Wa?an inuwa

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

February 10 

"There is no Coronavirus, it is just another government propaganda to funnel in international funds!, the scheming thieves!". 

"But imagine the gravity of Saudia closing its borders and cancelling Hajj—this is unprecedented, there truly must be something out there". 

"Certainly there is no denying a disease out there is scaring the Turawa and Larabawa!". 

"Precisely, and now it has spread to Africa". 

" It is impossible a flu-like disease will survive in Africa not under this sun! The average African suffers bolts of malaria and typhoid countless times in a year and still survives, tell me what's Flu compared to malaria and typhoid?!". 

"But… There are reported cases including deaths in South Africa—". 

"This is Nigeria, and there is no Coronavirus". 


April 29 

The death. 

It had rained all night, the sun won't come out. The morning was going to be one of those days when the soft breeze reminded us to be happy and the shoes won't boil the feet if we decided to go out. But we no longer do so. Breakfast was a hasty bean porridge put together— I know this because it was garnished with stones. My teeth were sore and my temper, seething. The cook—my brother would have a piece of my tongue when mother wakes and then I could make as much noise as possible. 

Then they called. 

He died in kano. 

We woke mother. She was more concerned about being twice a widow. 

"Isn't that hard luck?" She says. 


January 14 

She has a school assignment, four five hundred words articles about anything. She will write about college love, and fashion. Four articles but she had just two ideas—they were the only things exciting to her. So she asked me for more ideas. 

"Every other thing feels so boring," she says. 

"Why don't you write about black women hair care and maybe Coronavirus?". 


January 7

People spend the whole of the month wishing everyone' compliments of the season', sometimes it is a coy to get freebies, sometimes it is just empty words. The shops will not pull down the green and red ribbons any time soon. The disco lights will keep blinking. Schools are just opening their doors, and school girls like my sister keep bringing home neatly wrapped up gifts from friends who felt obliged to share. It was the beginning of a beautiful year. The year 2020.


January 25 

January was almost gone. It was that time again when icy harmattan wind was already having its midlife crisis, blowing at everything from skirts, to beards, to roof tops. 

I was in my room when she walked in

"sis… the coronavirus article is not coming out well.. I mean this is Nigeria, we have no business with Wuhan. I think I am going to write something different. .. Something much more livelier…" 

"I am going to write about social media especially Twitter, There is so much to learn from there.."

Before I could speak, she turned and walked out, her headscarf softly swayed. It was one of her many gifts delivered in a box with a label that reads "Made in China". 


April 7

My phone rang. 

A friend, an old neighbour who moved out of town. His voice roared in my ear

"Assalamualaikum! Have you heard? The deaths?" 


Turn on the radio! "

"I don't have—"

"Use your phone! Go online!" 

I didn't go online. We were going to the market to buy more garri, sugar and palm oil. I squeezed a face mask into my purse. I will wear it when I am inside keke napep. I was going with my mother, she is old and fat and she talks about food all the time. 

" A mudu of sugar is no longer 600N, they say it is 900N, Garri is no longer 120N, I hear it's up to 300N now". 

Facemask was 50N, it is now 400N. I placed my purse under my arm and walked beside her to the street. 


March 22

People are allowed to shop certain days of the week, they mill around each other, majority are in face masks, and a few with hand gloves. The traders under umbrellas and shanties call at prospective buyers; they struggle behind their masks as they try to make their voice rise above the market noise.

"What is social distancing?". 

"It is a precautionary step against the disease…". 

"I wash my hands and I pray to God everyday. Do you want to buy my wares or not?". 

"I do but you need to stand further back"

She hissed and took a step back, her eyes were veiled with anger but the 1000N note in my gloved hand looked very good. 


April 25

There is a lockdown. The schools are closed. My sister has fallen in love with twitter. She now talks with Hashtags. She has learned a lot 

"#savekano is trendy on twitter". 

My friend, the old neighbour, told me about the deaths —elderly people with blood pressure and diabetes were dying in the hundreds. It was a concern raised by the local undertakers. Old people are dying from diseases not Covid-19, a reported research said so. 


April 26

Online forums; "There is a super spreader who just came back from Morocco". 

"No, this is the curse of the dethroned King". 


April 27

Calls to friends in kano

"We witness deaths like these around this time of the year - every year"

"I have never heard about this all through my stay in the North!" 

"Of course you wouldn't, because it is not new" 

"Oh, Allah ya kiyaye mu dikka, I hope to see you after the lockdown…" 


April 30

The good neighbour. 

"Have you lost someone?. 

"Yes, yes, yes". 

"Do you think it is Coronavirus?". 

"We don't know, but he had blood pressure". 

"We have lost someone too —but people die, don't they?". 


April 30

No beans. 

"Pick the stones out of the beans please!". 

"I am not cooking Beans". 

"why? The Rice is not to be touched until after Ramadan". 

My brother looked at me, eyes empty, face without expression. He has been out of school since the lockdown in March. He spends his days on the couch with his phone unless I goaded him into doing some housework. 

"Beans is finished" he said. 

His dad was dead. 

Our father died yesterday. Already a day old in his grave, we couldn't travel interstate not in this lockdown. There were no goodbyes. 


May 12

"This is the first time I am not taking my mother out on mother's day — this pandemic… ". 

"Ah it is mother's day...i have lost touch with the days of the month". 

"Be strong friend…". 

"This coronavirus came in like a thief in the night". 

"I told you there was no way it's not going to affect Africans. People said it was a rich man problem, but now we know better". 

"A flu like disease killing us...what is the world turning to?". 

I told you coronavirus is real. 


Submitted: May 16, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Jelina. All rights reserved.

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