For Them Naijas…

Anonymous
Notes

By Reuben Abati

I
receive now and then through electronic mail and text messages on my cell
phone, absolutely inspiring or exhilarating short pieces of loaded wit and
humour. The great pity is that many of these copies are usually unsigned
making it difficult to give due credit to their authors. Below I share with
you two such pieces that I find particularly instructive…life after all is
not all about Obasanjo, Atiku, or Alamiyeseigha; not even about Orji Kalu or
EFCC… there is more to life than the shenanigans of politicians… Both
deal with the subject of class division and consciousness and nonetheless the
common humanity that we all share…

Breakfast at Jollibee’s
By the way, Jollibee is the Filipino version of McDonalds). This is a good
story and is true, please read it all the way through until the end! (After
the story, there are some very interesting facts!): I am a mother of three
(ages 14, 12, 3) and have recently completed my college degree. The last
class I had to take was Sociology. The teacher was absolutely inspiring with
the qualities that I wish every human being had been graced with. Her last
project of the term was called “smile.” The class was asked to go
out and smile at three people and document their reactions. I am a very
friendly person and always smile at everyone and say hello anyway, so, I
thought this would be a piece of cake, literally. Soon after we were assigned
the project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to Jollibee’s one crisp
March morning. It was just our way of sharing special playtime with our son.

We
were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of a sudden everyone
around us began to back away, and then even my husband did. I did not move an
inch… an overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of me as I turned
to see why they had moved. As I turned around I smelled a horrible
“dirty body” smell, and there standing behind me were two poor
homeless men. As I looked down at the short gentleman, close to me, he was
“smiling”. His beautiful sky blue eyes were full of God’s Light as
he searched for acceptance. He said, “Good day” as he counted the
few coins he had been clutching. The second man fumbled with his hands as he
stood behind his friend. I realised the second man was mentally challenged
and the blue-eyed gentleman was his salvation. I held my tears as I stood
there with them.

The
young lady at the counter asked him what they wanted. He said, “Coffee
is all Miss” because that was all they could afford. (If they wanted to
sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy something. He just wanted
to be warm). Then I really felt it – the compulsion was so great I almost
reached out and embraced the little man with the blue eyes. That is when I
noticed all eyes in the restaurant were set on me, judging my every action. I
smiled and asked the young lady behind the counter to give me two more
breakfast meals on a separate tray. I then walked around the corner to the
table that the men had chosen as a resting spot. I put the tray on the table
and laid my hand on the blue-eyed gentleman’s cold hand. He looked up at me,
with tears in his eyes, and said, “Thank you.” I leaned over, began
to pat his hand and said, “I did not do this for you. God is here
working through me to give you hope.” I started to cry as I walked away
to join my husband and son.

When
I sat down my husband smiled at me and said, “That is why God gave you
to me, Honey, to give me hope.” We held hands for a moment and at that
time, we knew that only because of the Grace that we had been given were we
able to give. We are not church-goers, but we are believers. That day showed
me the pure Light of God’s sweet love. I returned to college, on the last
evening of class, with this story in hand. I turned in “my project”
and the instructor read it. Then she looked up at me and said, “Can I
share this?” I slowly nodded as she got the attention of the class. She
began to read and that is when I knew that we as human beings and being part
of God share this need to heal people and to be healed.

In
my own way I had touched the people at Jollibee’s, my husband, son,
instructor, and every soul that shared the classroom on the last night I
spent as a college student. I graduated with one of the biggest lessons I
would ever learn: unconditional acceptance. Much love and compassion is sent
to each and every person who may read this and learn how to love people and
use things – not love things and use people. There is an Angel sent to watch
over you. In order for her to work, you must pass this on to the people you want
watched over. An Angel wrote: Many people will walk in and out of your life,
but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart. To handle
yourself, use your head. To handle others, use your heart. God Gives every
bird it’s food, but He does not throw it into its nest.

II:
Are You An Ajebota or An Ajepaki?

The following speaks for itself:

1.
If every morning after you wake up your folks give you a hug and a kiss
before sending you off to school you just might be Ajebota….but if you are
slapped for not kneeling down or prostrating ‘properly’ you are definitely
PAKI!(Like my papa talk one time YOU DEY GREET ME ABI YOU DEY TRY CATCH
CHIKEN?)

