The Good Samaritan
‘Good afternoon children’
‘Good afternoon Aunty T’
‘Are you ready for one of Aunty T’s wonderful stories today?’ I asked them
‘Yes, we are Aunty T!’ they bellowed
‘Okay but first I would like to start this session by asking about your weekend.’
Hands flew into the air before I had finished speaking. I decided to pick little Ope at the back.
‘Yes Ope, would you like to tell us about your exciting weekend?
‘Yes, Aunty T, My cousins came over from Abuja to visit and my parents took us all to see a movie, we went to the park and had so much fun and that was what I did this weekend.’
‘Thank you Ope, I hope you managed to set aside some time for your homework?’ I asked but he was not listening as his attention had been called by some of the other children who wanted more on his ‘story’.
‘Uh Ope, back to your place quietly please, you can continue your story during break time but now it’s time for Aunt T’s story’
The title of my story today is the Good Samaritan……
Just then, the door to the story hut opened and in stepped (borrowing words from my friend, Bunmi to describe) a tall caramel chocolate stranger, and as I had completely forgotten my last conversation with Mr Ajadi, I was confused.
‘Sorry to interrupt’- he didn’t sound Nigerian- ‘I tried to get here early but I was being given a tour of the school by the head teacher’
Ok, he definitely was not Nigerian. My confusion deepened and as if sensing this, the tall stranger quickly added, ‘I was shown here by Mr Ajadei (Ajadi), I’m Daniel Reid; the new English Teacher’
Yes, that was it! He was English, though this one sounded a bit different to the ones I heard on the T.V. ‘Welcome to our story hut, Mr Reid. I’m Aunty T, the Storyteller’ –the job description I had defended so fervently to my parents now sounded so lame. I turned to the Children and said ‘Class, please say good afternoon to Mr Reid’
‘Good Afternuuuuuuuuuuuuuun Mr Reeeeed’
‘A very good afternoon to you too, kids’ Mr Reid replied
‘Mr Reid has come a long way to hear stories with us today’, I said and the kids’ hands went up faster than a rocket bound for outer space. I knew what they wanted to ask and gave the answer ‘Mr Reid comes from England’
Hands still went up, ‘Yes, Maria’ I said
‘Aunt T, I thought England was full of white people only? ’She asked. I was wondering when that question was going to crop up.
See, Mr Reid was black and looked as though he just drove over from another part of the city to play a prank on them, so this caused some confusion in the children. ‘Well, Mr Reid may be English but his parents are from…’
‘Jamaica’ he finished for me,’ yes, just like you, Maria you were born and live in Lagos but your parents are from Plateau state’
‘And that’s why he speaks like an Oyinbo man’, Erica added with knowing smile
‘Oooooooooook’ they chorused their understanding
I smiled back and turned again to Mr Reid, ‘I’m sorry about this, we were not prepared for you. I had thought we would have been introduced by Mr Ajadi before the class began. We were just about to begin our story when you entered.’
‘That’s alright’ sorry for the interruption,
‘There’s a chair at the back, it’s small I hope you can manage?’
‘Cheers, I’ll manage just fine.
I turned back to the class and began,’ the title of my story today is the good Samaritan’
‘The guuuuuuuud Samaritaaaaan’ they echoed
In a very big and busy city
Two men walked briskly, they were on their way to some important business
These men were friends and had been invited to interview for a job
One’s name was Ameh, the other was Polycarp.
Both men were hardworking and intelligent and had prepared their best for this interview. Nothing could stand in their way this morning.
As the two friends walked along, a rugged looking man blocked their path. His clothes were stained with mud and smelled very bad. He was barefoot and looked lost.
The two friends looked about them, every one else walked along and ignored the rugged looking stranger, so they decided to do the same.
But as they began to walk along he caught up with them again and blocked their path.
Ameh thought, ‘why does this man keep blocking the way? I must not be late for my interview’
While Polycarp thought to himself, ‘this drunk beggar again!’
Ameh tried to think of a solution to deliver him from the pestering of the rugged stranger, ‘Maybe if I ignored him well enough, he’ll go and bother others’
Polycarp tried to move but the rugged looking stranger blocked his path yet again, he was becoming irritated and thought ‘I could give him a little shove to the side and continue on my way’ but the stranger was weak and Polycarp’s ‘little shove’ threw him to the ground.
