So someone, namely Wale, has requested a new post and so I will write one today but please forgive me if it comes out all disjointed and convoluted. I've wanted to write all week but didn't really know what to say because I'm going through a whole bunch of stuff right now and am not sure how to articulate my feelings.
You know how last Saturday was my birthday and it was supposed to be this big thing? Then I cancelled the big thing and it was supposed to be a low-key thing? Well after I wrote that post, I found out that our home in Naija had been robbed. THE DAY BEFORE MY BDAY, 4 gunmen forced their into our home and held up my parents and little brother and walked out with money, jewelry, laptops, phones, and basically anything else that seemed remotely valuable. Thankfully they did not hurt anyone badly....the worst they did was hit my 16 year old brother in the mouth to make sure the 6ft 3 inch boy wouldn't get any ideas about acting up. Also thankfully, my sister Ms. Minx, was not home otherwise it may have been a lot worse.
Needless to say, my low-key birthday celebration went out the window. I did not want to do anything but stay in bed all day. I received a lot of birthday phonecalls which turned into sympathetic phonecalls, with friends and family, even my parents, encouraging me to at least get up out of bed to do SOMETHING to acknowledge that I had lived another year and was healthy and so on. So, I did. I went to dinner with a close friend and just talked and hung out. But even then, and up till now, as much as I know in my head that my parents are okay, and those things that were stolen were just material, and I should thank God for their lives (which I have done), I cannot help but be worried, and concerned. I have talked to my family everyday and they have assured me that things are getting back to normal and I should stop worrying. But I can't. The smile is gone from my eyes.
I hate that people were able to just walk into our home and take money that my parents work SO hard for. Things that were bought and paid for with blood, sweat and tears, they just took. I hate that these people held my family at gunpoint and scared and threatened them IN OUR OWN HOME. I hate that they touched my mother because they took her wedding rings and other jewelry from her body. I hate that they touched my baby brother and hit his beautiful 16 year old face. I hate that they pushed and shoved my frail father, who could do little to protect his family because he had a gun pointed at his face. I hate that these people have no sense of right and wrong and think it is ok to just take things that do not belong to them while looking boldly in the faces of their victims. I hate that Nigeria is a country in which help is not readily available to the people that need it. I hate that my father had to go out of the house after such an ordeal, get into his car and go to the police station to call the police, who even now will not help them even try to look for these thieves until they get some money. I hate that this happened at all. Yes, they are alive and well. Yes, it could have been a lot worse. Yet and still, why did it have to happen to us? Why does it have to happen to anyone?
Never will I say that the actions of these armed robbers are ok. But the fact that these men felt no fear in openly showing their faces while robbing us speaks to a larger problem. Nigeria lacks a system that works to help her people. You can't just pick up the phone and dial our equivalent of 911. You can't go to the local police station and pick out faces from a database of offenders. You can't expect a reasonable amount of help from the Police without greasing their palms. You can't expect that your belongings will be returned to you. You can't expect to file an insurance claim and get any money back to possibly recoup your belongings. Tax-Paying, Law-Abiding citizens have NO PROTECTION in their own homes and for their own belongings.
When I meet people here in the States who refuse to go back to Nigeria even when they're slaving away here, I question why. Nigeria is home and home is where the heart is, right? It is when things like this happen that I understand why and start to lose hope in home. As good as life can be in Nigeria for those who have, the have-nots are forced to resort to hustling, stealing and killing to make ends meet and threaten the lives of those who have. So, in the end who wins?
I'm sorry this is such a long post but I had to get it out because I am concerned. And what makes it even worse for me is that my usual optimistic outlook is being slowly snuffed out....and I don't want that. With all of my being, I do not want that.
To everyone who sent me a birthday wish, I thank you. And Wale, you didn't know it, but I needed to write this - so thank you for the encouragement. Till next time y'all....be blessed. And as you pray please pray for Nigeria because by doing so, you are praying for us all.
To pray is to pay attention to something or someone other than oneself. Whenever a man so concentrates his attention -- on a landscape, a poem, a geometrical problem, an idol, or the True God -- that he completely forgets his own ego and desires, he is praying. - W.H. Auden