THE PATH TO HAPPINESS AND FULFILLMENT
The harmattan was totally something else. The wind was dry and dusty. The poor woman came back with a plastic bag in her left hand. “Welcome Mama,” Tekwe said as he collected the bag from his mother. He was amazed at what he saw. He knew well that they had no domestic animals or ruminants around in the compound. “What is she going to do with these cassava leaves?” He asked himself but was unable to find an answer.
They all sat in front of two bowls. He opened the first bowls, lo and behold what Tekwe saw were the cassava leaves, cooked in the form of vegetable soup. There was total silent. Later, his sister Zima asked: “Mama, what happened? These are cassava leaves. They are meant for goats.” Tears were dripping down from their mother’s eyes. Tekwe was speechless. The poor woman started eating, with the thought that her children would join her but they could not. He took only three small lumps of the foufou and that was all for him, he could not continue. It seemed she ate the food either out of shame or hunger. “But Mama, what happened? Was there no vegetable in the market?” He asked her. “My son, for the past three months, your father has not sent any money to us. What should I do?” She said. There, he saw the shame, pain, and sorrow written all over her face.
Tekwe’s father was in another state in the eastern part of the province, where he was working. His job could hardly put a good meal on his table not to think of sustaining his family. Normally, he used to send money to his wife for feeding. At a point, the cash was not forthcoming.
It was already the third term in school, Tekwe was in his final year in primary school. Unable to pay his final exam fees, he was sent back home to get the fund. When he got home, he told his mother for formality sake, of which he knew already the answer because there was not even a penny in their house. The economic condition of his family made it cleared to him that he had concluded everything that had to do with school for his entire life. But deep in him, he kept hoping with an optimistic thought that he would make it to secondary school someday.
One fateful morning, after a friend of his told him about a construction site where workers were been hired on daily basis. He told his mother of his intention of going for such a job, in view of raising some cash for the family. She accepted in a sorrowful manner.
When Tekwe came to the site, it was at about 7: 20 am, He saw no one. He took a brick and sat on it. Later, a man came. “Good morning Sir,” He greeted him. “Good morning my son, did you come to look for a job? He asked. “Yes Sir,” Tekwe replied. “You look too young; I hope you can bear the stress till the end of the work. You may work with me today” he said with a smile.
Tekwe was to carry some quantity of sharp sand with the help of a head pan from ground floor to third floor. When he told Tekwe what to do, Tekwe said to himself: “Oh my God! Will I be able to bear it until the end? He calculated the number of times he would climb the steps, fear came over him. A few seconds later, he engaged himself.
The work went partially well that day. He fell four times on the steps with the head pan on his him. At home, he was as weak as a kitten. “How did it go? His mother asked. “It went well Mama,” he replied. The next day, when he woke up, he was unable to walk properly. His entire joints were paining him. He had to force himself because he wanted to realise his dream and happiness.
The second day, while working, in order not to feel the stress of the work to a large extent, he was singing and put on a joyful mood. The man he was working with was delighted the way he was singing. “Young boy, are you a chorister?” He asked him. “No,” Tekwe replied. “You sing like one,” he said. “Thank you, Sir,” he replied. After they finished for the day, one of the engineers called Tekwe. “I liked the way you worked today. You were working with zeal and passion,” he said to him. Tekwe was shy to look at him. “Well, will you come tomorrow?” He asked him. “Yes sir, I will,” he replied. He was about leaving when the engineer put his hand in Tekwe’s pocket, removed it fast and left immediately. A few metres away from the construction site, he stopped, dipped his right hand into his pocket. Lo and behold, it was money. He was on cloud nine.
When he gave the cash together with his daily pay to his mother after he arrived home, she was perplexed. “Who gave you this cash?” She asked in amazement. “Somebody gave it to me where I was working,” he replied. “Why?” She asked again. “Hmmm, I do not know. I think he was highly impressed the way I was working and decided to appreciate my effort,” he retorted. Her mood from that day changed positively. She was excited.
Life from that day was a bit good for them. From that cash, his mother was able to be putting something reasonable on the table for them to eat. He continued working on that same construction site till the completion of the entire building. This lasted for about two months.
The last day of his work on that site, he came very early. Fortunately, he met the engineer that gave him money the other time, together with some men who were offloading a trailer loaded with rods and other building materials. The work that day was tedious. He could not tell how he managed to finish it. When they all gathered to receive their wages, he was asked to wait behind by a young man that he rarely saw in the site. At first, he was tensed, but after much thought, he became calm. When almost everybody had left, he looked at Tekwe and said: “Small Boy, you were really hard working. I so much admired your ability and strength. “Do you go to school?” He asked him. “Yes. I was.” Tekwe retoted. “Which class are you? He asked him. “I was in primary five but presently, I am no longer going to school,” he replied. “Why did you stop?” He asked in astonishment. Tekwe was silent. He came close to him and tapped him on his shoulder three times saying: “You were very hard working. You worked with happiness and passion despite the tedious nature of the job. “Could you take me to your house? I would like to see your parents,” he asked Tekwe. Both entered a car and they drove off.
His mother was surprised of the visit. That very day gave a light to the darkness in Tekwe’s dream of going to secondary school. After listening to his mother as she narrated her ordeals, their guest willingly accepted to offer financial help to Tekwe’s studies in secondary school from A to Z. Their guest gave his mother some words of encouragement and departed.