STORY SERIES: IBADAN CHANGED MY LIFE EPP 15

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Pastor John didn't stay in my bus. He was in the lead bus instead and this made me feel a little bit relieved since he won't be there to enforce the leading of Praise and Worship on me. I found a very comfy space at the extreme back of the bus and made sure it was beside the window. A lady led a brief prayer and the bus engines were ignited as we zoomed off.

I brought out my Ipad just in case I needed to reply mails. I was still surfing when the lady beside me gave me a little jerk.

          'Yes?', I said

          'Sister Teshola is calling you', she said, pointing to the waving lady who led the prayers initially. She had a very weird but homely smile.

I waved back and she gestured for me to start Praise. Oh no!, I sighed. I had no idea Pastor John had given her instructions for me to lead Praise and Worship. I nodded with a smile and put my Ipad away.

          'Sorry. What's your name?', I asked the lady that was seated beside me.

          'Damilola. You can simply call me Dami', she replied with a grin.

           'Cool. Uhm, Sister Dammy, would you like helping me out with Praise and Worship? Like, I'm not so acquainted with that stuff, you know', I said and gave a quick but fake laugh.

          'It's no problem. We're all sisters in the faith and are mean't to help one another. I guess you should start by leading us in a brief prayer and urging us to speak in tongues which will put us in the mood of worship'

          'Hell, No!', I immediately exclaimed before realizing the word I had used. A few people turned to look at me. 'I'm pretty sorry for my exclamation', I said in a whisper. 'I mean, Sister Teshola has prayed already and speaking in tongues? Sister Dammy, we aren't in church. I just need you to help me with some songs. That's all. We can do that once we arrive at Calabar'

She nodded silently. I cleared my throat, shut my eyes and began singing.

          'You are highly lifted up...there is no one like you...Hallelujah'

No one responded except for Dammy and Sister Teshola.

          'Please let's join our dear sister in worship', Sister Teshola quickly urged and everyone joined.

We sang for over an hour with Sister Dammy raising songs when I was lost and Sister Teshola creating the needed ginger. When I noticed that a few people had began to sleep, I brought the worship session to a close. The journey from Ibadan to Calabar was a very long and tedious one. After about 3 hours, the bus stopped at a park with the lead bus. We all got down to stretch while some others found a restaurant and ate. I entered one of the restaurants but wasn't drawn to the food. It looked quite unhealthy and wasn't in any way attractive. I instead got some snacks and a bottle of Pepsi.

Some others went to use the toilet. I found a spot outside and sat down while looking around for any sign of Bola. It was already time for us to assemble back to the bus when I spotted Bola with Pastor John. I wanted to approach her but the bus driver was already shouting that time was not on his side as he was travelling to Owerri the same night we arrive Calabar.

For the rest of the journey, I plugged in my ear piece and soon fell asleep. I had a dream that Akin took me out to the Tantalizers located not too far from my office. We were discussing and having fun when I was awoken by shouts of 'Hallelujah' and 'Thank You Jesus'. I briskly cleaned my eyes and sat up. The noise was very loud as everyone were celebrating. Soon, one of the brothers bursted into a song and everyone joined. I looked around and then back before I saw the sign 'WELCOME TO CALABAR'.

I heaved a sigh of relief and silently thanked God. It took another 30 minutes before we arrived at our destination. The time was already some minutes past 4pm. The place was very beautiful and serene with a lot of flowers lined up the road. The grasses were very green and healthy. From a distance flowed a stream and ducks and some big birds could be seen perching around. People kept exclaiming 'wow'. I took out my phone and took some pictures.

When we arrived at the guest house we were to stay, Pastor John got down from the lead bus alongside Sister Teshola, Bola and another guy. They went in to talk with the management before signalling for the rest of us to come down. The driver helped untie some of the load as we entered into the guest house. The men followed Pastor John while the ladies followed Sister Teshola.

There were about 5 rooms designated to us and we were 27 ladies. The 5 rooms had just 4 medium sized bed. Immediately we saw this, many of us began to murmur out of discontent. We couldn't come all the way from our comfort zone in Ibadan to suffer down there in Calabar. The murmurs were accompanied by hisses before Bola decided to intervene.

          'Sisters! Daughters of Zion! These are the little things God uses to test our sincerity and commitment. For God's sake, we have to be broken in spirit and thereby exude understanding and willingness to adjust and suffer like our Lord Jesus. The rooms aren't as comfortable as our homes. Yes. But these are the things we have to be willing to face to show our commitment to God'

          'Sorry to interrupt!', one of the ladies said. She was visibly vexed. 'This is not about long suffering. Its about proper planning and thinking ahead. For God's sake, we aren't animals that should be squeezed in few rooms. The church collected our data before travelling and knew we were 27 ladies. How does that number correlate with 5 rooms with just 4 beds? That's to say that some of us would have to squeeze ourselves on the floor. I'm sorry but this doesn't make sense!'

          'Abi o', many people echoed in agreement and our voices were raised again till Sister Teshola intervened.

          'My dear sisters, please calm down. I understand all you have said but I can assure you all that we didn't mean to make you all go through stress. We absolutely apologize but what has been done has been done. The rooms have been paid for. The money on ground is designated to some other functions which will enable us enjoy our stay here. Please bear with us. E ma binu (Don't be angry)'

          'Well, that's a better one' another lady said.

We agreed and Sister Teshola proceeded to share the rooms to us. I wasn't lucky enough to get a bed space. Instead, I had to manage with 3 other ladies on the floor. There was a big local mat. The floor was neat but we still swept it nonetheless. There was AC in the room and a television. I placed my luggage just beside the mat so I could keep an eye on it. I tried testing the comfort of the mat and realized it was below the word. Pissed, I found my way out of the room in search of Bola. She was having a conversation with Sister Teshola.

          'Sister Harriet, how are you?', Sister Teshola greeted.

          'I'm well', I replied.

          'Do you want to see me?', she asked.

          'Not at all. I want to see Bola instead', I said.

          'Oh okay' She said and rounded up her discussion with Bola. Bola turned to face me and held my hands. Her hands were very warm.

          'How are you?', she asked

          'I'm fine', I replied. 'Bola, I need you to get me another room with a bed. I need to sleep on the bed. Sleeping on the floor is way too uncomfortable. Like, my back and bones will suffer'

She sighed, 'Dear, I wish I could do something but there is nothing I can do about it. All the rooms are filled up. Besides, you aren't the only one. There are other ladies who would have to cope with sleeping on the ground. We cannot always be comfortable. You have to adapt and adjust'

          'Bola, I'm not other ladies! I'm me! Harriet! I'm not used to this kind of life. You should know better. Isn't there no way you guys can get extra beds or something?'

          'Harriet, my hands are tied. There is nothing I can do. I'm very sorry', she said and I sighed heavily.

          'Okay. What's for lunch?', I managed to ask.

          'Harriet, there is no lunch. Just dinner. The bus stopped now during the course of the trip. You should have helped yourself to food at one of the restaurants. In the evening, we will be served rice and stew before we converge for prayers ahead of tomorrow's session'

I held my head in disdain. 'Bola, this is absolute bull crap!', I said and walked away angrily without responding to Bola's call.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

(Read Episode 14 HERE)

EMETE

2 comments:

  1. Awesome story. So you've written previous episodes? Very cool!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a bunch. Yes I have! Go check them out dearest

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