just like all the dead kings before him, has also not fulfilled his promises to the people. Like many other places in the land, many people don’t have water, electricity and shelters to cover them. It is worse here in the north. The king and his emissaries have acquired what should have been shared equally among the people. 

When Bawa and his gang members started having their secret meetings, they got the people’s ears. Walls have ears too. They soon sold their souls to the elites, they lost their plots. 

Hopelessness can ruin a man’s conscience. At this point the people have started wondering if cannibalism will be a criminal offence if that becomes an option soon. Evil grew in their hearts due to deprivations.  

This king in the north has no plan. He’s quick to blame the woes in the north on the reign of the king in Abuja. If we had one of us as the king in Abuja, our ancestors will be kind to us and our lives will be better he often said.

But the king in Abuja is really upset. He lacks charisma and hardly spoke but one day he said “ask the king in the north what he has been doing with all the tax returns given to the north and all the pure gold that he receives on behalf of the north four times a year”. Sometimes no one knows what to believe because the king in Abuja usually soaks himself in the pleasures of alcohol and women.

 One day when the people came from everywhere to plead with him, he chased them away with whips and bullets. Then another time when the people found the courage to return, he repented and told them to go home and pray. Sometimes when he doesn’t know what to think or what to say, he simply said he didn’t care.

When the people refused to pray he commanded one of his brothers to do so on behalf of the people. His brother dressed up like a knight and prayed the prayer of a fool. The people thought he was insane but he didn’t care one bit. He knew his brother-the king- was too drunk to reason. But he got a lot of gold for his worthless prayers. 

Now, frustration is growing in the land and the people do not know where to turn or who to speak to. They can never trust the soldiers. They are men of fortunes and when they had tried or pretended to help they did things worse than the kings could ever have done. They abuse drugs and they denied being homosexuals even when it was not yet a crime in the land. Now it is a crime. 

But the soldiers laughed because they know that it is easier to practice homosexuality in prisons. They also knew that going to prisons will not affect their sexual disorders even if the lawmakers still think it is an abomination. Their biggest laughter on this matter came last, because they know that they live in a lawless land. They will never go to jail. 

In the barracks, they wonder who really is mad. Someone said it’s the trait of the kings. One soldier who all of his life, had neither tasted tobacco nor alcohol shouted “we are all mad”! When they asked him the reason for his thoughts, he said, because when we sleep at night, we all lie in the same direction

Then they laughed again because they did not understand his reasoning. He is a soldier from Ebute Metta. He went to bed, worried. How did I end up with these fools, these mad men

In Abuja, the king had slept several times with one eye open and the other closed. He too is convinced that soldiers are treacherous and mad. Sometimes he had unpleasant nightmares. He’s encountering many strange dreams because his heart is not pure. 

One day he dreamt that the dissidents had captured him and cut his throat. Then he vowed never to see the eyeballs of the soldiers from the north. He will never meet with the king of the north again as well. 

The king of Abuja rebuilt his network and brought foreigners to protect him. He decided that he would have 99 vehicles when he is travelling on the road. Among the people, he gave gold and silver to the greedy councilors. He called them his loyalists; they will always speak for him in such a way as to create false hope while his reign of injustice persists everywhere in the land. It was easy to find religious people as members of his loyal groups. 

When the unrest started in the north it was some of the councilors who gave the rebels tools and the courage to unleash violence. They used some of the monies they stole from the land when they were kings in Abuja and started various propaganda aimed at killing the present king. 

Bawa and his friends got along with the treachery when the elites approached them. He started to visit Ebute Metta less frequently. At some point he left the holy books and started to listen to his heart. In their group, as dissidents, they got very rich at the expense of the people in the north. His heart told him that he’s now one of the reasons people remain poor in the north. At a recent meeting Bawa and his group members decided to abandon everything that they believed or were taught. They will make their own rules, now that they have wealth and weapons. 

There had been a long call by some fools to return the kingship in Abuja to the men from the north. The stupid idea of born to rule has erased the ability of the north to think freely. Some of their kinsmen are happy to dine and wine with the king anyway. Many of them knew that feudalism is a form of injustice but they want to find a bigger fault with the king in Abuja. 

The poor people are angry, infuriated and helpless. There is confusion everywhere. There is something the people are not doing. There are things the kings and the elites are doing maliciously. So across the land, all is not well. 

