“Oga, craze man wey don enter market no dey well again o” a jealous Ikpechi said as he couldn’t fathom that white men were on the verge of going to look for a black mad man, of all people, that proud childhood friend of his, Uzodimma. Barnes and his team figured out the superstition and quickly discarded it, thanking the elders for their hospitality as they set out for the day’s search. They were quickly called back to partake in a significant ritual. The kola-breaking ritual of the day.
“Onye wetara oji, wetara ndu. Ihe obula dï mma onye n’achö, ö ga-enweta ya. I ga adi ndu were zua umu gi, i zusi kwaa ha, ha ga azu kwa gi” Ibezimako said to Barnes with a harsh cough, as he offered him a four-lobed kola, a sign of acceptance by the gods. The look on the white men’s faces as they chewed the kola only stirred laughter amongst the locals. You know that look when baboons are offered ice cream. Yeah!
Everywhere they went, he seemed to be a few steps ahead of them. Some marketwomen speculated that they wanted to use Uzo for dollar-rituals. Maybe they needed his hair, or his purple knapsack. Even the Police couldn’t believe their ears on seeing a bunch of serious minded Brits saying they were in search of a Mad Man. In no time, posters were all over Aba, with Uzodimma’s pink lips and brown eyes in the picture. A complete contrast to what he now was. After two good weeks of chasing shadows, Barnes got a call from Professor Lindsay. They were to call off the search and report back to Bloomsbury as Uzo would be given the award in absential.
By the time they were leaving Afikpo, they had lost that queer look that came with kola. They even requested for a bagful of Oji as they noted it was a healthy stimulant. Ibezimako thanked them for their efforts and bade them farewell as they headed for the airport at Enugu.
“As good things come to those who believe and better things to those who are patient, the best things are reserved for those who don’t give up”
Barnes had scribbled these words in his jotterpad back at Heathrow Airport when they embarked on this mission. As he sat in the rickety cab on the way to Enugu with disappointment on his face, those words stared at him. The fire in Uzodimma’s eyes when he first set his eyes on him three years back still lingered on his mind. A young man who wanted to leave Medicine so bad for Bioinformatics wasn’t one you’d just come by easily. His strong convictions on MOVAX and his dexterity with genes, coupled with a genuine desire to help anyone he came in contact with, and his tender heart that gave a listening ear to other people’s problems were true qualities of a rare man! “Uzo, where are you” Barnes asked beneath his breath as they approached the airport.
“Whimper Dimper, I see you Super!”…. The guards at the airport were battling with an enraged man who wouldn’t leave the entrance for anything. It is true what the Yoruba people say that what you’re looking for all the way to Sokoto would sometimes be sitting right there in your sokoto pocket. There was Uzodimma at the airport observing his Midday ritual. “Thud, Thud, Thud“.
Barnes jumped out of the cab and ran straight to him. He embraced him with tears in his eyes as though a father who had just found his prodigal son. The guards couldn’t believe their eyes as four more white men came to hug the “Whimper-Dimper crier
And then suddenly, something unimaginable happened to Uzo as Barnes held him tight in his arms, still in tears like a baby.
“Mr Barnes Williams!” “Mr Williams” “What am I doing here?” Uzodimma came back to his full senses right there and then. It was a healing meeting indeed as people nearly missed their flight watching this transformation.
Beautiful things do happen to everyone, you know!
Uzo underwent two weeks of rehab back in London and was declared mentally sound thereafter.
He currently works at the Institute of Cancer Research at Sutton, London. MOVAX is now in circulation and thankfully, Ibezimako was one of the first beneficiaries. He was already in Stage One when Barnes noticed his persistent cough back at Afikpo.
And guess what, there’s a new Love in Uzo’s life. Who doesn’t need a little bit of romance? Uhn!!!
Thanks to everyone who followed ghetto story through and through. I personally was looking forward to a terrible ending, but I learnt that even in the deepest of difficult situations, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. So don’t give up on yourself. Help is on the way. Is there someone going through an terrible situation next to you, please take some time to show some love. We all need healing, you know…
Till we meet again. I remain.. EnGw Alakowe!!! Catchya Guys!