It was summer of 1989, I was then in S.S.2 (senior secondary school) and all was set for me to visit Lagos, Lagos? I thought to myself was going to be real fun and maybe I could also pick some some money on the streets. Who would blame a young teenager like me, after all everyone that come down to the village from Lagos has given us a ‘facade’ screaming all was well and rosy.
My senior causin lived in Lagos, and since he was fund of me and I saw him as a ‘biiig’ man, I was only too excited when he asked that I visited him during my holidays. My causin was married but his wife li ed in another part of the country with their children. To me, my causin was the best person on earth for having invited me to see this fairy tale of a city called Lagos.
However, my mother made every thing ready for me to actualise my dream. A local long-distance taxi driver who would pick me from home and drop me off at my causin’s address in Lagos was contacted. As the D-day drew near, my immediate elder brother, who was so excited about the trip, got me an empty rice sack to apparently bring his own goodies.
Having never left our home town before and to the big city of Lagos, I didn’t sleep a wink throughout the preceeding night due to my excitement. After what seemed a very long time, it was finally dawn, 6am the driver arrived and so began my journey to the big city of Lagos.
The journey to Lagos took about 7 hours and my joy was clearly seen. I thought to myself, me, Lagos? ha! ‘Dem go take’ (meaning that I’ll be the synosure of all eyes on my return). There goes the sign-‘WELCOME TO LAGOS, LAND OF AQUATIC SPLENDOUR’. Hmm, my first thought on arrival was how I was going to have all the fun in here. The driver announced to those of us who were coming for the first time, ‘this is Lagos and due to your varying addresses, I will be droppin one after the other and the last being this young girl’, that’s me.
It must have taken another 2 to 3 hours for this drop-off within town, 1, the traffic congestion, 2, the distances between all the various addresses. I became so exhausted but excited and couldn’t wait to get to my place of ‘rest’. The first thing I noticed on arrival was the brisk movement of people, some were either running after vehicles to get a ride or just packed up inside ‘Molue’. Anyways, I had my mind fixed on getting home.
At last, the driver announced our arrival at my causin’s office address for perhaps, he could take me home but he was not there. Okay, we set sail to his house address in another far location in town. Lovely building with high fence unlike where I was coming from. Magnificent building and I thought I would have a room to myself. Once jn this seemingly ‘opulent compound’, we headed for the flight of stairs and soon at the door, knock, knock, knock, but no answer! No answer? How can? Why? What? Are there no neighbours I could hang around with? So we do I go from here?. By the way, who would pay for my journey? The driver looked in my direction but I rather needed the answers from him.
Perplexed, he muttered ‘eni ebho ne rhi bhi eko na? meaning this people in Lagos? Although it was a rhetorical question, I focused on his lips to find the word I was looking for. To make our situation worse, there was barely a working telephone in those days. If thers were any, the nearest booth would be a mile away and besides who needs a phone whe my great cousin was expecting me. Telephone ke? Wetin concern me with phone?, (what’s my business with a phone?) just needed my cousin that’s all.
After a short while, the driver came up with an answer, bam! we are going to look for uncle Jim he said, let’s go because by the time, it was nightfall. Uncle Jim was from my village and we lived close with a just one house in-between. It is better than remaining outside. As for the driver, he would sleep at the motor park, , insidehis taxi so he would return home the next day. We got to uncle Jim was a bank worker, and was married with a son. He recieved us with warmth as though he had expected us. The driver explained my journey so far and left. Uncle Jim gave me food and I had a bath. He lived in a 3 bed room apartment and I felt at home. He wondered aloud why my cousin would treat me the way he did. He however told me that the next day, he would be taking me to one of my father’s younger brother who was a diplomat at the time, according to him it was only the right thing to do.
The next day, uncle Jim showed me the kitchen and ironed fo me so we set out. Meanwhile, he had a fight with his wife which saw her out of their home prior to my coming. We rode in his Peugeot 504 saloon car to my uncle’s house somewhere in town. When we arrived, we were told by his wife that he was not available and tgat since I was not invited, she couldn’t take me in. (I wouldn’t blame her for her principles). Uncle Jim pleaded with her to let me spend the night so that my uncle could decide when he arrives, so she obliged. After uncle Jim left, she became really angry saying that instead of me to stay in my father’s house, I was going about disturbing people. Looking back, I really feel sad for the inconvenience I brought them.
On the morrow, she bundled me and my things on my head and off we went to the bus stop. (Remember I said earlier that every one ran after moving vehicles). So we were to board the first bus but because I couldn’t run, it left, when the next one came, I ran with her and of course, one leg of my slippers was on ground while I was in the vehicle. I screamed and the bus stopped but as we got down to get it, the bus left. Finally we got one and after about 3 hours, we were in uncle Jim’s place where she left me. I was now the problem of this next door neighbour.
Uncle Jim received me yet again with so much maturity and brotherly kindness. He told me to remain until he had money to pay for my fare back home. All along, there was still no word from my dear cousin. I ended up spending one full week in the house of this messenger of God who sheltered me.
Finally my day came to depart, depart this lovely city without exploring the city, depart with pain, rejection and dejection, depart not taking nothing, seeing nothing nor feeling nothing but disappointment. I was happy to be home with my family where love resonated. Although uncle Jim shared what he had with me, he couldn’t meet the very purpose of of my visit.
Many years later, I realised that the expectations of man may be many but disappointment may also be very inevitable. In one of my trips to America, I spoke with my uncle’s wife and could feel the thrill in her voice. She asked if I was still pretty, or fair complexioned, (funny). We talked alot about everything, its so wonderful when the tides turns in one’s favour. I do not hold grudges but its my right not to forget to teach it to others.
This true life story is just to ilustrate the many great expectations of man, the word of God says our expectations shall not be cut short. Though it’s heart breaking, as the bible says, Hope deferred makes the heart sick.(Prov.13:12), it doesn’t mean that the Lord has forsaken you. When one road closes, there’s alwas another, so don’t die in your disappointment.
You may have come face to face with disappointment, do not loose hope, the Lord is working it out. You must never allow your expectations to cause you to lose focus. You will get there!
Today, I live in Lagos, travel at will because of Jesus who has taken me from the miry clay and set my feet upon a Rock-Jesus! He has turned my sorrows into joy. I am not yet there but I am very grateful that I have come this far.
Please let me know what you have learnt from my story or any of my posts.
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