At the park.
We the passenger are compressed together in the bus, like fishes compressed into a can of sardines. Just outside the bus, the motor park louts are hagging and shouting at top of their voices. It’s barely 7am but surprising the beads of their sweat is unleaching continuesly from their temple. There was serenity in the bus. The kind of serenity where some form of familiarity sets in.
Exhausted beggers sets in wait of any getting down. But absolutely none. A bigger limps towards the bus. A typical Igbo begger. ‘rare’ I thought. Dirty and deformed, reddened teeth, clutching a stick he supports himself with.
He moves closer to us, closer to the window, begs and speaks Igbo at first then switches suddenly to Yoruba as if he got some notification that we are Yorubas. Horrible accent. But Yoruba anyway.’s’aanu fun mi’ he says, one arm stretch and other on his stick support. No one seems to be emotional. I am too maybe because I’ve seen too many of his type that I become uncompassionate. He keeps begging. Everyone focus on what they were doing.
After a while of more. He moves away, limping to the next bus and repeating the same line while he moves. With the way he moves to the next bus I look around, I’m the only one paying attention to him.
A moment later, a lady comes by,
She’s wearing a faded blue gown, barely could you see whatever design on it. Her hair short and coerce, seemingly turning dread of ashes colour. Is it a genetic feature or due to non maintenance? I don’t know.
She walks sickly to our bus, just before she gets to us, I already know what she’s coming for. She needs help. So Haggard she looks that she doesn’t have to beg for humans to offer her something, for her stomach, for her child, for the soreness. ‘madam abeg help me, gimme small change abeg’ she’s indeed not with any slippers. She goes on from window to window repeating the same plea. She gets to me . I wish she doesn’t, but she does. In my bag was nothing but a debit card. I swallow and breath hard, I look at her, I look at her innocent child, I become restless. She said something that broke my heart with a sober voice “I’m sorry for disturbing you ma” a humble tone even in disappointment. She walks away, not to other buses just as the man but walks away.
Thirty minutes later. We are almost set to go. But just before the bus is ignited, a man came just outside the bus near the window side “can we please close our eyes for prayers?” A moment later everywhere is quiet. A man but the official pastor of the park thunders some prayers into the bus. For accident free, for protection and for safety . Everyone shouted “amen”! Quite resounding. He’s done. Everyone greets him thank you. Like a side statement he moves mouth ” Just in case you have something for the evangelist” ha say it so subtly . He turns to walk away but he doesn’t. “Just in case you have something for the evangelist” I hear someone yell “evangelist!” My attention flip back to the bus. A woman stretches ote to him , then another note , then another note this continues for like a minute. He smiles Thanksgiving, then leaves. Not the park, but to another bus.
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