One Week One Trouble



“Count your blessings name them one by one”

“Count your blessings name them one by one”

“Count your blessings, name them one by one”

“You will be surprised at what the Lord has done.”

They lined up on the balcony of the first hostel block facing the medical center and sang like an out of tune choir at a Sunday church service. All would have seemed normal except, unfortunately, this wasn’t a church service; it wasn’t even a Sunday.

As they walked quickly with their heads down like newly released prisoners leaving the penitentiary, the bandages and plasters of various sizes on their heads and bodies clearly marked them out from the other students. It was as if the other students mounted a guard of honor to welcome them.

He walked quickly without looking back towards his hostel block amidst the cheers and jeers.

“What the Lord has done for you, you cannot say it all”

“What the Lord has done for you, you cannot say it all”

He could still hear their laughter as they automatically switched to yet another mocking rendition of the next popular gospel song.

Living in a male-only hostel is fun, but not when you are at the receiving end of the bad jokes.

“What happened to you James!” his roommates exclaimed as he walked through the door.

“I was hit on the head by a desk on my way back from study class last night” he replied

“At where and how did it happen?”

He wasn’t really in the mood for cross-examination.

As he lay down on his bed, he reflected on the events of the previous seven hours.

He really owed much gratitude to his professors, who single-handedly even without saying a word reminded him the reason he was in school. A series of poor results in his assessment tests have turned him into a bookworm. Such results are not for sane people and he has promised himself there must not be repeat occurrences. If not for his poor grades, maybe, just maybe he would have been in bed by 2 a.m on a Saturday morning instead of walking tiredly and sleepy from the classroom towards the hostel at that unholy hour of the day.

The route to his room will take him through a passageway underneath the students’ leisure room which was located on the first floor of a building built on top of what looked like a bridge-gate that led to the inner quarters. From a distance he could see there was commotion between some people and as he drew nearer, it became more violent with objects flying in all directions. He decided to make a dash for it through the passageway to the safety of the other side and on towards his room. He had barely emerged to the other side when a bomb exploded in his head and there was darkness.

“You are finally awake” he heard a female voice state as a matter of fact.

His eyelids which seemed to be glued together slowly and painfully parted and he gradually blurrily focused his eyes on the stern face of a motherly looking nurse.

The pains in his head seem to make him less coherent; as if his head was about to split into a thousand tiny fragments.

“Where am I?” he finally stammered.

“Well, I don’t think that will be too difficult for you to figure out” she answered in a not so nice manner.

Slowly, his sight became clearer and he realized that the darkness of the night and the fluorescent lights of the passageway had given way to the bright sunshine of the early morning.

He painfully turned his head and realized that he was in what looked like a ward in a hospital. Most of the other beds were occupied by guys like him with various sizes of plasters and bandages on their heads, and limbs.

It was then he noticed that the reason for his unfocused sight was because he was actually seeing through one eye. His head was heavily bandaged and the bandage covered part of his left eye.

He was to find out later that he was rushed to the medical center unconscious after being knocked out by a falling desk probably thrown over the balcony of the leisure room by one of the feuding students.

The leisure room also serves as the television room where the students watch any program that the majority decides. It had always been the norm that the late night shows were exclusively for the weak in religious faith; these were the times for pornographic movies and this had never gone down well with the strong believers of the two major religions.

It so happened that the Muslim students whose mosque was close-bye chose that night to show their displeasure in a language that all will understand and all hell broke loose.

With a heavily bandaged head, he was later to be mistaken for one of the perpetrators and according to the emergency choir; the Lord has done wonders for him by blessing him with a broken head.

A week earlier, he would never have thought that anybody and not to talk of the lord would be blessing him this way anytime soon. Having freshly arrived from home the day before, the normal trend was for him to eat good food for at least the first two weeks before his fund begins to deplete and his economic lessons exit the theory mode and enter into the active practical mode.

What better way for him to announce his arrival than a pot of egusi (melon) soup and a plate of eba (cassava flour paste)? Cooking was a hobby he enjoyed and he prides himself as a good cook; always trying to impress his roommates with his culinary prowess.

Coming back from the market, he was about to start cooking when he felt highly pressed to do the major. The dilapidation of the education system was not only in manpower and equipment, but also applies to infrastructural decadence.

The student’s hostels toilets if not careful, are the surest way to book a bed at the medical center. To avoid unnecessary infections, he does his thing the natural way in the nearby bushes that surrounds the hostel; he loves the natural air and the fresh gentle breeze on his bare buttocks while he does it. He had finished his business and was buttoning his trousers when he saw it.

The creepy vines were twisted around a palm tree while its luscious green leaves shone brightly in the afternoon light.

He had seen his mother at home add this wild vegetable to her soups to give them that tantalizing aroma and unique tastes.

Even with a lingering doubt about its authenticity, he harvested as much as he could and on getting back to the hostels, joyously added them to his experiment.

Luckily, by the time he was done with the cooking, none of the roommates was around; the thought of sharing the meal was not pleasing to him. He sat down, helped himself to a hefty portion and afterward lay down to sleep.

It took approximately one hour for the results to return. Like someone that missed the early forecast of an impending tornado, it initially started like an unexpected light storm; a gentle rumbling of the tummy which later intensified and was followed by excruciating pains in the lower abdomen. Every few minutes he had this urge to fart but when he tried to, he could feel the liquid stool move from his rectum through the anus and onto his boxer shorts.

That day, he learned a new thing about the distance between two points; the outcome depends on the condition under which they are measured. The journey from his room to his favorite drop-point which normally takes him about a minute and a half now seemed like a journey to a faraway land and each step must be carefully calculated using advanced calculus and the outcome, slowly executed to avoid mailing his package before getting to the post office. The urges to do it quickly was so intense that he was sweating profusely and had to muster all his will-power in order not to soil himself before getting to the bush. At that point, he wasn’t choosy about his spot; any bush will do.

By the time his roommates started returning in the evening, he had carried out a complete mapping of a nearby bush using his watery stool.

As he lay rolling on the bed with the bandage on his head, he thought bitterly; are the heavens playing tricks on him? Must all his off classroom education be done the hard way?