Making the Best of Our Sundays

By Uche Amunike

It’s Sunday evening and I am really very upset. I am so upset that I decided to put down my thoughts on these pages. Did you just ask why I am upset? I’ll tell you. I am a Nigerian mother. Being a Nigerian mother is being stressed. By virtue of my nationality, I am naturally stressed on a good day.

Our everyday life is a struggle. It’s a fight to survive the vicissitudes of our daily existence. It’s a punishment of sorts because the kind of ordeal we experience in our day to day struggles appear like we are being punished for being born into this country. So, being a Nigerian is stress. Then, being a Nigerian mother in the present day Naija is even greater stress.

Did u ask how? Home management, spousal support, playing dual roles of career woman and home manager, etc. Even trying to make ends meet in the present day Nigeria is now torture for the ordinary man on the streets. So, no matter how you try to look at it, it’s stress all the way. However, I don’t want you to get it twisted.

I’m not upset because I’m a Nigerian mother. I’m upset that after all my stress in the entire week, relaxing on Sunday is not even possible. That is the reason for my mood this evening. I grew up believing that Sundays are days of rest. It is in the Bible. God created the world and everything inside it, he rested on Sunday.

From Monday through Saturday, every week, I make sure I do everything on my list of activities for the week as much as I can, in the home, at work, even in my social circles. When I fulfill all my responsibilities in these areas of life, I look forward to my Sundays, because that is the day I rest without having any worries. On Sundays, I usually attend my favorite 5:30am Mass.

After the 5.30 Mass, I go home, take my breakfast and relax with a novel or movie in the comfort of my bedroom until I sleep off. Yes. I usually sleep throughout my Sundays. If I have any event to attend on Sundays, believe me, I do not look forward to attending them because that is the only day I have time to really rest, get my act together and plan for my week ahead. So, I guess I’m finally getting to my reason for being upset this evening.

It is a Sunday and I can’t even relax in peace. First of all, PHCN cut off power early today. Sadly , the weather was so hot that even my home that is naturally very airy has been hot as hell. The next thing I noticed was that so many people turned on their generators and if you live in Awada, you will understand what it means to listen to different sounds of generators when PHCN strikes. The heat was unbearable, the noise of different generating sets was crazy.

My phone battery was fast dying. My power bank was already dead. I checked the time and it was just 3pm. I moved to my balcony for some fresh air and all I got was hot air blowing on my already sticky body. I called my daughter to turn on the generator and guess what, it refused to start. The same generator we used last night. I felt this deep sense of frustration.

I had no choice than to take a mid afternoon shower. I felt better after that. Shortly after, though, I started sweating again. Anyway, I finally resigned myself to fate and returned to my balcony to at least, escape from the heat inside the house. Do you know what came after that? Noise from the Block Rosary Centre inside my building!!! They have this Cultural troupe.

The ‘Egwu Igba’ which they learnt about a year ago. My building used to be one of the Out-Stations of my former parish. That was before we became a parish. So, the Block Rosary Centre is situated right there in my building. On this same Sunday that looked like the whole universe was against my peace of mind, our dear Block Rosary Centre’s Egwu Igba cultural troupe further added to my torment. In that heat and very crazily hot weather, not forgetting the different noises from what seemed like a million generators, the Egwu Igba added to the noise.

At that point I was torn between requesting that they stopped playing the Egwu Igba and respecting myself and allowing them be. I knew I had no right to stop a church activity even if the building was mine. Morally, I couldn’t bring myself to do that. Conscientiously, I didn’t have that capacity. As if that wasn’t enough, I immediately heard loud music blaring from the speakers of a prayer group by my street junction.

They had their entire music live band and were testing their microphones and playing music. I could see their members sharing tracts. I think it’s a Pentecostal church prayer group or so. Believe me when I say that their speakers were top notch because the sound was clear as crystal and the noise was something else. At that point, I felt so helpless and did the only thing I could in the circumstance.

I called my dear husband who travelled to the village for a meeting and vented. I was almost in tears when out of frustration I called and poured out my pain to him. He found it amusing and calmly told me to take it easy and put myself together. His amusement stemmed from the fact that I always complained of the noise in Onitsha even after living here for 30 years. He promised to call the guy that fixes our generator to come and check what the problem was.

After I talked with him, I became somewhat calm, especially after he assured me the gen would be fixed. Well, luckily, before I knew it, the guy came and put the generator in order. That was how I went back into the house and at least , shut my doors and windows to ward off the crazy noise out there. It felt like civilization.

My AC in full blast, my phones charging and no more loud noise and craziness. It felt like Sunday, again. The truth is that there is so much that we need to try and take away from our style of living. We all age so fast in this part of the world because we hardly have time to rest after all the stress we go through. Environmentally, we have that challenge like I did today. As I type, the noise is still out there.

People leave their church premises and come to the middle of a street and begin to play their live band and preach on a Sunday. Please, why???? Every Catholic has gone to church today. Anglicans have attended their church services. Pentecostals, same! It’s a Sunday, for crying out loud. Why will there be this extra street service which, as far as I’m concerned is noise??? Unnecessary and very annoying noise.

The same thing happens every morning. It is called Morning Cry. People take very noisy gramophones and loudly preach to people who are peacefully sleeping in the comfort of their homes. People are dealing with stuff these days. So many people are passing through a lot. They finish with their daily struggles and retire to the comfort of their homes to rest and wake up stronger the next morning.

Then, because you have a gramophone, you decide that they shouldn’t sleep and wake them rudely with loud music by 4.30am and u begin to preach to them. It is wrong. Very very wrong. I know where the church is. If I want to attend Mass, the Catholic Church celebrates mass 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It’s a daily ritual in the Catholic Church. I do not need to lose my sleep by 4am because you want to preach to me without my consent.

It is so wrong. I have my rosary. I have my prayer books. I have so many arsenals provided to me and my family by the Holy Catholic Church. I don’t know why such craziness should be allowed in our society. It should be stopped. It needs to be looked into. Laws should be put in place to check most of these extremities. We live in a sane society. We should act sane and behave like sane people. Nigeria is tough enough as it is.

We don’t need to be frustrated any further. It’s not fair. As I write,  power has still not been restored. The Egwu Igba is still playing downstairs. The Pentecostal preachers are seriously still preaching with their very loud and clear microphones, so many more generators have been turned on and the craziness continues.

I am however presently comforted by the fact that I am safely cushioned in the safety of my home, glad that by shutting my windows and doors, I successfully shut out a large chunk of the noise outside. It’s a Sunday! A day for my God and myself. That’s how it has always been for me. That’s how it will always be! I demand to feel peace and enjoy some quiet on my Sundays.

I owe nobody any apologies for that demand and need. It’s what I want, love and enjoy. I pray that God grants our every wish as we try to make the best of our Sundays! I also pray that we have a great week ahead!! Thank u all for always reading this page and sending feedbacks. Your calls and text messages are most appreciated as well. I love you all! Daalu nu!!!