Thursday, 21 January 2016

This Christian Race: A Memoir (Episode Three)

Greetings again my kith and kin, friends and fans. Welcome to a bit longer Episode 3 of the weekly serialised memoir, ‘This Christian Race'. For a whole quarter I will be running thirteen episodes of it. Feel free to read, share, like and comment as the interesting novella reads on. Thank you and I love you.

Episode Three – I Can Do It Better
And as for the feminine temptation saga, God took care of it in a unique way.
It was an unusual way of taking care of temptation. Permit me to call it "rumour of war" method. You should remember the story in the Bible where God made an invading king to hear only a rumour of war and he had to abandon his mission and voted with his feet. Who would not? Just a rumour of war led to the death of one hundred and eighty five thousand soldiers in one night. I'm sure if I were in his shoes I would not want to wait to see the real war when just a rumour of it has done so much damage.
It was a rumour I heard too that forcefully disengaged me from my ungodly engagement. Up to today, it remained a rumour. I never bothered to confirm it.
A little bird told me that my lust-entangled mistletoe, Bernice, was caught red-handed in a love-tangle with another boy in the church who was our age mate but not my acquaintance. It was under the roof of our spiritual asylum building, Ile Aabo, they were seen to be committing such sacrilege. That did it. Nay, I mean, that undid it. Indeed jealousy was as strong as death. This jealousy forced me to die! I had to die. Yes, I had to die to this sin stronghold once and for all. 
Imagine, the one for whom we engage ourselves in fasting to save from predicament setting his table outside having a gourmet lunch. It was painful I allowed the perfecting of my salvation dragged for what was not worth it. Even though I didn't jump on a fact-finding mission immediately or thereafter, I instantly saw my folly. If I had died in the sin-struggle of not letting go of her, then I would have been forced by the cold hands of death to let her go anyway and in addition, face the pangs of hell all alone. I came to my senses like the biblical prodigal son and finally let go.
If my memory would not be failing me, not too long after, I wrapped up my secondary education in Lantoro High School. But just before we dropped our pen, we had a destiny visitor to the school. It was the principal of one Odeda Farm Institute, Eweje. He had come on an awareness campaign of a one-year general agriculture course in his Institute for secondary school leavers like us. He advised us to avail ourselves the opportunity of the course to fill the time space between the completion of our WASSCE and the eventual admission into our tertiary institution of choice.
The aspect I found most interesting in his speech was that we would be boarding. Whaoh! I've never been a boarder all through my education thus far. Here is my golden opportunity to have a taste of the pudding. I grabbed it with both hands. A life away from parent! My curiosity had the better of me. And I got Mama Sho, that is, my mother, informed. Of course, my longing for freedom away from her was edited out of my presentation. Thank God, she had no objection.
God worked in mysterious ways! I went to Eweje looking for freedom from parental encumbrances. But He had a better deal for me.
Eweje was an experience indeed. It will need another memoir to recount that side of my life. But I will have to stay with the brief of this memoir. I was a nominal Christian for the greater part of Eweje episode. I lived my Goje life of student fun to the fullest within the first four or five months of our pilgrimage. Being together as students in a dormitory all through the day and night could not promise anything less. The experience was better than the one I could have had in a secondary school boarding house. Here, there was no housemaster, no light out and no other signs of externally regimented life. Apart from lecture and agric practical periods, we were f-r-e-e!
It was in short some sort of a tertiary hostel. We fended for ourselves, food and cooking inclusive. And that comes at times with "kre" moments: moments of short or stall in supply as my pastor will call it. And we were very creative in managing such situations. 
Have you ever heard of jollof Eba? It was there I came across and got involved in its preparation and consumption. The recipe is simple. Just put ground, grated or cut pepper (any pepper will do) in a pot of water. Add palm oil, salt and diced onion if that is available. Heat the concoction to boiling. It is time to put your gaari and turn it to a cream. Yours sincerely, there you are with jollof Eba ready to be taken without meat or soup. But please, eat it while still fresh and hot. At times, when we get buoyant courtesy of fresh supply from the headquarters, Mama Sho in my own case, our pots get a feel of soup.
And as for animal protein, we don't go to far. It is either "tapa-titan" or "mortal". I will explain before you crucify me for using foreign lingo from the Mars. "Tapa-titan" is the "technical" jargon for the head and legs of chicken which have been cut off from the chicken sold or supplied to eateries and hotels. We were there as the waste management agents to mop up the head and legs into our pot at "shikini" money. But, "Mortal" is the senior of "Tapa-titan". These are the chickens that have just freshly died from the poultry around. We were always on time to take delivery of them at a ridiculously reduced price. Whatever killed the bird is none of our business. Even if it is bird flu. Let it go and be explaining itself to the boiling water if it can. Whenever we "jam" such luck, it will be festivities for us and our pot. We tried inventing another animal protein from the abundance of strange sounding, smelling and looking bats living between the roof and ceiling of our dormitory. The adventure was a failure. Those bats tasted horrible, just like their sound, sight and smell.
The only aspect of Eweje life I hated was the "face your arable" part. Cutting grass or clearing farm would never come easy for me considering my build and background. Even if suburban, I had lived in the city all the while.
Eweje life sped on with speed, to be cut short three months to go with an admission offered me by Ogun State Polytechnics. But it was not meant to end uneventful with respect to my spiritual life.
All along, a man usually come to our dormitory to spend long hours with us discussing about football and politics. He was so versed in many fields that one could be tempted to label him a living encyclopaedia. We called him Booda Tunji. That was all I would have known about him but for two or so months to parking my bags and baggage out of Eweje when I discovered this was my destiny helper in waiting. Booda Tunji was neither a football analyst nor a politician. Here was the committed and word-of-God-rich pastor of the only Pentecostal church in the immediate neighbourhood using one of the school's deserted dormitories for their services. It was an interesting discovery as I sat with my mouth agape watching the hitherto football analyst ministered as a guest minister in a church where many of us students had been invited to for this their special programme. The sleeping born-again giant in me instantly awoke. Indeed, the deep would definitely call unto the deep. Automatically, I gave his church a try. And that was it. My spiritual life has found a breeding ground. In no time the divine destiny that has brought Booda Tunji and I together transformed our togetherness into a mentor-mentee relationship. And so it is till date.
The first step in the coming together was the title of this episode.
It all started out when I sat under his ministration and his younger sister, Sister Tope, interpreted for him. That desire to see simple and correct English spoken and written jumped over me. I started re-interpreting to my heart audience what Sister Tope was interpreting to the public audience. And after the peer review, I concluded, "I can do it better."
Now, it remained breaking the inertia to approach Pastor Tunji to give me a chance at interpreting for him. There were inertias like that in the past that I never succeeded in breaking...

See you next week for episode 4 – Three Days without Food?

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