Archive for August, 2014

toaf6

 

 

 

 

 

(5)

There was Christmas light everywhere inside the church and outside too. It was a beautiful sight. The people were so excited as they danced with a little more effort, prayed more vigorously and a lot of them came out to share one testimony or the other. Offering was taken several times; thanksgiving offering, worship offering, end-of-the-year offering, dedication offering and tithe. The offering baskets were full of envelopes with money in them (hopefully).

Iya Zacchaeus danced like never before during the praise and worship session and especially during child dedication session.

Izy wondered what manner of faith that was- dancing even when she had no child of her own. He however joined the people in whatever they did. When they danced, he danced, when they shouted, he shouted, when they kept quiet to listen, he did too. The way of the people amazed him- it was his first time in a church service, though he had slept in churches before.

The most interesting thing about the people was that as soon as the man on the altar started talking, some of them began to doze. Just to think that most of those dozing were actually the ones who danced and shouted the most. Izy could not help but smile- what a funny lot. And there were some people who did not sit when others sat- they went about waking the dozers.

After a while, the people were on their feet shouting and dancing again and suddenly there was a loud shout.

“HAPPY NEW YEAR!”

Izy looked at the wall clock- 12:00 o’clock midnight.

“Happy New Year!” Izy yelled.

Everybody hugged somebody. Even Izy received few hugs, despite his unclean state. How he wished everyday was a New Year.

 

Hours after church service (2013)

Iya Zacchaeus invited Izy to her house- not to live, but to offer him a chance to feed himself. There was always a New Year party at her house; family house to be precise, so she wanted Izy to help in the chores that they usually had to employ people for. At least that would guarantee food for him for a while after he got his pay.

The cooking started and the air was filled with so much aroma. The women were all talking at once as they cooked, the children were running around squealing and giggling while the men were gathered in a small circle, just talking.

Izy was seated not far from where the women were cooking just in case he was needed for an errand. He had already fetched five big bowls of water from a not-too-far distance.

Suddenly the children ran towards the open gate, into a tall dark man who carried a small bag on his left shoulder.

“Uncle, Uncle!” they screamed.

Iya Zacchaeus walked up to him and hugged him. That was definitely her husband who had come from Jos.

Izy was called upon to get another bowl of water. On his way back he saw Iya Zacchaeus and her husband outside the gate- it seemed like they were quarrelling over something. Izy thought it was too early; not even an hour yet and they were already quarrelling!

He pretended like he did not see them and went in. just as he stepped into the house he heard his name.

“Izy.”

It came from behind him. He turned completely with the bowl of water on his head. It was Iya Zacchaeus.

“Izy, my husband is mad at me because I brought you here. He wants you to leave. I am so sorry.”

Izy was still trying to comprehend the meaning of her words when she continued.

“He does not trust young boys, especially those that are not traceable to anyone, just in the advent of something bad happening. I am sorry dear. But I will give you money for the work done so far.” She said as she brought some notes from her purse and put it into the stunned boy’s pocket. Then she went back out of the gate to her waiting husband.

Izy walked to where the women were cooking to deliver the water to them. He was wondering why, why and why. Why did bad things always take away the good things from him? Why? For a moment there he even thought he was an extension of the big family.

what happened next was inevitable. It happened so fast- he saw the running little girl a second too late. She was running while looking over her head and did not see the boy with the bowl on his head. In a flash there was a collision and since Izy’s mind was roaming, he could not save either the child, the bowl of water or himself.

In a bid to minimize impact of his fall on the child, Izy threw the bowl further from him. Some of the water escaped into the pot of soup that two women just carried to a corner, for safety. As much as he tried, Izy still fell on the little girl- her arm got bruised, her white dress got dirty and her loose tooth fell out, gum bleeding.

BY: DAMILOLA AWOTIDE (OLORI)

#Talesmen

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toaf4

 

 

 

 

 

(4)

Hello hello. Today’s story is dedicated to one of my friends and reader of my blog who was posted to Jos for Youth Service. Safe trip down tomorrow.