2.
If as a young woman, before you even dare stepping outside you put on at
least a pair of jeans and a t-shirt with a cap on with matching sneakers..you
just might be Ajebota….but if you repeatedly nonchalantly simply tie a
wrapper around your chest, slip on a pair of foam slippers and head to Mama
Chukwudi’s store to buy three cubes of Maggi your “pakiness” is of
a high level!

3.
If your folks, perhaps through an exclusive Country Club, introduced you to a
variety of sports like cricket, Polo, lawn tennis and hockey..perhaps you can
be classified as Ajebota…but if cars have repeatedly avoided hitting you
from playing either ‘Ten-ten’,’Su-way’ or ‘set'(5 per side soccer) on the
street you are a serious paki!

4.
If your clothes were bought almost exclusively from abroad and you were
always wearing the ‘latest’ name-brands that made everybody else wonder…you
just might have been an Ajebota…but if you specialise in ‘Boskona'(trying
your clothes on in a makeshift stall before you purchase) pricing you’re
“enpakiated!”

5.
If you were the type to get dropped in school and picked up by a driver
designated to do so by your parents….you might qualify as an Ajebota….but
if you hold the world record for either boarding a moving LMTS bus through
ANY OPENING(door or window, driver’s side inclusive) or hopping off a slowing
down danfo bus without ever crash-landing you’re a paki original!

6.
If you were familiar and current with the latest things in vogue you may have
qualified as an Ajebota…but if the very first time you saw a pair of NIKE
shoes you wondered why the owner had to paint some Yoruba girl’s name on it,
paki-ism don skatta ya head!

7.
If you ever toasted a girl speaking perfect Queen’s English with the latest
‘fo-ne’ slangs and acting ‘cool’…you might fall in the Ajebota
category…but if you’re the type to approach women with tribal marks who
hardly speak any English with your native tongue souped up with strong
dialect and try to impress them with bad pronunciation of the few English
words you know…man mi…you have been genetically enPAKIlised!

8.
If you either have a dry cleaner that picks up your family clothing and then
returns them washed , ironed and folded..or you take your clothings to a
cleaner’s shop for the same services..well…we could call you an
ajebota…but if you use a pail-ful of OMO to soak your clothes, then spread
them out on a special concrete slab for the ‘super-scrub’ with Kongi soap to
hit the troublesome collar, dip it back and forth in an extra pail of water
until it starts looking too milky, hand squeeze it with your upper body
twisting in one direction while the cloth is heading in the other, .snap it
in mid-air fifteen times to get the wrinkles out before using wooden clips to
hold it down on the rope line or better yet lay it over your corrugated iron
fence…Nnem..you are paki level 10!

9.If
you happen to do emergency laundry for an outfit you wish to wear in a very
short while you pop it into a dryer and hit buttons to get it ready..you just
may somehow be an Ajebota…but if after washing it you squueze wringe it
out, grab a towel, roll it into the towel and have someone nearby tranversely
and alternately dry squeeze it before finally steam-drying it with your coal
or electric iron…you be paki O!

10.If
every summer after school your idea of a holiday is looking forward to a trip
to either England,
US or anywhere else in the northern hemisphere for that matter…well…you
are an Ajebota..but if you’re excited that the Yam Festival and hunting
seasons are coinciding hence you can finally trash that old Egungun outfit
and don a new one..my friend you are an ajepaki!!

11.
If you happen to have maids and caterers that handle all the cooking in your
household…well…just maybe you could be classified as an Ajebota…but if
you have expert hands that have perfected trapping the dinner fowl by
clipping its wings under your feet and holding its neck just right for the
knifing…you be paki my friend!

12
If…you are a woman…you walk with the ‘model strut’ on the runway even if
you’re performing the slightest of chores like say…going to fix a cup of
tea.. U just might be an ajebota…but if you walk anyhow with your foam
slippers drawing on the ground and making so much noise, paki is engrained in
your genetic code!

13.
If the musical collection you have at home comprises the likes of Kool and
The Gang, The Whispers and Tina Turner and by the way you know all the lyrics
and can sing along…well…you just may somehow qualify to be a bit of an
Ajebota…but if na onli Barrister and Uwaifo you sabi and Uyou no dey show
eye for di kin parti wey dem no dey ‘spray’ man mi you be paki.

Footnote:
So what is wrong in being paki? The lessons of life are in the end on the
street.

About papillion

Intense Often Moody Transparent Exquisitely sensitive Animated Never satisfied Curious Eternal Romantic Creative Devotedly Christian Encouraging Multi-layered Loving Quick Judge Critical Forever evolving View all posts by papillion

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