“This place you want to go, did you ask people if the place is safe?” My mother asked.
I had told her that i would be going to Urualla to visit Emeka Ozuo.
She had asked who he was and i told her the latest development about a man who had a magic mirror where i could see my missing brother.
“I know i can not stop you from going but i want you to be very careful. Don’t eat or drink what you don’t know. It is true that we are looking for your brother but i don’t want to lose another son while trying to find another” She eventually said.
I returned from Lagos a day before, and i supposed to have some rest before embarking on another quest for a missing brother.
But as the days passed away slowly, it was becoming more worrisome that the kidnappers had not contacted us again.
I had woken up that early morning and brushed my teeth. Then i took my bathe and put on a jean trouser and a black T-shirt.
I also parked up another jean trouser and another T-shirt in my boot.
I didn’t know where i was going and what i was going to encounter there. It was better that i get prepared to spend more than a day there.
Before i left my compound, i made the Catholic sign of the Cross and said a few lines of ‘Hail Mary’ and ‘Our Lords Prayer’.
Somehow, i had felt that i needed to appease some gods before venturing out on such quest.
Since the idol worship was outdated, i had no option than to use the method of the closest way of praying to the gods.
I was a Catholic and once a Catholic, always a Catholic.
Rather than heading straight to the road, i took right off my compound and drove through the local road inside my village. I was looking to see if i could find someone to join me on that quest.
I eventually saw one of my old friends called Jukwaese (RIP). He was my age mate and he was very sick.
He had told me that it was Turbaclosis.
He was sitting in front of his compound when i stopped the car.
After exchanging greetings, i asked if he was strong enough to travel to Imo State.
He said he was, but i wasn’t convinced.
Meanwhile i picked him up and less than two minutes later, he was already asleep in the car.
I drove around the village until i found another of my agemate Ibeabuchi.
Ibeabuchi agreed to go with me and as a result, i drove back to the place i picked the sick Guy.
“Jukwaese, Jukwaese wake up” I nudged him.
He woke up and asked if we were already in Imo State.
He was coughing non stop.
“No, we are not going again. I cancelled the journey. Which day do you want to go the Abakiliki you told me about?” I asked.
The first time i entered into the village, he had come to my house and told me that he wanted to go to Abakiliki to cure his sickness. He said he needed 35000 Naira for the visit and the follow up medications. He believed he would be cured because he gave me examples of the people who were cured of such ailment.
The truth was that i turned down his request to take the money from me. I had thought that he was insensitive Because he knew why i returned to town.
I had believed that people should not ask me for money since it was obvious that i was going to be spending a lot of money searching for my brother.
But Jukwaese was dying. He needed urgent help.
“Do you know the place in Abakiliki?” I asked.
He said he knew the place.
“I have gone there before but the man refused to treat me. He said i must bring the money first.
“Alright, We are going to Abakiliki now” I said as i started the engine again and headed towards the Enugu-PH Highway.
I busted out on the Highway and instead of heading to Urualla on the right, i diverted towards Abakiliki.
It was already 2 pm when we got to Abakiliki. We located the semi native doctor who believed that he had cure for everything.
I was almost tempted to ask him if he could do his magic for my brother to show up, but it was obvious to me that he didn’t have such powers.
We dropped Jukwaese at Abakiliki and paid the man 35000 Naira.
He said Jukwaese must sleep in his place for one week so that he would be able to take care of him properly.
Extra 7000 Naira was coughed out for accommodation.
I wanted to get angry because every naira note that i removed from my money made the money smaller.
We left Abakiliki and decided that there was still enough time to go to Urualla.
We were both young men who could take care of themselves. Therefore we set out for Urualla.
We were advised to head from Abakiliki to Ishiagu, then to Enugu-PH Expressway again.
That was what we did and before we found the Expressway, it was already heading to 5pm.
I didn’t know where Urualla was. I had figured out that we could still be looking for the town by 8pm. And by then, it would have been dangerous to be driving in a town I didn’t know much about.
As a result, i decided to return to my village. A lot of interests were on me. Top of the list was my mother who would faint if anything happened to me.
If anything happened to me, she would definitely see it as a curse instead of accident or whatever it was.
I returned home and told my mother what happened. She was happy that i helped out the sick guy but also reminded me to be very cautious with money.
As i lay on the bed absorbing the sound of the power generator, i reflected on what happened to me during the day.
I took the opportunity of the aborted travel to rest properly.
People knew that i was in town and they trooped in to talk and drink. No matter what the problem was, people must be drinking and eating.
I believed that i was a child of destiny. And that it was destiny that stopped me from going to Urualla and directed me to Abakiliki instead.
I had always believed that whatever stopped something from happening had its own purpose.
If i had saved Jukwaese, i would have counted it among my achievements, But he died.
Yes he died of the same disease but that would be story for another day.
Dedicated to Chinweze Okoro, aka Jukwaese.
Go in Peace Brother.
We remember you here.
Written For http://www.globalruns.com