Many of us are victims of crimes we committed, we have become slaves to the very structures we created to serve us. Then after the spoil comes the blame, we wait for the next person to save us. Who is even the next person? What if there’s no next person?
Sometime in my 400 level when I was at the University, I lived in a hostel where water was quite a challenge. Let me take back to how it began. When I moved in, everything was fine and water had never been a problem. In fact, despite that there were about 38 rooms in the hostel, water rushed in all, I recall. So, once someone had pumped the water when there was power, then it was good to go. Gradually, that system began to change. People left their rooms and began to go downstairs to fetch water. Right at the entrance of the hostel inside the compound, there was a general tap. I had never noticed that tap had been there all the times I passed through the gate. So, on the new development, every morning, there was always a gathering at the tap. I was curious as to why there was always a morning party at the gate. Little did I know it was for the sake of fetching water.
One morning, I woke up and peeped through my window to watch the usual gather at the tap. There was a knock on my door. It was my neighbor who happened to also be my course-mate. As soon as I opened the door, she asked in her squeaky voice, “Ella” as I was fondly called, “don’t you want to go and fetch water?” I looked at her in a rather strange way. “Fetch water? I have water up here. So that’s what they even gather there every morning to do? What about the water rushing in their rooms?” I imagine she was probably thinking how I came up with such a stupid question. I couldn’t help, it was my curiosity.
“Well, water isn’t rushing anymore upstairs and we have to go down stairs to fetch.” She fed my curiosity well enough. “Okay” I said. That was the day I finally discovered the reason for the early morning gather. After she left, I peeped through my window to observe the gathering again. I thought to myself: “I will never have to go downstairs to do this. This is not the kind of suffering one should go through.” I can’t recall if I said that aloud to her before she left, because I later knew how I was wrong to have thought that. The story didn’t end well for me as long as it had to do with water.
Gradually, the good water system of how it used to be from the beginning wore out. Nothing was done about the situation. Except that every day, the population at the tap increased. It seemed like it was taking turns for the taps of everyone who occupied rooms upstairs to stop running. Every morning, someone came out from his or her room and asked a neighbor: “is your tap still rushing? because mine has stopped”. I became worried how that I’ll have to join the queue soon even though the tap in mine hadn’t stopped yet. I imagined how they may have wondered why I didn’t ever join them downstairs.
Sometimes, the situation was a drama. They would be at a queue trying to fetch water when a quarrel or little fight would pop its ugly head. It was either someone was trying to be smarter than the rest, or someone was being inconsiderate. While all these was going on, I noticed that none of the occupants from the ground floor were at that tap. Which meant they had an overflow of water and wouldn’t be bothered. But all of us from the upstairs but me, were the victims.
I started to plan how I may have to join them soon because it looked like it was approaching my doorstep. Every of my next-door neighbors had join the association. While I anticipated my turn, I made use of the opportunity that water was still rushing in my room. I would take my bath on time, dressed up and went out for lecture. I usually had to walk pass the queue at the gate, and I felt the eyes at the tap accompany me to class too. I imagined what their pain could have been. Watching me go to class early while they were still hustling for water was like a taboo. Maybe someone could have wished and prayed that I joined them too. And well, the charm worked, prayers well answered as it didn’t take a long time for their wishes to come through.
The first day that my water finally stopped rushing, I was reluctant to go downstairs. Maybe it was pride that cautioned me not to join the association I once forbade joining. But courage finally took my hands and walked me down the aisle to where the tap was and guess what they did to me? FIND OUT IN PART 2…