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“How I wish I can see other means to raise fund for him,” he said while he laid on a bed thinking about his son’s academic pursuit. James father Ibori was a man of integrity and hardworking. A man who was abandoned by his fellow brothers out of hatred. Ibori had three brothers who were very healthy but none of them had a male son. For this reason, his brothers developed a strong hatred towards him as if he was the giver of male children to humanity.
James was the only son of his parents together with his two younger sisters. They lived in the eastern part of Nigeria. His parents were involved in petty business in a small market located three kilometres away from their home. The market days were usually three times a week. From the little earning they used to make from the sale of their wares, they were able to cater for their feeding and other basic needs. It could be said that it was out of the luck that James was able to finish his Junior Secondary School. The struggle was not really an easy one for his parents. James’ uncles were wealthy enough to assist him financially for his academic pursuit but they were reluctant to do so.
In many occasions, he had asked his father the reason why his uncles were acting that way to him as their brother, but his father had always told him that when they were ready to help they would assist them. This reason was not convincing to him, he knew his father was hiding the truth from him until one day when one of his cousins openly told him the truth while they were playing. “You thought my dad was not willing to help your dad?” James’ cousin told him. “Well to me, it was a strange phenomenon. My dad kept on telling us that when your father will be ready, he will definitely do something,” he replied to her. She continued: “The hostility between the two families is the issue of a male child. You were the only male child we had in our immediate extended family. To that effect, my parents are not happy about it.” James gave a deep breath as she finished and left her sorrowfully.
The evening of that same day during supper, James took up the courage to ask his father what was actually the problem between him and his brothers. He only wanted to confirmed what he was told by his cousin. “Father please, did you have any unpleasant experience in the past with your brothers for them acting they have been acting towards you especially when it comes to financial issues?” He asked with a tremulous voice. “My son, how many times will I tell you that I have nothing against my brothers, your uncles? Can you force your fellow man to help you when he is not in willing to do so? You see sometimes in life as a man, you have to work for your salvation because depending on others, they will fail you at the moment you least expected,” he said. His wife looked at him through the corner of her eyes with a facial expression telling him that she was not happy with his response to their son. After the meal, the girls tidied the place and put everything in order.
James parents’ consolations were from their children. Their children were so blessed intellectually and character-wise by nature to the extent that some of their neighbours envied them a lot. However, their major challenge was the financial demand of their children’s education.
In the quest of getting a better job, James’s father later found one in a metal recycling company. The work was hectic and dangerous. Due to unavailability of safety devices, his father sometimes used to return home with injuries on his hands. After dinner, his mother used to massage his father’s hands with hot water and after that, she would apply some local balm to help relieve him from pain. This was what the young man was doing until he was able to raise a reasonable amount of money for James.
It has been the desire of his parents to see that all their children were educated no matter what it would cost them. His father was determined to go to any length to make it a reality. His mother continued with the petty business while his father continued to work hard and at the end of the day, all their earning would be put together and used for the good of the family.
After they had passed through the financial stress of James’ secondary school, it was now time for him to register for the national exams into university. There came another major challenge: how to get the fund for registration and enrolment for a preparatory class for the entrance exam. After all efforts made by his parents to raise the fund so as to meet up with the date for registration, nothing reasonable was realised or achieved. His parents had to make recourse to some neighbours who could lend them money. One morning, James’ father went to see one of his good friends who was living 15km kilometres away from them.
