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#PHOTO: A Little Dose Of Reality.

I got posted to a riverine village in Bayelsa.

While serving there I noticed a stark contrast between perception and reality.

   

As impossible as it sounds, 'that' is drinking water as the villagers know it.  It actually is one of the better days – when the water manages to look clean-ish .


Water as they know, it is river water; the same one where they and other communities north and south of the water wash, bath, and defecate in.


You'd take a short stroll and on your way, you'd see a sixteen year old with her three year old sister. This is a perfectly normal scenario, except that the three year old is her kid, not her mother's. If you took a closer look, you might notice that she is with child, that in four, five months, that teenager would be a mother of two. This, according to the community folk, is a normal scenario; they would say, "this one don old sef," and they'd point fingers to her nineteen year old sister that has one child and three abortions, and chortle knowingly.


This is not a one-off case, in the village, or in other rural communities in Bayelsa, and presumably, beyond. The only odd thing here is that you'd think that widely acclaimed so called humanitarians and voltrons for women rights and education would be losing sleep over this aberration. You'd be wrong.


Let's call a spade what it is. If something happened to make this a high profile scenario, the Humanitarians and self proclaimed activists and feminists would be on these cases like dogs after a particularly tasty bone. But then again, a spade is a spade, and human nature remains what it is.


Recently I started taking note of a mentally unbalanced man wandering aimlessly around the community. I didn't really pay much attention to his predicament until he stopped to ask us for a little help. With astonishingly perfect English, he asked if we could buy him onions, or pepper, or soap. The corpers around me were nearly moved to tears.


To put this into perspective, this is a community where the English language is neither their first nor second language. And I asked myself "how much would a six-month rehabilitation program cost?". But then again, this is not high profile. And let us not tell lies, you would find cases similar to this in a surprisingly large number of communities in our beloved country.


All these are against a backdrop of rapidly climbing commodity prices, and a president taking advantage of Nigerians' tendency to attempt to ignore misfortune and try to eke out a living despite anything, to obliterate renege on campaign promises and 'encourage' more like coerce us to tighten our belts while He, his cabinet, and senators loosen theirs on things ranging from security vote to 'wardrobe allowances'. I thought it was supposed to be a leader, rather than his followers to 'lead' by example. But then again, what do I know…


It is a damming indictment of his administration that our 'leader standards' have not risen in the months following his election to Aso rock, rather, it has sunk to include 'selling' blatant lies with no consideration to our sensibilities in a bid to win an election.


Ah, a man will sell his soul for anything from a plate of jollof rice to a seat draped with the Nigerian flag.


Apologies for this semi-rant, I was coming back from teaching today and I saw a man carrying a child aged five, or six on his shoulder and a woman tagging along, silently crying. It seemed strange until I learnt that the child ate a species of bony fish, got a bone lodged in his throat, and died as a result. My first thought strangely, was that the woman (who happened to be the child's mother) was incredibly tough emotionally to be 'only' silently crying.


I really shouldn't talk about things like these, perhaps we would be better off talking about which celebrity had a beef with another, or which one posted a nude photo of herself for the world to see…… or you know, more "important stuff".


I leave you with a 'lil' something from a poem/song that I listened to recently which happens to aptly sum up this rant.


"Until the lion learns to speak, the tales of hunting will be weak"

– Knaan.
Love yourself.

Cheers (despite everything).

Image via Journalist On The Run
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