Working on the construction site with Isa, in between examination, was enough an eye-opener to what Nigerians are going through. Isa was a friend from another tribe, he had some right values I love.
He came from the educationally impoverished North and was trying all his best to make up for all he was unable to get back then. He had big dreams, to become a successful Guidance Counselor. Isa was not really open to everyone.
“Isa, how far?” I asked.
“Fine,” he replied.
“Where have you been?” I questioned.
“I’ve been…reading,” he sounded with a tone conveying an underlying truth he was not telling me.
“But reading should not stop you from coming to mosque,” I countered.
“Well, Tunde, I have been working at the construction site behind the Provost’s office,” confessed.
“Oh… And you have been hiding this all this while?” I replied sympathetically.
I knew of Isa’s financial incapability, which was not so better than some of us too. He was an orphan like me, the only difference being that I was a trust fund baby.
“It’s not like I’m hiding, I just don’t want to tell people about it, I want to keep doing it secretly,” he replied, cheering up a bit.
“Let’s go grab some snacks man,” I replied absent-mindedly, trying to figure out how to help my friend.
“Grab some wha..?” He replied confused.
I wrapped my hand around his shoulders, guiding him to the place. I knew he was wondering if I really understood his situation. We walked into the cafeteria.
“Well done Madam,” I greeted the seller.
“Welcome my sons, how’re you?” she replied jovially.
“We are fine Ma,” I replied.
“What do you want me to serve you?” She asked with an air of serious business.
“Give us four eggrolls and two bottles of Pepsi,” I ordered, checking sideways to get Isa’s confirmation. Our orders were brought and we devoured them. Settling the bill, we left the place. He still looked confused about what type of film I was shooting. While eating, I had decided to let Isa feel alright and to follow him to the site. Actually, I wasn’t sure of myself but I just felt the urge to make someone happy driving me on.
It was a cold and cloudy Saturday morning when we both rendezvoused at our preplanned spot with extra clothing for the work. He seemed all prepared to make the money but I was there to cheer a friend up.
I thought it was something simple, but carrying 403 blocks to the 2nd floor from morning till evening was all I needed to know about what my friend was going through. And sure, he was really happy and more relaxed with my presence and I became a changed person too.
Truly, life lessons are learnt from odd places. I reasoned down Isa’s problem to the government who was not ready to help orphans but fooled masses with the promise to do so. Citizens have decided to vote out corrupt leaders in the forthcoming election. I have no NGO to contact but I have decided to take a step to be an election observer/reporter, to help let the will of the masses to prevail, if that is what will make them happy.
This may not be very effective, I just want to contribute my quota.