One girl from the west brought a message of fire on the mountain to the land. The people lacked the wisdom to discern her message. They doubt that the gods spoke through women. So the girl went to another land. Then she prospered. One man sang for the freedom of all the regions but they put him in prison and poisoned him. He died. 

Every time someone stood up genuinely for the people, the people watch from afar, disunited. Then the freedom fighter is killed by an angry person or someone sent by any of the kings. The land is flowing with the blood of innocent people. Even the gods shook their heads because the people did not understand the signs and processes of freedom. 

Bawa and his generation grew up in ignorance. At that time they were easy preys for wrong political purposes. Bawa’s exposure led him to some light, but it was half-light. For vision, half-light is more dangerous than total darkness. But those who don’t know that, what is worth doing at all is worth doing well always argue when taught this principle. Bawa doesn’t care anymore about the consequences of disobedience. His views about life are now at conflict with one another. 

Now he, along with the others in the rebel groups, is at war with the society. They will bring down the reigns of the king in the north and the king in Abuja. He doesn’t know what his actual plans are in this senseless war. He and his evil gang members have abandoned their foreign teachings. They have now turned to the evil in their hearts. They are now monsters and their unknown ambitions surprised the north, totally. 

There is trouble in the north. There is pandemonium in the east and the west is choking even with diseases due to congestion and migration. The south is polluted, full of treacherous men and unsafe for existence. 

Mama Esan is trapped, Chinedu is depressed and Bawa is ready to die for the things he does not believe in, the things he does not even understand anymore. 

At the town hall meeting, Mama Esan wept, again. No one could console her. She even refused to be consoled because she needs to set her soul free from the suffering of her flesh. She asked why the kings everywhere have so much wealth, women and property when the people are suffering. How can her dreams come true? Why did things go so wrong? The more questions she asked in her heart, the more sorrowful she felt. 

Chinedu in his depressed mood fell asleep before the meeting ended. In his dream, he saw what life was supposed to be and he woke up with a thunderous cry. The hall was empty when he opened his eyes. 

Bawa was not at this meeting. He will never come back to Ebute Metta. He had decided to remain incognito until vengeance is achieved. He thought the kings are all wicked or mad as people say. But he also hated those who made him cry. 

Indeed, he cried when he knew it was normal for men to cry too. People need to set their souls free from the sufferings of their bodies. Tears are the medicine of nature and they cure men from suicide. He thought his life is upside down and not worth living. He doesn’t know where this will lead him or where he wants to go from here. 

Sometimes the king in Abuja speaks after the town hall meetings to get feedback and make new reforms. When the king spoke after the latest meeting held in Ebute Metta, he was far from reality. This was worse than what the people had thought. So now everyone across the land knew the gods have made him deaf.  They know what will happen next because that is a premonition that is easy to interpret. This gives an unusual hope that change will come soon. 

Sometimes people think that time is their enemy. But time is a good concept. It carries out everything at its appointed moment. Because humans have faint memory, they forget their destinies. Therefore their actions can be in contrast to their desires in life. If you want freedom, you must act correctly or appropriately. Time will bring all things to pass at the appointed moments only if the actions that preceded those moments are just and upright. 

In this entire clamor for change, the south remains indifferent because the people inhabiting the place have become like the proverbial soap and leaves. They are used to their sufferings and living poorly in the midst of plenty. In fact they are like the thirsty fish because their land and water lie in ruins. The king of Abuja was once one of them. 

Bawa the boy from the north does not believe in the gods. He does not know what the people in the east or west have on their minds but what he wished is what the people said the gods have in plan: that when the time for freedom comes, there will be no going back, that all the kings are mad and that their kingdoms, big or small, will pass away. 

(Concluded)

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The Kings Are Mad (Part 1)

Hope is quenched when we die. Maybe tomorrow will be better, Mama Esan thought out loudly pondering what she was going to do next as she stood on her feet. She is awake now. Still a voice echoed in her head: what if it is true that tomorrow never comes. Then she sat down again, and wept.

The Kings Are Mad (Part 1)

By Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

Mama Esan ran out of the house. The rain was heavy. She quickly cleared her stall and salvage the remaining items she could grab. Earlier that day she had hoped that things would get better and that her dreams would come true. The heavy rain destroyed almost everything including her temporary stall, her wares and then some parts of the house itself. The roof is always the first part you can imagine.

