JOURNEY TO ITALY – UNTOLD STORIES OF A RETURNEE (fifth episode)
The inhabitants of Durku behaved indifferent towards us. Everybody we reached out to simply drove us away. We kept gallivanting round the village till the west welcomed the sun. Having no success in neither the filling of our belly nor the putting of a roof over our heads, we sat on the hot sand with our backs against a hut no strength remained in us. We didn’t mind being beaten when the hut owner finds us.
I was standing beside my mothers grave in company of frank. He kept wiping my tears and rendering words of encouragement. Then he made me sit under a mango tree while he ran off to get me water. As I was drinking, I coughed and spilled it on my body. This ignited my coming back into reality. As I opened my eyes, I saw him standing before me holding out a cup of water. “Are you okay?” He asked. He introduced himself to us while I snatched the cup of water – which I gulped down with greed.
He had us freshen up, eat and drink. We were engulfed in fear but we didn’t bother to ask questions. He kept smiling as he watched us ravaging the meal. Then Idowu said, “Oga don’t worry we go do you well, if you can just help us to cross the border.” He began to laugh loudly, and we got embarrassed. I kept imagining what might be the price for this kindness. Instead of relieving us his laughter terrified us.
We had finished eating when he stood and left the room, then returned with a lighted candle. That was when we realised that it was already dark. He cleared his throat, then began, “The funny thing about you Nigerians is the way you take everything you hear or see to the extreme. In as much as you people are blessed with talents, wit and a great country indeed, you channel your gifts into nonsense. The desert is filled with Nigerians’ footprints. You are always zealous towards accumulating wealth but in the lazy and quick way. A nation full of covetous but lazy people (especially youths of these days) who their desperation has no rival. All of you want to go abroad, dupe people, sell drugs or even do money rituals. Instead of learning from your great predecessors like Awolowo and co, you suddenly learnt laziness, covetousness etc. You are going abroad, what sort of money are you looking for? The one that will destroy your soul and body before you achieve it. The question is, after you’ve made it, how do you enjoy it?”
“Oga you know our country is very hard, it’s not our fault” I defended.
That provoked him because he shouted at me to shut up. He kept quite for a while, then he continued; “All the time you Nigerians are causing troubles, when you get to these countries you only bring evil into them, you either prostitute or sell drugs or scam people. You people are not the only underdeveloped country for crissake. The problem of you Nigerians is nothing but covetousness, laziness and stupidity. These countries you run to were built by people like you, they did not appear out of nowhere. It’s always Nigerians in Malaysia, Nigerians in Brazil, Nigerians in USA, Nigerians all over the world. Those wit and intelligence you people use in those countries, go to your country and use it to do a positive thing there, start a company, invent something, solve problems, think positively for goodness sake! but in your case it’s money! money! money!!
My dear I am sorry to say but it is a useless people you current Nigerians are. Now you are on your way to Italy, when u get there men and dogs will start sleeping with you at every corner of the street, worst part is they video the whole thing and even tie you up. Over five men will sleep with you in a single day. After all that barbarism, you gather the money, go back home, build a house, buy one expensive car, then u start claiming big girl but the truth is that you are a walking dead. My dear let me announce to you that that is not wealth. Even if you must travel out, Why can’t you go to these countries and do something great there? Or better still stay in your country and do great things? But instead you perpetrate evil. Don’t you know that the wealth that comes from evil is only an Illusion because that is not wealth, it only looks like it. I will advice you now, to follow me back to Ghana, when we get there I will book a flight to take you back to Nigeria. Go back to your country, get educated whichever way you can, don’t expect good things to come easily, life is not fair. Once you get a cert, get a job, if you can’t find one, make a job or travel to a country through the legal way and get a decent job there. That is what is called hard work and fulfilment. Now are you ready to go home?”
“Yes sir!” I declared as tears flowed down my cheeks while Idowu was silent.
He asked her the question again, “are you ready to go home?” And I do what said NO!
I was shocked that I couldn’t say a word, I kept staring at her as She stood up and said to me, “what will people say when you get home?” I watched her leave the hut. I tried going after her but he stopped me, and said, ” She has chosen her path, those words I said were obviously not for her but for you. It is true that she is your sister but the both of you does not and can’t have the same path. Let her go”
That was how I returned home, reunited with my mother, started a part-time course in the polytechnic. Now I own a super market and I am married with four kids.
I have not heard from nor seen my sister since then. Yes, that is her path.
My name is Yemi and this is my story.