Episode 1

I had always looked at myself as a child of promise. Even my mom use to say it; That when I was born, the chief Iman of Ilorin came and prayed for me. He prophesied into my life that I will do well and achieve great things at a very young age. He also said that my parents will be elevated. But now am wondering what has gone wrong about those prophesies? What is holding them back? Why has it not come to pass. The worse part of it is that my dad died when I was 5. The elevation prophesy sef, even if say e come, na only my mama go come chop inside! Or maybe the gods are punishing my family because we later converted from Muslim to Christian religion!.

All that were my thought. My heart was bitter. I just dey regret. Na who send me go write JAMB! Na who send me go even write the FUNAAB Post UTME! If I had known I would have saved that money and use it for better things as my mother had suggested. I no hear. Na so I use the money go write JAMB. And that would be the second time I was writing JAMB and passing through, yet no money for tuition fees. No money to further. I wrote one the previous year and choose University of Ibadan. I passed the Jamb but there was no common N3000 to process my Post UTME. Chaiiii, poverty bad.

I encouraged myself. My mom had earlier said I should give up on going to school, that there was no money to see me through. Yes, I saw her point but I was hoping for a miracle to happen. I was just believing that I would just see a tree full of money and start plucking them. Or maybe meeting a helper that would say, “Let me just train you through your higher institution.”

I had saved up to N45, 000 the past year. I gave my best at where I worked just to see I save money for my school. My mom who was into Akara business. She had been complaining about her eye problem. Out of the N45,000, I gave her N12,000 to go for treatment. Money don short nah. But I was determined that I won’t lose that admission. I must enter university this time. No going back, whether money dey or not.

That was how my mom nearly closed down her Akara business that she was raising fund for me to go to school. She borrowed N27, 000 from the cooperative group she was. Plus the one I had. I went to Federal University Of Agriculture Abeokuta (Funaab), paid my admission acceptance fee, school fees and other fees. We never even start to dey talk accommodation sef. The guy I was squatting with had graduated and he was leaving the room the next weekend. I had earlier asked if he would leave some few things for me. He said he couldn’t, that he needed money badly so he wants to sell them. Even if the guy leave am for me, how I wan take pay for accommodation sef! He has really tried. I met him when I came to write my post UTME. I didn’t even know anybody in Abeokuta. But he was God sent. He harboured me for 4 days and I still came back, he was still harbouring me. He said the rent would be due the next two weeks.

So after paying the necessary fees, I had to go back home to sort myself on accommodation and feeding, refresh and come back to campus fully the next week to resume.

When I got home, things were not so good at all. My mom was down with malaria. I know say she go don dey think how she go take pay back the money wey she borrow from cooperative.

And even her crumbling business, coupled with all the irony of life. I only had N430 left with me at that moment inside my pocket. I had to rush to the chemist shop to get my mom drugs.

I called one of our relatives in Offa and updated her on what was happening to my mom.

3 days later, it seemed my mom was recovering gradually. I withdrew the last N5, 000 in my account and went to buy provisions and food stuffs. There was nothing much at home. At least, even if say person poor, that does not mean say we no go chop better food.

A day before travelling back to Abeokuta, I went to the place I worked before leaving. My former Oga wey like me wella. He gave me N2,000. I told him I was going back to school. Some of my paddies still dash me small money. I calculated everything and it amounted to N3, 450.

“Gbadebo! Gbadebo!!” my mom called. I was outside chatting with a friend when he called. I came into the room. “Gbadebo,” she said. “Ma,” I answered. She brought out some sq££zed naira notes from the edge of her wrapper were she tied it. She handed them over to me. I counted them and It was N3, 500. “Kosi owo. Manage elei.” She said I should manage it that there was no money.

Infact, she even tried. I couldn’t say anything.

As I took the money, I went to bed to sleep, thinking of how my 4 year journey would look like in Funaab with my poverty condition.

The next morning, I arranged my only travelling bag, which doubles as my school bag. I only had few clothes which I inserted into the bag, with the only foot wear I had, my pam slippers, na im I go wear go back. “I am going to school.” person wey see me go think say I dey joke. Na only 2 trousers and 5 shirts wey I get I put inside my bag. I didn’t have time to buy many things because I was saving to go to school. The only mobile phone we had, a small touchlight phone. I had to leave it with my mom.

I told her I would be calling from a business center. It was better for me that way so I could be reaching out to her rather than me taking the phone to school.

I looked my mom into the eye as I was about leaving for the park. She looked worried seeing me leave. “I guessed she was worried how I would cope.” I hugged her and left to the park where I would be boarding a car to Ibadan. As I entered one of the cars going to Ibadan, I wasn’t happy. My heart was filled with too many weird thoughts that I didn’t even know when the car got filled up, I paid and we left.

