It’s 4: 45 pm. I’m in church helping the lady decorating. This backdrop had been there for over six month’s. We were talking about her choice of colours. A discussion which seemed unnecessary to me because she had already bought the materials and ribbons needed. We talked anyway. I could not see how the colours would be matched. I needed her to show me. I gave up. I told her to do what she intended, “forget my talk and do as you originally planned”. I heard my stomach grumble. I don’t know if she heard it too. If she did, she did not feel offended.
I looked at the time. We would have to set the work aside. Service starts at five. I was to take the Bible study, so I knew this had to be a quickie. while the one man choir took praise and worship I walked out of the building.
The church had no toilet. They had not thought it necessary to build one when the church was initially planted. I looked around. I knew where I was headed. I had been there before. We were in the middle of Sunday School when I felt my stomach make this same noise. I stayed put, focusing on the teacher hoping it would pass. It got louder. I guess it was piqued by my defiance. Just like today, I walked out and headed for the road.
The houses in the village had one thing in common. No Toilets. When I was looking to rent a house, this was the challenge. The people had found a way to settle the situation. They called it Bush Business.
As I crossed the road today, I did the same thing I did that Sunday. I walked not as one having a cursor hanging over his head. I acted like I did not have anything burning me underneath my dress.
I look over my shoulder, scan around to be sure I am out of view. I take a look once more at the church, I notice again, it’s distance from the next building. The church is in the middle of nowhere, because the community did not want a church so close to them, I think they picked a stone and threw it with all the strength they could muster and this is where the stone must have landed; where the the church is now.
I knew my way around this terrain. The footpath had been created by charcoal farmers who longer plied this route. I starred at the spot where I had been before, a sort of bond existed between me and these trees, the leaves, and everything that made up this bush. It had covered my shame, and was going to do it again.
I looked around, wondering where to settle. I moved closer to a tree stump. The leaves were withered. I did not like this area; I moved on. I settle somewhere without a stump. Plain ground, patched leaves carpeted the area. The way I felt I knew I was there. I went for my buckle, unclasped and zippers down. Squat. I heard the sound of a bike, then a car and another bike. Nothing was coming again. I remembered that verse, “my little children, for whom I travail in birth again… .” I am not sure Paul ever thought a missionary aeons after his letter to the Galatians would remember this verse in the bush, while taking a dump. I wondered how often Paul went into the bush to travail. I did not travail here. I brought out the tissue. I swiped anyway. Got up. Zipper up. Belt buckled.
I did a show of trying to bury it.
I walked away.
I was happy to be myself again. Shaking off minutes ago when I had to submit to the mood swing of my bowels. As I neared the road, I looked back. I wanted to memorise the place I picked.
1. The house was shanty like. One room. Not dirty, but litters of a sort. There were mosquito nets leaning on the walls. Buckets. Pots. Pans. I looked around, no TV, no sound, no decoder, no chair. Only this fair, beautiful, innocent day old baby, a sign of something better in this room. I wondered for how long?
2. My conversations with this particular lady was beginning to tend towards friendship. A colleague. I recognised she knew things I did not know in this work space. Though she hides her awareness under the guise of showing me around, I can still sense it. My friendship with her is too heavy for my ego. She is calling. She says my my conversation with someone earlier today was a bit brash. I should not be so direct next time. I wonder for how long we would be friends.
3. The house is empty. Just me. No friends, no appliances. My phones are the only contact to the outside world. Noise from outside weave with my thought. They are planing a christening. I prayed with the Igbo family yesterday. The mother is happy. Yet, I could sense the heavy heart. The baby is a girl. This is her second. She can only hope.
4. I have been standing at the bus stop almost an hour. I’m beginning to feel older. I feel the heat underneath my shirt. The sweat dripping down my body. I feel naked. Vulnerable. Where are all the cabs in Ilorin this afternoon? I hate to wait. I begin to pace. Not pace, but then pacing. I do not know if my anger is directed at the right entity.
5. It is 7:22am. I am at the park along airport rd. I am going to Ibadan. I’m wondering if taking the drivers word is wisdom. He says when I get to Ojoo, I should enter Iwo Road. The cry “Ejo edakun e fun Mi l’owo” interrupts my thought. The boy followed me here. I feeI like somebody interrupted my sleep on a Saturday morning. I want to think in peace. I look in my hand. I give him the thirty naira, so he can leave. And then I remember that verse in the Bible. The story where Christ teaches on prayer. It’s Luke 11.
I wonder, maybe I’m not praying enough.