This write-up is a true life chronology although it has been sweetened with ingenuity to make it fascinating, hilarious and remarkable.
I met my landlady Umu Ejiro in the early nineties through a good friend Mr. Superior. “What is the duration of time he will be spending” she asked Mr. Superior once we were done with the formal introduction. I cut in and said nine months Madame. She there after assisted me with my baggage and took me to the visitor’s room.
Even as negotiation followed between my Lady and her friend as to the terms of my stay, I took numerous looks at Lady Ejiro and could not help but admire the evidence of God’s work on her. She was a beauty to behold, exactly what our popular musical 2Face Idibia must have described in his hit track Africa Queen. She is the cocosure of African beauty, the rare ones you cannot find every now and then. Her dark skin glimmers.
The two friends did finished their discussions and Mr. Superior left. She came to me and said she won’t be charging me any fee for the accommodation. I remember what she said to my ears that day, “it is my pleasure to have you under my roof” while touching my head.
My landlady was extraordinarily friendly, generous and very hospitable. I used to wonder if such people having such qualities exist till I met her. I was yet to experience the kind of love and hospitality she showed me. While I was still trying to get settled, she hurried to the kitchen to prepare Banga rice, which I have found to be my favorite rice ever since. While the food was cooking, she showed me to the bathroom.
I felt at home naturally because of the way my host has treated me so far. After bathing and freshen up, I was contemplating where to go and buy food in any eatery around when I heard a soft knock at my door. “Who is there”, I inquired. “Your food is ready” was the response I got back. After providing me with such comfortable accommodation, I was not expecting her to prepare my meals, that will be asking too much and I hate been a burden on people.
Even from the room, the aroma of her cooking was killing, leaving me salivating. “Please don’t worry about food for me Ma, you have done more than enough for me already” I said. Her face was ignited with smiles as I was telling her. She kept silent and beckoned on me with her hands to take my sit on the dining Table. Her silenced smile seems to say, “It’s my pleasure”. I took my place at the dining table and ate with patience; I did not want to finish the food in a hurry. The food reminded me of what is obtained in African Continental Dishes, the type I will gladly pay 10,000 naira for a plate of food.
I retired to the guest room much later in the evening after seeing a football match. I spent the rest of the night appreciating the architectural work of genius of its interior. The paintings, the furniture, room arrangement amongst others were just flawless.
Mr. Superior who familiarized me to Lady Ejiro was always checking on me, asking after my comfort and wellbeing and also to know if I have been of good conduct.
I thought what will become of me at the end of nine months as the months rolled by. I did not want to believe I will relinquish the enjoyment that has characterized my present accommodation where there is good food, constant light and water…just to name a few. But before long, nine months was up and it was time to leave my accommodation; and thinking of it troubled me greatly. I decided to hatch up an ingenious plan.
On a Saturday evening, the 5th of May that year just a week after my nine months of stay was complete, I actualized my imaginative plan. I locked myself up in my room. Madam Ejiro shouted my name but I did not respond to her call. She screamed help at the top of her voice bringing the attention of the neighbors. Mr. Superior was quickly called, who came in almost immediately. She briefed him what was happening and he hurried out within some few seconds.
In a short while, he came back with a white cloth wearing man and two other ladies dressed almost in similar outfit. I later knew them in later life to be Doctor and nurses. The doctor and the others wore a finger like material on their hands. I watched all that transpired while peeping through the key hole. They were determined to force the door open.
The man in white was their lead; he shouted the word PUSH and whenever he said so, I felt a heavy force trying to pull down the door to my room. This continue for some few more minutes but I was adamant I wasn’t ready to leave. I could later hear the Doctor suggesting to Mr. Superior that specialist with knives and scissors might be brought in if I still refused to come out.
This broke lady Ejiro and she started crying after hearing what the Doctor suggested. In the bid to have a clearer view of what was happening and see if my landlady was actually crying, I decided to peep through the opening between the door and the floor. Unfortunately, the Man in white was also harboring the same thought with me.
Immediately I put my head to the ground, our eyes meet; he quickly grabbed me by the head, held me properly and started pulling me out. The opening was just enough to force me out of my room. I could not hold back my tears, the tears took their source from two thoughts. I was thinking if this was the right way to pay Mum EJIRO for all her kindness for the past few months and also the fact that I have to brace up for the reality of self-survival.
The doctor held me in his arms like a warrior who had just overcame his enemy. He walked up to my host and presented me to her. The looks in her eyes were those of gratitude, excitement, joy and love. They seem to mean, “Thank God he is safe and alive”. Her screams and tears had made way for smiles that characterized her personality.
Having seen the look in her eyes, my fears melted away. She held me in her arms and feed me with pure milk which I was later taught in biology to be colostrum.
See how kind my Landlady was.
The same woman who gave birth to me, Mrs. Ejiro Umurhohwo. Love you very much Mum, praying God grant you long life so you will enjoy the fruit of your labour.