What is this country turning into? Ha, my mouth is open like agama lizard, I can count flies waiting to perch. What will someone not see but I am not your tatafo; and people, I am not trying to sell market. But as an eavesdropper, I see things that amaze these eyes of mine; and my hands are always eager to write since my mouth has been tamed by nature to speak less.
We used to hear that beggars have no choice but my people, what my eyes saw said mba ooo, beggars now give orders like ndi soldiers.
Please read my musing and put your writing on this matter because I am not understanding. Like my babes will say, it is a waawu something.
It was a hot sunny midday, somewhere around CMS, Lagos that I boarded a commercial bus with other commuters – in simple English, passengers. Sitting at the front passenger seat was a couple dressed in white t-shirt to-match and a little girl with a galaz haircut on deep pink; she was with their little baby girl. I could make them out because of their unique wears and how the woman shared a bottle of viju milk with the girl without the usual distate we see in movies.
On my left was a woman in multiple prints Ankara iro and buba, her baby on her laps, while on my right was a sister who was quiet, and her general demeanor was of agitation – body dey catch am. She kept making phone calls, vexing with the person at the other end of the phone. She also had dislike for the conductor who was making life a hell by packing five people to a seat that could take only four. You will notice that by the way she shove the N200 into his hands when he came for his fare; those conductors – dem no dey try.
The gala sellers were hawking their wares, same as the soft drink sellers; little argument here and there while we waited for the bus to fill up and finally drag through the usual traffic-laid road.
While we waited, a man in tattered clothes, overgrown hair, unkempt fingernails and stained teeth approached the bus asking for alms from the open door side, he kept blessing the passengers with mouthed prayers and plea to help him. His desire was to get money to feed with – aunt help me to eat, I don’t have money to eat, please help me. Soon the conductor came to gather his bus fare while the beggar walked to the window by the door side towards the hind of the bus and to the other side.
Everywhere was hot because the sun was fully shining and the bus – it was a case of Lord have mercy. When he was done saying prayers and plea for few bucks, he made his way to the other side of the bus and starting from the back, he continued his alms asking. He continued to the front window where I was and was talking to the lady beside me with the little child. Obviously, she turned her face away and after a while the man exploded into curses.
He started raining abuses to the passengers for not giving him alms, calling them – em, was I part of them? Lol, oloshi, egbere – useless people and other strong Yoruba abuses kept pouring from his mouth. His face tensed, I trust he could have broken bottle on someone’s head if he had the chance. He continued cursing as he walked away angrily. This caused a burst of laughter and amazement from the passengers who were surprised by his attitude. Wetin man pikin no go see for Lagos.
After he walked away, a lady behind me who was irritated by his display voiced out:
Lady: Can you imagine, a beggar cursing someone else. Look at him, old man like him.
Another Passenger: A beggar has a choice after all. If he had money why should he disturb others. Is it by force to give?
Passenger: No mind am, na him bad character dey do am. Just look at him, all his teeth shows the kind of life he has lived. Now, he wants to dump his wasted years on others. Who no get him own problem? Nonsense!
Writer: (thinks to herself) Should old people inconvenience others with their failures when they obviously wasted their youth. Such old man should have children, shouldn’t they cater for him, why think others owe you a responsibility when you should be able to get that from your children. And why rain curses on them when they aren’t forthcoming, are they entitled to help every jack in the name of we-should-give? What if a passenger has just his transport fare and can’t afford to get stranded?
Life they say is in phases, men in faces, beggars with choices.
Please note that the story remains a fact, however some details have been edited for creative purposes. What’s your say?
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