As the stranger fell, he yelped and tried to grab hold of something, which just so happened to be Polycarp’s shirt.
Annoyed, our two friends stopped and asked, ‘what may we do for you?!’
The stranger replied, ‘Please help me, I woke up to find myself on the street. The last thing I remember is driving home from work very late last night’
Ameh asked, ‘but where’s your car?’
‘I don’t know what happened to the car, I suspect I might have been robbed’
Polycarp could not believe that they were listening to the lying drunk, the man was wasting their time and the bus to take them to their interview was about to leave.
‘Why don’t you go home then?’ He asked
‘I cannot do that, my wallet, phone and work case are also missing. Please help with any spare change you have so that I may call my family; they must be frantic with worry by now.’ the stranger begged
When the stranger mentioned money, the two friends became sceptical. Beggars always invented new methods of collecting money from unsuspecting people, and anyway they had no spare change.
Polycarp said to Ameh, ‘this man has delayed us enough, we need to leave now or we may be late to the interview’
‘But we can’t leave him like this, the poor man needs help’ Ameh replied
He’s a beggar; don’t be fooled by his lies. Why do you think no one else stopped to listen to him? He’s probably known in the area for his antics, is why’
Ameh thought to himself that he had never seen the man around and so he decided to help him. Polycarp thought his friend had run mad and if so he seemed to be in good company. He could not however waste any more time arguing the stranger’s matter and so he left to board a taxi to take him to his destination, the bus had since left.
Ameh stayed behind with the stranger and gave him some money; the man thanked him profusely and left to make a call to his family. With the stranger gone, Ameh boarded the next bus to his interview. He arrived at his destination, later than his appointed time where he was informed that there would be no interview for him. Devastated by the news, he pleaded to be given another chance but to no avail. Dejected, Ameh decided to head for home.
As he walked out of the office building, he bumped into someone coming in. He mumbled his apologies and made to go on his way but his path was blocked. Am already angry Ameh looked up and was about to launch a volley of insults on whomever it was when he recognised the face.
It was the rugged looking stranger who had asked for help earlier, but he did not look as helpless as before. Rather he was clean shaven and dressed in an expensive looking suit.
The stranger smiled and said to Ameh, ‘how wonderful to see you again but what are you doing here? Ameh explained to the stranger that he had come for an interview but because he arrived late, his interview was cancelled. The stranger introduced himself as the Chief executive officer of the company that had invited Ameh for an interview.
‘I was to conduct the interviews this morning but due to my predicament, I called and asked for all the interviews to be rescheduled. Your interview was cancelled not for your lateness but because I was unavailable.’ The stranger said.
He then added that Ameh was the only candidate left as the others had been informed to return at a later date. Would now be convenient for me and my colleagues to interview you? He asked Ameh.
‘Well children, can we guess what happened to Ameh? I asked
‘Pick me Aunty T, I know’ Timi pleaded, punching the air with his fist
‘He passed the interview, Aunty T’ he replied gleefully
‘That is right children, Ameh got the job because not only was he properly qualified for the position but also he had shown a complete stranger in need kindness and compassion.’
So what did we learn from today’s story? I asked
To be kinddddddddddddd’ they chorused back
Good, now kids it’s time to leave Aunty T and her story hut for today’ and with this, the kids began to file out of the class followed by me and a very amused Mr Reid.
I was tempted to ask what he found so amusing and was prepared to pound him over the head with my handbag if he mentioned my story as the cause, but I thought better of it. The children properly deposited in their classroom, I turned to take my leave, still followed closely by Mr Reid but encountered Mr Ajadi instead. Honestly the man must have appeared out of thin air
‘Miss Ogbonna, I see you’ve acquainted yourself with the new teacher’ turning to Mr Reid, he asked ‘and what did you think of our story sessions, Mr Reid?’
So it was our story sessions now abi when not very long ago it was MY strange story sessions. Whatever it was called now, I wasn’t going to stand there and hear what the almighty English boy did not like about my work.
…’yes, Mr Ajadi, we have been well acquainted’, I said, giving a reply to his earlier question ‘excuse me gentlemen but I must leave now, loads of work to do’
Turning to Mr Reid, ‘it was nice meeting you’,
I left the two men in the corridor, where was I going? To the staff room first to check if Miss Chika had seen the new Oyinbo teacher and if she hadn’t. To tell her that he was not Oyinbo but black Oyinbo.