By Uche Amunike
Just a few days ago, I was at the South East Bus Park along the Owerri Road, by the Obodoukwu Road intersection at Onitsha, where I went to make arrangements for a bus to take home some stuff for me to my hometown, Urualla in Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo State.
I was seated at a corner of the park when I noticed a little boy of about 13 years of age, carrying goods for people and collecting money for his services. I wasn’t too sure about him being a tout at the bus park maybe because of his age. Or perhaps it was because he was not looking so dirty like most young touts at bus parks.
There was something comely about him. He had this humility and aura of a young boy from a regular home. For that reason, I kept on watching him until I got a bus to take home my goods, and was bargaining the price to be paid for conveying them all the way to Imo State.
That was when I noticed the young lad walk towards me. He greeted me respectfully and naturally got my full attention, having been interested in him all the time I was sitting at the bus park. He said, ‘ma please can I help to load your goods into the bus’? I asked him, ‘do you load goods’ and he answered in the affirmative. I asked him why. And he became somewhat shy and told me because he was trying to raise money.
I asked him if he was a tout or just trying to raise the money for a period of time. He told me it was just for the festive season. I asked him his name and he said his name was Daniel. I tried finding out if he was in school and he said he was a student but every festive period, he usually helped in carrying goods for people at different bus parks just to make enough money for his mother to take care of his needs during and after the festive period.
I asked him how much he made in a day and he said sometimes he made N1500 but on Saturdays, he usually made as much as N2000 or N2200. I looked at him and saw a young boy with a very bright future. I told myself if this boy could think this way at the age of 13, it’s because he wants to be useful to his parents. I didn’t need a soothsayer to know that he will definitely make it in life.
So I told him, yes he could carry my goods, but he had to wait for me to finish my bargaining with the driver, then he Could carry my goods into the vehicle. I could see his excitement the moment I assured him he would be the one to load my goods inside the vehicle. Well to cut a long story short, he ended up packing every single item into the vehicle. When it was time to pay him, I asked him how much was his fee and he told me N300.
I was touched, looking at all the goods in the bus considering that he was the only person who loaded every single bit of it and now asking for a paltry N300? As I watched him wipe the sweat off his forehead with his index finger, I decided to make his day. So I dipped my hand into my purse, counted N5000 and gave to him. What made my day on that fateful Monday was the expression on his face and his general reaction after giving the N5000 to him.
First of all, he wasn’t sure whether to take the money from me or not. I’m guessing he thought I didn’t hear him well, so he repeated ‘auntie I said my fee is N300’. So, I told him ‘yes I know, but I want you to have the N5000. Tell your mum to buy you a beautiful outfit this Christmas’. I watched him as tears welled up in his eyes. I saw him struggle to fight the tears from dropping down his cheeks as he stretched out to take the money with his two hands.
And then, he impulsively knelt down to thank me. Embarrassingly, I held him up and told him not to worry. I advised him to keep the money well and he told me he wanted to run home and give it to his mum before returning to the park so he will not lose it.
I watched him walk out of the park in excitement and smiled. At that particular moment I knew I had touched a life. I’m just trying to pass a message. My dear readers this is the season of Love. It is a season of giving to people who we are better off than.
It’s the time to remember people who have nobody to remember them. In your neighborhood there must be people who are going through financial difficulties and their case looks really hopeless. You can surprise them with cash gifts or even food stuff to enjoy the Yuletide with their families. I assure you that God loves a cheerful giver and givers never ever lack.
We have so many motherless babies homes in and around the state. When was the last time you visited a motherless babies home? Please do try and visit one before you go down to the village or other towns to enjoy the yuletide. There are so many ways to touch lives. Decide how you want to do it. It’s your call and whatever decision you take remember God always rewards.
Sometimes we focus on things we want that we do not have. We however sometimes forget that the greatest gift God gave to us is the gift of love and the gift of life. Let’s keep loving and living in ways that will impact lives and make us be the reason why other people wear smiles on their faces.
The year 2021 has come and is about ending in a few days. If you have lived it well by societal standards or by Christ- like standards, I pray that God in his infinite mercy will continue to bless and sustain you as you journey through life. If you did not think you lived well, either judging by societal standards or by precepts set by Christianity, I pray that God will give you the Grace to be a better person in the year 2022. I also pray that as we enter the new Year 2022, we shall embrace good health, progress, breakthrough, exponential leaps in our different endeavours and a prosperous life. I pray that the souls of all the people we lost in 2021 through the mercy of God, shall find rest with their Maker. Amen.
I thank everyone who has touched my life in one way or the other and pray that God will also touch their lives in the way they desire through Christ our Lord, Amen.
To the Fides Family, I know this year has been tough but I also believe that no matter how tough the tides are, we remain pacesetters in this business and still lead while others follow. Here’s thanking God for all our achievements this year. It can only be by Him. His Grace truly is sufficient for the unstoppable Fides Media Ltd!!!
To the Digital Director of Fides Media Ltd, the indefatigable Very Rev. Fr. (Dr) Martin Añusi, his team, Rev. Fr. Obinna Dike, Rev. Fr. Anthony Pio Okafor and Rev Fr Fidelis Odunukwe, I thank you all and appreciate you for living and keeping the faith.
To my esteemed colleagues, both in the newsroom and beyond, I got big love for you all.
Merry Christmas and a happy New year to us all!!!