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Thursday, 12 January 2012


I am just there on the floor under a tree. I can’t see well. I’m not even sure if I’m hallucinating or if what I’m seeing is real. I have had a cataract in my right eye for a couple of months now. All the same, I try to strain my eyes.
I can see something that looks like a vulture on another tree not too far away. It looks very hungry. But it is definitely not as hungry as I am. I haven’t had anything to eat for the past two days. I am ungrateful for the garri I had last night and I don’t care. Before then, all I have had is water.

I heard vultures don’t eat live meat. So this one is probably waiting for me to die before it strikes and feasts on my flesh. What flesh am I even talking about? Maybe the one in my big hard tummy. I have a big head, and my legs can hardly carry my body. I am thinner than you can ever imagine, I am tired, hungry and very unhealthy.
Both my father and my mother work very far away. They have been out all morning, leaving me with nothing to eat. The money he makes from being a farm labourer used to be barely enough for us to feed. I heard him telling my mother last night that the price of fuel has increased. And so he spends more trying to get to work now yet his daily wages haven’t increased. This leaves us with a lot less to live on. Infact, going to work is no longer profitable for him. My mother complained that she can no longer afford to buy the pepper she used to sell. The Hausas that bring the pepper from the north complained that it now costs them more than double to get it down to our town. Even before now, the women from whom she buys in bits have been selling to her reluctantly because she always owes. Now that everything is double its price, she isn’t sure she can do the trade anymore. I have never seen them complain so bitterly, I think life is about to get harder.

I am sick, I am very sick, I am so sick. My mother just got back from the market with something that looks like a concoction in a bottle. She sits beside me and asks me to drink it. She says its medicine and she believes it will make me well. I ask her why she can’t take me to the hospital. She says it isn’t free and she has no money. She goes out and comes back with the garri left over from last night. I am very angry. I do not want to eat garri. But what choice do I have?
I don’t even know my age. I think that’s because I have never been to school. My father said he would have loved to take me to school but he does not have any money. He says that the government doesn’t do anything for its citizens. Daddy has never been to any other country apart from ours. But he has heard that responsible governments make sure water, electricity, good roads, basic education is available for their citizens. And this includes countries not too far from us. He says this is why their government can remove the help they provide their citizens on oil and the citizens can welcome it without complaining. He says such is unacceptable in a country like ours. How can they take away the only thing we enjoy from them? Just like that?

Dad is very unhappy. He is wondering why we would have a product in its raw form, plants that can refine it into its constituent products and still have to send it out to be refined. His friend told him that we have three of such plants, all useless. He doesn’t know why the government would not explore that option instead of just removing the only help we get from them just like that. My daddy thinks that even if the help will be removed, it should have been done gradually. He thinks it is too sudden and ill timed.
My mummy says that the rulers of my country will never understand. They all have cars and generators fully fueled from government purse. How can they complain? How can they understand? How can they feel the pain of the poor masses like me and my parents?  

My mummy’s friend has just joined me and my mummy under the tree. She has just told my mummy that the problem might soon be solved. She said that youths across the country have started a protest theme “Occupy Nigeria”. May be the protest will make the government a little more passionate. May be there is still little hope for a better life. For the first time this year, I have a reason to smile. I am hopeful and happy that something might be done.
Right there under the tree, a young man ran past us. We didn’t understand why neither were we bothered. Until we saw a crowd coming from behind, obviously chasing him. One or two of them got tired and stopped running. My mother got up to ask why they were chasing him. They told her he had just stolen some money from a woman in the nearby market. Then I thought to myself, if I survive this illness and my lot doesn’t get better, maybe I’ll become a thief. I’ll take things forcefully from people and make a living. Since no one cares about me and how I survive, I hope no one will blame me then.

I am hoping. Hoping and praying that my country hears my silent cry and does something.