It was the early morning wind singing through my window this morning and I can hardly tell what the time was until I looked at my watch to see I was behind schedule. It was my first day at work and I hurriedly took a bath, my cloths on and forgot about breakfast.
I took the closest route of one starting a job and having challenges with my finances going to d-line in Port Harcourt. A friend had shown me the route some weeks ago. I called it an adventure of empty pockets going through the mile three motor park and through the noisy streets of Diobu (my apologies to its residents)
Women and men in numbers caring their goods. Young and old offering different services to whoever cared to buy. What got me so amused that I could so much but laugh was an amputee asking for arms by saying “yellow, God bless you – referring to me.” I could quickly guess that he is a Muslim – but I admired him.
What fascinated me more was the street I walk through had a lot of story to tell. Cursing flying from angles that I had to be careful not to be a victim or participant either, an adult male walks out of a public yard with just a white towel wrapped around his waist that I thought he must have been out to send his personal greetings to the public. I caught an eye of a young hefty lady with just a bra at the balcony of a house until I discovered she had other sisters living in their well decorated chalets. I imaged the compound next to it and the level of profanity in the lives of the young ones living there. The local drug store strategically place in response to the emergency that may arise in the course of their business. Positioned with drugs and preventives placed for patrons to see and buy.
I thought of my children growing up here tasted like demonic bile that needed a divine cleanser to wash as spotless before it came into my heart. I looked at the school across with the aura of dissatisfaction on the learning environment. Grammar becomes so unorthodox around this environment because the language you hear, smell and see is pigin English, everything around their environment becomes so pigin: the way they think, behave, and act. Through the walls, you can see through on what is passed on to its’ student tells you why the failure in o’level exams has been so decimal in the country.
Few metres across is a local “mamaput.’ You can’t believe the class of persons who patronize her; one that shocked me were two beautifully dressed and looking bank staff in a Porsche sedan waiting to be served in their vehicle. I must say that I fantasized having a plate to getting a taste of the meal that draws executive class from town down here or maybe a lack of cooking skills have led them at the mercy of the local chef.
To stimulate the exorbitant and existing noise polluting around, a local disk jockey with his unprofessional speakers and music chorus itching ear drums that passby. The intensity leaves children excited as they bath outside, close to the public drain with no reason to care about what the world thinks let alone their parents. What does the world want to know if a little girl urinates and watches it flow into the drain. It has been the routine and the world is fair and if anyone bothers, she doesn’t care.
On this same place, another side of business thrives too. With gallons and litres of alcohol trading. So amazed I was when, one of the stores around sheltered drums I couldn’t count, of local dry gin known as kai-kai. The enterprenuer was so excited to see huge patronage crowding to get their portion. I guessed one of the banks should have gotten a growing fish as a client. I thought about the smell of strong gin covenanting with the air people breathe that I won’t be surprised to see kids taking a sip; their lungs have craved for it a long time ago for filling the dryness of their wilderness. It is normal I later learnt for most children that grew up around here. I really have to flush the idea out of my system, least I fall into temptation of having a fill of an ill-conceived thing as that. Sick enough was that, getting out of the street were mansions of crates carrying brewed alcoholic content that I won’t oblige to say. Big, medium, small trucks and buses getting positioned to lift the products to various destinations for consumption. I could just imagine the lot we consume in this country; guess it is the only industry we might not need subsidy because it is already subsidized.