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.
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)