If the rat joins the lizard in getting wet, when the lizard is dry, the rat may not be.
It was no joke; the passport was lying on the table before me. My friend and onetime schoolmate meant what he’d said: under the pretext of a visit on a friend in Malaysia, he would have one of his kidneys surgically removed and then sold for a high price on their black market. “I go hammer mega, Uzo! See me, see dollar everywhere,” he said. Abi? While he looked eager and ready to leave the country in the coming days, I became more and more pessimistic and hopelessly afraid of the path he was about to take. Should I call his mother, his surviving parent? On several instances, she’d told me he regarded her as “old school” and so wouldn’t heed her advice. What about his elders, fellow church members, or even the immigration office? Man! I was confused. What he would be was a matter of choice. His choice alone.
It’s been five years since my friend left the country. Five years of painful waiting and increasing hardship for his mother and six siblings. As I sit with friends for lunch at Mama Patty’s, our conversation turns to work opportunities and chances of making money abroad. “Nowadays it’s very hard to get a US visa. I think they’ve tightened up. Europe is more promising,” A says. B and C agree. D, however, doesn’t share the same view. “I’ve a close friend in Salt Lake,” he says, quite proud. “He told me that all I needed to do was raise some money—a good amount. He would then take it from there. I’m seriously working toward leaving this country. Plenty wahala full Naija.” I remember my schoolmate. I can’t help but wonder if he made it to Malaysia, if he went ahead with his plan, or if he eventually changed his mind. To the common person in Nigeria, life is more than just a struggle. Some of us literally pass through the wilderness of pain and hardship in the hope of reaching Canaan.
They say luck is a lady. Do you believe in luck? If so, do you think you can be as lucky as the person next door, who pursues a certain daring activity? There is a subtle difference between taking a risk in the hope of achieving success and putting your life on the line for same purpose. Without proper consideration, one is likely to muddle these issues.
Life is a one-time ticket (unless you believe in reincarnation). Don’t throw it away.
***Some parts of this text are in pidgin English.
Abi = is that so
Naija = Nigeria
Wahala = problem