“But in the end, one needs more courage to live than to kill himself” – Albert Camus
“Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward” – Henry Ford
“Sometimes, even to live is an act of courage” – Seneca
“A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it” – Ray Davis
It is almost impossible to survive as a BROKE man in Naija. It is even safer being a dog. Or even a rabbit. In fact, any animal that can run fast. But a BROKE man, forget about it. It is really tough. Pheeww! If it were possible, a lot of Nigerian BROKE men would have talked God into dropping them in another country before they were born.
“Baba God, abeg which country you wan send me go?” he would ask.
“My son, Nigeria of course”, God would reply.
“No be that country wey light no dey and dem dey chop corruption like food?” he would ask.
“Yes, my son, that’s the country. You’d enjoy your stay there”, God would reply.
And he would proceed to beg God to change his destination. Cuba or Haiti would even be better. But not Naija, at all!
A BROKE man grows up in a crowded neighborhood, somewhere in the ghetto, with other BROKE people, raised by BROKE parents. He only gets breast-fed for about 2 weeks and afterwards, he starts eating strong fufu and soup like the other kids. Attending nursery school is out of the question so he starts his academic pursuit at a nearby primary school at the age of 7. He spends the day at the local school, and comes home to have lunch with 5 other hungry siblings. They all feed from a single plate because the BROKE parents couldn’t afford more plates. Afterwards, he sets off for the afternoon hustle – washing car wind screens during hold ups in the traffic. His sisters have other hustles too – selling cashew nuts at the car park, oranges on the streets or mangoes in front of the house – depending on the season.
BROKE guy grows up further and it is time to write JAMB. O boi, nothing dey BROKE guy head o. So the guy connives with a couple of ‘correct’ men in the area wey go help am write the exam. Viola! He gets admitted into a tertiary institution to study Psychology. Upkeep money doesn’t come from the parents so he resorts to selling recharge cards in front of the hostel. School life no easy at all; apparently, almost every color is the adopted ‘flag’ of one cult or the other.
No wear red and black o! You know say na dem get school now.
Hmmm, this your yellow shirt fit put you for problem my guy.
Shoo, na wa, this ur black and white today o! You be law student?
Dis kin socks wey you wear today, I don dey suspect you o.
And it goes on and on. So what does BROKE guy do? He resorts to wearing safer colors like lemon, orange, lemon-orange, pink and brown. Wetin man go do na? To chop sef na wahala so BROKE guy adds an extra hobby to his already filled resume – snatching phones from unsuspecting scared girls buying mishai beside their hostels.
After school, NYSC beckons. Chai! BROKE gets posted to the North and there, befriends a Fulani girl. That one better sha because BROKE guy gets free food to chow and free kpanshing too. He starts adding weight and sends his pictures back home for the people to view. Since he has added weight, it is assumed that things don better for am. This translates to more demands for cash from the BROKE parents and siblings. Na wa o, these people no know the difference between ACTION FILM and FILM TRICK?
After NYSC don finish, then comes the endless days of wearing ties and walking under the scotching sun in cities, looking for a job. Come today, come tomorrow – is the response he gets in every office. After spending 8 months in the township without success, broke guy goes back to the village to hustle. At least, he would have the luxury of staying with other BROKE people who understood his condition better.
There, he knocks up a village mgbeke and starts a family unprepared. Pikin go chop na so BROKE guy decides to try another means of ‘hammering’. Omo, na rituals be the way o. So he proceeds to the babalawo’s house where everything is set for the rituals. As he faces the mirror (with a dagger in hand) to call his mother’s name, a heavy hand appears from nowhere and slaps the hell out of him. Ewooo! So much for making money!
BROKE guy goes back home and after taking a final glance at the wife and kid sleeping on a mat on the floor, proceeds to the backyard, with a black rope in the right hand and a stool in the left. Before he takes his life, he pauses for a second and wonders how his life would have turned out if he were born in another country:
If na the UNITED STATES, he would have been murdered by a cop for being black.
If na AFGHANISTAN, he would have been massacred in a suicide attack.
If na JAMAICA, he would have overdosed on weed and passed away. Or rather, gone mad.
If na JAPAN, he would have died in an earthquake.
If na SOUTH AFRICA, he would have been slaughtered during a mine riot.
Finally, BROKE guy realizes it is not easy surviving in any country. He has to take life the way it is and turn it around to be the way he wants it to be. He has to give life another chance. So BROKE guy goes into the house, cuddles his wife and kid, and hopes to wake up tomorrow to start a journey towards changing his destiny and making his life a better one.
Hasta la vista!