Her husband has been jobless for 7 years. The dwindling economic fortunes and the total collapse of infrastructure especially the absence of power supply led many companies to shut done their operations. Some of them declared bankruptcy just as a way of getting out of the unrealistic economic environment. If I want food, it doesn’t mean I have to be able to manufacture a gas cooker or an electric heater, one of the affected CEOs declared, proverbially. Then he went to another land.

All of Mama Esan’s children have been withdrawn from their different schools. No one had expected that the cost of education will be so high. No one thought a time would come when there will be no food on the table. But like a pestilence the day came.

In mama Esan’s existence, hope no longer seems to have a place. For her, only vengeance was sure if she could have one. Mama Esan knew though that her situation was not an isolated one. Many people suffer similar fate as she does. Life no longer presented them with choices. For some people the dictionary can as well be rewritten and the non-applicable words deleted.

There is a man called Chinedu. The first time mama Esan saw her was around 1985. He was just a boy. At that time he enjoyed a lot of facilities. But all of those (fading) facilities and infrastructure soon disappeared completely. The best thing in his life was that he got the education he wanted. This was not possible in every part of the land.

When he left high school in 1990 Chinedu decided to try his hands on business and he started as a learner. He learnt the buying and selling trade and gained his freedom when he became an expert. Then he was able to rent an apartment though he was a bachelor at that time. He had his eyes on the future.

However since 1993 no one knew or understood what went wrong. Perhaps people just denied the knowledge of what went wrong with their lives. Some people said the gods got angrier, and others said their ancestors are now restless. Some people read the new foreign holy books and thought they found new hopes.

If anyone had told Chinedu that he was going to be living from hand to mouth in 2014 he would have sworn to Amadiora, one of the gods he knew before 1985, that that day will never come. He would have called the Alusi, if he knew how, to strike the speaker of the strange words.

Now married with children, Chinedu can no longer afford the cost of running his business. It’s too hard now to tend a family. He is terrified everyday and he had seen some people landed in prisons after attempting to push hard drugs as a way to keep their businesses going. The law is not effective but it always catches up with the people who need protection the most, if they erred. One of his friends died with foam puffing from his mouth. The wraps of cocaine inside of him exploded before he could deliver them.

The power generating plants kept breaking down and the cost of petrol for home and business became unbearable. Chinedu gave up. One day he survived an unexpected explosion. The generator was bad but he didn’t know about it. Now, he’s not sure if he should move back to his village with his family. He can go back to his grandfather’s farmland. He is afraid he may be called a failure. His mind kept roaming, as he ponders on the alternative “businesses” of armed robbery and kidnapping. By resisting the temptations, he thought he had rebuked the devil.

Some people think that the devil exists and that he is male. People think the devil should be blamed for all the negative things in life. When he was a student, Chinedu learnt about the culture and mythology of the people in Ebute Meta. He was held spellbound when he learnt that the devil was not Esu. He knows now that it was the invaders who taught about the devil.

Among all the tribes in the land, the people of Ebute Meta, Amuwo and Araromi have no version of the devil in their existence and traditional institutions. It was also the foreigners who invented the term religion and misapplied it. Ignorance ruined the minds of men and they thought that the white man’s devil is the Esu in Ifa’s mythology. Ifa is not a religion; it is a way of life and the explanation for everything associated with mankind.

It was about time the human race laid the blame for global ruins at own doorsteps. Man is responsible for the evil deeds in the world, not an imaginary demon. Man created religion and a place in his own heart called “devil”. Ifa is not human but it can admittedly be either good or bad depending on the man that applies it. When people find evil in (d)evil, maybe they will be convinced that both terms are the inventions of ordinary mortals.

Many people in Ebute Meta are happy for the knowledge that came their way through basic education. But they are now sad because of their misfortunes. What they have learnt have seen them through many life changing experiences. Their hope is that the prevailing problems they encounter will pass away. But what are they doing about these new problems?

There was a man who left Ebute Meta. He went to a very far place in the land called Abuja. He was in search of fulfilment and his name was Muyiwa. He was killed in a bomb explosion. The bomb was set off by the dissidents in Abuja. No one can see the future unless the gods smile down on them and when risks are not taken sometimes, it’s hard to tell what the outcomes could be. After more than 10 years as a jobless engineer in Ebute Meta, this young man was exterminated. He was just 37, which is 3 years shy of age when they say life begins.

Muyiwa was a brilliant man and he was originally from the village of Eniyansoro. He had been told of a job opportunity in the far place. He thought he’d try out his luck. The debt he owed to get to this place of death will never be paid back. The dissidents from the North have now come to Abuja. People say they are also mad because they do not believe in visions but accepted the foreign teaching that they will be alive as martyrs in an unknown place by killing innocent people in suicide missions.

