Thursday, September 26, 2013

They Now Live In the Shadows

Some years ago, when I was a kid and, under the watchful eyes of my parents and neighbors, I learnt so much about life and morals. What I was taught then still guide me  today.
As it was in the bible or any other true book of life of any religion, the basic principle of life, though naturally inscribed in our hearts, were by constant refining, right execution, systematic assimilation, imbibing and, at times, stern order or commandment by our parents or guidance.

No one comes home with an item that is not of the family without explaining the source. And such explanation must be true, correct and believable and of course to be investigated and confirmed before peace would return to such a child.

We were taught not to collect food from strangers and neighbors; even while your father or mother stands with you and says “go on, take the food and eat”, hmmm! Sorry for you, if you fail to know that the “go on and eat means don’t eat”.
On one of such occasion, I accompanied my father to his son in-law’s house, then the son in-law work and lived in the city. When we arrived there, we met him pouring hot water in a cup and, after the warm pleasantry; he called us to the table for  a cup of tea with him. That was my first time of seeing what tea look like . Though then, I have heard my mate talked about their elder brother, sister or uncle bringing beverages to their parents and they  testified that tea was a Whiteman’s food and it was also very sweet. So, I was excited when our in-law asked us to join him for tea breakfast. However, I did not move, only turned to look at my father to get a nod of approval to breakfast with my in-law’s tea. The approval did not come and I did not eat. But, on getting home, I received 7 strokes of the cane for even seeking such consent .

That was how strict morals were taught us and impacted us way back in our early life. My parents were not rich, but were always satisfied with all that we had. We would strive and wait patiently to meet up with the demands of life. Stealing was forbidden; so were other things that are anti-social.

I remember my grandmother then, she had a road side store. She was trading on banana, yam and other petty items. Often times, she would display her goods and leave for farm. Carefully, she would draw lines with white chalk or charcoal by each item indicating the amount she wanted them sold. Prospective buyers transacted without any incident of missing money or stolen items. My grand mother never reported one day that her goods or money were stolen or missing. That was the culture then; we learnt not to take what was not ours.

Surprisingly, we had only one Catholic Church servicing the eight villages where my village forms part. There was no Mosque.  Majority of our people were not Christians, even the converts were very poor, yet, decent and morally upright.

I also remember one of my uncles who worked as a typist/ using type writer in one of the government ministries. Always neatly dressed. When he bought a white bicycle, we celebrated it. There were motorbikes such as Suzuki, Yamaha 80, Mableton and cars, but bicycle was what he could afford with his salary. He rode it with pride, carrying one of us on a very good day. He told my father that because of the new bicycle, Council people requested him to declare all the money he had earned and all his tax receipts – asset declaration. He did and, when it was discovered that he had made prudent savings of his salary. He was allowed to ride his bicycle.

Our school teachers were most respected and we strive to emulate them. They were nobles and exuded high morals standard. No student was stubborn enough not to fear his or her teacher. We listened to the teachers and we learnt to be punctual to sing the National Anthem looking up at the Nigeria Flag.

Those were in the past where value for life and property was with the fear of God
When I reflect on that era, I always return with a shock to the so called Modern world of today’s Nigeria.
We Now live in the shadow of that era.
Few days ago, someone entered into my mother’s kitchen through the window and stole the soup she just cooked and after removing the entire soup, the thief broke the clay pot.

Now, I fear so much because my father has passed on and I hope our good morals did not pass on with him.

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