“My good friend welcome. I hope all is well,” he said to Ibori. “A toad does not run in the daytime for nothing, either something is chasing it or it is chasing something,” replied Ibori. They both sat in front of a bottle of dry gin and small glass cups. “Can we take some drink before we start our discussion? He asked Ibori. “ Oh! Why not? That will even open our mind and bring out good ideas and suggestions in view of proving a tangible solution to my problem,” Ibori said. The two small glass cups were half filled with the gin and they both sipped the entire content in a twinkle of an eye with frowning faces. “Okay! Why this sudden visit?” He asked Ibori. “Well as I earlier said, something important and pertinent has brought me to your house. I came to ask you for some money so that I can register my son James for the national exam into the university. I have to be sincere with you, I will be paying you in parts till I finish my debt,” said Ibori. “But your brothers are really heartless. So just because they are not having a male child, they cannot in any way assist you financially? Our world is filled with mysteries and strange people. There is no cause for alarm. What are we friends for? But how much can be enough for you?” He said. “My good friend what you said is true. I will not be tempted to take what I will not be able to pay at the end of the day. I will need at least fifteen thousand naira,” he replied to him. His friend immediately stood up, went inside and came out with a bundle of cash and handed it to him. “Please, can you count it to know if it is complete, sometimes one can make mistake and at the end of the day the lender will end up blaming the borrower,” he said to Ibori. Ibori counted it and it was sixteen thousand naira. “Are you sure? Please can you count it again?” he asked him. Ibori counted if for the second time. But this time, he counted sixteen thousand five hundred naira. “You see what I was telling you. You did well by counting it,” he said to Ibori. Ibori extending his hand to give him back the one thousand naira note that was extra, his friend said, “That can serve you to buy a bottle of gin to keep body and soul together. He thanked him very well and took his leave.
Earthquake in Catania Italy. This was how they celebrated their boxing day. Click here for more info
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WHERE AM I?
It has always been the prayer of many students all over the world that the inventor of examination is schools should be killed for the second time. It is something that usually makes some students get tensed up, emotionally agitated, and the like. After all these disturbances to the body system, nature has its way to compensate the body for all the inconveniences caused by examination stress.
It was neither the time nor the second time that Peter has been dreaming to ace his examination in one of his courses that has been giving him nightmares for months but all his efforts were unproductive. Despite all the materials he had to study and prepare well for it, he seemed not yet satisfied because to him something was lacking somewhere. He collected other study materials from his colleagues to add to the ones he was having, all in view of making the best out of them all.
He has two weeks to prepare again for the same exam and that might be his last chance for the examination for that semester. Failing it this time would mean that he had to wait for the next academic year before he could be allowed to sit for the exam again. This time around, body and soul were at work. He had to cancel all extracurricular activities in order to prepare assiduously for it.
A whole week came and gone, Peter kept burning the candle at both ends trying to hit the books. The only thing that used to take him outside was just for him to take some fresh air and to stretch out his body even though it was during the winter period. The way things were going, he was satisfied and from all indications, it was obvious that he would make it this time around both in the written and oral parts. Three days before the examination, he gave me a call to come and pay him a visit. When I came to his apartment, books, and pieces of papers littered everywhere. I was unable to find a place to sit down. The surface of every object in his house was turned into a bookshelf. I tried to create a space so that I could find somewhere to sit but he humbly stopped me saying that I would mix things up for him. Finally, he created a place for me just opposite the headboard slat of his bed. He brought two cups of tea and a piece of cake. While we were doing justice to the tea and cake, he narrated to me his experience of the past week, how he has been preparing for his examination. Passing the written part would be your ticket for the oral part. Peter requested for a simulation oral test. I accepted and started asking him questions from his inorganic chemistry textbook. Oh my God! I was so impressed the way he was answering all the questions with detailed explanation despite the randomness pattern of the questions. It showed that he had a good mastery of the course now. “Guy, nothing on earth will make you not to pass this course this time. Even the devil cannot stop you this time,” I told him when we were about to go for another round of the simulation test. The second round was better than the first. After we finished, we chatted a bit and I took my leave.
The penultimate day to the examination, Peter worked all through the day and never had any rest. He was greatly determined to pass the exam without unnecessary mistakes. He burnt the midnight oil. At 4am the next day, he was already exhausted and decided to rest a bit on his bed after creating space where his body can fit in, with the intention of waking up as soon as possible to prepare for the great event.
He found himself in the exam hall, sitting with other students. Attendance sheet was signed and the exam started only for him to discover that he was not with his written materials. A Good Samaritan sitting next to him came to his rescue. He was so focused that while some students were busy complaining about the bad nature of some of the heaters in the classroom, his mind was somewhere else. The cold in the classroom was not giving him any concern. He was able to answer all the questions correctly and even demanded an extra sheet to finish up. He was almost the last person candidate to leave the hall. Coming out from the hall, he felt an intense urge to urinate. He rushed to the restroom, only for him to find himself waking up like one chased by a fierce animal in a dream, and made his way straight to his bathroom. “Oh my God, where am I,” he asked himself. Out of impatience to finish urinating, he ran to his desk to check his alarm clock with some drops of urine dripping down the floor. “What!” He shouted. It was already 10:15am.
The exam was scheduled to begin at 9am as usual. He was thrown into total confusion. All balled up, he headed for his wardrobe to take his dresses but its door was not opening as fast as he wanted. Just beside him was his desk chair. On it was a pair of trousers on the headrest and a shirt on the armrest. He went for them as fast as he could. Immediately, his phone rang. He never cared about it and went for his shoes. Picking up his phone later, he saw twenty-five missed calls. I did call him forty-five minutes before the exam started but he did not pick my call. I thought he was already in the examination hall and never wanted any disturbance. I sent him an SMS, wishing him the best of luck. I never knew that at that point in time, my friend Peter was deep as sleep like a rock.
He quickly locked his door and went for the lift since he was on the fifth floor. The lift was occupied. He headed for the steps like someone been chased by death and was running for his or her dear life. Getting to the bus stop, he waited for a bus for about twenty minutes. Finally, the right bus came. Getting to the subway train station, he received another phone call from one of his colleagues by name Lorenzo. He touched the answering button without saying a word as he walked down the steps. “Peter where are you? What happened?” Lorenzo asked him.
“I am confused man. I can’t explain what happened to me,” he replied.
“It was already time and you were not in the exam hall. We tried calling you but you were not picking,” he said.
“I am already on my way now,” Peter replied. “Where are you now? Lorenzo asked him.
“I am at the subway now, waiting for the next train,” Peter retorted.
“Man, you cannot make it. You know already how long it will take you from there to the university. The exam is already over. It is almost ten past eleven o’clock. You know well that her exam used to last for only two hours,” Lorenzo said.
It was then that Peter came to his full senses and had a clear picture of his state. “Yeah, it is too late,” he said to himself. He dropped the call and went back home sad and depressed.
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All were born in the same way and nobody ever had chosen who would be his or her parents in life. But everyone has a story to tell because the path in the journey of life is different. Life sometimes could be funny and mysterious in nature. Peter never dreamt or asked his creator to make him an orphan one day. And if someone from the land of the dead should tell him that one day he would be one, he would doubt it.
Peter was the first and the only son of his parents. After his birth, his mother was unable to give birth to another child. Miscarriage has always been his mother’s sort in every pregnancy since after his birth. The very moment nature smiled on her by allowing her to carry her pregnancy for eight months, she met her death while she was in labour pain.
The hospital she was admitted refused categorically that she would not be attended to until his father deposited the sum of ten thousand naira. Where would the poor man get such amount of money from? Even if you killed him, he would not provide it. Despite all his father did for attention and medical care to be given to his mother, all his efforts were fruitless. At the end of the day, she died on the way while she was been taken to another hospital. Yes, she died in Peter’s presence. Initially, Peter thought she was sleeping. But the facial expression of his father was a clear indication that she was already dead.
It was not easy with his father since then. The death of his wife traumatised him. How he wished he lost his wife after an illness or through a car accident, it would have been something bearable and tolerable. But he lost his wife out of poverty. Peter remembered vividly that very day in the hospital, how his father was moving from one end of the hospital to the other, pleading for something to be done to his wife but no help came. Peter saw that very day, the depression, pain, sorrow, discouragement, and hopelessness that were written all over his father. He pitied him and cried for him in the depth of his heart. Unable to bear the pain after six months, Peter’s father died of cardiac arrest.
Their demise left him in the valley of suffering, pain, misery, and loneliness. Life could be so cruel to some persons on our planet earth. After the burial of his father, Peter joined the family of his uncle, his father’s immediate younger brother. The maltreatment and lack of affection that were given to him made Peter prefer the street than his home. On a very good day one evening, Peter left the house for the street and never returned. They searched for him but he was nowhere to be found. His uncle could have done more than what he did but due to his lack of love towards Peter, he never worried himself to go the extra mile in searching for nephew. Even pressure from neighbours on him never changed anything.