On the road to Ibadan, “I thought about my life.” After paying for my transportation, I was only left with N4,450. We never get to Ibadan ooo. I have not even talked about my accommodation. Where will I even stay? How will I feed sef? And I go even pay transport go school. As all those thoughts were flipping through my mind, tears ran down my eyes.

The woman sitting close to me was the one that even called my attention. She asked what was wrong with me that I shed tears. And we were sitting at the front seat opposite the driver.

I had to bring out my handkerchief from my pocket and whipped my face. I don’t even know what to tell the woman. I wished she was Jesus that could just take my burden away.

Well, I told her that it’s just some family related issues that was making me shed tears. “Family issues keh!” she said. She spoke in Yoruba language. She asked what kind of family issue was that. I no wan tell her. One don’t just go around telling people their problems. I felt reluctant telling her. “Part of me said I should open up to her while another part of me said I should not. She seemed to be asking genuinely but she’s just a random person. Even if I tell her, will she adopt me or give me N1m.” I just told her that the money I was giving to for my school was not enough.

Immediately I said that, almost every one inside the car busted into laughter. Part of me was like, “You see, you see wetin I tell you.

You should have not told her.” I began regretting saying it out. The woman laughed uncontrollable in a mocking tone. “Is that the family problem,” she asked. She said there are some people their own case was worse so mine was even not a case. By then, I just wished she knew more about my own case. As other people in the car were talking, some gisting and telling stories of how their children survive in higher institution. I just ignored them. “No be their own e dey me sef. I went back into deep thoughts that I didn’t even know when we got to Ibadan. The woman beside me called my attention when she was alighting. She was kind enough to give me N500. I accepted it graciously and thanked her as she told me not to cry. She left. Well, N500 will definitely go a long way.

Na so I take car wey dey enter Abeokuta. It dropped me in a popular spot called “Camp,” a road leading to Funaab. The place I am squatting.

When I got to the house where I was squatting.

The guy don almost empty the house. He had almost sold everything in the room. The room was virtually empty. He said he was finally leaving that evening back to Lagos and the only thing he left for me was a wall hanger.

The foam, he said some one was coming to pick it. Not quite long I came in, the person came and carried it. Na so everybody for the compound dey hail am as he dey leave. He said he had told the landlord that he was leaving.

The rent was expiring the next 3 weeks and if I wasn’t going to renew, I should leave because the landlord na “No-nonsense” man.

Na so My guy com finally leave. I began thinking of how to raise N24, 000 for the room. And the house was arguably one of the cheapest and very neat in the area.

As I slept that night, i went into deep thoughts again. At a time I felt like just giving up and going back to Ilorin. But I just had to keep calm.

I told myself that I would try as much to be friendly with the neighbors since the original guy who owns the room had left. There were about 4 rooms in the compound. 3 rooms were occupied by thee females while the remaining one was occupied by my guy that left. I don’t really know much of the girls neither have I had a reasonable conversation with them except but one of them, Adaobi. When I was paying for my school fee and other registration, she congratulated me and welcomed me to Funaab.

She said she was in 200Level. Na she be the only person wey I don talk to. The other two girls, I just dey greet them dey waka. But I knew that one of them was Emmanuella. Most times they do call her Nuella. And the other Bola. My guy used to call them by their names before he left.

The next morning, I woke up in the empty room.

As my guy don waka make he go find him destiny. As I stood up, it looked as if my whole body was hit with hammer. Body dey pain me.

That’s the danger of sleeping on ordinary floor. I brought out my tooth paste, took the remaining sachet water left from the one I drank the previous day. I went outside to brush my teeth. I saw Adaobi. I greeted her and she was just hailing me. “Fresher! Freshest fresher,” she asked when the matriculation would hold, and I told her. “I know you will be missing bode(my guy that had left),” she said.

I laughed timidly. She was trying to be friendly as we talked. She asked when I would start buying things into the room. Hmmm, I didn’t even know how to reply her. “How I wished she knew my predicament.” “Even the house sef, I don’t have money to rent it. I just dey stay come dey hope say miracle go happen.”

Well I told her that I would soon start buying my own things. As we were just talking, Bola came out of the room, “Gbadebo fresher, you have landed! Welcome to Alabata,” Bola shout and we laughed.

The first two weeks was very difficult for me.

I was so worried about accommodation.
I wanted to make good friends who could just help me out. I have heard that it was not easy getting some body to squat with. Though I had not been open up to any one. I can’t just go out and start telling random people my problem. I just want to make new and good friends I could confide in.” The empty house I was staying, the rent was nearing expiry day and I don’t know what to do. Adaobi was very helpful even though I was yet to tell her what I was passing through. When going to school, if I meet her at the mancot stand where the school costal big bus picks student to school. If we enter together, she would always pay for me.

