I felt out with my boss. Fr. Augustine, my enigmatic Uncle Uche, used to say that I am odimmaemenma. I liked to do good even from a very tender age.
Guess I was still five then, and his words to my mother are still fresh in me despite the years that have passed. He’d just dropped us from a day out with us at our favourite ice-cream joint in Sokoto.
Well, my boss wanted me to participate in stealing from the victims of the 2007/2008 imbroglio, the poor and the need. I couldn’t do that. Over my dead body. I just told him to kiss my ass as well.
Next year Kenya would be going into election again. Success politics are rife, peace conferences are held daily and all that we-need-peace-in-the-next-general-election talk. Nonetheless, indicators show a repeat of the same come next year. Not because the spy agency has said so. No. the Swahili people say ‘Mwenye macho haambiwi tazama’ (He who has eyes is not told to look).
As a humanitarian I can see that we would be strained if it happened all over again. Even if donors pumped all the money in the world to Kenya we would be grounded thus my unwavering resolute never ever to steal from the victims. And I not gonna let my boss and his conniving, money-thirst goons to enrich themselves from the fund.
The following day we had my Kenyans4Peace walk from Ol Kajou IDP Camp to Nakuru to raise funds for buying food for the lower primary school kids in Ol Kajou.
Then later in the week, my Peace254 Program held a meeting at the KICC in Nairobi. Youths from all over the country attended en masse. His Excellency the Prime Minister of Kenya was the guest speaker. He urged the young Turks to get hold of the country today for ‘Viogozi wa kesho bado hawajazaliwa,’ (Leaders of tomorrow are not yet born).
Come members day, Friday, I attended the inauguration ceremony of the Rotary Club of Nairobi 85th President, Omoutola Irynn Jalide, at the Fairmont Norfolk Hotel.
Omoutola was the fifth African woman Rotary Club president, and third from Nigeria in three consecutive successions. Since the 83rd president, Ann Mwachwuku Vanlauwe, it’d been Nigerians taking the helm here in Kenya.
Just like her predecessors, Omoutola was installed in style, lacing Kenyan culture and her Nigerian roots. Though I am not an unadulterated Nigerian, and did not grow up there, Uncle Uche used to tell us what such rituals meant. Together with dad, Uncle Uche regaled us with cultural practices’ stories that were strange to us. Technically, I don’t have a real home, but I am happy to identify with Nigeria. I know nothing of my Jewish roots.
Wonders will never stop happening. Omoutola invited me to her inauguration. She knew me. She was my mother’s friend. They had met through dad. I don’t know the specifics, but I recalled when I first saw her – it was at our Ramat Ha’Sharon, Tel Aviv, Israel home before we moved to Sokoto, Nigeria.
When I was brought to the limelight by the media here in Kenya after the launch of Peace254, she’d recognised me as ‘…that chubby little girl I met in Israel.’
Chief Ikechukwu, the Chairman of the Ibo community here in Kenya, crushed kola nuts that were imported from Nigeria, poured shinups as libation first to the ancestors, took a sip then passed the spirit and pieces of the kola to the audience. I had never tasted the bitter fruit in my life!
Words of Uncle Uche came to my mind. ‘Kola nuts and palm wine, or the shinups spirit, are thanks giving items to gods and ancestors. It’s like bread and wine of the Last Supper.’ Even today I wonder how Fr. Augustine came to know so much about the African culture.
In her speech, Omoutola acknowledged me as her child and the brain behind Peace254 and Kenyans4Peace initiatives.
“I will also work closely with committees, programmes and other stakeholders in promoting lives for orphans, who, through Hope for African Children program have been given hope for tomorrow,” Omoutola concluded her speech.
Over dinner, Omoutola told me that she was happy that I had overcome everything that had happened and had moved on.
“I would like to alleviate poverty, improve education and children’s welfare and the standard of living for the poor through the club,” she told me.
“That’s a real great deal. You really are odimmaemenma.”
But she had something else. “Why not join the Rotary, Zohara?” she asked me. “Never mind, I’ve never gotten used to calling you Folami,” she added.
Why not? Lucrative proposition. I could even end up rising to be the president of the club someday, someway.
But wait a minute. Do I really want it, I thought. Am I for it, for real?
“I’ll have to think about it,” I told Omoutola.
Copyright ©Elove Poetry, 2012. All Rights Reserved.