Hi everyone, It has been a long while. Finally one of my contributors Paul Fasoro sends his first article for the year.  YAAYYYY!!!!!

Actually, it has been a while he sent it but let’s just say I was so preoccupied with life and could not get myself to edit and publish it. In his words, “This story was inspired by the peak of the dry season in my life”
Be Inspired.

It was early February, as he stood in front of his father’s house, facing the scorching sun, Yemi sniffed the dry harmattan air. He silently wondered why the sun had risen as early as 7:30 in the morning – its heat biting hard on the skin like mid-day sun. He looked around at the dry leaves that were falling from the trees and the dry grass that guarded the pathways; Three women passed by. They were  returning from the nearest river that served the village, but their water jars were empty. The river had finally dried up.

This would mean that the villagers will henceforth go to the other rivers which were far from the village, giving them much more hardship.  The only people who benefitted from the dry season were the hunters as hunting was much easier in the dry season. Even Ajadi, who was named the laziest man in the whole village, would have a catch every evening just by sitting patiently beside the river for the animals that came in search of water.

Alas! The dry season extended beyond the environment for Yemi. For his life was completely dry. He had spent his life well, and was popular throughout the village for his intelligence and good manners. Just last year, he wrote the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination and had passed excellently. He however did not have the money to register for the examination which would qualify him for admission into the University. Even if he had the money to register, he would not, after all, ‘where would he get the tuition when he gains admission?’

He knew that his academic career was over, although it bothered him. He took to farming, he planted maize on the three acres of land given to him by the church and also on the ten acres that the village chief gave him – all gifts for his personality and intelligence. Sadly, the herdsmen that ravaged the village by allowing their herd to graze on farms of people damaged all his crops, leaving behind trails of sorrow and pain for the young man. His father had warned him not to go into large scale farming, because it was too risky. “The higher you rise, the greater your fall.” He would say. However, his determination to meet up with his peers despite his lack of university education would not let him be.

Without any hope of a harvest, he made a meager amount of money from helping people to harvest their crops. He had determined to use the money to repair the leaking roof of his father’s house and had met with the carpenter who gave him a bill. Yemi, however needed a few thousands of Naira more to completely cater for the repairs.

In his deep despair, he concluded that if everybody in the village tried, nobody would convince him that he had reasons to be grateful to God. How do you thank God for a dry life?

He took a few steps from his father’s house wearing an old buba and sokoto that concealed his tiny figure and a rope he had rolled round his belly. He set into the bush, determined to bring his dry life to an end.

It must have taken him about two hours to write his suicide note. In it, he urged the villagers to desist from looking for him or his corpse as he would go deep into the forest to carry out his final act. He told his parents where he had hidden the savings for the roof, and apologized to his siblings. He made it clear that, he had had enough!

As he approached the outskirt of the village, he felt something cold drop on his head. He quickly wiped it off, thinking it was a bird’s droppings on his head. Before he could ascertain what the drop was, another one landed on his nose. He looked up into the sky but found no clouds. Could it be rain? Like a flash, he heard the sound of rain coming from the east side of the village. Nobody had prepared for the rain and so everywhere was in great confusion. The villagers ran in every direction, seeking for where to hide from the rain. Some of them would have loved to dance in the rain, but this was the first for the year and the sky was still dirty.

Yemi ran to the church nearby to take shelter at their corridor. His own congregation had their auditorium at the other end of the village and so He stood under the shed in front of the church with other villagers. He hoped that nobody would touch him or come close enough to feel the ropes under his buba.

From the church came a melodious tune. The words of the choir sank deep into his heart as a piece of rock would in a lake. Those words had a special meaning to him as he meditated on them.

”What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our griefs and pains to bear.
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer”

The second verse brought even more tears in his eyes.

“Have we trials and temptations?
Is there sorrow anywhere?
Precious Jesus still our rescue,
Take it to the Lord in Prayer”
Nobody seemed to notice as he wept. He found a convenient spot to sit and buried his head between his knees as he wept even more. He wondered why he had abandoned his closest friend – Jesus for that long. He knew things would have long been sorted if he had depended on him instead of worrying himself needlessly about the things he hoped for. He began to ask for forgiveness, and asked the savior to start work in his life.

He knew deep down, that as the rain had come to end the dry season in the village, his life would also experience a freshness that comes only with rain. “For there is hope for a tree: if it is cut down, it will sprout again. Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put up shoots like a plant” Job 14:7-9  The words of the preacher rang in his head as he walked back home when the rain subsided.

 P.S: Thank Paul for this lovely piece, I do hope at least one person is blessed. If you are, do well to share the link with one more person, there is love in sharing!

P.P.S If you haven’t bought my book “HOPE ISLAND” available on OKADABOOKS app, kindly let me know why!