My name is Zainab and I’m a travel blogger. My parent are New Yorkers but I’m barely in the state. I spend most of my time aight seeing. I’ve been to so many countries but few African countries like Nigeria. I really love Nigeria and all its drama. But the only uncle I have in Nigeria is a banker and his wife is a broker. The kids are barely at home. My uncle always says it is the 21st century, they have to keep up with their mate. So they are always caught up in productive activities.
“Feel free to visit us anytime you want.” They usually tell me.
But it’s one of the most boring place to be without them around. I mean how can one be around unlimited WiFi, HD flatscreen tv, cable network, solar power, sewing machine, grand kitchen and still be bored? But then that always the situation, till they all return.
So on this fateful month of Ramadan I was at their place for fasting, and as usual they were all out. I was outside, at the balcony, feeding my eyes with the tranquilizing view of the brown rusted roof city. I was just about to go inside when I notice this Little boy throwing stones up. He kept throwing them as soon as they hit the floor. I was fascinated by his swift catch, and maybe because of my acquaintance with Galileo Galilee’S law of motion. But without seeing the owner, I heard a voice telling the boy that;
“ never hold unto anything, know that everything in this life will always go back to their primary places. A human that was created from the dust will live and walk above the earth for a while, he might even put himself in high positions like plane, taking his feet from the earth, but will still be buried on earth. Whatever goes up my son will always come down.”
Then I realize it was Baba N’Sale educating one of the town boys again. I thought about what he said for a second. Baba N’Sale is indeed a wiseman. I have listened to his conversation with Alhaji Isiaka Arigbabuwo,my uncle’s next door neighbor.
I was steered out of this pondering by the call to prayer for Magrib. “Alhamdullilah to another day of fasting” I said and I went inside to slice oranges.
One of the best memory I have of the trip to Ibadan is a short story my uncle told his kid, when he complained about his position in his school team.
According to him, he has been a major part of the team since two years now, but has not been used by the team coach for any important match for a while. Nurudeen Shoaib Oduntan was born in 1999, the year Former head of state Abdusallam Abubakar decided to follow the ideology of Olusegun Obasanjo and give the country governmental power back to the civilian. Which is the backstory to the name Oduntan.
It was During sahur for Ramadan day twenty. The family was at the dinning table having pounded yam, Efo riro and Egusi. I was at the verge of devouring my big piece of chicken lap when He voiced out.
“Daddy, Coach said I wouldn’t be used again tomorrow. He said I will be on reserve and my only chance of coming into the game is, if we are in need of goal. I don’t think I am going to show up for the match at all sir.” He said.
“First, I told you to stop talking while you are eating.” my uncle corrected.
“I’m sorry.“ Oduntan apologized.
“That’s okay. But Odun you are important to the team, learn to trust the judgement of your coach, he must have his reason.” my uncle replied.
“I’m not so sure Dad, the last time I played any important game was at the community school competition final and I scored two goals. That should get me a regular playing time.” Oduntan countered.
“Hmmm, let me tell you a story boy. The story is about a character called ONE. See in the world of letters, One is the first to be created, then the letters started multiplying until they attained one million. Thing was rosy and bubbly for everyone, so they named themselves “Numbers”, but call themselves one individually. Soon the peaceful community was disrupted by some jealous ones, who hated a particular extraordinary One. He was disregarded and ridiculed, so he decided to exile himself. After a day and so many weeks, the other numbers discovered that they were not up to one million anymore and can’t be called one million Number. The name was changed to nine hundred and ninety nine thousand , nine hundred and ninety nine. This new name sounded awkward and too long to be pronounced to them and time wasting. So they decided to consult the oracle for a better solution. The oracle instructed them to search for the missing number so they can be one million Number again. At this point, the story of this One defeated a conflict in his story and as the star of it. He was reinstated as a member of the one million community and his importance was reiterated to all numbers. He then advised the numbers to give room for multiplication, thus Number became infinity. Also he proposed that, all number should be given special names, hence the birth of two, three, four, and so on. They soon realize everyONE is important and lived happily ever after. The End. You see son, you are more important to the team than you know. And beside you said this is just the qualifier, maybe he doesn’t want you to be injured , before the league begins.” My uncle ended the story with a gesture that inquired if his son understood his Analogue.
“Ok dad , thanks.”, Oduntan said.
Oduntan is an amazing kid. One of the reasons I came to Ibadan. He is my gist partner and the only Nurudeen that is always at home, after school hours. I remember him telling me a story about one of his classmate, who insisted that her name must be written in all caps. It really cracked me up. But above all I think he deserves a chance in the the team.
The next evening, I asked Oduntan about the game. He told me he showed up late and his team would have been disqualified. Because a rule of the game is that each side must be with a complete reserve, for emergencies. Any defaulted team would be automatically disqualified, which would have been his team fate if he had showed up later than he did. They won the game by a goal to nil. Although my nephew still wasn’t used but his presence was germane.
Few minutes after, his dad came downstairs to tell us the crescent has been spotted, so we won’t be fasting the next day.
“Alhamdullilah” we both said. “Eid Mubarak” we both said.
And the next five hours was spent deciding which clothe I should wear to Eid the next day.