Back to our Izy…

Izy ran as fast as he could. He made sure he did not go straight ahead by running through streets- just in case the men changed their minds. He did not stop until he was far away from the ‘crime scene’.

Three hours later (Still New Year’s Eve. 2012)

Since it seemed the two men were not coming after him after all, Izy came out from behind the big tree he was hiding and set to find a place to lay his head for the night. At least a fellow needed a good place to sleep so as to wake up happy the next day- New Year.

The shop owners in this area were now more security conscious as there was not one shop that did not have iron bars properly fixed in the front. This was going to be harder than Izy thought. Is a place to lay too much for a fellow to ask?

After walking a little more distance, he saw a big church that was open. There was light all around the church building and it made the place look beautiful. Izy walked happily towards the church, knowing this was definitely his refuge for the night and thinking how pleasant it was to have to wake up to a new year in a church.

Two women were standing near the church door, contemplating on one issue or the other when one of them sighted the dirty-looking boy moving towards them.

The fatter of the two said, “Iya Zacchaeus, na wa for the kind of people that you see in church for cross-over night services.”

Iya Zacchaeus replied. “I tell you o! See how this dirty riffraff will come into the church and sit beside people like us. All in the name of love your neighbour as yourself.”

They kept quiet as Izy reached them. Though he heard some of their conversation, he did not care; after all it was their mouth and energy.

“Good evening.” He said as he smiled.

Iya Zacchaeus felt a pang of guilt instantly. Look at the boy they were just gossiping about- the way he smiled at them innocently not knowing whatever they said, if ever they even said anything about him.

“Please ma,” he faced the fatter woman. “Can I get a place to sleep here? I am homeless. It’s just for tonight ma.”

The fatter woman only hissed in reply and walked into the church where some people were already seated, some sleeping, all waiting before the service started.

Izy looked at Iya Zacchaeus questioningly.

She held Izy by the hand and took him through the back of the church to where her car was packed. She opened the back seat and brought out a loaf of bread that she had kept for her husband who was still on his way from Jos. She made a mental note to get another loaf from those selling not far from the church. Then she noticed the boy was a bit reluctant and he had this mixed feeling look.

Of course! He had to be reluctant. What sort of niceness was this? What a turnaround! One minute saying bad stuffs about him the next dragging him down here and handing bread to him. Not just bread- a whole loaf!

She then smiled and said, “I can see that you are hungry and tired. Eat this first then I show you where you can sleep.”

What’s the fuss about anyway? Izy thought. He was hungry now that he saw the bread. Might as well just take it and eat to wake up happy in 2013.

“Don’t be afraid boy. I can’t hurt you.”

He took the loaf and started eating as soon as it touched his hands. The kind woman went away for a while and returned with a bottle of water which she handed to him.

“Thank you ma.”

She went away again and came back just as Izy finished the bread. She smiled at him and he smiled back, contentedly.

“I hope you are alright now?”

“Yes ma. Thank you so much. Why are you so kind to me? No one has ever been this nice to me in my entire life.”

This sobered Iya Zacchaeus up a bit. Nicest thing? A loaf of bread and bottle of water?

She smiled again. “I like to be nice to young people so God will bless me too with a young one.”

And right there by her car, Iya Zacchaeus told Izy how she had been married for ten years with no children. And how she was tagged ‘Iya Zacchaeus’ since the day she taught about Zaccheus in the Bible during one of their Bible study sessions. She also learnt that Izy did not know his parents, but that he was told by the woman who brought him up that his mother left him with her, said she just wanted to buy something at the market but never returned. So he ran away at the age of ten when he could not bear the cruelty of the woman and her children anymore.

Then the bell was rung inside the church to announce the start of the cross over service for 2012/2013.

 

BY: AWOTIDE DAMILOLA (Olori)

#TALESMEN

toaf7
(3)
Hello there. Just want to tell you (by popular demand) that Izy’s story will be a Sunday series. Hope you enjoy.

