Category Archives: Writing

For Those Who Fix Their Eyes On Fat Dough

I lie where I failed, asleep in the pool of my blank sheets. But I must sit up now, pick my pen and trace my root.


Imagine you’re stressing yourself out every day of your life, putting in all the efforts, resourses and energy in your job, just to keep food on the table. JUST to keep food on the table! As if life is all about food – I know, food is as important as life itself, yet, I refuse to shove aside these other things like being able to own luxury houses, buy designers clothes, shoes, bags and stuff like that, going to the best hospital for medical attention and buying any of the posh cars in town.

And do stuff like going on vacation to most relaxing destinations and seeing the amazing places of the world.

For those who constantly keep their eyes on their dough and how lean or fat it is, working for peanuts can be a daunting task

I call myself a teacher, a guilty one who can’t be a part of nation’s future building anymore because I wanted a fat dough.

Yes, a fat dough means I could cater for my needs without shedding blood through my eyes.

But teaching is the most fulfilling job I’ve ever had the chance to do, but each time I set eyes on my monthly alert, sighs escaped my lips.

I found teaching in my country frustrating! And when I left, I swore to never go back, at least not here.

I’m not frustrated by the teaching profession itself because I enjoyed my time with those children and even now I feel like I have left my call in pursuit of nothing.

But there was nothing I could do to keep myself in the position where I could be a part of the great future of these brilliant, bright eyed, carefree children.

Teachers are painfully underpaid both in public and private schools. You will see teachers getting between 20, 000 and 70,000 naira as monthly salary. That is approximately between $50 to $170 a month, less than a weeks expenses for family of four.

For those who are lucky enough to miraculously find a teaching job with over 100 thousand ( I heard there’s a school which pays its teachers a whopping 300, 000 or $724, God bless them) there is no need to grumble. You are completely rewarded.

By the way, I was offered a teaching job in United Arab Emirates with good working condition and 3,600 AED (407, 000 naira) to teach kindergarten, I thought it was too small and murmured. When I returned to my country and the first school I got interviewed in told me they would start me off with 25, 000 naira, I went mad and I asked myself question like, what have I done wrong?

The school I’m talking about has its students tuition at 60, 000 naira per term and with 34 students in the class, I deserved not less than 50 000 a month which would be 150,000 a term. Not that it was enough for my expenses but I would have managed it.

By the way the minimum amount a parent with three kids like me spends on feeding alone here can be placed around 40, 000 and you must keep it extremely well managed you know, like having your tape, balances and measuring cups for every ingredient, otherwise, you will have yourself to blame.

While some private schools with high standards pay applaudable sum to their teachers on monthly bases, some pay near to nothing, especially if you are not a “proper teacher” ( a proper primary teacher should be licenced to teach with NCE, BEd, MEd or DrEd or whatever it’s called.

Yet, with your Bsc and BA and postgraduate Diploma in fields other than education, you’re the well sort after in primary schools because they know you’re less qaulified and thereby less expensive. Having a quick 1 year teaching course does not make you a proper teacher here.

So what adds to your worth is definitely the Education specialty. You must have 3 to 4 years course in education to be qualified to open your mouth and say that you are underpaid, otherwise your mouth should remain zipped. After all no one is forcing you to follow that path.

I’ve made my research and I’ve found top ten countries places where teachers feel well rewarded. According to Forbes, these countries are trying hard for their teachers

Countries Average Salary(annual)

Swtzerland $110,000

Luxembourg $98,000

Canada $56,000

Germany $64,000

Netherlands $60,000

Australia $61,000

United States $60,000

Ireland $53,000

Austria $50,000

Denmark $52,000

It then means that teachers are not underpaid after all. At least not in the above countries.

And we expect teachers to get out of their countries and go to where they’re valued rigjt?

Yes?

But the thing is, they are not rich enough to get out of the country. If you consider the financial aspect of getting out of the country.

And I think they should stay and build the nation, for the sake of these children, fixing their eyes on God for heavenly reward.

I wish things changed for teachers for good.

Florence Ezekafor

Trouble Walked Up To Me

A young boy collapsed at my doorstep!

I loved corn pudding dearly and he was a corn pudding hawker. I couldn’t resist the urge to call him when he was passing by my building shouting, “Buy your hot agidi jelof! Buy your hot agidi jelof! Hundred hundred naira!”

