18th August, 2016 Writers

The burden of knowledge

Wake up in the midnight wash yourself in salt and water, repeat every eight hours, don’t accept currencies of any denominations my neighbor shrieked as she shattered my late night reverie whilst I rested from my highly glorified “communications assistant” job

Three days later I was utterly bemused by the reception I got whilst in church as my “co-worshippers” either got unfriendly or turned deaf ears to the pastors endearment to the worshipers “hug your neighbors and welcome them to church on this day of the lord” what I never got acquainted with was how my whole world could change in a week or may I say how the whole world changed around me in a week

Sometime in 2015, Nigeria and some parts of Africa were hit by a new wave of a dreaded virus. Lots of lives and livelihood were lost and the continent still reels

Before the Ebola virus hit the continent, we were a very gregarious and slap happy people and of course we still are, African communities are characterized for warm embrace and lots of salutations, we didn’t care much to wash fruits before we ate them (at least I didn’t), every rodent that crept closer than necessary and their relatives in the bushes numbered as our finger-licking delicacies amongst other creatures (its true my western friends)

The press had a field day and in weeks our insouciance vanished like a wisp of cheap cologne , young men could no longer shake hands, long gone were the warm and friendly embrace , all form of roast delicacy especially rodents  suddenly became ambrosia , as we mere mortals couldn’t even drink the Garri (processed cassava ).

It’s exactly almost two years since the whole Ebola episode died down, and life has returned to the normalcy that characterizes most African communities- we briefly stopped hugging, eating, drinking, repeatedly never stopped washing our hands because we were scared of the propaganda spread by the media

 In Nigeria Less than 10 lives were lost, but we did become a nation of bacteriophobes   and germaphobes and unrepentant hand washers, our habits were altered because we “know” that Ebola was both insidious and pernicious

Terrorism has claimed thousands of lives, corruption has too, but our lifestyle has never been altered to this extent, there is what knowledge can do to us, sometimes knowledge can immobilize us, knowledge can spread a sort of consciousness that affects the masses, and interrupt the flow of life.

Abuja, Nigeria

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