Sabotage: You might just be guilty of this (PART 3)
…So I was saying, here is the part you should be interested in. Humans who saw the situation still carried very big water drums to the tap. One person started, then almost everyone went to get a drum. I didn’t want to be a victim so I brought mine downstairs. Because, one drum alone would take all the water from the reservoir meant to serve everyone. We all knew that everyone had to bath and have a little water for cooking. At least that was the biggest priority, but we were all selfish. Each person thought of himself or herself alone. If one person didn’t intrigue that, others would have stayed put at their buckets alone. Others who didn’t consider it necessary to get drums, increased the number of their buckets from two to five or more. We all wanted water but we all couldn’t get it still.
Here is how we survived
God had compassion on us despite our stiffed necks. Like the Israelite during the time God brought them out of Egypt, he came to our rescue. Beside our hostel was this big Church that held a lot of activities. So they had to turn on their generator to pump water to serve their functions. They decided to open their gates to us, I mean they were kind enough to have us come around and fetch water. They reasoned with us and saw our predicament. But look how it got soured.
Do you remember I said, “an African man especially the one I know, doesn’t learn at a first experience?” Did you agree with me? Okay, read on. We all marched like beggars to fetch water.
The Church had a principle that we could only fetch water in the mornings. Permit me to say, they are the church with so many principles, personal believes and morals. They also tossed it to anyone that they came in contact with. I mean, you want something from them, you had to dress like them to get it. So they laid out their terms and conditions. It basically had to do with dressing especially for the ladies. No putting on of trousers and body-revealing clothes into their premises. That was it!
What did it even take us to oblige? We needed water and they could afford it without even charging us. It was all free! We only paid by dressing as they had told us to. Also, fetching water was permitted only in the early mornings when they were not having any activity in the Church.
But, you just have to trust us again. We all were stubborn once again. We sometimes made mockery of their religious principles and rules. We laughed at it and thought it unreasonable. We felt wiser and more updated, while they were still old fashioned. In no time, we broke all the rules. Some people started breaking the “time principle” and went at night to fetch water. Some would call on their Security Guard at night to open the gate and give them water. He too was trying to be helpful but he forgot his master’s warning. We pressured him so much. Some of us even started demanding from him.
Early in the mornings even before the day had broken out, we were all queued at the gate. We became nuisances; we would bang on the gate and scream “Solomon! Solo! Solo!” as that was the Security Guard’s name. Some of us would wake up, and with our sleeping wears we would race to the Church. Not considering what we were even wearing. The culture of taking over five buckets to the tap started again.
The Church started giving us warning signs but we never paid attention. I’m sure they never expected us to be foolish, but we were wiser in our own ways. It didn’t take them long to shut their gates at us. They shut it in anger! They had come to know us better and had become fed up. We tried to plead and make short-cuts with the Security Guard. He was kind, too kind and listened. But he always got into trouble several times. When his employer discovered that he was at our mercy, they almost laid him off. Can you imagine that? We almost cost someone his job?
Life became unbearable when it had to do with water. As a student, water was everything! And not having it too was everything! I recall sometime when I wheeled water in a barrow from a distance of about 20 mins. I once fetched water in a drum and hired a tricycle (kekenapep) to get it home. Hilarious? Well much of the water spilled cause it was in such a moving vehicle and the road was quite bad.
Who did we have to blame? We had called the Hostel agent and even the Landlord at several times. They kept talking as humans usually do and never helped us. We became hopeless, some of us were angry and enraged without any appropriate action. Some of us made unnecessary rants and tantrum, and still did nothing.
In case you are thinking, “Really your Agent and Landlord?” Yeah, you can say that again. The problem was not that we didn’t know our rights, which is one strong problem in our country Nigeria. But our rights were beneath people’s feet, if we were to approach it using rights. Or maybe we even sold out our rights. We couldn’t even demand for refund of our pay as that was the right thing to do. But the question was, to whom do we demand it from? The two persons whom we should have demanded from were always invisible. Not like it was their faults. Because to their own knowledge, they already had provided water for us before we moved in. So if they were going to help, it was only on the basics that we needed help.
Some of us still had long months to spend in the hostel. As students, to find another accommodation was like scoring in a 90 minutes game of football. It was also not easy to even find the money for another accommodation. We were kind of stuck. Everyone started to find a solution that seemed to work for only himself or herself alone.
Are you guilty or a victim?
