It was the best of days, it was the worst of days, it was the age of stress, it was the age of aggravation- Ok! I’ll stop! I’ve absolutely destroyed one of the most famous opening sentences in history to suit my “nefarious” ends (nefarious has been on my mind all week). A tale of two cities is one of my absolute favourite books, the first sentence grabbed me and hasn’t let me go seventeen, eighteen years after I first read it- Did y’all think I was a spring chicken?
Friday was the literary evening of the Farafina creative writing workshop, it was our day in the sun- the day our certificates were to be presented to us. Unfortunately it was also my day under the sun and in the rain- the final day of clearance of NYSC clearance.
I came back from Lekki on Thursday evening, Thursday night to be exact. I got home by 11:35, had my dinner of dodo (fried plantains) and scrambled eggs and went to bed. The next morning, I went to the NYSC secretariat at Babs Animasaun and got cleared by the welfare department where I did my CDS. I will not miss those hours spent in the clinic that’s for sure, four hours of my week I can never get back. After getting cleared by my favourite NYSC official, a lovely man with a frightening name, I proceeded to the Surulere NYSC office to get cleared from their wahala.
I got there before 10am and I was the one hundred and nineteenth person on the list, The clearance was incredibly slow and to “add insult to injury” The senior official who was supposed to clear us disappeared for two hours. By 5pm, I was still at the secretariat- the same 5pm the literary evening was supposed to start. He stopped clearance at the ninety fifth person by 5:17pm, I would have shot the guy if I’d had a gun.
I had to go home, change out of my uniform and select a dress to wear, it wasn’t the dress I’d planned to wear. By 6pm I was still in Surulere, let’s remember that the event was supposed to start by 5pm and it was holding at the Oriental hotel Victoria Island, and let us also remember that I live in Lagos- Yes! That Lagos of traffic jams.
I walked into the hall at 18:55pm, just as Chimamanda was about to give her speech. I was already a nervous wreck and very very tired and hungry. My dearest readers that is a lethal combination when you have to walk to the stage to collect a certificate. The presentation of certificates began and Chimamanda read brief facts about us before we collected our certificates, I barely managed to walk to the stage and get my certificate. Sadly, the only pictures I have are blurred and I didn’t stay in the hall long enough to get photos from official photographers, I wanted my bed and I left the venue to my room immediately the main event ended.
The evening ended with a dinner at the Lekki Waterside Hotel and I called it a night at midnight after having chapman and fish. After the environmental sanitation, my friend Olu who’s a living saint took me home and I spent the most frustrating fifteen minutes of my life looking for my NYSC file to go for my clearance- it was shifted to Saturday.
Another friend Ike, another living saint had gone to the Surulere secretariat at 10am to put my name on the list, I was number thirty on this new list. The man had said he’d be there by noon and I got there just before noon, the man didn’t show up until 2pm and he had the most fascinating story to tell about why he came late, did I care? No frigging way.
I was number thirty yes? Did that mean I got to be cleared early? You know the answer already. By the time I was cleared, I had wilted. Doing youth service in old age is definitely not the way to go, I guess there’s a reason it’s called youth service, I missed the memo.
After the clearance, we were told to go to Iyana-Ipaja NYSC camp on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for passing out preparations. This morning I left the house early, got to camp by 8am only to see five corpers and no officials, I called the Local Inspector- the same man who’d caused me frustration on Friday and Saturday. He told me he’d gotten information that it was cancelled and he told corpers to disseminate the news, If I’d shot him on the arm- I wouldn’t have killed him, just grazed him, I’d have felt absolutely no remorse. Thank God for the hilarious emails my farafina fam were sending upandan, laughter is indeed the best medicine.
So the US Supreme Court has ratified gay marriage in the United States, how come my timeline is overrun by Nigerians raining fire and brimstone on the gay marriage issue? We can never seem to mind our business sha. Who are we to tell others who to love and who to marry? Who are we to tell a country who to approve marriage for? Who are we to say who God will punish in the lake of fire? Who are we to tell two consenting adults what to do with each other? Have we finished working out our salvation with fear and trembling? All our righteousness is nothing but filthy rags before God, are you without sin yourself? Have you rid yourself of envy, greed and pride- yes! Those quiet sins that creep into the heart and retain space.
Who are we to force our religious beliefs on other? The bible disagrees with homosexuality but we have no right to ask atheists, Buddhists, agnostics etc. to conform to the standards of the bible. Let people live their lives the way they see fit, you can tell them what the bible says, you can preach to them but asking that they be denied the rights that you take for granted is plain mean.
Until the 1970s it was illegal for a Caucasian to marry a black person in most parts of the US, people fought for the right for anyone to marry who they wanted regardless of race. I don’t need to tell you the violent reactions that interracial couples got, apart from facing jail time, they were vilified, insulted, shunned and in a lot of cases threatened and beaten. Today we find it appalling, don’t we?
What if someone came for your rights, took them away just because they don’t agree with your religious persuasion, gender, educational background or just because they didn’t like your face? You’d scream blue murder wouldn’t you? Why then would you deny anyone of simple civil liberties? I saw several Facebook posts about homosexuality and Sodom and Gomorrah, these people have likened America to Sodom and Gomorrah. They’ve forgotten that the real reason Sodom couldn’t be saved was because there weren’t enough righteous people in that city. The angels agreed to call off the destruction of the city if TEN righteous people could be found- Gen 18:23-32.
We like to talk about how sin and wickedness is bringing ruin to our nations and in the world but we forget that the fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much James 5:16-18. How many of us are truly righteous and strive to live a holy life? How many of us still call on the name of the lord when we are in trouble instead of depending on our wits and cunning? Before we accuse others of causing the myriad problems affecting the world, let us ensure that we are playing our own parts as those who are led by the spirit of God (or as we say in the Anglican church- may we whom the spirit lights bring light to the world). My father likes to say “let he who comes to equity, come with clean hands”, you can tell that there was a lot of snitching in my house ;-). However Jesus being the omega boss that he is, said it best- Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Quit complaining and focus on serving your God better, be the light you were called to be and most importantly- don’t forget that we were called to love. Yes, love the gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, fornicators (I had to add that na, wetin?); that’s what Jesus would do. Hate the sin but for Christ’s sake, love the sinner.
Remember my tithe post? My mother’s having a conversation with my aunt about tithes, she says how come pastors only read Mal 3:9-10, why not read Mal 3 from verse 1. What was her point? You’ll have to read Mal 3 by yourself. Every Christian should set out regular times to read the bible by themselves and ask the Holy Spirit for inspiration, he is willing to pour out himself to anyone who diligently seeks him. Have I been so faithful in keeping my covenant time? No, I’m going to try to be faithful- I’m putting it out here, you can hold me to it.
I’m really missing my farafina fam, twenty five people got into the programme and our lives will never remain the same. Everyone there was an awesome writer, they were also very smart and funny. I’m so proud that I was in this year’s class. The ten days spent at the workshop have been the highlight of my year so far- at least until I win the lottery.
I’ve been on typing this post for about an hour, I don’t think they are too many typos but if they are please blame it on my L.I. who got me angry enough to sit and pour out so many words. I should get this angry every day, yes? I’d write ten novels annually.
PS Uju I haven’t forgotten the challenge, I’ll get to it tomorrow and no I didn’t cheat, I didn’t finish reading the post.