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The Day We Lost Him

June 23, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 157

The whole village was agog with festivities and celebration. Every age group was involved. The fathers contributed money with which the slaughtered cow was purchased. They also have been contributing money into a fund set aside for this purpose. The women brought in all the ingredient needed for the cooking and also did the cooking. The youths fetched the firewood, slaughtered the cows and goats and ran the errands. They rallied around their fellow youth for which the whole village was celebrating.

He was the first boy from the village to travel abroad to the United States of America. He had the best result in GCE examination. The village elders had unanimously chosen him to travel abroad to further his education with the hope that he would some day help the village in return. On this particular day was the send-off celebration. It was a day of mixed feelings. Some were excited and wishing they were the ones being sent abroad. Others were shedding tears of joy not knowing when they would see the young boy again. Money had been set aside by the village elders for his trip, school fees and upkeep abroad. The elders would also continue to contribute money for the boy's upkeep while in the USA. Little did the elders know that some of them were seeing this young boy for the last time.

Chuks was seventeen years when the village sent him to the USA to further his education. He is the first child in a family of eight children. The youngest child of his family was only one year when he left for abroad.

The whole village was still expectant and excited that they had their son in the United States studying engineering. They were even more excited when, after four years, Chuks informed them that they should stop sending money to him. He has gotten a part-time job and hoped he would sponsor himself to complete Master's Degree. Expectation was running high in the village waiting for the time of dividend payment from one of their sons in whom the entire village was so proud of.

Chuks parents have struggled to sponsor the rest of their children through school. It had become very difficult that they decided to suspend the education of the last two, praying and hoping for Chuks to send money home. His father had occasionally fallen ill due to stress. Family prayer point every morning centered on Chuks: that he should begin to send money home.

After six years, the opinion and view of the villagers began to shift. What they had expected was not turning up. Chuks had always explained to them that the money he made from part-time job was just enough to pay his fees and bills. He had also collected students' load which he had to pay for many years after his Master's programme. The village seemed to be disappointed with the way things had turned out. With so much invested to send him abroad and in paying for his education and living expenses, the people began to think that it was a waste of resources after six years without a positive feedback. Chuks had never visited home since he travelled. Three of the village elders, including his uncle had died within this period. It had become apparent that some of the elders that celebrated his send-off had bade him a final good-bye.

In the eight year after his travel, his immediate younger brother graduated from the university. In that same year, the unthinkable happened; Chuks father died. It was a devastating blow to the entire family. Chuks father would not live to see his son again. At the sad news of his father's death, Chuks regretted the day he left his village for abroad. He remembered how close he was with his brothers and sisters and how the family shared times together. He remembered the times he shared with his numerous friends in the village. He compared how he had been lonely in the US with just a few friends who were actually course mates. Most people in the US seemed to mind their own business. For a moment, Chuks thought that he had sacrificed the hospitality of his village to remain abroad. He could not even afford to travel for his father's funeral.

When the village heard that Chuks was not coming home for his father's funeral, it was easy for everyone to believe that things were not normal. While some gossiped that he had gone mad in the white man's land, others said he had married a woman who did not want him to care about his family. Every hope that someday, he would help the village had suddenly disappeared into thin air. It was becoming clear that the day they lost him was the day they sent him abroad.

Chuks brother secured a good job and had put back his two last siblings into school. He has also commenced building his own house. The family seem to be doing fine and no one mentioned the name of Chuks anymore. Even the village members used his name in derogatory way. All of his village mates were married and some were doing well. His younger brother was also planning getting married.

Chuks visited his village twelve years after. He looked like a stranger in a strange land. Most of the men that celebrated his send-off were dead. Others were old or sick and could not move around anymore. Children were looking at him with amazement while others were bewildered considering the gossips. Chuks could hardly recognize his brothers and sisters. His younger brother gave him a car to use for the period of his visit.

As the family sat together with Chuks after the evening meal, they were pleased as they listened to his story. He expressed regret that time had left him behind when he learnt how well his mates were doing. Even his brother was married. He wished he had not travelled. He explained to his family how it was difficult to make a decent saving abroad.

As I write this story, I remember very clearly the excitement I had then with other children on the day of the send-off. Being an adult today and knowing how the story turned out to be, I wonder how many people are under the same situation. Chuks destiny was decided by his own village elders. Many people are trapped in destinations selected by parents or even mentors. While it is difficult to ascertain the right destination from the onset, except for those who are spiritually mature, it is easy to tell when you are on the wrong destination. If you do not derive fulfilment in whatever thing you do, it may be you are doing the wrong thing.

John Iroh is a free thinker. He takes notice of the differences or similarities as a result of geological, cultural are religious backgrounds. John has observed some interesting features that exist in the under-developed and the developed nations. These features are presented in John's articles. John writes during part of his leisure.

By profession, John is a Structural Engineer and a Snr Structural Engineer with ClerkMaxwell Ltd.

Source: EzineArticles
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