A thousand and one thoughts raced through my mind as my eyes dashed left and right looking at the strangers that were not even doing anything to hide their awe as they equally stared at us.
I soon brought myself back to the situation on ground as I looked up and saw that Madam Jo had alighted from the tricycle.
She walked towards me and I watched on. I couldn’t help but notice the smirk on her face! She had on this satisfied look of a mischievously accomplished child. Eager to know what transpired in the short time of drama, I waited for her to get to me.
She: Hmmmm…..the man think say he wise! Na me he wan cheat abi? E no know say I come from shukushuku clan, nobody fit cheat us o.
Me: Stood half smiling and half thinking where to go from this strange looking place.
She: ehen… looks ahead and points at what I couldn’t figure. I suppose know this road only say i no dey remember something. The place no far from here.
Me: (in my mind) prepare to get lost in the jungle today!
We walk towards some young bike riders who by now were already beckoning on us.
She: walks up to one of them and mentions the name of our destination
Bike man: ehn? With an obvious look of surprise and one who isn’t familiar with the area mentioned. Oya make we dey go
Madam Jo: No o, don’t worry.
Me: Looks around for a possibly responsible looking individual who can help with description.
On sighting a young man, madam Jo asked him the necessary questions.
He tried his best to give a good description.
Without hesitation, we began to walk towards the direction of the description. We walked through the village setting, stopping at intervals to take a breathe, hoping that the end was in view but most importantly silently praying for a familiar landmark to surface just to reassure us that we weren’t on an aimless journey to nowhere.
After walking for about 10minutes which in reality seemed like 100minutes, we eventually saw a familiar land mark!
Like a Voyager on an adventure, the landmark was a ray of hope and a burst of new energy flowed to our already tired legs which by now simply dragged themselves in obedience to the zeal of the mind.
Then suddenly we reached the end of the road. The only thing facing us now was the thick bush and the ambitious growing palm trees.
Madam: (points at a small foot path) This must be the place! Let’s take this path
Me: ( feigning deaf) You say??? Ain’t no way I’m following you into this bush path madam! Kindly place a call through to the mason who’s expecting us.
We didn’t come this far to get lost in a monkey land!
She makes the call and within minutes the mason appeared ahead of us from another not so obvious path.
Me: grateful we didn’t follow the wrong path, nudged her on as we followed him.
We were here on a serious assignment. A foundation was about to be laid and as is customary in our land. You don’t carry out such a task without praying and sprinkling anointing oil.
Don’t ask me why this ritual is necessary. Are you not a Nigerian?
Do you not know that there can be demonic activities on a empty plot which must be cleared and the atmosphere sanctified before you set off to work?
Whether or not the exercise was necessary isn’t even an issue to debate. Whatever you believe works for you. So long as your mind is at rest after you have carried out this important task of prayer.
Some people even go as far as burying all sorts into the ground to fortify it against whatever it is they believe.
We soon reached our destination and exchanged pleasantries with the mason and his family members whom he introduced to us happily.
I couldn’t help but notice the number of children as they filed out in their numbers. Six!
Me: (in my head) Seriously??? Six children??? All in this monkey land! Living without human neighbours.
How and why on earth didn’t you stop at the third child? I couldn’t help but wonder how people who have no business having so many children are the ones who end up with a large number of them.
I quickly shifted my thoughts to the task on ground! Looking around again, it was obvious there were no external labourers!
Our dear mason had engaged the services of his boys. While we worried about them and how they would cope with such tedious work. His response when asked was ‘are they not boys?’ They’re working now!
We began walking through the bare land which already had the various portions dug for the small project. As the situational cleric armed with the bottle of anointing oil, I led the way praying in other tongues. We had barely gone two minutes when madam Jo shouted Snake!
Me: upon hearing the word, not knowing the force in action, I leaped into the air like a tossed javelins jumped five steps ahead of me and ran forward. Not caring whether I was followed by madam Jo who by now was miles ahead of me screaming let’s go! Let’s go!
Me: Now Safe from the position, wondered at my Olympic skills! (In my mind) you were supposed to be praying, how did you jump in such a flash?!
Determined to finish the task at hand. I stayed on and continued in prayer.
Ahead of me was a terrified madam Jo who shouted let’s go! Pour the oil, throw the bottle like that! Let’s go!
The cleric in me rising like an edifice, I stayed on ignoring her call!
We were here on an assignment and I wasn’t prepared to let myself be intimidated by some reptile which I didn’t even sight by myself!
I stayed on and prayed but didn’t walk around towards the now danger zone.
We were soon joined by the mason who asked us to bend down quickly and hush our voices.…
….more surprises to come….