She had been there, the burnt down huts and the church who’s roof was broken. even with direct sunlight coming from the large opening due to the missing roof, the burnt down church still remained dark. Pitch dark. The deaths caused it, the stench of blood was still thick in the air like it was just yesterday.
The children playing around with their almost deflated football, like nothing had happened, as if they had a home to go back to in the evening
The air was dusty, dust raising from the sand. There were few grasses, it was a savanna till they cut down most of the trees, to make spaces for the tents, which were farther off. She had it on the the news, how the extremist group had made their way into the village, cutting past the soldiers and check points, passing through the creaks and using an outlet of the lake. A young child had seen the strange ‘people’, and informed the nearest farmer. However, before anyone could escape or raise an alarm, these ‘certain people’, tore the whole place down that evening.
“Shootings! Bullets, everywhere!”, she still remembered how the eyewitness who was interviewed by the TV correspondent, was continually shaking. He’s strong accent worsened with fear. Everyone scattered, some rather foolish people kept on struggling to bring out their belongings, ” why not just run, how would you carry those your things, in which house would you keep them? This already burning house?!” Struggling with pots and chairs, radio, till a grenade was thrown. This was taken from an eyewitness’s phone record.
The soldiers later came and set up the camp, she thought they would have come sooner, the terrorizers were gone. She saw the hospital, a couple of feet after the burnt down church. The place for sharing the stale food provided by the government and clothes donated was further down.
She had volunteered as an editor of the upcoming newspaper ‘news A read’, to come over to investigate and write an article on the recent killings all the way in the North. After reading the Oil on Water novel about the busted oil rig, she didn’t know when she immediately offered to go, when Shehu — the Chief editor made the offer. The zeal of the journalists, carefully moving across the oil stained waters of the Niger Delta, to show the world the true picture of the mediocrity of their government. She wanted that too, that sought of bravery and excitement; “it could be fun”, she had told herself ,but now seeing the poor state and the resources already lacking, she just wanted to climb a bus with the camera man to take them to the central.
Tafi, the camera man, had followed her. Although, she was good with the camera, it was nice having someone she knew around. Both of them running around when a news broke, could make a scene in some action movie. The ” professionalism”, she thought.. ‘Just like the ones in the novel’.
“And cut”, such videos made it to the newspaper website. Pictures taken were on the newspapers, sitting on the newspaper stands clouded by those who had no intention of buying but, just stood and read.
“I found a place where we can stay”
“Thanks Tafi, that even skipped my mind”
“You see, glad I came with you”.
They arrived last night, had to sleep in the bus. Their new place of abode was in two tents, one for her and the other, Tafi’s.
Learning how to pronounce Tafi’s name, was what brought them together. Though you had to stress the ‘Ta’, the pressure was on ‘Fi’. They were the youngest amongst the news crew and seemed to be the most aspiring. He was a little bit older but, they both couldn’t help the fact that she was the smarter one. From plan A to plan B, plan C was on the way. She was the planner in the duo.
They were to take records, of the place, the eyewitnesses, the condition of the ‘displaced persons’, including the nurses and condition of supplies.
‘Well it was obvious the conditions’, no government official surprisingly had been to the ‘camp’, only a couple of soldiers here dispensed from the ‘reluctant’ Army. One of the only two nurses felt so pleased to give her distaste for the whole organisation.
“Thank you for your account”
“You’re very welcome!”. Stressing the ‘very’.
“well, Okayy”, Tafi and her both laughed. Far away from the clinic.. Of course.
The sun had gone down now, just perks of orange. If she was back home, she would have sat on her balcony and drawn the sky. Such things showed the hope given by God, she thought. She greeted Tafi goodnight and went back to her tent, the mosquitoes were unbearable. The tent was large and spacious, it was meant for a whole family, but Tafi could purchase those. She could imagine a family of eight squashed in these. She might have just given these out and shared with Tafi, she couldn’t help but feel selfish. “No, he’s a man”, how would she be comfortable sharing a room with Tafi, “nope!”, she went to sleep.
To be continued…
The story has been inspired by Ty Bello’s Cold.