Dear Mustapha, It’s that time of the year when I get to travel to a known world. This time around I am going to Anyim- the place of rest. Anyim is on a hill bordered on the right and left by rocks with swift-flowing rivers and forestry.
Mustapha, I wish you were here so we could see this sight together. Oh! Well! What can I do?
Krkrkrkrkrkrkr, the time is 5 am. Tan! I hit the clock to say my prayers.
Chukwu bi n’ Igwe daalu,
I am going to Anyim,
Burum Uzo gaa,
Ka m nátà n’údo
I prayed, for in my culture, we pray to Chukwubinigwe.
While I prepared for the journey ahead of me, the Sun ☀️ rays pierced my windows. It was a confirmation that Chukwu m di ndu.
Dressed in a black sleeveless gown with a well-packed brown Backpack, I stepped out of my home ready for the road ahead of me.“Egboke Egboke Egboke,” yelled the bus driver who appeared to be in mid-fifties. I stepped into the bus and took a seat. Unfortunately for me, I sat close to a couple who seemed to be very insensitive to my singlehood plight.
I can’t help but think of you, Mustapha. At least I have my bag to dip my head into.“No.15, you can load now,” the driver yelled again as he removed a symbol from his bus. Finally, we will move, I said to myself so I can forget my miseries.”Ehhhe, make everyone put on their seat belts for safety reasons,” the driver said instructed.
After three miles, there lay Anyim, my Anyim. “Driver, biko a gama aritu ebea(driver please I will alight here),” I said. He pulled over, I alighted and, the bus zoomed off.I stood there wondering which path to take. I was about to check my map, when two little ones zoomed out.
‘Tadadada, you can’t see me,” says Child A.“Of course, I can,” says Child B. “Hey, Little ones where can I find Anyim?,” I asked.”Over there,” they pointed.
“Okay little ones, thanks for your…”
They zoomed off already .
Oh, Children 👨👩👧👦
As I walked,
vrum vrum, the trees moved,the cool breeze, the serene environment… I touched the trees as I walked.I felt the peace.
Suddenly, ouch! I am on the floor! It happened that I missed a step. Mustapha, there is no one to tell me sorry. I rose from my feet…Lo and behold Anyim, The books didn’t tell the story enough.
From the east to the west, I heard the beautiful chirping of the birds and the voices of the Trees.I heard them saying, “Welcome Aria.”I took a step further, to see the swiftly flowing streams.
“Is that a song playing? ,” I asked myself. “Where is it coming from?” Like the three wise men who were directed to Baby Jesus by the star, I moved depending on my ears for direction.
Ahah!I found them! Dancers on bold colored attire with unique dance steps. I couldn’t help but smile as they moved their bodies. They stepped forward twice, backward thrice. For a moment Mustapha I found something I so badly wanted to learn asides from my books.
Tatatatatatatata Tatatatatatatata!Tatatatatatatatata, Kpum Kpum
“Kunira”– someone who appeared to be the leader yelled.Everyone scampered for safety. I followed suit. I guess Kunira means run for your lives.As we disappeared, the armed men came out, dancing what seems to be a dance of victory.They booed.They set the instruments ablaze.
Then it became clear,
For a moment, the beam in my eyes was removed to see the wounded people,
the little ones who couldn’t escape the maxim guns,
dead bodies on my right, dead bodies on my left.
I noticed the armed men left the scene. I decided to find my way out before something unfortunate happens. As I walked, I could barely find a space for my feet.
I saw the burnt houses, destroyed shops, the disappointed faces.
While I walked, I heard voices speaking in an unknown language. There was a surge of strength within me, I ran as fast as I could to safety. I hid behind one of the rocks. From that view, I saw how closely the village was connected.Thankfully my backpack was full so I could hold my breath for two days.
Mustapha, I can’t help but wonder why Anyim is like this.What happened?While I pondered on these,
Tam Tam Tam…
Someone is coming… My mind told me. I reached for a stick near me and got ready to attack first.I am certainly going back to my parents at Iwu land. I can’t die here. I moved out of the hiding place with full force to attack first, Inly to find a grinning old man.
“Calm down,” he said smiling.“Come, you need to rest,” he beckoned.
We got to his house.
The walls of his sitting-room were torn into two. The bullet holes were very visible.
“Papa, why is Anyim like this?” I asked.
“Hmmm”. He began,
“When I was 10, we woke up to peace, love, and unity.
As children, we danced around the village singing songs to our people.
Tim, Daalu, Nafu, and Egboge were my best friends. They are dead now.
We would walk around the village playing hide and seek games, hunting, and wrestling.
At noon, we would attend Baba Nahurus’s class where we learned how to be responsible young men.
As you know, Anyim was an empty land. My clan was running from the Atoka invasion of Ahiala when we found this place to settle down. Same with the three other clans in Anyim- Ahiri and Wuziri clans. Ahiri was running from Ataku’s invasion of Omokpoto, their original homeland. Waziri was running from Ikiara’s invasion of Kumani, their original homeland.
Though we spoke different languages, one thing bonded us, that is, the quest for solace.
As we grew and lived together, there was a need for more land to accommodate our growing families. We also began to discover natural stones Ebinigwe(God in Heaven) placed In the soil.
There was dancing and merriment till the Ahiri and Wuziri clans decided to take it all for themselves.
That is where all this began.
The three clans were divided.
Friends began to live like enemies.
We are only sitting on a keg of gunpowder.
Strife, shoot outs are our normal day-to-day experiences.
But, when I look at our young men, I see the difference between them and the previous generation.
They have begun to dance together.
Music is one thing that united us.
As I watched them dance I realized that though their fathers are caught up in the greed battle, there seems to be a light at the end of the Tunnel.
Though not all aren’t fighting the greed battle.
I believe with time, Anyim will be restored. It will become the place of rest as it was.
I am not sure I will see it.
I will probably be dead by then…
But you, you must go now…
I opened my eyes to see my Mustapha, properly kept by my mom. I can’t wait to take beautiful pictures with it.
Ebinigwe- The God who lives in Heaven.
The prayers- The Lord who lives in Heaven well done, go before me and let me return in peace.