CHIMEBARA cheered them On

 

After things fell apart, the story was not that of broken china replaced by another, rather it was the muddle its white fragments created on the sands of our brown mind.

Reaped off her soil, the new way of life christened her civilisation pagan. She embraced the chorus, which became her confession and the redemption of her virgin soul.

Tonto Nwankwo had worn her uniform to school. She was diligent and had worn them all through school. Now she often shuts her eyes tightly, to become or emerge in the beautiful dress on the advertisement, but has not.

“The volume of applications for jobs I have written since I finished the university in 1990 will compete favourably with drafts of another novel in the useful hands of Chinua Achebe. Yet I don’t have a job”

Her luring nostalgia to stories of the past, when her people’s eyes were single and their bodies were flooded with light, has become her besetting sin. These thoughts would strike her with the ravenous poison to a dissenting exodus and she would die again.

She had been told of a single story from the past; that her ancestors had a homogeneous perspective to why they were here on earth. There was a shared cohesive meaning to why they lived in community with everything on earth, and accorded all objects the universal, equal and earthly rights to soul and life. Though it was a limited society, but it deserved no such death sentence as it is obvious in her life today. Everything is out of reach, both the old and the promised salvation.

“The bare and glistering skin of my forefathers’ muscles sang the praise of the trees; as their sponge ‘sappo’ cleansed it’s sweating grime. Today our finger no longer fertilise the earth, our black skin is detached from the sun and they are even of less significance now than the colour of this advertised dress”.

Nothing meant anything. Frozen in time, the school uniform hasn’t led to the beautiful dress yet. The excessive coverings of the dress has rubbed Tonto’s people of the wisdom of their sparse covering; which was an echo of their archetype for necessity, frugality and singleness of purpose, not sin, poverty or permittivity, as now suggested.

With her right hand, she reached into the left cup of her brassiere, lifts the heavy lump of her tugging breast, into a beaker she exercised milk, kissing her teeth and fighting off tears, for the more than likely death of another child. Her six months premature daughter, Chimebara Donny Chintua-Chigbu is going to die in ten days.

“In the past three years after marriage, I cannot remember one single day I have not been pregnant. Yet I am not carrying my own baby yet, she cries. Looking up, as unto heaven, she asks “Or, am I a witch?”

Chimebara kicked, squirmed and let out cries in spout and puffs of air as she struggled and fussed to breath. She never opened her eyes and maybe saw nobody.

Chimebara never came home, was never buried but reinvested at the request of these angels who studied to help other children born under the same circumstance.

Under the glass shield, encased in the incubator and cared for ‘Baby Precious’, as she was tagged, and as her place was in the number of uncounted infants, trees and endangered animals who died every second in the world’s remotest corners, Chimebara fought for life as though death never ends it.

She was positive; she told a story in her kicks. Her father, Dike Obiora clutching the hands of his wife smiled, at the spirit of his daughter who has told him so much than a lifetime can tell a struggling man.

Leonard Chintua-Chigbu
Listening and Creative Communication Artist
BA Fine Art (Painting) University of Benin 1986

Please, I need your comments and questions. Thank you.

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DICK was a student Teacher

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Today was Tuesday the Twenty Seventh. The month of January, in the year of our Lord, Two Thousand and Fifteen, the day Mr Dick Hamilton; the student teacher was fired. My name is Harry and I will tell you all about it.

“Good morning, Mrs Smith”.

“Good morning Harry and how was your weekend?”

“It was alright Mrs Smith. Miss, I was at my Dad’s, so, so I couldn’t do my homework”

“Not to worry Harry, am sure Mr Hamilton will sort it out later”

Mr Dick Hamilton came differently. Gold coffee; his aura was plain and formal, and he left an innocent air of vintage sophistication and confidence. He was charitable with what he knew and wore his age and experience with a casual hint. With no conscious effort, he became an unavoidably focus and a contradiction of a student teacher.

Jack’s father of all people also liked Mr Hamilton. The other day, he said something like this, “minorities is good and we’ve come a long way with sorts and chocolates…” Ha-ha, that doesn’t make sense. Yeah? But, anything that sounds like m&ms, smarties and chocolates, I’ll reckon must be something nice he’d said.

