QUE SERA

Ebun and I walked into the female ward in block E. It was one of the Saturdays when we were bored with poring over chemical structures and cramming botanical names. We strolled in with our labcoats, smiling as we greeted the nurses. They replied without giving us any attention, their heads bowed into patient files open before them.

Ebun and I walked round from patient to patient as they lay on their beds. Some smiled at us, some were to weak to, and some were oblivious of our presence. We spoke with them, prayed for them and left them with few fruits. There was this man who began to pray for us after we had prayed for his wife. He was grateful we had visited.

On our way out, at the far end of the room, close to the window with open louvres void of netting, she sat there, watching us, smiling, a slight one. On the bed beside her was a very pale woman, with almost no clothing on. She looked seventy. Her thighs were not larger than my thin wrists. On her head were patches of scraggly hair. Her skin sagged. She lay limp and lifeless.

“She’s my daughter. She’s only nineteen,” the woman on the chair began as we drew close, not bothering to wipe off the tears that now rolled down the sides of her face. “Her name is Onyinye. We’ve been in and out of hospitals since last year. She is also a medical student, schooling in University of Port Harcourt.” She broke off to sob some, I and Ebun only listened, speechless. She stood up to turn her daughter the other way, exposing her deep sore-ridden buttocks, her half-full urine bag dangling over the edge of the bed. I started to have a dizzy spell, nausea welling up in me, beads of sweat breaking out on my forehead. I needed to sit down, to lie down actually.

She continued, “Please pray for her. God will not answer me, but I believe he will answer you.” I fought tears, I think Ebun did too.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Ebun began in her sincere way, stammering a little, “but I know God will restore her health.”

Even as I quoted, “By His stripes, we are healed,” I tried not to envisage the degree of healing Onyinye would need. I tried not to let logic get in the way of miracle. I believed, for her mother’s sake too.

“Let’s pray,” Ebun said, stretching out her hands to take both mine and Onyinye’s mother’s. Before Ebun got to the end of every prayer sentence, a passionate believing Amen rendered the air. God had to heal Onyinye.

I forced a smile and held onto her hand a little while longer after the prayer. I nodded as Ebun spoke reassuringly, “She will be in our prayers. God will heal her.” Gratitude seeping through her tear-stained face, she exchanged numbers with me and promised to keep in touch. She would tell us when Onyinye was leaving the hospital.

It was late one morning a few weeks after, when I was preparing to go to the lab that my phone beeped. It was a brief message: Onyinye passed on early this morning. Thanks for your concern and prayers. I didn’t know if to heave a sigh of relief.

Chinazar Okoro©2013

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Weekend Getaway

Being among writers, sitting and talking about writing is one of the most beautiful things ever, I tell you.

Such was the experience at the Bogobiri Creative Writing Workshop when I and nine other participants sat through hours on end, interrupted only by lunch. Reading. Writing. Arguing. Laughing. Having a really good time.

All the exercises we partook of were remarkable. Worthy of mention was one where we were given an excerpt and required to retell it. It was exciting listening to a story being retold in ten different ways, because even though we all knew the end, each story brought along its own peculiarity, complete with twists and turns.

Shout out to everyone who made this possible: Facilitators- Eghosa Imasuen, Igoni Barett; Sponsor- Etisalat; Host- Bogobiri, which was in itself a beautiful place of art and took the experience several notches higher.

Hopefully, I’d be able to get my new friends to guest-post here on my blog, and I can assure you of beautiful content and wonderful story-telling.

Stay tuned.

Vote Me For The Nigerian Blog Awards 2013

It’s because you went all out to nominate me that I was shortlisted in the Best Book, Poetry or Writing Blog category of the Nigerian Blog Awards 2013.

Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!!

Voting began on the 11th of November and will run through until December 8, 2013, shortly after which a winner will be announced.

If I needed your support in the past, I need it even more now. Here’s how you can support me:

Simply click here: http://nigerianblogawards.com/vote2013.php, enter your name and email address and then select krazan.tgc in the Best Book, Poetry or Writing Blog category. Just like A-B-C, no? (Please make sure to click the link on a confirmatory email which may be sent to you if you weren’t part of the nomination stage, in order to validate your vote).

Let’s finish this good work we’ve started. You know the drill. I’d appreciate if you got at least, one other person to vote for me. I’m counting on you.

Thank you.

u.a.e.b.l.u.f.i.t

She held the picture- dusty, frayed, ancient. They were holding hands, an eager smile lighting up her face, she looked into his eyes. She remembered the day vividly, sixty years ago. There were no diamond rings or exotic cars or vacations. He didn’t go on his knees with a proposal. He didn’t make any grandiose promises. He only brought his kinsmen and paid her bride price. He was agile with youthful strength and he vowed to provide for them both. She would never be hungry. She believed him.

She held the other picture, the one they had taken only a week before at Christmas. Her husband sat hunched at the middle chair, his head bald, his breathing laboured. She sat next to him, crossing her arthritic legs, holding his hand, baring a toothless smile. They were surrounded by their children, and their children’s children.

Chinazar Okoro©2013

TLIYE

I rewrote The Log In Your Eye, trying to fit it into an 800-word limit. Check on it:

Ten-year old Blessing crouched by the bed, the hot tears slowly making their way down her cheeks as her mother stormed back into their single room. The quarrels between mother and Friday had become more frequent recently, and more intense. Friday had stopped obeying, had started talking back, fighting back, leaving home. The last time he stormed out of the house, he didn’t return for two days. Mother didn’t go searching for him. Blowing bubbles with her gum, she announced, “When hunger catch am, he go come back. If he like make he no come back sef. No be im mate dey hussle? Shuo, no be Rasheed give im mama Nokia asha? See as he resemble him papa.”