We all have stories to tell of how we have been victims of the crimes we put up with our own hands. It may not be your hand that committed the crime, but your conscience did and your heart was in it. What about your eyes that saw the crime and your mouth that refused to talk about it? Maybe your hands didn’t commit the crime, but it could have done something to solve it. But no! Your mind cautioned you that you didn’t commit it, it told you to let the person “who spoiled it to fix it”.
We sabotaged every of the good times! The very structures created for us, systems meant to work for us, we ended up working for those systems! We became slaves to the things 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? So at the end of the court case, when you as a Judge bang the gavel, you’ll be either charged of “guilt” or “being the victim”.
So I ask again, “Are you Guilty or are you a Victim?”
Did you learn something? I’ll like to hear it in the comment session.
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Awesome…. I can relate with these issues
Thank you Paul Osama for reading, I am sure you could relate.
Good work. One strong point from this article is moderation. It will help you consider not only yourself but the interest of others. At least, the hostel occupants could have benefited more if they were moderate in their actions. To be moderate is have reasonable limits.
Thank you so much Pastor Uche, I am excited you loved it and picked some lessons from it. Yes like you said, moderation is key. Thanks once again
Beautiful!!! I read the 3 parts to the end. Great story telling skills and I like how you leave a suspense at the end of each part. Your story also brought back some nostalgic feelings about school.
Well done Ella! I’m very proud of you.
Thank you for reading and for the kind words Mr Chukwuma. Lol at the nostalgic feelings. I am glad you enjoyed all of it. Look out for more!
Especially of, “who spoilt it should fix it”
Ohh Ohh Abasiekeme, there is still room to make amends. I am glad you learnt something from it. Thank you for reading through. Regards
Now this is very eye opening. I see this as a serious problem ravaging us in this country. There’s a high level of insensitivity, e-no-concern-me, and selfishness here.
A look at public amenities immediately tells us that we have a very little understanding of collective responsibility.
Many times I’ve been guilty of this sabotage, and many other times I’ve been a victim. Everyone just wants to have their fill without even considering the others who need the same thing. Why? Deep down, they know others won’t consider them.
I remember my time in boarding school when a truck used to bring our food to the hostel because there was a programme in School and the guests used our dinning hall. The food definitely couldn’t go round, or maybe it would have, if we were all satisfied with the little portions apportioned to us.
You know what happened? A lot of people took their share, got back on the line and kept on taking. At the end of the day, some had as many as three portions, while many didn’t even get at all. Sadly, no one condemned it, but termed it “being sharp”.
I was a victim, but didn’t remain a victim for long, as I too ‘became sharp’ and found myself doing the same thing, because others were sure going to do it to me.
But, is that reason enough? Should the actions or inactions of others make us act wrongly? Should others’ inefficiencies make us lose our morals and standards? Are others responsible for our actions or we ourselves?
We all should do good, not even because of others, but because of ourselves. The hate we give always comes back to us. The discrepancies we close our eyes to in the name of ‘e no concern me’, would cause a disruption somewhere that would still affect us.
Maybe Nigeria would have been better if we all understood and practiced collective responsibility. Maybe our lives would be better if we lived right and stayed right irrespective of what others do. Maybe the world will be a better place if we refuse to sabotage our good times out of selfishness and sheer insensitivity.
Wonderful work ma’am.
Waoo, such great remarks from you Azeh Praise, I am glad you enjoyed it and could pick lessons from it. I also could relate with your story, it is what we have subjected ourselves to in our society, we can be better like you said. Thank you for reading and sharing your story.
Beautiful piece, unfortunately the background story is quite easy to relate with in these parts. Particularly striking to me was the abuse of the magnanimity of the church. It usually starts with a little,”I’ll just wear this night gown and rush in and out, nobody will see me” or “I need to rush out, I can’t wait till morning to go get water, no church leader is even around jare, I can “jing” it.” We forget that defaults no matter how little, when committed by a majority kill the system that the rules where made to protect.
Thanks for once again pointing us in the right direction.
Thank you Barrister Nosa for carefully reading through. Ohh yes, you are absolutely right on the observations. I hope the society can begin to see these things sooner and act accordingly. I appreciate your thoughts.
Awesome piece young lady, I kept reflecting to see if I had been guilty or played the victim card. Also, how we push responsibility to others, take a mile when we are given an inch, and how not being content can ruin opportunities…. Great piece ma, can’t wait for the next
Thank you Victor for reading through. So did you figure out if you were guilty or a Victim? Ohh Yes! You are very correct, we often do that a lot. Sure the next will soon be out. Regards.