Many times we hear things like,’ the richest places in the world are grave yards’ Why you would ask? Because the most potential is trapped there for eternity. The dreams, the goals, the ideas, the planet changing, globe turning inventions that could have been made are all caged in coffins ,six feet under the ground. I may have had this same mindset as a bunch of other people do too, however, last Sunday as I sat at a junction waiting for a friend, another source of caged potential stood right before my very eyes. A man in his mid-thirties, average height, smeared in layers of mud and dirt from head to toe, stood in front of me with rags as clothes and a head full of what looked like blots of ringworm. My first instinct as I looked up was to run, sadly I realized I wouldn’t get too far in my five inch heels, so I sat there trying to look as comported as I could. I took my gaze away from him hoping that would ease the tension that seemed to tighten in my chest. ‘Fortunately’ for me the man made himself very comfortable beside me, munching away at a sixty naira loaf of bread. I continued to stare straight ahead of me as I felt his gaze fall directly on me. My thoughts were at war as to how much he would disfigure my face and if I would still have a boyfriend at the end of this encounter. As your wondering too, people stared on at me wondering why I wouldn’t just get up from there. Seconds later the strangest thing happens, the supposed ‘insane’ man offers me his bread. What was strange wasn’t his offer but the fluent English he spoke as he offered it to me. This time I was the one staring at him! I’m a final year student in my university and I can beat my chest and say this man’s diction surpassed a handful of guys that have asked me out in school, sad yes but true all the same. In that moment I looked passed his appearance or his smell or how he ate, I ignored the scrutinizing eyes I got from passersby and I saw an intelligent man who had suffered loss and damage that had led him to the unfortunate state he was in. Believe it or not I got talking to him and realized, I was right. He was a graduate of my university and along the line felt the crunch of poor governance, suffered some traumas and found himself wondering on the streets of Ilorin looking for how to survive on menial jobs.
Two things hit me that day, the first being the reality of having three months till I’m thrown into this same war zone called ‘life after school’. The second thing being the reality of countless people like Bidun ( his name) who waste away due to lack of jobs or knowing someone who knows someone as the system is in our dear motherland. The latter is the backbone of this short right up, you may think,’ that can never be me, things can never get that bad,’ but you know I’m sure at a time Bidun must have declared the same things. The idea of poverty or the realities of life seem hidden from many students and when they enter the ring called life, they are not well equipped to survive the blows and are just knocked out and eventually become one of the statistics. The’ Biduns’ are caged potentials, despised by society because of the way they have come to look and not what they have within them. If all I’ve said didn’t hit a cord in you or your too lazy to read the whole part and scrolled down to the end, take note of these basic, well known statement : trust God; don’t judge a book by its cover; don’t pick who to help, just help; think outside the box and lastly, have constant reality checks in other words WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE