Like a seed, we were all planted;
In due time, we all sprouted;
We grew too, as was expected;
….Tobe, Suleyol and Tyofa;
Our harvest time should have been farther;
But I have to bid you Adieu; for you now rest yonder.
A very sorrowful Chibugo
I was away for a while; I apologize.
I was in Abuja on the 21st of November for a bosom friend’s wedding when I received the shocking news of the death of one of my brightest female pupils in Ugba, Benue state where i had my NYSC. Her name was Suleyol. Thank God the wedding was already over when I got the news because it rendered me near useless for the rest of my stay there. While i was serving, i had already buried one of my class kids, Tyofa. Now, while 16 year old Tyofa wasn’t the brightest kid on the block, the efforts he made to understand my teaching were very commendable, and I loved him so much for it. He had only complained of a headache the day before he died. His death brought so much sorrow and fear into my class (they are a very superstitious people, the Tivs). Rest on, Master Orbam Tyofa.
14 year old Suleyol, for her part, was the epitome of intelligence and responsibility. She was beautiful, with ebony black skin and sparkling white teeth. The way she handled her two little brothers who were in nursery school back then, I had no doubts she would make a great mum. In class, she was usually third or second place out of almost 50 pupils, especially in mathematics. The story was that she also complained of a severe headache before she died. Thinking of it, I remember now that she was always having these headaches. Mysterious, but the deed’s been done. Rest on Miss Shimave Suleyol.
I never would have composed the poem above, or written this post, if not for the death of Tobe. Now, Tobe and I weren’t very close. We met in 1st year in uni, the students who were not accepted to read medicine but were given a close alternative. We all complained about our course, but no one did anything, except for a few brave guys like Tobe who braved it and re-wrote JAMB to seek the path of their dreams. Early last week, the day after i returned from my Abuja trip feeling worn out, I got the news of Tobe’s death. He was to have been inducted as a doctor in two days. *deep sigh* We weren’t close; in fact we hardly communicated except for Facebook chats, but Tobe’s death got to me in a way I didn’t believe. I sobbed for days. I wondered what his family would be going through if I was wailing that way. I fluctuated between phases of depression and anger. Depression at the transient state of this life, and anger at God for letting such good guys die while so many bad guys lay all over the place doing evil. He was just 24! He slumped while watching a football match. Just like that, he left. Tobe was a great guy, calm and nice to everyone. I’m sure he would have made a great doctor. Rest on, Doctor Tobenna.
Death is such a mystery. I do not even want to try understanding it. I have learnt a few lessons from these though:
- I will chase my dreams no matter what, lest I end up regretting what I didn’t do in the next 40 years.
- I’ll do my best to leave a positive impact on everyone I meet so that when I’m gone, I would have touched many people in a good way and would be remembered for my deeds.
- There is a better life ahead of this one… [Earth is only the nursery].. I hope not to miss it.
Writing this was very therapeutic for me, and to everyone who reads it: Thank you. I hope you take something good away from it.
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their own dreams – Tina Turner
And oh, lest I forget, happy harmattan! It swooped down so unexpectedly and right now, my part of Lagos is covered in a dusty haze. I do not envy anyone in Nsukka or anyplace farther north. All I’m waiting for is when my beloved Udala/Agbalumo will be in season.;-) Have a great weekend ahead folks!