All that prompted me to open up to her one particular evening when she told me that the landlord of the house came and wanted to put new tenants. So they had asked me to vacate the place immediately since I wasn’t ready to renew bode’s rent.” Na so I begin tell her my challenges, how things be for house and I couldn’t even afford rent oo. Adaobi pitied and encouraged me. Infact she even gave me food that night o. I couldn’t even tell her to come stay with her. I felt it was gross. But she herself said she would have accommodated me but because of her boyfriend who normally comes around which won’t be good for their relationship.

This particular Wednesday which was the matriculations day. I didn’t even have the N1000 to pay for the matriculation gown. Na so I just sit don for house.

In the evening when Bola came to me and asked that I should give them my own matric package. I tell them say I no do anything ooo in terms of refreshment. Say money no dey. She said she was going to a friend’s own that invited her for matric party. She gave me her phone to help plug it when Emmanuella puts on her generator. And she left.

Na so Emmanuella on Gen oo. Na only her get Generator since my guy left. I and Emmanuella, we no dey too dey talk. Its just “Good morning! Good morning” that only brings us together.

As I knocked and entered her house with bola’s phone to charge it. As she saw me, na so this girl shout.

Emmanuella – Saaahh, what is this Ilorin native doctor doing in my house.

I began wondering who she was talking to. Na so I turn make I look whether anyone was at my back. But none. Na me this girl dey talk to ooo. She was referring to me as “Ilorin native doctor.” She started shouting and yelling at me and asked me to leave her room with my dirty, smelly, poverty cursed body. This girl come begin abuse me oo. She Said I am an insane destitute and looked like my sick mother in Ilorin. I wondered who told her that my mom was ill. I remembered confiding in Adaobi about my situation. So na so she go tell her. Na so water begin com out for my eye as I enter my empty room. I started thinking about my life. As I cried, I remembered it has been over a week I called my mom. I only had N400 with me. If that one finish, only God know were I go take get another money. I just wanted to hear my mom’s voice. Each time I was down she normally consoles me, encourages me even when I try to give up.

As I was sitting inside weeping, I heard adaobi calling my name from outside. I immediately wiped my eyes. I didn’t want anyone to know I was crying. She immediately came into the room. I guessed she was just coming back from school. She asked why I was just alone inside the room. I told her I was just resting. Even though I felt angered by what she had done, telling emmanuella some few things I told her about myself. “Only God knew how many people she had already told”. I asked Adaobi if she could spare me a few minutes from her airtime to call my mom, that’s if she has. She graciously gave me her phone and I called my mom. Mom told me she was feeling better. .

I love my mom to the core. She had always been my best friend and I do confide in her.

During the course of the call, I told her how someone (Emmanuella) abused a hell out of me. She herself felt my pain. She encouraged me. I also told her that I was broke. Mommy tell me say house just dey empty and nothing dey house. Even if say I come, I no go see anything collect. But how I go take see money even come sef! After the call, I gave adaobi her phone and also Bola’s so she can go help her charge it at Nuella’s room. My guy that left had always said that nuella was very proud someone. “Maybe because she came from a well-to-do family. She feels she’s better than everyone else.” Well na so I stay for my poverty stricken empty room. After a while, I went out and bought 3 bottles of soft drinks. “

I thought that In as much I was poor, I don’t have money that does not mean I can’t do things for people”. Adaobi dey try for me wella. Bola too is doing well too. I got the bottles of drink and gave to Adaobi to share among Bola and nuella. I was only left with N130. At least I don do well to celebrate my matric. Few minutes later, Adaobi returned Nuella’s drink saying she said she wasn’t taking. Na so me drink the thing.

The next morning, I went to school a bit late.

I met my departmental colleagues submitting one general course assignment to my Head of class (HOC). I had done mine but forgot it at home. Na so I rush come re-do the thing again.

After doing it na so one guy see my procedures and answers. He asked how I got it because someone told him that the lecturer in charge had hinted them about the answers which was what I had. He said he had being going around but no one had gotten the exact answer the lecturer talked about except me. Me sef, I no sure say I dey class when the lecturer dey hint them answers. Na so this guy collect my book come do copy-n-paste. He copied what I wrote into his own booklet. He thanked me and went his way.

The next day, another lecturer gave us another assignment to submit the upper week.

The next week came and was about to submit my assignment to my HOC when I met the guy that copied my work the previous week. “Baba I don dey find you since,”…
what is he looking for me for?????

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