Have We been Fair to them?
Uncle, what is your name?
“My name is Paul”, I had said with interest. He looked at his sister and smiled. “Where are you from?” he quipped. “Am from Abuja”. “No! I mean your tribe….”. “Oh, that….” I chuckled. “No!….I mean are you not from here?”. I had immediately made up my mind not to answer this question, not because I lack what to say. After all, I always claim where ever I want since I look almost like every other tribe depending on what direction your mind is facing.
Leaving the airport and while trying to escape being soaked in rain, I saw this rain drenched kids possibly ages 9 and maybe 7 or less. I soon will discover that we are headed to the same town. The two kids waddled their way into the minivan and huddled to a corner. We hadn’t gone far when the driver announced that there is a problem with the vehicle. We were at the spot for hours and were later moved into another Omni van. My attention was drawn to the nippers as we were moved from the second bus to a third, fourth and finally the fifth vehicle, spending approximately 5 hours in a less than an hour journey.
This is a young boy who wondered at how a total stranger could be so nice to him and his sister. He had considered all the act of kindness as unusual. Maybe in his mind, “this can only be done by my own people; people from my tribe or part of the country”. He probably never expected any niceties from the guy from the other part of the country.
He may have wondered who would have gone through all these stress just to see two small kids reunite with their parent safely and even went out of his way to buy them comfort.
His last question took my self-made brightness which I created to keep my mind afloat the odds of the evening thereby saving myself a bout of insanity. The young boy actually thinks no one from another part of Nigeria could ever be so nice to him? I felt pained. I felt bad and most of all I became confused.
He is just a child and I am a young man who in a sane society should represent strength, protection and justice and equity any day. What had colored his mind and distorted his thought? How nice have we been to his people? Have we treated them well? Have we been fair to them? Are my people just? Are we sure the young boy is not seeing from the eye of the rest of his people and also speaking the mind of his people? Why do I care for him all day? Is my care for him genuine? Maybe his father has been using those words about my own people… like cowards, traitors, animal etc?
Am sure my confusion is still here with me and my thoughts won’t stop dancing like a candle light that flickers but won’t die out any soon.
I gave them my call card telling them to call me when next they are in the city on holiday with a promise to take them to see places. But I know I might never see them again. Don’t ask me why. Let’s ask ourselves…..have we been fair to them? Has the whole of us treated the whole of them right?