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 ago in my 400 level in the University, I lived in a hostel where water was quite a challenge. Let me take you to how it all began. When I moved in, everything used to be all fine; 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, it only required someone to pump the water when there was light. Then the water would flow when one turns on his or her tap. Gradually, that system began to change. People began to go downstairs to fetch water. Right at the entrance of the hostel, inside the compound, was a general tap. I never noticed that tap all the times I passed through the gate. Whenever I woke up in the morning, there was always a gathering there. I never knew it was for the sake of fetching water, but I was always curious about why they gathered in the mornings.

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 can imagine that 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 replied. “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 down stairs 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, that water system of how it used to be from the beginning wore out. Nothing was being done about the situation. Every day the population at the tap increased. It seemed like it was taking turns for the taps of those of us 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 my tap was still untouched. I imagined how they may have wondered why I didn’t come to fetch water. Sometimes, the situation became worse for them. They would be at a queue trying to fetch water, then 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, the people downstairs never came to fetch water at that tap. Theirs still had an overflow. It was only us from the upstairs that 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 always had the eyes at the tap accompany me to class too. I imagined what their pain could have been. Going to class early and they were still hustling for water was like a taboo. Maybe someone could have prayed that I joined them too. It didn’t take a long time when that prayer came to pass.

The first day that my water finally stopped, 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…