“INSIDE LIFE” With Buchi. (Episode 3)
A different kind of welcome.
The year was 2017,and I had just finished my 2nd year in university. It was the long vacation and I was dreading the fact that I had to stay in the village for almost two months. So, I stayed behind in school trying to bid time before I eventually travel.
We were just five left in the lodge, and we were planning on how to contribute and cook something. Pascal offered to bring rice, Kizzy brought tin tomatoes and foodstuffs, Vincent brought gas and Sochima offered to cook. Me? I brought water, and my good old pot😂
It was long before the aroma of the food was invading our medulla 🙄, I was pressing my phone trying to keep myself from eating the parboiled rice still on fire, when I got a message from my brother inviting me to come over to Lagos and spend the vacation with him. Now I wasn’t so hungry 😂
The next day, I was heading to the village, stayed two days with my mom and prepared for my trip to Lagos.
I got to Chisco pack around 7.20am and was informed that the bus tickets had finished, “aye mi “. But as I contemplated my next move, the conductor called me aside and offered me his seat at the same ticket price. I readily agreed, as the conductor’s seat offered me a good view of the road as we traveled.
And so 18 years after I had left Lagos, I was going back. I was excited about what to expect and planned to enjoy my stay. We got to Lagos around 4pm and I smiled as I saw ” welcome to Lagos”. “Thank you for welcoming” me I said in my mind😁
But my happy face soon had to contour when we ended up spending another 4 hours to get to Alaba my final destination. Still, it was good to be back in Lagos,and although I couldn’t recognize anything no more, I wasn’t complaining
I started following my brother to his business place in Alaba international market and was amazed at the semblance it had with other big markets in the east. The way almost everyone there was speaking igbo might have you thinking you were not in Lagos but rather in ochanja market in onitsha. Anyways I was enjoying my stay with ‘traffic’ being my only complaint.
So a week into my stay, I entered a Keke going from Alaba to Ajamgbadi after a very stressful day, plus I was having running stomach after eating Oha soup at Nwanyi Ogidi’s restaurant🤧🤧. I was sitting at one end trying to tighten my bowels to avoid disgracing my village people 🙄 and praying for the “hold up” to lease. A guy sitting beside me was sneezing like crazy, Like every 30-40 seconds and I was pretty much irritated by that. “I cannot come and catch catarrh ontop my stressful stance” I thought, so I peeked my head outside to avoid catching whatever was wrong with him. I felt him bumping into me and thought maybe it was the potholes on the road causing it.
But then I felt something in my pocket move, I was curious but then ignored it and kept looking outside as the guy kept on sneezing. If Covid -19 was existing then, I would have ran out of that ride. My pocket moved again and this time curiosity made me decide to check myself; and observe the guy.
Now the “sneezing guy” had a bag on his laps, his right hand was under the said bag whie his left was evident on top of the bag holding a hanky he used in covering his nose when he sneezed. That was strange, Why would he keep his right hand under the bag I thought?
I decided to check my myself and touched my pocket to check my phone; it was gone!!!
I immediately started searching around me, checked my pockets, my phone was gone!
“Nwa Otu’ cannot come to Lagos and carry last, I looked at the ‘sneezing guy’ and he kept a straight face like he had no worries in the world. Without asking, I started frantically searching for the phone around him and then saw “my dear phone” lodged at his back. He had used the right hand hidden under his bag and the routine shakes of the keke to push my phone out of my pocket and moved it till it was hidden behind him.
I looked at him and I could see the panic written all over his face, he pleaded with me with his eyes and even offered to pay for my keke ride. I declined, and watched as he hurriedly paid for his and dropped off. So this was what the “welcome to Lagos” I saw meant??
“Umu Eko wants to guy Nwa aba” I sang as I continued my journey. I became more self conscious after the incident and made sure to always be on my toes…. Inside Life
“Ekó o ni baje”
…….to be continued
“INSIDE LIFE With Buchi” is a chronicle of personal life experiences of the writer Abuchi Jonathan Ofoneme. It is entirely the writer’s opinion and does not reflect the view of AMICHI MAGAZINE.