Posted in Gombe Tales

The First Time I Traveled to Gombe State: Part 2.

This is a sequel to “The First time I traveled to Gombe State”. You’d understand better if you’ve read the first part 💜.

Three hours later, I woke up to sounds of “where is the driver?” He was nowhere to be found! I was confused ‘cos isn’t the driver the one that usually looks for his passengers? It was already getting late and that wasn’t the plan at all. This was the plan:

Leave the park by 6 am, get to Kano by 12 pm, proceed to Gombe and arrive camp by 6 pm. Yes, I still had 12 hours ahead of me.

The driver had other plans because when we found him around 7 am, he wasn’t even bothered. This man said he wanted to “freshen up”. Who were we to complain? the boss had spoken. It was almost 9 am when we left the park and between 7 and 9 am, Hausa vendors tried to finish all my money. One thing with these guys is that they’re very persistent. That’s how this vendor convinced me to buy a power bank from him. I felt good about myself when I priced it from 8k Naira to 2k Naira. It turned out to be fake! I experienced their persistence in Abuja, Kaduna, and Kano.

They also try to convince you to buy their goods here in Gombe but I’ve learned how to ignore them.

So, we eventually left Abuja around 9 am after His Royal Majesty had freshened up. Abuja is very fine but that’s another story for another day. I can’t find the video of Zuma Rock that I made. Sigh. We got to Kaduna around 12 pm and that’s when another thing happened – the driver said he was tired and he wasn’t going again. My friend and I just looked at each other (I forgot to mention that I traveled with Chioma. I met her that day. She eventually redeployed to Bayelsa) in confusion. The plan was to drive us straight to Kano. Why would this man say that he wasn’t going anymore when we still had three hours to go? I had already calculated that we’d arrive Kano by 6 pm and Gombe by 9 pm but this driver didn’t even care. He eventually put us in a small cab at the park and settled the driver (I think the reason why he stopped was because we weren’t much in the vehicle anymore). We left Kaduna when it was almost 2 pm. By that time, I already picked up that if you’re being spoken to in Hausa and you don’t understand, you say “ba Hausa” it’s easily translated to mean “no Hausa”.

I almost overused the phrase because I was tired of having to respond to “kopa” and a string of Hausa words all the time. Hausa people are very welcoming, I won’t even lie.

I posted regular updates on my IG story until I was too tired and my battery became too low.

Kaduna was dusty that time. It’s bound to be worse now, with the harmattan. As we moved from Kaduna to Kano in the cramped vehicle (because why will you squeeze four passengers at the back seat and two in front for a three-hour journey?) I could taste dust on my tongue and I could feel it on my face. We were covered in dust and I know someone that has asthma will not have found it funny. Meanwhile, the useless power bank I got for 2k had already died and my battery was low again. Sigh. We arrived at Kano around 5 pm or so, after constantly reminding the driver that he should drop us at Gombe park. He did well sha. Once we alighted from the vehicle, we had people to carry our luggage for us. Despite the stress I went through, I never had to carry my huge box myself. There was always someone to help (they probably looked at me and went “make I help this small girl, make she no faint ‘cos stress was written on my face).

Mind you, it was around 5 pm and I hadn’t eaten because I was scared that I’d vomit again so I starved myself.

Chioma and I paid for the journey to Gombe and while we waited, we decided to get buckets ‘cos we didn’t buy them earlier and they’d be expensive in camp. One cheerful Hausa man was happy to show us around. Most of the shops we passed were left open with no attendants. When we asked this guy, he said that they went to pray. The stores were just open. Wow. By the time we got back to the vehicle, we were still the only passengers present but there was no way I was going to spend another night on the road. Chioma agreed that there was no point in looking for a hotel and we could complete the journey. People filled the Sienna and we pulled out of the park when it was almost 6 pm. I had taken a drink by then. I didn’t want to faint.

By that time, I already called my mum to cry and tell her that I was tired and I couldn’t continue anymore. I was tired, dirty, and I just wanted to rest.