“Look here,” Peace said lifting her daughter’s chin roughly, “If I hear say you open this door for Friday, na koboko I go take scatter ya nyash.”

That night, Friday did not return, not the next either, or the next after it. Blessing did not see him in school. Her mother never mentioned him.

One Sunday, it rained heavily. By evening, the rain had been reduced to drizzles. As the rain drops beat softly on the roof top, Blessing sat on the edge of the bed watching her mother apply layer upon layer of make-up.

By 7.00p.m, there was a knock on the door. Blessing stood to open it. She had never seen this one. He was dark and lanky with rotten teeth. He laughed too much, as though he were an excited 17-year old. The sound of his laughter was hollow, just the way a hungry man would laugh. Blessing felt slight pity for him. There was no food in the house. She wondered if he could handle the day’s business.

“Beans N50, dodo N20,” Peace handed N70 to her daughter. “No stand near the door. No go anybody house. I don warn you. When you don buy food, stay outside where rain no go touch you chop am.”

Blessing took the money and left without a word. The door lock clicked. She felt alone. She thought of Friday, and tears started to gather in her eyes. She wished he would return home, or take her with him. On nights like these, they would sit by the pavement. He would tell her his escapades. She would laugh. They would ignore the snorts of their neighbours and pretend they did not hear them warn their children to stay away from ‘that ashawo woman’s children’.

It was a month since Friday left the house. Peace did not talk about him. Blessing did not mention him. The lanky man had become a familiar face. “Oyibo,” he usually called Blessing after he was told her father was a Lebanese. Sometimes, he tipped her even, and Blessing did not think he was so hungry afterall. His laughter had gained some depth, but were still as frequent.

Peace turned to her daughter, tossing some clothes rapidly into a small travel bag, “I dey travel go Morocco. I wan get visa make the two of us go Europe. I no go tey. Na me and your uncle dey go. Make sure you lock this door every night. No go pesin house. U don hear me? I say make u no go pesin house.” Blessing nodded.

“Take N2000, manage am well well,” she said handing her a few naira notes. She zipped her bag up, and at the door added, “If you do any rubbish thing, na koboko I go take scatter ya nyash.”

Every night after her mother left, Blessing suffered insomnia, at first from fear of being alone, especially at nights when the knocks on the door were incessant, and later from the pangs of hunger that clawed at her stomach.

Blessing stopped going to school. No one asked of her, except Gbenro, the landlord’s son. Whenever she went out of the room, he always seemed to be around. “Ble ble,” he called her fondly, sometimes poking at her developing breasts, calling them ‘agbalumo’.

“Hunger dey catch you?” he asked, holding her quivering hands.

“Yes,” she replied feverishly. He laughed. His laughter was hollow and hungry, just like the lanky man with the rotten teeth.

“By 8 o’clock, open your door. I go bring food and coke for you.”

When he knocked, Blessing was on the bed shivering. She jumped out to light the small candle that lay on the table, pausing a while before opening the door. She let him in, and the aroma of the food made her dizzy. “Lock the door,” Gbenro commanded with a smirk. As she heard the click of the door lock, she remembered her mother’s words: If you do any rubbish thing, na koboko I go take scatter ya nyash.

Under her breath, she cursed her mother: May thunder fire ya nyash.

Chinazar Okoro©2013

Which do you prefer? Let me know.

I am Not Looking For Love, I am Going to Work

Totally interesting, everything about this post. Read on, you won’t regret it.

livelytwist

not looking for love
It began yesterday at the government office, which was saturated with immigrants whose anxious stares alternated between the digital display boards and their tickets, a square piece of paper with a number printed on it. At the sound of the beep, everyone looked at their ticket, and then the display boards. Some sighed. Some continued talking. Others continued sleeping. One person rose to meet an official walled in by glass on the other side of the counter.

My wait was shortened by an acquaintance with whom I chatted until our conversation lulled to a comfortable stop.

“Excuse me, it seems you are from Nigeria.” A tall man sitting a few spaces away from my acquaintance smiled at her.

“No, I am not.”

“Ah, but I thought—”

“I am from Democratic Republic of Congo.”

With her thick Igbo accent, she delivered her last words with a finality that inspired no argument…

View original post 926 more words

Give Me Something

It’s 8p.m. and I’m tidying up my workdesk to leave for home. At the entrance, a boy beckons to me. Alfa is already turning off the lights in preparation to putting off the generator.

I wonder what it is this boy wants because he doesn’t speak out, only beckons on me to come closer. At close range, I see he is quite a man, standing at about the same 5.9ft as I. He is not in a hurry to speak. Can he not see the pharmacy is closing down for the day? Can he not see I am on my way out?

He speaks pidgin English and takes his time to explain that he has worked all day, yet has not a kobo to show for it. He says he is hungry, will trek a long distance home, but stresses most importantly that my N50 would work wonders for him.

He remains at the door, not budging, insisting on me giving him something, but nothing in me is sympathetic towards him. I am not tempted to dip my hand into my wallet and bring out something. As a matter of fact, I am irked that he stands, imposing at the entrance.

Earlier in the day, Alfa had spoken to me about unlocking the second entrance just in case there was a need for us to escape. He didn’t trust the vicinity. I didn’t either, and agreed that he should, although I added, “but we won’t be robbed.”

I don’t know what Alfa is still doing at the far end of the store, why he hasn’t made his way to the front. “Comot first,” I say to the beggar, “go meet that Alfa. He go give you something.”

He leaves the entrance and boldly walks in to meet Alfa. Alfa is the last person I know who would give that young man something.

Chinazar Okoro©2013