UNILAG FOR HUMANITY PIC-FIC SERIES: GOD WIN By Tolu Aribisala
Really? God win?
Even you cannot help but be disgusted at the sight of this man dancing. So disgusting the
way he is so overjoyed in this absolute filth of an environment. The very smirk on his
face, I just want to wipe it off with a hot slap, because yes, no one should ever be so
happy in such a backyard.
Is he raving mad? I ask myself every single time I see him or every single time he wakes
me up by 5:30 am with his bell for prayers. Frayo will shout and clap and yelp to the
same God that he calls omnipresent.
My room is opposite his, so yes, I bear the brunt of his early morning freak shows. One
would think that in such heat, he will conserve the little air that comes in from his "little-
or-no- window" window. But no, he chooses to use his noise to compound the heat for
In all his dancing, all I can think is he better not step on me with the slippers he took
inside that toilet if he wants to live yet another day. Let us all fetch our water and get on
with our sorry lives.
Wait. Why am I so angry? Why can't I be happy for my neighbour? Today is his last day
here. The last time he will have to go through any of this struggle. The last time he will
queue for water, bathroom or toilet. The last time he will battle with an almost dried up
well, and how much you have to pull and pull the rope before the rubber comes up with
an equal mix of water and sand. The filthy bathroom meant for the whole compound, that
even when you're sleep on your bed, you are dreaming of new ways for you to position
yourself so your body does not come in contact with the walls. Oh, or the toilet, which
you have to stand on, while holding on to the walls for dear life, lest you fall and die. Not
because of the cuts from the broken toilet seat, but because of what you're falling into.
Just don't get up. Remain there and die.
Frayo is truly leaving! And I cannot help but be jealous of him. When will my own
come? My miracle, or my stroke of luck? Mama Chichi meant it when she said they are
following me from my village. Upon all my grammar, where am I today? I have lived in
this compound the longest, as each family ends up leaving after a short period of time and
the room gets replaced by a fresh one. Frayo has only been here five years and he is
living today. His big sister set up a small shop in Yaba market for him to sell curtains.
Apparently, he has been able to save to rent himself a self-contained room somewhere
around his shop. They are indeed following me from my village.
Chichi has said it that it is his God that is doing it. So after all my strong-head, will I now
go to him to take me to church? I remember the last time he decided to invite me to
church. I was just coming in from the bar with one okay-looking woman, when he
accosted me by my door. "Let me talk to you about Jesus," he said. It was around 12am.
What was doing me at that point was definitely not what was doing him. I didn't realize
when I screamed "I will not let religion be the alcohol of my soul!"
Religion? Hmm. That thing is only the opiate of the poor like me. Something to shift our
minds from earthly struggles. An excuse. The mist that fogs up one's eyes, keeping him
satisfied with his lot in life, or at least tolerant of it. Will I give into this facade to cripple
my mind? Will joining not make me the exact hypocrite I have been avoiding?
Looking at Frayo dance the way he is doing right now, making a fool of himself in front
of these children, I feel disgust. It's really disgusting. But I guess if that's what it will take
for me to end my seventeen-year tenure in Agbole-Micah, Dustbin Estate, I think I'll give
it a shot.