And back to Izy…

It was now very dark, except for the torch-lights that the men held.
Julius was on the ground, muttering some inaudible words in a shaky voice, his hands over his head. The torchlight that was earlier with him was now somewhere on the ground, pointing away from Izy to the other man who stood his ground and had his own torchlight still pointed at the scared boy.
The sound came again and again. It dawned on them that it was probably children throwing bangers. That last one was a triple-sound banger.
The other man was obviously the tougher of the two for he did not even move from where he stood. He looked at Julius who was now raising his head slowly and shouted some words to him in a strange language that Izy was not familiar with. Julius answered him, looking sober and finally stood up as he picked up his own torchlight.
While that happened, Izy slowly lifted his left hand to his neck, that spot where he felt the movement, he touched something hard there. He quickly removed it and threw it on the floor. It was a beetle. Phew! A harmless beetle.
Due to this relief Izy began to smile. And his smile graduated to chuckles.
Julius, thinking the boy was laughing at his cowardly act spoke angrily. “Why the laughing? Ehn?”
Izy’s countenance changed immediately. He was not even given a chance to answer.
“What are funny in the matter?”
There was silence.

All of a sudden it was too much for Izy. He couldn’t bear it anymore. He suddenly sat on the ground and started crying.
The tougher one of the two men began to laugh. And said, “When person don catch una, na that time una sabi cry.”
If only the ground would open up and just…just… Izy didn’t quite know what the ground would open up for. He sure did not want to be swallowed by it and he was not that heartless to wish for both men to be swallowed either.
The tougher man then asked the now sobbing boy, “Wetin you dey do for there before before?”
Finally, Izy thought, a chance to explain.
“Stand up!”
Oh! No chance to explain himself again. He got up and was pushed towards the place he stood before it all started; the place that put him in trouble.
The tougher man focused his torchlight on the spot and saw a small hole with a black substance peeping. He moved closer.

“Wetin dey for the lylon?”
“I don’t know!” Izy said as he raised both hands. Why would he ask that type of question if he was the one who put it there? Or was he not?
This time it was Julius that spoke. “See this boy o. you think say we dey play?”
The tougher man then took a step and bent to pick a stick which he used to open the container in the hole. All the while, Julius’ torchlight was still on Izy.
The three stretched their necks to see what was in the hole. Izy especially wanted to know if the content was at least worth his torture so far, but from his viewpoint he was not able to see the contents.
To establish Julius’ dumbness he yelled, more in excitement than shock, “Ah! Gold!”
The tougher man hit Julius with the stick in his hand. “Sharrap!”
Gold!? Izy had no idea what to do. It was definitely stolen goods. No one would keep their own gold in this kind of place.
Then the tougher man faced the boy. “You be thief and we go carry you go station now.”

Izy was in between the two men as they journeyed out of the school compound. The tougher man held him by the arm while Julius carried the gold- as evidence.
It was with tears in his eyes that Izy continued to explain what really happened to the two men, though it seemed they were not listening. He kept talking all the same.
By the time they were a little distance from the school, Izy had told his story thrice. The tougher man then stopped and looked deep into the crying boy’s eyes with the light source he held.
“You sure? U no dey lie?”
“Yes I am sure. I’m not lying sir.”
Julius looked confused. What was this all about? Were they not supposed to take him to the police station? At least as vigilantes that was the right thing to do.
The tougher man looked squint-eyed at the boy, as if trying to see the truth from his eyes. He then thought of something- a plan that would leave everyone happy.
“So if I say make you go now you go go?”
“Yes sir.”

“You no go wan collect the gold?”
“The gold? No sir. I don’t own it so I don’t want it. I just want my freedom.”
The man smiled satisfactorily. “Go.”
“What?” Julius shouted.
“Sir?” Izy asked at the same time.
“I say make you go. No look back o. And any day I see your face for this place again…”
Izy took to his heels.
Julius faced his partner. “Wetin you do da one for na? Why you go say make the boy go like that?”
“The boy dey talk true. And na free gift from God be this- if you no need money me I need am. Make we find as we go take sell the tin sharp sharp.”
Julius was not totally against the idea. “Na true sef. My children go resume school next week.”
They both walked away.

BY: AWOTIDE DAMILOLA (Olori)
#TALESMEN