It was 2:42pm and i was sweating. My school uniform was dirty,smelly and i was struggling to pull it off as it held tightly to my expanded shape.
Hunger stunged my belly as i rushed off to the kitchen to peel an isolated yam that lied ensconced beside the cooking shelf. I prayed earnestly that the small kerosene in the stove would herald the last lap of a desperate meal. My elder sister Elizabeth came in a burst,holding on to a bag of ugwu and unripe plantain. My mum had ordered her to drop them at home and it was clearly written on her face that it was against her will. She was always with my mother and my younger sister,Clara in a makeshift shop at Ani market were they sold vegetables,fish,palm oil and other soup varieties - she was stubborn,always at logger heads with mama. The profit made at Ani was nothing to go by but we fastened to Nietszche's words (what does not kill you makes you stronger) i helped out most times,pushing firewoods several kilometres from the timber plantation to the center for sale.
My dad,a drunk,had long been out of the wedlock,leaving my mum to feed myself and my two sisters from her nose. Rumour has it that he rode a taxi in Rumokara area of the South-west;whatever truth the rumour held to flame, i felt a cold,primitive anger linger inside of me everyday.
Life was a daily struggle,stitching an unwanted scar on my dark skin as i hurtled towards my race. I was moot,my sisters were unprepared and all efforts was piled on the day as it came.
I was still trying to clean a muddy mess beside our corrugated toilet,a dark,dried base of clay battered by algae,when my sister called out "Daniel,abeg make we go throway dis dirty wey dey here ooo before mama go come,begin dey shout!" The rain was drizzling sharply,a clear signal that appropriated the need to relief overcrowded bins of refuse. The march towards the 'Tanga Hills' would have began,people taking their dirty heap down to the gulley. The Tanga hills bled an abandoned opening that navigated water down to the Orusu carnal only to block the rear end and flood the Agbani community that bore its habitation directly opposite it. The Coker-led government,a brutish rendition of hallowed knives,had hitherto directed its enforcements to extirpate the malfeasance. By interpretation,anyone caught dumping waste on the Tanga gulley would be severely skinned by the law- a few others have been numbed by their experience at the Akpati Police station. A rather unthinker desolation for criminals.
Despite the horror stories that followed the prohibited affair, Tanga community were yet to find another means of disposing their waste.
So,in the middle of this nervous breakdown of simple instruction which has resulted in 'waiting for the rains' before dumping,we had no option. It was assumed that the KAI officers who had been given dispatch orders to waylay defaulters would not wet their uniforms to grab offenders into their vans.
"I don hear" i answered gruffly,smarting from the reality of not quickly dissecting my boiling yam with palm oil before i hit the road. Now,the weather was cold and spitting,as my sister dragged my collar from where i was packing the bin "osiso,oya..lets go before those yeye men come pack person go where i no no". She nagged. I quickly made the finally drop into the big bowl of dirt that was later mounted on my head. My sister also held two heavy blag bags stocked with different crop peels,wraps,spoilt crumplings as we stepped down into the pelt.
Within a few minutes walk,we had joined other 'smart' ones piling our rubbish into the Tanga gulley which was now swiftly moving the vectors down through its coarse dug-out,hurriedly pushing it down to create an army of stench and water over-dose at the other side. It was pitiable.
The rain stopped suddenly as my sister hurled the last black bag into the open,rushing filth. I dashed into a small clearing before the gulley to respond to nature's call. My sister began a chit chat with an old time friend who also came to 'dump'. Meanwhile,an old hilux with a dirty fender sped down the ugly path which we walked moments earlier down to the gulley and stopped. Five men in brown,dirty-collared uniforms,armed with batons,rough and fierce came out. A big-lipped man with heavy eye brows strut forward while his colleagues quickly surrounded the my sister and the rest who was undecided whether to run or stay. His mannerism was unmistakable,gesticulating with his broad hands "Thunder don fire una here today,seebi una no dey hear word. Una think say una wise abi?enter rain,come dey dump una dirty for here?!" he said,leaving a loud slap on the cheek of my sister who was standing some inches before him. Elizabeth let out a shrill,holding her face. I watched in silence,tiptoeing backwards from my faeces which was now covered with green,stubby flies. I had goose-bumps. "So,on top all the warning,shout and everything we dey do to stop from dropping dirty for dis place,una still no hear,abi?" He asked. There was no answer,except sullen faces. The hilux had a carve-out behind it for arrested persons. Another hilux van arrived and some KAI men highlighted to fill the seen.
I had taken tricky steps,ran along a grass laden bend, running down to the street beside our house to call 'spider'. It would be dismal and put me totally at my mum's mercy if Elizabeth was taken to the environmental court. I was not ready to bear my Mum's words and trouble if she gets back to discover what had happened. Spider was a popular 'Bros' in the area,huge and well built,the solace for the weak. He had a gymnasium he operated within and he was well known for street fights. He owed me a favour,and this was the time to use it. He was munching away a burnt,cold corn beside a betting shop opposite his gym when i approached. The betting house offered refuge to thousands of young,unemployed youth in Tanga. I was panting when i approached spider,bending to catch my breath as i held my knees. "Dan,wetin happen" he said,discarding the corn cob and intently looking at me. I explained to him what had happened,he smiled,beckoned me to a sit and went in to get an old check shirt with the inscription 'SPIDER'. "Pu yan bike" he said,ordering me to climb over as he started his bike and throttled down to the gulley...
To be continued.
Pls tweet @fortunedexcel for update o the part 2.