Growing up as a daughter of a deacon in a Baptist Church, diverse groups were already waiting for me as my shoe size changed. Even if I didn’t join any Girls’ Brigade, or the compulsory one year National Youth Service, this words were familiar to my ears.
The moment the commandant of the Lydia (that’s what we were called) order us to march on the spot, it made my blood boil.
We would remain in the same spot, and the drops of our sweats could fill a bucket, but we would not move an inch forward. Our sneakers would annoy mother earth, but she’ll utter no word, than to split on it. That we were marching was not the issue, but we were not marching forward.
Nothing can be as draining as an exercise in futility. The sweat of an assiduous man should sweep his way to the peak, but when it doesn’t, it is draining without gaining.
For five years, Struggle left the house as early as 4am everyday, yet he could only afford a motor cycle after a long contribution (ajo) that he had collected. Though he had been burning the candle at both ends, you could see lack painted all over him.
His hands will enter his pocket, go straight to his mouth and would become empty before he could dip his hands into the same pocket to get a cover for his body. A chameleon could change his cloth every hour if it wishes, but it was an impossible feat for him.
I could see him march everyday, but he was only marching on the spot.
I wouldn’t know who propelled this question or he overheard it somewhere, but that day shone on him the sun that changed the order from ‘on the spot’ to ‘a forward march’. I can still remember as tears was climbing down his cheeks, but it wasn’t the tears that I couldn’t forget, it was the question he asked, ‘why am I still here?’….