The king of Abuja is foolish. He believes in the devil so he did nothing about this evil when it showed its ugly head. All his life, all he-the king-wanted is power and he chose to dine with the “devil” because he had a choice. He had learnt from his youth that he could dine with the devil by using a very long spoon.

Many of the previous Kings of Abuja are known to have suddenly perished. Some people say the gods must be crazy in this land because they first make the kings deaf and then they destroyed them. But the gods are not crazy. They are probably amused.

Even so because the various kings in the different parts of the land are hypocrites who pretend about the new religions while possessing deep seated intuitions about the gods and they always thought that sacrifices are better than obedience. So they-the kings-make many ceremonies and they give away many unsuspecting fools as living sacrifices. The biggest human sacrifices have always been in Abuja and towards the North of the land.

Money and gold can make people to stop thinking, so they don’t see the evil that other men have planted in their ways. Another selected delegate to the king’s ceremony died 2 days ago and still people want to blame the devil. If the king can kill one of his brothers, who can be free from his thirst for power?

When people are hungry, they also sometimes unknowingly sell their souls. They have no food because many of them left for the cities. They thought they will get rich in the cities. Now with fewer jobs, many of them have no money as well. So the people also said that money is the root of all their problems. How can the people know that the devil is not a demon and that he does not exist? Men clothe their hearts as devils and propagate evil despite the knowledge of the truth with which they were born.

Mama Esan thought about the religiosity of all the kings that she knew: in Ebute Meta, in Abuja and even in the North. Then she wondered who God is and his relationship to Olodumare. This was the first time in her life that she gained awareness of her own thinking about religion. The present king of Abuja took religion to an absurd horizon. No king before him adopted religion as widely and open as he does today. Yet, it is now that the greatest devastations beseech the land. Mama Esan became really confused.

She was not finished with her thoughts. She knows a lot about many of the books her children read when they returned from school. The stories are mostly sad stories. In history, in geography and even in science books, she listened when her children study about many diseases and how some of them are incurable. She’ll be sad if there are no ways for the children to return to school. We are in a hopeless situation, she said to herself. Then she thought that she had a voice in her head “We become religious because we are afraid of death. Yet we die and become dust”.

She woke up drowned in her sweat. She thought about Muyiwa. Ebute Meta is not a big place. Bad news travel fast. She knew about the travails of Muyiwa and many young people in Ebute Meta. She remembered the day Muyiwa and his friends came to her and ask for some items on credit. She overheard him when he told his friends about a foreign film called Fried Green Tomatoes that he had seen and that his favourite line in the movie set in the 1920s was: no one would leave this earth alive.

One day, in order to start a discussion, mama Esan asked her neighbour: what is the meaning of premonition? One of her children had said that he thought Muyiwa had a premonition he was going to die in a far (foreign) place and that was why he talked about the foreign drama and death.

All that is foreign cannot be evil. The power of discernment is one of the greatest gifts the gods left to the people when they departed from Araromi. Muyiwa was philosophical while his travails lasted. He spoke of the several millions like him and wondered from where their hope cometh. He died along with several other innocent people. His hope never materialised and his body parts were shattered. Life can be cruel even to the kind. The evil in the hearts of men and kings does not discern because they think it is the devil’s work.

With all sorts of religions, vices and crimes are committed in the land. The taste of foreign religions left the people in this land in the rhythm of the shadows of mental slavery. It became more devastating because somehow they were not able to differentiate between rites and faith.

This king of Abuja became a master in the philosophy of modern religion. The dissidents from the North have their own ideas about it. The people are suffering and there is confusion everywhere.

From everything the people hear and see they also fail to realise that their freedom and way back to prosperity will lie in their power to discern. They must know the truth so that they can be free. Else there is a risk they will become slaves to anything that they do not understand.

Muyiwa was one of those who believed that life started and will end on earth. He had a premonition but he didn’t know it. He was a kind fellow and he lived in peace with everybody though his heart was always troubled in his private moments.

Hope is quenched when we die. Maybe tomorrow will be better, Mama Esan thought out loudly pondering what she was going to do next as she stood on her feet. She is awake now. Still a voice echoed in her head: what if it is true that tomorrow never comes.

Then she sat down again, and wept.

(Watch out for part 2)

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