Poor Peter left alone on the street, where he made his home and formed his new family. Many would ask if he had relatives, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc. He would say yes, but none cared to know their whereabouts. For three years, he was on the street with other children who were either orphan like him or abandoned by their parents to cater for themselves. Really life on the street is something else. On many occasions, He was beaten almost to death when caught trying to steal from street hawkers. All he cared for was just to get something and feed on. There was nothing like day or night for them on the street. Together with his friends, they would go out at midnight to people’s homes to steal water just for them to make use of. No season was ever favourable to them because they used to sleep outside, and if lucky, one would find a good place well protected from the chilly breeze of the harmattan and raindrops during raining season.
There on the street, he met the saviour of his life. He was picked together with three others and taken to an orphanage house called “For A Better Tomorrow Orphanage Home,” by a Non-governmental Organisation. There in the orphanage house which was at the outskirt of the town, they were trained in many skills like the making of beads, reading and writing, carpentry work, and so on. After four months there, They were enrolled in primary school.
It was not easy initially because it was like a strange world for him as someone who has never seen the four walls of a classroom. Sometimes, Peter used to feel unease because he no longer had the freedom he used to have when he was on the street. Everything was regulated and controlled in the orphanage house. Many times, he would leave school before dismissal to play football and returned very late. Despite the correction and warning that were given to him, nothing seemed to change. After some time, the urge of going out was not as strong as before. He started coping well and coming back home after school dismissal together with his mates. From the training given in the orphanage house, he continued doing his best in school. Whenever he remembered the sudden death of his parents, he would feel like a fierce lion, having the urge to break anything within his reach. There was a day one of his mates called Joe took a piece of meat from his plate jokingly. Joe never knew Peter was not in a good mood that very day for the pain of his parents’ death was fully on him. Peter bounced on him and gave him a punch on his face. The fellow fell down immediately and was unable to stand up. He laid down there for about a minutes. When he was helped by others to stand on his feet, there was blood on the floor. The blood was from Joe’s nose. At the sight of the blood, Peter came to his senses immediately and started apologising to the steward. Peter was cautioned that very day and was told that if such thing should repeat itself again, he would stop going to school. That same day during recreation, none was willing to play with him.
Five years in primary school came and gone like a flash of light. Six months after his primary school, Peter found himself in secondary school. Though he was not the best in his class but was doing great as expected from him by his sponsors. The orphanage home created a conducive environment to study. Almost everything they needed for their studies was provided to them. In his final year in secondary school, he participated in a debate competition with the topic “Teachers are better than Doctors?” Peter’s group was against the motion. The work he did with those in his group was an eye-opener for him to so many things. Through the help of some of the stewards, he was able to come up with a good write-up. His group won the competition and he emerged as the best speaker. Since then, he vowed to become a medical doctor in the future in order to save the lives of many innocent people who could not afford medical treatment for lack of money. Peter strongly believed that he would become a medical doctor in the future. How it would come about, he did not know but believed in divine providence.
Peter never dreamt of going to the White man’s land nor boarding an airplane in his life. He had only heard and seen Europe as a continent on a geography map in the orphanage house. As destiny might have it, he saw himself in Europe studying medicine and surgery.
In his third year, he had already started making plans on how he would start realising some projects in collaboration with the Non Governmental organisation that was sponsoring his studies and other benefactors to build a hospital and an orphanage house in his hometown after he must have graduated. For him, that would be the only way his own community would benefit from his studies, which would go a long way to put smiles on the faces of poor masses and less privileged.
After his graduation from the medical school, he got a job and was doing great. Six months after he got his new job, he asked for two good and intelligent students from the orphanage home who would be willing to study medicine like him. Aminu and Ruben were the lucky ones who were sent to him.
Peter never lived to see what Aminu and Ruben became in life. A year after their arrival, Peter died in his house as a result of high level of cortisol in his body.
In life what is not useful to some maybe precious to others. If you are good at writing short interesting stories, this is an opportunity for you to make some cash with your talent.
Read the instructions below and for any further information for clarification, write to any of the email addresses below. INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW IT WORKS
- Narrate any story of your choice that is interesting.
