Short Story: Hardship on the Spot | Remilekun Jaiyeola

Atiba village slept in the burrow on the outskirts of Ibadan. A picturesque village predominantly populated by peasants. As usual, the street was deserted, and houses looked old. The shops along the road were few and the only school in that village is Best Legacy Government School. Just a few yards off the road, a borehole constructed by the well-known philanthropist who has been one of the few blessings to the village was filled with both old and young trying to fetch water for themselves, people as always impatient as they could be, are already arguing about who to fetch water next. At the end of the road, a church and mosque stood meters away. Behind the mosque are some houses that looked decent enough – only those who have rich and well-to-do children could live in such kinds of buildings. The government seem to have forgotten the Atiba village as all the efforts of the elders to seek their attention has proved abortive. They don’t have electricity in their homes, the roads are bad, and with just a primary school and secondary school, the village is what we can call an undeveloped area. Best Legacy Government School has about 200 pupils in total in various classes ranging from primary one to primary six. One could hear their voices as they chorused after their class teachers while taking their classes. Teachers have been discouraged to go on with their work since they have been underpaid. In fact, they are already being owed salary for 3 months, and the expected payment date is not even known. Despite this, teachers have decided to teach the students irrespective of the lack of receipt of their salaries. Most of these teachers are indigenes of Atiba Village and they all barely manage to survive by practising subsistence farming. Their focus is to help the children become better citizens in the future who will contribute their quota to the development of the village just as they are doing now. Mr Obi the school Principal drove his old beetle car out of the school premises into the driveway slowly and acknowledged the villagers’ greetings as he drove out. He drove to his house to meet his lovely wife at home. Mrs Obi has been busy in the kitchen preparing a sumptuous meal for her husband – fufu and egusi soup filled with bush meat and ponmo. Mrs Obi has been dancing and rejoicing in the kitchen because she is eager to share the happy news with her husband. The joy of every woman after getting married is to get pregnant and bear children. “Oh Lord I am very grateful” was the song she was singing all along and she didn’t know when her husband entered the kitchen. “My dear, I have been perceiving the aroma of your soup since I stepped into the house. What is going on?” Mr Obi asked as he moved toward his wife to give her a warm hug. “Welcome back my husband. It’s the Lord’s doing for us to be happy”. Yeah! I have good news for you, but you must have your food before I share the news with you.” She replied. “Must I finish eating before you’ll tell me about the good news? that will take a long time knowing that I eat slowly.” Won’t you tell me now before I die of apprehension? He begged. “Yes, trust me the good news will make you happy for the rest of your life. Just calm down, go and freshen up while I set the table for you.” She said.

*** After about 20 minutes ***

“This food is very delicious; I am so happy I married a Chef.” Mr Obi said as he was busy enjoying the meal with his wife. “I am so happy you are enjoying your meal darling. I decided to make this meal a special one for you. You deserve it, my husband.” She said as she winked at him. “Wait ooo. Hope it’s not that you need more money, and you decided to use this delicious food to bribe me? Remember we have not been paid for a while now” He asked. “Not at all my husband. I know you’ve not gotten your salary for the last three months, and the farm business has been helping sustain our family so far. The good news I have is that I’m pregnant.” She said happily. “Wait, did I hear you say you are pregnant? Ehh– heh. Jesus, you are good.” He shouted for joy.  He and his wife danced for thirty minutes to thank God for his mercies over their lives and for remembering them with this expected baby, singing different songs and smiling together. “Woah, my dear, I am the happiest man on earth. So, I am going to be a father soonest? I am excited. Let me go and check the trap on the farm. I must make delicious pepper soup for you.” He said. “Thank you, my husband. You deserve the best. I appreciate you.” She said. The following morning, Mr Obi woke up early to do the house chores for his dear wife because he doesn’t want her to stress herself. He decided to make her favourite food alongside the bush meat he got from the trap set on the farm the previous day. He woke his wife up to instruct her not to go out for the rest of the day but just to have her bath, eat and sleep so as not to stress herself. Mrs Obi was surprised to see what her husband has done for her – he has done the early morning chores and prepared meals that his wife will eat for the whole day – and she thanked him as he left home for school at 7:00 am. “I think it’s better to be getting pregnant every year so that my husband can be taking care of me every day,” she said aloud.

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