I can’t believe I am watching this. Tear drop slipped through my eyes like a leaky roof. ‘Cleaned it up before someone would accuse me of been chicken hearted. Do reserve your opinion if you think tears are meant for the faint in heart.
It is every parents’ wish to give their children the best money can afford. But even a simpleton out there knows that there is an ocean of difference between wish and what you got served my mother Reality. I pray every day that Mmeso’s future would shine ten times more brightly than mine. But I know that wishing without getting myself down to the business of securing her future is like pouring water through a sieve.
Motivators, inspirers, rags to riches entrepreneur constantly remind us on daily bases that if there is a will, there is a way and I believe them. I also know that if they are instances of where their statement pans out right, they are also instances where if fails woefully. Yes even though every rule has an exception but when the exception stands out like the solitary atomic bomb over Nagasaki airspace ready to repaint nature destructively… Do you understand the difference of one percent?
They are places where desperation is so real that you can touch it. There are places where poverty is no longer an idea in one’s mind but can be seen working down the street cohabiting with the inhabitants of a community. The future there is as bleak as the day the sun forgets to grace us with its smile. I knew I saw one as my eyes glued to the screen.
I fear for my children. As I struggle to make ends meet I fear for Mmeso. What would her future be like? Don’t tell me not to cry because I have come to understand why some people prefer suicide than living. When life becomes so wretched and miserable, when living becomes a torture to the soul of those witnessing it through glazed eyes. Tha Suspect’s word flew through my ears…any hussle na hussle, any way na way. Even to those living in that miserable God forsaken swamp, this word is of little or no solace to them. Jesse was buried in a watery grave…there’s no way out.
He’s ten years and counting. Just able to attend school consecutively for one month. He can’t even read nor spell his name. Guess what he’s doing other days when classroom fails to contain his restless spirit. Let me help you a bit from the Nigerian perspective – hawking goods, given out as an apprentice to a mechanic, trader what have you, washing plates in a restaurant. Well if these were the answers to my question, I would thank God fervently for the next 24 hours.
Back home on Valentine’s day, trying to perfect the art of multitasking – cooking up some stew, watching television, tidying up the house at the same as well as attending to some piece of clothes soaked away at the corridor – that’s a handful for a guy on Valentine’s day.
The problem began when my never-would-stay-put of a hand latched to the television remote. Sundays are good days for watching documentaries I missed during the week. My favorite hunting ground till date is Aljazeera television station. Permit me to skip the details. But I got more than I bargained for today. Risking it All is the name. A documentary about children in Brazil trying to irk a living off the plethora of tributaries pumping into the Amazon River.
They are Mmeso’s age bracket – ten and counting. They hop on canoes with homemade goods, fruits etc with the aid of an iron rod latch on to ferries traversing the Amazon River tributaries at full speed, board it and sell their goods.
I never knew ferries could literally fly over the water till I saw the speed at which their little canoe got dragged along when it was made secure by these children. Often they have to row for kilometers on their way home just to make a couple of dollars per sale.
Jesse was his name. Ten years and counting and a professional at boarding these gigantic ferries at full speed. I bet his parents have ran out of ideas on how to keep the family’s body and soul together. The pittance he rakes in from that dare devil work of his is funneled into the family upkeep.
Jesse was a good lad. Can’t spell his name nor read. He admitted sorrowfully that schooling has been on his mind but making ends meet always take the precedence anytime anywhere. After all what’s going to school when the belly is as empty as a tank of water.
Years later. Jesse was shot dead by someone on board a barge they wanted to board. The story has it that he graduated from hawking goods to totting guns (piracy) and a trigger happy dude popped off some lead pellets his way before asking questions.
A watery grave marked where his remains would be forever. I wiped my tears. Now I know with certainty why I shouldn’t stop talking about Mmeso. I’d never met Jesse and I guess till the day Peter opens the gate I am not sure we would ever meet. I pray God will be kind to get him in before my time is due. My heart bleeds like a jugular vein ruptured by perfect stroke of an assassin’s stiletto blade.