- Story should be (max 1000 words).
- Give your story a good title
- You can write as many stories as you like.
- Stories should be in the comment box or you can send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Stories submited will be evaluated and if your story(ies) is or are accepted, you will be contacted through phone or email for payment. We pay N200 or N300 per story depending on its quality and rating by our judges.
On the 23rd of July, 2004, in the city of Lubumbashi, Congo RD, my sports bike was having a little problem with its breaks. That very day, I was so reluctant to go out after the stressful day at school. After taking a nap, I decided to take the bike to my technician to put the breaks in order.
The breaks were put in order, together with other parts that needed little adjustment and repair. As I was about to mount on my bike, I received a phone call from a friend, asking me to come and play football with him and some of his friends in a football pitch close to his house. Even though I was tired, I was unable to resist the desire to go and play with them. I responded to him, telling him that I would be with them in a short while. I rode home, picked all my necessary sports materials and hurried up to join them.
There was a rail track across the road leading to my friend’s house and a market around there. Normally when trains were coming, there was always a horn very loud that could be heard a kilometre away from its source. To be sincere, I could not tell what came over me. I was on high speed, and a few metres away from me was the rail track. The train operator never honked the horn because I did not hear it and I never looked left or right to see if anything like a train was coming. Since I was already close, I thought I could cross before the train could arrive where I was. That was the first thought that came to my mind. In fear, I continued thinking that my breaks were still faulty. Out of reflex action, I held the two hand breaks. The tyres scrubbed the ground on a distance of about 300m and stopped. And right in front of me was the train moving on its normal speed. Passers-by were just looking at me with mouth and eyes wide open. I quietly came down, turned and head towards my house. It was really a miracle and was not yet time.
Narrate the worst day of your life as a student either in secondary school or university.
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OH MAMA AFRICA
The soil of Africa has drunk enough blood of innocent people, all in the name of political and tribal wars. The story of Danladi was one of its ingredients. How I wish the story of my life could be rewritten and started afresh on a clean slate.
It was a loud scream that penetrated my ears and almost made me deaf. “Who are they? She asked herself. Danladi was totally lost and confused because it was dark. She ran towards the one and only window in the house to see what the problem was. He heard the ground vibrating like a battalion of soldiers marching on a parade ground. “Jesus!” She exclaimed. There and then, he knew that the worst was about to happen. “What is it Mama?” He asked his mother. He tried moving to the window to see for himself but she drew him from behind, holding the collar of his shirt like a fierce lion holding its prey. He was lucky to fall by the side of the bed. “Where do you think you are going?” She asked him.
She carried her big mortar and placed it on the door as if it would prevent one gaining entrance into their house. There were cries of sorrow and pain outside.
A few minutes later, three heavy knocks were heard on the door. “Open the door,” the angry voice said. Danladi could hear the sound of his heartbeats. He saw the way his mother was shivering in fear and confusion. She took and hid him inside her big box. He nearly suffocated and was tempted to come out but he had no choice than to remain there because the last order from her before closing the box was: “Don’t come out until I say the contrary!”
Danladi overheard how the door was forced opened. “Where is your husband? One of the men asked. “My husband is dead long ago!” The poor woman replied. “Okay, you don’t want to tell us where he is. Don’t worry, we will give you what we supposed to give him,” another different voice said.
“When you get there, send our greetings to him,” the voice said. “Please don’t kill me. If you kill me, who will looked after my son for me?” She cried aloud. “Oh! You even have a son. Where is he?”
Things were be thrown here and there, like one angrily searching for a missing item. They were searching for Danladi. Luckily for him, they never came close to the box where he was.
“Bullet finish her let us go, there is no time to waste” the voice said.
Later, the whole room was quiet. The sound of the gun vibrated the entire house. He decided to go against the order. He forced himself out, only to see his mother, lying on a pool of blood. Her hands were still shaking. As he moved close to her, she stretched her left hand and held him on his thigh. “Son I love you.” These were the last words Danladi heard from his mother before she gave up the ghost.
OH MAMA AFRICA YOUR CHILDREN ARE MOURNING