I wake up and the daze in my eyes blur my vision completely. I rub my face countless times until I feel I can barely see. A new day has just been born. It will certainly be a workaholic morning as usual, the birds singing as they fly across the air. The tiresome sun wakes also to take the day on, and to resume its ugly work. I can see every vision right through my window. The sun peeps into the world and smile. Smiles that torture.
I stand up, fighting the somnambulism that is seizing my legs from walking properly. I stump my legs twice as they hit my light mat and raise it up for the air. I am doing my daily exercise. Just that way I will gain my somnolence legs back and walk properly. I walk to the window, gaining a complete vision of our farm. The first thing that welcome me is the odious smell of the ponds. It means the water has to be changed that day and if possible- change the ones that needs to be changed. Life in our farm needs absolute endurance and tireless strength to work and feed the animals in it. We are farmers: modern farmers.
Our home is our farm, our farm is our home. It means we live in a place where we call home and reversibly call farm. We have a mini-farm in our house. Simple.
My father has a mini-farm which he named Aguvast Farm. A farm that has about fifteen ponds with lots of fish in it, Quail birds, Goats, Sheeps, Turkeys, two Ostrich and Hens. All those animals are really a pain in the body. They shit always. They shit more and more, and our house become a bunch of shit and smells. Even the outsiders complain about the smells and how often the people who visit them complain about there houses too. When they say this, I pity myself and I imagined myself sleeping everyday in a room surrounded with ponds that are dirty that needed to be changed but there is no light or no fuel to do so, with two Ostrich shitting competitively as though they are doing shitting contest. And the bazillion Quails- ten feet to my room doing there own shitting. The smells are just indescribable as it is uncomfortable. So we just tell our neighbors each time they complain that we will do something about it.
” We will do something about it Sir”
” Do something. Please do it quickly. we are sick and tired of this smells. They will take over the whole house in soonest. Baba Kemo is complaining about it too, you know what that means.” She tells my Brother.
Baba Kemo is a man in his fifties living in an Estate that shared the same fence with us. He lives with his wife and children. Even as he shares fences with us, the distance between us is still some feeets away. If Baba Kemo complains about the smells in our farm, it has probably reached the height of killing the people close to it. Hyperbolic it may seem, but if you have truly understand the situation you will see that as an understatement.
The smells did not mean anything to us: we that are living in the farm. In fact, we welcome it just as we welcome the air in our breath. But we know how disturbing it is. How suffocating it is for people that visit us. Some restrict the urge to put his hand in his nose, while some restrict the urge to vomit and run away from our house–our farm. But we act along and feel as though it is nothing, deep inside we know this is harming our relationship with others.
Sometimes when I tell my friends to visit me, they shrug and slowly say okay. I will not see them, they won’t come, I know why, I know it is because of the hunting smells in our house that is haunting them away. I feelt a whipping shame and feel so much unloved. But now I embrace it and play along. It becomes a thing of fun and much experience everyday. It gives me the opportunity to have something to write about.
I stand here in our room—in the window, looking, and still feeling reluctant to embrace the day and the work that follows it. I will have to wash all the waterings and feeding bowels for the animals before going to school. A work that won’t take me fifteen minutes to finish. After that, I will take my bath and go to school.
I love school if only because it gives me the privilege to dodge so many works at home. Various type of works are always there to do in our farm every single day: If we are not feeding the fishes, we will be feeding the Hens, the Quails and others, and watering them at the same time. I once hear someone saying, ” Ah! Baba Fela This boys are really trying o, with all this ponds, and lots of Fishes, Hens and everything they still manage it without you employing anyone.” My father just smile. Smiles that say everything even before they are being enunciated. “I have them all why can’t they work.”
My father believe that children have to be trained and set for the future. He believes that education matters but self employment help foster education. He always remind us that this farm should never ever cross our mind as property or inheritance—That we should face our education—that he will sponsor anybody that wants to go to school. We took to his ideology and walk towards it like a journey-man who do not know where he is going but he is very much assured that the place would be fine.
Yeah! That is how it is.
I walk out of the room, rummaging with my eyes, looking for kettle to do abolution. I am a type that pray and read my Quran before going to work in the farm, don’t think I am a saint, my father told us to do so. Sometimes I don’t wake up early to observe my prayers. When I do that, I always have a guilt of conscience hovering in my mind.
I find a kettle hiding behind the ante room before entering the veranda and I grab it and fill it with water. I kowtow to observe my abolution, inspecting our compound with my tiny, little eyes. The atmosphere was delight to see except for the used pure water leathers and quite a lot of biscuit papers. I look at the solemn clouds and the appearance it parades has no good message at all. It is just dark and dimmy. Clouds never looked that way.
I observe my abolution and walk to the house, finishing my prayer, I take my Quran and start to read. I find it so hard to focus on the meaning. My mind is just thinking about something, a dream. Dreams that has no meaning, neither can it be described.
My brother bangs into the room and starts crying.
” why are you crying?” I ask.
” Grand mother, is dead”
©Life & Literature 2013