Hi guys! How was the weekend? Too short eh? But we still gotta do what we gotta do, right? So during the weekend, I realized I didn’t have any story in my head for today’s Monday humor post. How is that even possible? My life is one series of funny events!(Not always funny to me though) But alas, I was blank. Not for long though. I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of the harmattan winds howling fiercely and rattling the windows in the house. Brrrr! Terrible stuff! As I was about diving back into the blankets I had a flash back to another harmattan, exactly eleven months ago……
I was a youth corps member serving in a rural part of Benue state at the time. I’d been there for a couple of months and felt I had acclimatized. Until the harmattan came upon us. One would think I wouldn’t be too bothered; I after all went to uni in Nsukka, which is known for its phenomenal harmattan cold and accompanying “fog”. I learnt the hard way that compared to the harmattan in Benue, that of Nsukka was still “learning work”. Keep a slice of bread on the table and blink, and you would be left with a slab of concrete. It was so dry, your spit could dry up before it hit the ground. I kid, I kid. But it was indeed terrible. The dryness was unbelieveable! And the cold? God knows why he made me a Nigerian oh, because if winter is said to be worse than the harmattan which we complain of, then I can only wonder what winter is like. Everyone went about wearing sweaters and socks and I am sure every Sunday in church during that period, we must have had more than a few people with unwashed bodies; all for the fear of harmattan’s bite.
But then I digress. In my LGA of Benue state, we had no bank. Unbelievable right? I know, I know. Even I don’t know how I survived without a bank around for almost a year. So in my LGA( Ugba town in Logo LGA), the corps members and anyone else who needed to use a bank would have to “travel” to the next LGA(Ukum LGA) to use the ATM machine. We usually did this once or twice a month to reduce the stress of moving around unnecessarily. Sometimes you could have company, especially if it was market day (which coincided with our CDS day)but other times everyone would be forming broke and beg you to help them withdraw. One could leave for Zaki-Biam town in Ukum with as much as 6 atm cards!
So on this day, I really had to withdraw some cash as I had run out. No one wanted to go with me and so I had to do my thing solo. I didn’t want to go because the cold and dust was on another level that day. I took one look at the okada riders and my liver fail me. They looked like they had been rolled in sand over and over again. I chalked it up to the fact that they must have plied the Ugba-Zaki Biam route many times and I felt pity for them. Imagine having to breathe all this dust to make a living. This harmattan is not nice. But yours truly took just one look at her wallet and knew she was playing. I HAD to go. So I took a deep breath and walked to the taxi park. No taxis. Ewo. It had finally come to this. I had to take a motorcycle. So I said warraheck and got on one. As we went along, the wind played with my hair and I began to compose a poem in my mind. crazy much? Even though it was cold, I was well protected by my sweater and so got lost in wonder as I looked at the once green countryside that had now gone totally brown.
In no time I had arrived my destination so I jumped down and dusted myself hastily. I got to the ATM machine and found people gathered round it speaking Tiv rapidly. Even though they all looked at me weirdly, I gathered that the machine had given up few minutes ago. I quietly slinked into the banking hall before it would occur to them to crowd the hall in order to try withdrawing over the counter. In the bank, I got talking with the customer service guy and I was surprised he was smiling so openly while speaking to me. That was unusual of him. He was always business-like every time I came there. I shrugged it away and proceeded to collect my cash. While in line though, I had noticed that the people around were looking at me strangely, but I decided to ignore them. It isn’t unusual to be stared at as a corps member in a rural area, especially when in uniform, which I was. So I shrugged it off, took my money and left. As I entered the security doors while exiting the bank, I thought I heard someone make a statement in Tiv and everyone laughed while looking in my direction, but I couldn’t be sure it was me they were laughing at, so I smiled too and left.
Another bike ride later, I was home. whew! Thank God that was over. I entered the house, and found my roommate asleep. While taking off my sweater, I saw a reflection of myself in the mirror. And I screamed!!! I looked like this: