Living In The Ghetto - Episode 30

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It was a Sunday afternoon and they were back home from church. Mama served the white rice and chicken stew she had prepared. She prepared the chicken stew on the Saturday evening and cooked the rice on Sunday morning. It had always been her daily routines.  She would cook the rice and put it in the cooler not to allow it to the get cold. Whenever they are back from church, she would place the pot of soup on top of the stove after she had lit the wools . Their plates clanked against the spoon while they all ate.

Adanne looked at Mama and smiled. "I am sure it's because of Chimaobim you made this stew," she said and moved the chicken with her spoon.

"Yes, are you jealous?" Mama said and smiled. "He must eat good food today and take some to school before he starts enjoying the hectic life as a university student."

Adanne laughed and stared at Chimaobim. "What?" Chimaobim asked.

"I am sure you'll look like a broom stick when you are back for holiday," she said.

Chimaobim gestured. "You are not serious at all. Well, it's not far and I can come back anytime I want."

Mama nodded and Adanne laughed.

After they were done, the taxi driver alighted outside the compound and honked. Chimaobim ran out and stood at the doorway to check who it was

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. A young man walked out from the taxi. "It's a taxi, mama," he said.

Mama came out from the room and peeped through the doorway. "Oh, it's him. Bring out your luggages," she said.

They both ran to the room. "Take this... This... And this..." Chimaobim said all at once and Adanne carried some of the loads before Mama walked in to assist them. They all carried them to the taxi.

"I hope you took the soup inside the covered plastic?" Mama asked.

She stood with her hands akimbo and the sun shone above her head while she squinted her eyes. "Yes, Mama," Chimaobim said.

Chimaobim assisted the driver while they placed all the loads inside the boot of the car after he had opened it. Immediately they were done and Mama was advising Chimaobim, Oyinda and Iyawo walked out from the doorway.

"Hey, Chimaobim, you are going to school already!" she shouted.

Oyinda tapped her quickly. "School? Dem don put am for boarding school. Been dey think say he don finish secondary school since. Where hin dey go again?" she asked.

Iyawo ignored her and walked towards Chimaobim. Mama Chimaobim looked shocked. Iyawo doesn't talk to her except on rare occasions, she would only greet her in a flippant manner. Mama gave Chimaobim a side eye and gestured. Chimaobim returned his own. Tightly, Iyawo gripped him and tried to shake him slowly. "Congratulations. Be safe at school," she said.

Chimaobim nodded and entered the taxi. He peered out through the window and waved at Mama and Adanne. They smiled and waved back at him. Mama turned back and stared at Iyawo but she pulled away her face. Oyinda tapped Iyawo and kept gesturing in an inquisitive manner. Adanne could guess they were gossiping as she kept staring at them and they talked in bits and their eyes moved in their directions.

Arriving to the University of Lagos gate, a security man handed the taxi driver a rectangular iron instrument. Chimaobim stared at him as he examined it and rolled it over his hand, then dropped it on the dashboard.

"What's that?" Chimaobim asked.

He wriggled his face. "I think na some form of identification wey I go use to come out. Security reason thing."

Chimaobim nodded. Not so long, the taxi arrived at the Mariere Hall, which he was allocated. He helped him to take his loads to the porters' lodge.

Read " She Did It " by the same author ( Obinna Tony )

. Mama had already paid the taxi driver at home. He waved at him while he entered the taxi and drove away. Immediately, Chimaobim brought out his phone from his pocket. He stared at it and it was almost 5:30PM. A porter checked his  loads and his hostel pass and certified him as a residence of the hall. 

"How can I get to my room number?" he asked.

Another porter that sat on a chair laughed. "You must be a  fresher."

Chimaobim wanted to laugh but stiffened his face. "C205," he said.

"Second floor. This side... You see that place?" he repeated while he kept pointing.

Chimaobim nodded till he was satisfied about his descriptions. Chimaobim carried one his loads upstairs before he located the room. He kept carrying all, one after the other till it remained the last one which was the luggage he arranged his clothes in.
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