Stories

A TRAVELLERS TALE

When we got to the park, everywhere was so bright but it was still 5:30am. We went to where Enugu bus loads but there were no passengers. It was very unusual. Hubby sighted the manager and asked him what was going on “my wife is traveling to Nsukka and there’s no bus”. It was already to 6am then.

The manager told us that first bus left about an hour ago around 5:30am. We looked at each other and asked the man what time it was and he said few minutes to 7am. I checked my phone and and it corresponded with the managers phone. I looked at my husband and he looked back at me. He brought out his two phones and the time was still an hour late.
“But this is the phone I use to go to work everyday and I didn’t reset my time or anything so what’s going on with the two of them?” He lamented.

The manager looked at us smiled, shook his head and left. He later came back and told us that there’s a bus going to Benue but the driver said if he gets Enugu passengers he will reach Enugu.

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Two weeks to my wedding, I was to travel by road to my place. Being a full day journey, one has to be at the park as early as 5am in order to follow the first bus which departs by 5:30am. Hubby’s place is closer to the park. I moved to his place a day to my journey. Alarm was set for 4:30am.

I rounded off my packing few minutes to 5am. At exactly 5am, everywhere was unusually bright. Hubby and I kept wondering why the day turned out that way. His two phones said few minutes to  5am but I didn’t check mine. So we left for the park.

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After a while, more passengers came. Some said it was going to end up being a night journey and they would rather come back the next day. They left. I stayed with some other Benue passengers.

A Togolese later joined us. He said he got admitted into the university of Nigeria to do his post graduate studies. So we were two Nsukka passengers and the rest were Benue/markurdi.

After like an hour and some minutes, we left the park. It was some minutes to 10am. A journey that was supposed to start by 5:30am. It was a smooth journey. The passengers were all chatty. I was thinking of what time I would get to Nsukka that day.

I assumed the Togolese man to be an Hausa man. He was very dark and doesn’t understand English. Little did I know he came from across the border. At the park, he was walking around with little or no energy in a very dull manner that disgusted me but I didn’t talk to him.

Few minutes into the journey, I discovered I forgot my Nokia torch. I was left with a Samsung phone whose battery does not comfortably last for two hours. I felt this irritation all over me. “What kind of Journey is this”? Why is everything not working out? I bent my head in pain and hot tears ran down my checks.

God this is not a good sign. Along the road, the driver picked an Igbo man headed for Onitsha but was going to stop in Enugu town and continue his journey the next day.

We got to Makurdi few minutes after 5pm. We were all impressed. Driver was doing well. He then announced to us that he will not be going to Nsukka but will go direct to Enugu town and put us in another bus. The man he picked along the road was very happy. The Togolese man was looking indifferent. He didn’t understand a thing anyone was saying.
I was in pain. I pleaded with the driver to pass Obollo Afor and then go to Enugu from there but he refused. We were just three passengers plus the driver and one other guy whom the driver was teaching the route. Four guys and I.

So we headed for Enugu. Then driver started doing kabu kabu (picking passengers and dropping them at intervals) The Igbo man was so relaxed and the Togolese fell asleep. Rain began to fall. The driver would drop people and start fighting with them over balance forgetting that time was one very precious thing we didn’t have that day.

At about 11pm we entered a filling station to buy fuel. I was hoping we were in Enugu so I called a banana seller and asked her in Igbo (kedu Ka’ isi ere) how do you sell? She kept staring at me. Then I asked her where we’re and she replied “Ogoja”.

“Where’s Ogoja?”
“Cross River state” she said . I almost lost consciousness.

Meanwhile, the driver had packed the car, bought banana, was eating and gisting with his guy and the Igbo man and they were all laughing.

I didn’t tell you, my phone went off in Makurdi. I was phone less.I resorted to using sign language to communicate with the Togo man to use his phone and make calls. His phone was set in French but, thank God for french 101. I will read the things and use sense to know the meaning. He said I shouldn’t call that he doesn’t have enough airtime, but I can flash. Once I do that and I’m waiting for the person to call back, he would collect the phone from me and switch it off.

Hey lord. What did I get myself into. The Igbo man was in front so I couldn’t ask for his phone besides, I didn’t trust him. How’s someone so comfortable in this kind of mess?

I have never been to that part of the world and the name Ogoja wasn’t going down well with me. We got to a small market and the driver said he wanted to change his break pads. By this time? But, he’s not even a mechanic.

I became so pressed but couldn’t pee because of the very bright street lights. when I was almost urinating on myself I had to let go without minding who was looking.

I later collected the Igbo mans phone and was able to talk to my people. I wept so sadly that maybe I have been kidnapped. Then I sighted a military check point. I ran to them and introduced myself. They assured me that the route goes to Enugu, and followed me to the bus, got the plate number and the drivers contact.

In this whole chaos, the Togolese man was snoring so loud all over the car. When we started moving again, he would always wake up when the car gallops to ask me “Nsukka”? I was like “look at this one…”

Few minutes after 2am, we arrived Entraco park Enugu. I still used the Igbo mans phone to talk to hubby and my sister. The town was asleep. We all slept inside the car, at the park. The Togolese man was sleeping and snoring like a wounded cow. The few times I tried to sleep, mosquitos and his snoring wouldn’t let me. Then I developed a trick. I would from time to time kick him hard with my leg and pretend to be acting from sleep.

Early morning the next day the driver took us to peace park and that was how I went home safely and kicked off proper, my wedding preparations.

A traveller has more stories than a grey haired person.
This was one of the worst nights I have survived.

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Nwabueze Favour is a blogger, writer, content developer, a data analyst and a development enthusiast. A social media expert, an avid reader and a lover of books, music and movies.

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