“Thank you Mrs Smith and Good morning children” said Dick Hamilton as he starts his lesson for the day.

Mr Hamilton’s starter came on beautifully. He is made it more inclusive by differentiating, the answers as it appeared that only the high and middle ability children were leaving the rest of us behind. It was getting to five minutes. He began to quicken his pace. He calls out to me, saying that I have been good, although I had been day dreaming.

“Alright, our topic for today’s lesson is…”

Smooth! His introduction blended well, with his questioning which invaded our ‘privacy’. O! Sorry, did I say that? No, I meant that his introduction blended well, with his questioning which investigated our previous knowledge of the substance of the lesson’s topic.

It’s a bit quiet today; everybody is behaving themselves. I remember when Mr Hamilton was new and we used to wind him up. He’s learnt this behaviour management tricks fast, I must say.

Like the African fireflies, the splint of an invading curiosity crawls from the depth of darkness. As it scrapes the crust of the knowledge it seeks, the sparks illuminate, and ‘a fact’ sees the face of the risen sun.

Mr Hamilton crawled gently. He remembered not to be too ‘teachy’. When he was new, ha-ha, he used to talk too much. Now, here is the secret, “Save Your Breath” Start banter amongst us and just stand by the sides to tend the fire. In teaching these kids, it’s best to use them to develop and answer their own questions.

Moreover, we don’t listen much these days. This is because there is a lot going on around us. You could practically get run over by everything, if we listened as much as adults want you to. You could even lose your own life listening to an adult, trust me on that.

Also we think all adults especially teachers are boring, and sometimes don’t make sense, as well. Now, Mrs Smith thinks I need a statement, can you beat that? I don’t need statement from anybody, because I can make my own sentence with my own name. I bet you don’t get it too.

However, If we don’t learn by the way you teach, you have to teach how we to learn; pupil’s Voice ‘innit’? Ha-ha, I know my rights, yeah, and ‘every child matters’

Mr Hamilton has enjoyed some respite since his trainers succumbed to his wishes to tailor his training to the dictates of the monitoring university’s tutor. This has not happened without a few blunt communications from him. So much has been at stake, by implication, and it’s been an uneasy calm and Mrs Smith has been out of the class more around here since then.

“Write on your whiteboards guys…”

Shush! Mr Hamilton is looking at me. He’s coming this way. I hate this Assessment for Learning thing teachers do.

 “Harry”

“Yes, Mr Hamilton”

“If I have double of what you have, and you have TWELVE, what do I have?”

“TWENTY FOUR, Mr Hamilton”

“Super! Well done. Guys on Harry’s table, I owe you all a sticker each at lunch time.”

Whoosh! That was close. How did I pull that off? But how was I supposed to learn these answers when am not soothsayer or psychic? Sometimes I don’t see the point of coming to school. Phew! He almost gave me a heart attack! What did he do that for? Well that one was a nice one though. I like him.

My father says that Mr Dick Hamilton is one teacher who’s got a better head than his own name. Of course my father, like most adults, sometimes, doesn’t make sense too.

But surprisingly, he is one thing my mom agrees with my dad, whenever my dad mentions names of teachers in my school.

I really like him a lot.

The mini-plenary pulled off well. So was the task for the day and the plenary. However he must evaluate his lesson plan and reinforce our understanding on ‘tens and unit’ to further address our misconceptions, for progress into the next lessons. But sadly, there wasn’t going to be another lesson.

Those who learn are sometimes better to be fully immersed in the darkness caused by the ignorance of what they seek to understand. They should even feign ignorance, if that will pander on the ego of their trainers.

However, one of his own; Fela Kuti, quickly dissents in his fluting, saying “Teacher don’t teach me nonsense”

This story is best told when darkness is on one side and light on the other. Then the light will permeate the darkness, and there will be Light.

While darkness is always dark, LIGHT could sometimes be faint. Only light can be made brighter, even then to brighter brilliance.

Like the way the story started, it was today Tuesday the Twenty Seventh. The month of January, in the year of our Lord, Two Thousand and Fifteen, at a quarter hour before mid-day that Mr Dick Hamilton; the student teacher was summoned to the head teacher’s office.

Now, I was not part of it but it was decided again that it was expedient that one person should die for many people, than for many people to die for one person.

