Monday, November 1, 2010

Haven's avenue

Haven’s avenue

It is 2:33am and the whole haven’s avenue i can bet is awake or away, either praying or happily lodged away in a hotel. Uncle Sam has been crying all evening and has refused to eat nor drink as a punishment for not being able to afford the cheapest local hotel bill, Aunty Efe prepared the family’s favourite pounded yam and nsala soup as we broke our fast by 9.00pm, she has told him not to worry as it wasn’t his fault, civil servants had not being paid for 8months! And there was nobody to turn to the family’s name was already synonymous with debt. We had even gone as far as borrowing from the street gate man Mr Musa. Even Musa was able to pay for the local guest house and we weren’t (oh my!)

Today must be the most memorable day of my life, today started with a sad news Chika called to report how Cindy a little 7 year old girl was carried and drowned by the heavy currents of yesterday’s rain the streets drainage has been bad and getting worse year after year and nobody cares anymore the letters written to the government over the years concerning the bad drainage is enough to make the pages of a standard bible. Haven’s avenue has been “non-motorable” for over 2 years now. After we got the sad news we all went over to Cindy’s apartment to pay them a condolence visit. Aunty Efe had declared a fast this morning; she bought us all new chaplets. Uncle Sam came home today with a gallon of blessed holy water, we had sprinkled it on our door post and gate earlier this night. I have prayed “hail Mary” 364 times today and this is my 365th time.

This has been one hell of a week in our street-haven’s avenue day before yesterday Rose-Mary, our neighbour’s house help was sexually harassed down the lonely street corner by the popular street mad man Ade, around 8pm. It was violent and brutal Rose-mary is an under-aged girl possibly 10 she was reported to be coming back from an Errand over at the aboki’s shop as she was attacked. Rumour has it that my picture was in his breast pocket that i am his number one target. He was beaten and burnt to death as he was nabbed by the haven’s avenue youth club, i also was told that he was screaming my name even while he burnt. Like that wasn’t enough Dr tony was electrocuted to death yesterday evening as he climbed the NEPA pole to fix his illegal electric connection he had been doing that for 5months now, he never pays his NEPA electric bills. The whole street wondered what was going to be next

Well the next was even better late yesterday night Musa announced on the public address system of a shocking letter he received from a stranger, he opened it and found a bullet, the letter was titled PROMISE OF A PLUNDER and the content was a warning from Ade’s friends and family threatening to attack the street. Everybody thought it was just a joke as by 3.15am yesterday as i was studying and falling asleep as usual i was suddenly woken up by the loud blasts of countless bullet launches, the night echoed the blast loud. Uncle Sam says they were AK-47s Aunty Efe argues they were machine guns.

Fear and great Panic seized us all as night drew near the street lay bare all day as we waited for Uncle Sam to come with a hope for escape all our bags had been packed. Our neighbours all waved us goodbye. Today was my First day of seeing a man cry, my uncle cried like a baby in aunty Efe’s arms he was sincerely disappointed with himself. The night crawled even slower than ever it seemed like eternity we all stayed locked-in at the boy’s quarters, Uncle sam, Aunty Efe, their new born chid –Gina and i. The street gate swung wide open Musa and his family had escaped early this morning to a local guest house. 2.33am and yet nothing has happened Aunty Efe and Uncle sam tip toe to the kitchen to Make coffee they were taking too long. As i saw the shadow of a familiar figure, reflect through the window , it resembled Ade’s i would have sworn it was him fear gripped me as i closed my eyes tight, Hot urine was forcing its way through me. I have never been this scared in my life the worst of all Gina was woken up by some strange voice outside saying “sabi na this be her house” and another replied exactly like Ade’s voice saying “Yes, na her house be this”. I opened my eyes as my heart beat faster and faster Gina squeaked, gently smiling at me as i tried to close her mouth with my hand the figure outside approached closer and the other two huge shadows behind shouted in native Yoruba language “let’s Leave here nobody’s here, this yard is empty” the worst happened as Aunty Efe and Uncle Sam tip toed their way back into the room Gina sighted her mom and cried out loud i was so shocked she increased her pitch and cried even louder, right then NEPA seized power we all rushed her held ourselves tight on the bed with racing hearts and waited for what next.

I could see the three shadow turn, coming back to our apartment in response to the loud cry, light from the solar powered street light reflected the shadows boldly...

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