He was a secondary school aged boy and the first thing that came to my mind was, this boy should be in school. Why is he hawking while other children are in school learning?

I studied him as he got closer with his tray loaded with many wraps of agidi and his neck looking so short under the weight.

He looked tired and worn out and… sad. And I was still thinking of how unfit he looked to hawk under the blazing sun when he toppled and collapsed on the ground  before me, with my toe too close to his lifeless looking body.

I took two steps nackward and looked around as if I knocked him off and making sure no else saw me doing it. The hunger for agidi vanished and those delicious agidi now looked like gravel to me.

“What happened to him?” My neighbour asked from her balcony.

“I dont know.” I said and shove the boy and called since I did not know what else to do.

My concern was this, if anything happened to this boy at my doorstep, people would gather and ask me what happened. And how would I explain to them that I called him to buy agidi only for him collapse before me. How easily would they believe that I did not do anything to him? And who would be my witness when the police would come?

“Take him out of there madam before people go gather on top of your head.” My neighbour said in pidgin English. And she was right. They would gather and ask what happened, and I better have a good answer.

“Come and help me, ma!”

Who? Me? No be me and you. I no wan trouble on top the one wey I don get for my hand.’ I stared at her with my palm hinged on my waist and back at the boy.

The boy turned to lie on his back.

“Please ma, give me water to drink,”  he murmured, his breathing was fast and shallow. I got the water and he drank it.

“What is your name?”

“Ekene,” I stressed my ears to hear him.

“Ekene, are you sick?” He nodded and  roamed his eyes as if he just realised he was in the middle of nowhere. My neighbour joined us. People began to drop one after another asking, what happened to him? Is he sick? And it was my duty to say the same thing over and over again, “I dont know, he collapsed before me.”

“Is he sick?” They kept asking. To this I said nothing. How would I know?

“Are you asthmatic?”  My neighbour asked.

The boy shook his head.

“Who sent you to hawk?” One man asked.

“Please take me to the hospital. If you take me to the hospital, I will be fine.”

“I need to call your parents first. To let them know were taking you to the hospital.” I need a number to call.”

“I dont have parents. Call my madam.”

“Oooooooh! No wonder.” people murmured. “This woman is over-using this boy for her selfish gain. Look at him! Tired and worn out and yet she had the mind to send him out to hawk in his state. If he was her son, would she do this to him? And why didn’t she put him in school like his fellow children?

I listened to their rant as I dialled the number he gave me. A woman answered and I told her what happened. When she said I should put her on a cab to bring him home, I said no. “Come here madam,” I said, ” it’s a matter of life and death.”

“I’m coming,” she said and the line went dead.

People began to disperse, leaving me and him.

“Auntie!” I turned towards him and he said, please I want to ask you for something. I’m sick with malaria but that’s not why I fainted. I fainted because I want money to register for my Senior WAEC. I want you to help me.”

“What?”

He told me the story of his life. How he dropped from SS3 because no one could help him pay WAEC fees. He had no relative to help him and his little sister. He was the one fending for both of them.

“Who do you live with presently?”

“My employer,” he said.

“She employed you to hawk agidi?”

“Yes, ma. It’s not her fault. I chose to do this to make money for my WAEC, but its hard to save.” At this point I thought I knew what happened. He feigned the whole thing to get me pay his WAEC fee. And he was telling me to my face that he feigned fainting.

I was about to scream his head off when he said, “Ma I didn’t mean you should pay for me. Take me to the hospital and leave me there. I want the doctor to help me get some money from my employer.

I got it. If I took him to the hospital, he would tell the doctor to extort his WAEC fee from his employer by adding some extra cash on his hospital bill..

How amateur his plans! How did he think a responsible doctor could consent to scam his employer?

“Do not do it. I know how much you need this but please stay away from scamming.

He kept quiet. Then he said after a while, “Ma , please when my auntie comes, do not tell her what I discussed with you,. Please.”

I nodded. “But I would if you carried on with your plans.”

“I have changed my mind, ma. I won”t do it. I’ve changed my mind about going to the hospital.

‘You’re not sick anymore?’ He kept quiet. And when his employer arrived, he got up and staggered home by her side. All that I wanted to do was take him in as my child and take care of his need and I wished I had all it took to do that. I wished I could help make his life easy.