I was also not part of it but reasonable amount of spurious evidence was stacked against him. He was sent off and implored never to foist himself on the Sanhedrin of another primary education’s sanctuary.

And his wage was taken from him.

I was told that three days and three nights, while bent over by the indignities and chastisements of an empty pocket, he fell forward to the ‘truth’, that his ‘time’ has just been given back to him.

And that forever, the ‘wage’ they took off him, will palter miserably; against the bounty of the ‘time’ he has gained back from them.

Leonard Chintua-Chigbu
Listening and Creative Communication Artist
BA Fine Art (Painting) University of Benin 1986

I need your comments and questions please. Thank you.

Our cause

Our cause is a battle against our worries and fears which say ‘Worse things will happen to us’

We say that though there is no such life as one without challenges, or rose beds without prickly thorns, we tell the story of life’s challenge to illustrate that they are finite.

Our friends will come out with an after taste that they too can pull through their challenges.

In celebrating the ephemeral nature of all life’s impediments, our story is a collection of how all troubles ENDED.

Therefore, at any point you wish, you can, DONATE to support our cause.

 

 

 

UNCLE Bennett’s Struggles

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It’s was 1987 in a 5Star hotel room. I was visiting a lady friend and Uncle Bennett came visiting too. He was not my uncle but that title stuck with him as he was later to be known by the rest of us.

He was bald, deep chocolate black and had a clean set of white teeth that beamed whenever he smiled. And he smiled and laughed so often.

Everything about him said how rich or comfortable he was. These things were diabolical enough in themselves to persuade any lady to prioritise him in their short list of suitors. I was soon to relinquish my status as visitor as I joined my lady friend to play co-host to Uncle Bennett.

In this old city, the Sahara desert was our closest neighbour. It came with its allies of frightening blares of sun rays and sauna hot heat waves before the hours of the early noon.

Amidst bare running wheels, beautiful cars strode through the streets. Behind their air-conditioned wound up windows, their occupants were always clean, glossy and untouched.

The main street was a colourful crowd scene of flowing gowns and turbans whose sails navigated the hash head winds with deft seamanship. In this steer fry was the few like me, whose western clad exposed their sauna blacked bodies. Their faces were covered in dusts, caked in dripping sweat like a Shakespearian mascara gone terribly wrong. My satchel and bleeding cracked lips said nothing of the thirst I endured.

I met Uncle Bennett again in a much pious place. Our introduction had been done two years earlier, so he needed to talk. I listened.

He was everything we had thought about him but he wasn’t in heaven. He was in a dizzying loop of finding new girlfriends easily, and sadly losing them just as quickly.

“I was once married, but she left with our son. Women had been for me just for the obvious male reasons. I was the man and there was the belief that gifts and roses will always sway them. I was wrong”

“It’s difficult when you have started out for this long and things change on you. Yes, they change for the better, but the new reality is frightening and am confused whether am not working against taking the steps I should take”

“I have anger problems. I am scared to keep my girlfriends long”.

“I have kept my relationships short. They only last between one trigger to another. I can only last seven days, and that was okay for the player. Now I need, but can’t handle a long haul”

“I will be happy if somebody I love can love me… Am not sure anybody will love me after they see me explode”

He talked, I listened. We were seen together more and I heard quite a few complaints and accusations, but time wore on and we kept at it.

Much older now than he was in 1987, his teeth still beamed in sparkles. More to the sparkle on this Facebook photograph, is his wife of these many years and their eighteen year old son, next to him in Old Trafford. Their daughter had also joined them from Cambridge University.

Manchester United went ahead to win that home match, which was no news at the time.

 

Leonard Chintua-Chigbu
Listening and Creative Communication Artist
BA Fine Art (Painting) University of Benin 1986

I need your comments and questions please. Thank you.

 

Our cause

Our cause is a battle against our worries and fears which say
‘Worse things will happen to us’

We say that, though there is no such life as one without challenges,
or rose beds without prickly thorns,
we tell the story of life’s challenges to illustrate that they are finite.

Our friends and readers will come out feeling better,
with an after taste that they too can pull through their challenges.

In celebrating the ephemeral nature of all life’s impediments,
our story is a collection of how all troubles ENDED.

Therefore, at any point you wish, you can, DONATE to support our cause.