According to my calculation, we were supposed to arrive at Gombe latest by 11 pm because we were told that Gombe was 5 hours away from Kano. I remember thinking “so it’s not six hours anymore, I can do this”. It was dark outside when we traveled so I don’t know the places we passed between Kano and Gombe but I know we passed a part of Bauchi. In my mind, the journey from Kano to Gombe was longer because it refused to end. I shared my location with my friend who went to NYSC camp in Gombe and he was telling me that I still had a long way to go. Even after 5 hours were up, we were still on the road. The checkpoints between Kano and Bauchi are more than 10, I won’t lie. We kept stopping anyhow because for every checkpoint, at least two passengers will come down to stretch their legs and if you know Hausa people well, you’ll know that they’re laid back and not time conscious. That’s why we left Kano and 6 pm in the first place. Stores don’t even open till 9 am around here. They don’t like stress and you cannot rush them.

I’m just remembering to mention that in the Sienna, Chioma and I were the only girls with Haus-speaking men. It was later we realized that the driver could not speak English. I spent more than half of that journey praying in tongues and asking God to protect me. Hard girl, hard girl but I was scared.

After repeating the “move-checkpoint-stretch your legs-move” about 10 times or more, I had almost given up. Miraculously, around past 12, the driver pulled into a very dark park. That’s where I lost it. “Where are we?” I asked. The other passengers had dispersed and it was just me, Chioma, the driver and some men in the park. The driver couldn’t speak English. I was confused because we were told that camp was along the road (I realized later that the people that gave me descriptions did not have to pass through Kano and it was a different route entirely). Not long after, the driver disappeared.

This is the road to NYSC camp, Amada, Gombe State. We passed somewhere else entirely.

We were still confused because there was no way we were going to sleep in the park again. We were the only girls, it was pitch black and the park didn’t look safe. A vigilante or policeman that could speak English approached us and we explained that we had been traveling for two days and we couldn’t sleep in the park. This man told us to pay him 2k Naira each for him to carry us to camp on his bike. We bargained and I even tried to use the “what if I was your sister” line on him but he just told us that if we couldn’t pay, we could sleep with the other men in the park. Eventually, he agreed for us to brink 1,500 Naira each and we proceeded to Amada, Gombe on his bike.

This man extorted money from us ‘cos camp wasn’t even up to 30 minutes from that park but I didn’t mind because I would be out of the cold, in the safety of NYSC camp.

We arrived at camp at around past 1 am and you can imagine the look to the security man’s face when he saw two dirty girls dragging their boxes. He didn’t say much. He just showed us to our rooms. We were among the very first people to arrive at camp so most of the rooms were still empty. He also showed us to the bathroom and told us where we could get water. After Chioma and I chose our beds, we went straight to get water. I scrubbed my body like never before and I slept. The next thing I woke up to was “Do you think you’re in your father’s house? Will you jump up from that bed my friend?” This was around 5 am and I realized that I was already in NYSC camp.

In all, it was a draining but enlightening experience.

Love,

‘Ruona ❤️

PS:

This is the rest of the gist oh! This is what I went through.

Have you encountered annoying bus drivers before?

I can’t believe that a Hause vendor cheated me. My precious 2k! Has this happened to you before?

What would you have done if you found yourself in the same situation as myself and Chioma in the Park and you didn’t have any money to pay the policeman for transport?

What part of the story did you enjoy more? This one or the first one?

Please drop your comments in the comment box below. You know how much I love reading from you! 💜

Posted in Personal

Work in Progress.

Hi, it’s me again.

I didn’t want this weekend to go without publishing because it has been a minute. I miss being consistent here and if I’m being honest, it’s not entirely my fault. I’ve been trying to catch up with life outside this blog and I haven’t had time to make time. I don’t know if this makes sense but I know you understand.

You see this whole phase? This whole “I’ve graduated from the university” phase? It’s not so simple. As a matter of fact, I don’t think that I’ve been this confused in my entire life. I love being worried about what I’m going to wear and how to settle the never ending dramas in my life but making decisions? Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s not hard.