I wondered why he could not tell his madam to pay him upfront, instead of using tricks.

Two weeks later I saw him happy, still with his tray of agidi balanced on his head. I asked about his health. He was okay and he did not go to the hospital that day. His madam bought him malaria medicine from a pharmacy. And he sat for his WAEC and the papers were easy.

In the end, I could not help but admired his determination to further his education and how he worked hard to achieve his dream on his own.


I see so many children hawking in the streets. Some of these children have no parents and some have single parents who are disabled or too poor to fend for them.

I like that some African countries have criminalized child Labour but I hope they have something in place to help these children.


More on real stories

The Thing About Loving An Enemy

Can you easily swallow a medium sized rough stone? Yes? Then you can easily love someone who hates, spites and always looks for a way to bring you down.

Unrepentant enemies are likely not to give a damn about your love; just like those who crucified Jesus.

Before they crucified Jesus, they took his lovely garment and expose his nakedness.

As he hung on the cross fighting for his life, they made mockery of him.


Yeah, they mocked him!

But, Jesus, before he gave up the ghost on the cross of calvary, did forgive and prayed for the same people who exposed his nakedness to the world and nailed him to the humiliating cross even though their teeth were all over the place mocking him.

They mocked him the more when he said, ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.’


They didn’t even notice the love and forgiveness in that statement. They didn’t care if he loved them or hated them.


But to Jesus, they were the lost sheep of Isreal. For their sake he came, and even though they were a party to his death, he forgave them.

He forgave Judas as well even though he couldn’t beat taking his own life.

That’s an extraordinary human.

So when I hear forgiving or loving an unrepentant enemy, Jesus comes to mind. There is something extraordinary in what Jesus did. It’s not just forgiveness.

Forgiveness Is not Love

If it were, it would be a lot easier for us to love an enemy.

Loving an enemy goes beyond forgiveness. It entails the show of mercy; genuin and an undeserving compassion.

But to get past the difficult stage of loving an enemy, there is need to assume that such enemy does not know what he’s doing. 😳😳You know, like assuming that he does not know that fire consumes human flesh and leaps into it. Instinct tells you to save them.

Thinking of fire…..

Loving an enemy is like seeing someone who wants you dead in a burning house and jumping into it to save him. Hahaha. That’s it. (Don’t worry. You wouldn’t die in the process. Both of you would be safe.)

I tell you that if you could do that for an enemy, he would repent and would begin to look at you with a different eye; a loving eye.

But be careful with an enemy though, lest he traps and destroys you.

Happy Sunday to you.

Florence

Love and a Cup of Coffee Taste Better When Hot – Ethiopian Proverb

When people fall in love, they are ready to do anything for love; jump off the cliff, sleep on stones, freeze in icy weather, swim to the end of an ocean and jump into the blazing furnace. But how many survive the test of time? Only a few.

Romeo and Juliet’s love was a kind of hot, fresh love. They were in love for only four days before they met their death. That’s what I call hot love. And it’s a kind of foolish, thoughtless love. This kind of love does not allow any level of reasoning to manifest itself. It stiffens the mind and prevents it from thinking about consequences or future complications.

If Romeo and Juliet lived older, they might not love each other enough to die. Fresh love is always sweet love, pleasant love.

That’s where most lovers want to remain. But it’s hard.

It’s hard to keep love in its fresh or hot state. Circumstances surrounding life and individual complications make it more difficult.

As time passes, those who walked hand in hand in their kitchen and bathrooms vow to give up an eye to be free from each other. Separation; gives them the space they needed to be able to remain sane as a couple when divorce isn’t an option.

But this kind of love is always the fake kind of love, love built on what the eyes can see which even the things that eyes can see hardly sustain. Love built on beauty, sex and money is the worst kind of love. It melts like wax and evaporates into nothingness within a short period.

But there is a kind of love that doesn’t grow cold no matter what it’s exposed to. Yes! There are couples whose relationships are old but still feel like yesterday.

When people fall in love for the right reasons, love grows deeper and hotter. They are ready to sacrifice for each other, endure for each other and use anything in their power to renew their love each day. They respect each other’s feelings and do not rely on their feelings to make it work. For love should go beyond what we feel. If we rely on feelings to keep love alive, love dies off when whatever we feel fades away.