I’ve put off writing about my life after graduation for a while because if I’m being honest, it’s not exactly sunshine and roses over here. Before you begin to say that you don’t trust me, I’ll have you know that social media lies. These past few months have been mind blowing and eye opening. I don’t think I’ve ever been this confused or scared because I had my life planned out from the onset and I was so sure that I had everything figured out. I didn’t plan for unforeseen circumstances. It’s not that I lack foresight. It’s just life. Things happen, plans change, and so on but it was pretty hard for me to stop myself from drowning in self-doubt and pessimism. I have learned a lot and I’m still learning.

Weird selfie ‘cos why not?

At this age, I’m glad I know what I know now because my knowledge has made navigating through life easier for me. I’ve realized that this is the point in my life where as much as I have opportunities, there are also limitations, especially financial limitations and I know I’m not the only graduate experiencing this. I realized quite early that I’m not a business oriented person and this is because I have tried on more than one occasion to go into business but business hardly ever works out. I get jobs from time to time and honestly, I wish they were constant but you get the gist already.

Also, I’ve found that I’ve been stressing a lot this period. If you know me, you’ll know that it’s not physical stress. I just drain myself mentally because for some reason, I worry about a lot of things, mostly things that I can’t control. For example, NYSC. When do I start? Where will I be posted to? Will I like it there? Will they even have my size of uniform? The funny thing about all of this is that I know that I’ll go for service. Does this stop me from worrying? No. This is just one out of many.

Another thing is that I don’t like change. I usually find it hard to adjust so I get scared of alterations in my plans and when my plans change, especially when I don’t see it coming, it’s hard to keep my head in the game and I tend to lose focus and it doesn’t take long before I begin to wallow in self-pity and sadness until I’m able to drag myself out of that hole again.

This is a tip of the iceberg but this has been my life for the past few months. I said earlier that I’m glad that I know the things I know now because I’ve been able to identify those things that have been bothering me and instead of drowning in pessimism, I decided to do something about them.

So what are the things I’m doing to get through this annoying stage of my life?

  • I’ve decided to trust in God and in myself. I’m not going to lie and say that it’s easy because there are times when you just find it hard to believe and there are times when I even struggle to pray. There are also times when I forget to encourage myself and I’d wallow in doubt instead but I made a conscious decision not to leave God out of the equation because every single time I look back at where I’m coming from, I realize that there’s no way I would have made it this far without Him. I also decided to always keep saying words of affirmation to myself and reminding myself that I am exactly who I think I am. Anytime I begin to doubt myself, I take time out to list the things I’ve accomplished and that’s all I need to keep pushing.
  • I discovered and rediscovered my interests. Towards the end of 2020, I realized that I was beginning to lose interest in my interests and to an extent, my life was becoming monotonous because I was only doing one thing when I had the opportunity to do so much more. However, at the beginning of this year, I decided to start doing all the things I loved doing again and it has helped a lot. One of the things I love but stopped doing was reading so at the beginning of the year, I set a goal to read at least 50 books this year. I just finished my 22nd book and rediscovering this passion of mine has helped a lot because it’s easier to get lost in different worlds instead of worrying all the time. I also rediscovered my interest in food, music and my friends. It’s a beautiful ride, trust me.
  • I Changed my environment. This happened recently when I had to come back to school for clearance. I decided to stay back a bit and just enjoy this environment and honestly, it has helped a lot because I’ve gotten to see my friends, meet new people, brainstorm on different ideas and so on. It’s been refreshing. I know that I’ll soon start missing my family but the change has been worth it.

So basically, I’m chilling instead of worrying because I know that worrying won’t do me any good. I know that I’m a work in progress and while this stage of my life feels so slow, I know that I’m just starting and I’m going to do just fine. So here’s the update on my life so far in case you were wondering.

Love,

‘Ruona. ❤️

P.S:

I cannot believe that I didn’t publish in a whole month!! Did you miss me?

How have you been?

I’d like you to share one thing that was bothering you and a solution you found for the issue. Please don’t air me.

If you’re a graduate and you’re waiting for NYSC or you’re at a point in your life where things seem so slow, how are you holding up?

To the older ones in this life game, how was it for you when you graduated? What doubts did you face? Any advice?

Please make use of the comment box below. You know how much I love reading from you! 💜