His name was Onyema.
He said he was my brother’s Godfather during his baptism as a kid in the Catholic Church.
He came to my place after Church that Sunday afternoon.
I was sitting in front of the house alone, doing justice to fresh oranges when he walked in from the smaller gate.
“I have been looking to meet with you” He said after exchanging greetings with me.
I had no doubt that he had come to suggest one more place where i could go and find the missing guy.
But then, i was going to listen to him first.
“Have you gone to Awhum Monastery?” Onyema said as soon as he sat down beside me.
I turned and looked at him.
“What is happening at Awhum Monastery?” I fired back.
“Many things are happening there. The blind are receiving the healing of sight, the deaf are hearing and many more wonders” Onyema Said.
“Very good, am i deaf or blind?”
He looked at me.
“I know you are not sick but i am talking about praying for your brother. There is nothing God can not do. Awhum Monastery is not far. It is just a few minutes away from 9th Mile” He said and picked one of my oranges.
“Oga Onyema, you said you are the godfather to my brother. Why does it have to be me doing everything for him? Why can’t you also go to Awhum to pray for his release? Does God reject your own prayers or that of every other person except mine?” I asked him.
He started by telling me that there were some things other people would never do for me except if i did them by myself.
He gave me examples of things he had done for his immediate relatives which no one else could have done for them.
“Life is just like that young man. It is not that we cannot pray for your brother but the zeal and desire to do that can never be the same as yours. I know you have been doing a lot of things Trying to find him but do this one thing also. Go there and pray with people. Take his picture and show it to God, there is nothing he cannot do” he concluded.
He was right to some extent. There were things no other person could do for someone except the immediate relatives.
It seemed that another adventure was on the horizon.
I recalled that someone had also suggested the same Monastery to me in the past.
The problem was that everyone believed that he or she knew where prayers were being answered.
Not that i was interested in Questioning God but why would it take Awhum Monastery for my brother to be released?
Were they hiding him in the monastery?
Confusion was setting in and my head had started being crowded with suggestions of what to do.
I was still discussing with Onyema when my mother returned from the Church.
It seemed that Onyema had also sold the Monastery idea to her because she walked straight to where i was and asked if Onyema had discussed the matter with me.
“That’s what we are discussing” I said and kept quiet.
“I want you to go to the Monastery” She said, “Not just to pray for your brother, but to pray for your own protection. I am afraid that the way you are Going from one shrine and one native doctor to another, something may happen to you without your knowledge. I am getting more scared about your safety. I know you are very sturbon when it comes to Church matters but please do that one for me. Pick up some clothes and go there, they have guest houses inside the Monastery where you can sleep. Or still, you can sleep inside your car if you can” She said.
The idea of sleeping inside the car or in a guest house caught my attention. It all sounded like an interesting adventure.
I had heard about Awhum Monastery in the past. In fact, my missing brother used to visit there for prayers back when i was living with him. It was part of the trending activities of the traders in Onitsha.
They used to contribute money and hire buses to Awhum Monastery.
Awhum Monastery was a Catholic establishment located in a hilly town called Awhum in the border of Udi and Nsukka.
Apart of the Monastery buildings itself, the entire facility consisted of Natural Cashew Plantation that stretched from the hills down to the Waterfall that was also part of the prayer ground.
The people believed that the Waterfall, which was about 20 meters high, had powers to heal the sick, raise the dead, generate money and do many more mysterious things.
For some reasons, i agreed to go to Awhum Monastery. I felt that it would make my mother happy and relaxed. She had been jumpy since the kidnapping incident and since she believed that i would get God’s protection by visiting the Monastery, it was good to go there.
I settled for the next day being Monday.
According to my mother, i was expected to stay for some days, one week possibly if i could but she knew i wasn’t going to spend much time there.
The following day, i set out for Awhum Monastery.
My mother had prepared a small package for me. Inside the package were A Reversed Standard Version of the Holy Bible, a catholic prayer book which had almost all the popular Catholic Prayers in it including the mysteries, the angelus, the Hail Mary, the Lord’s Prayer and many more. There was also the Rosary and Olive oil.
As soon as i was about to leave for the Monastery, My elder sister came.
She was married long ago to a Man from Agbani in Nkanu area. I didn’t know what brought her to our place that morning but when she found out where i was going, she suggested that i go without my car.
Her argument was that the car would be a distraction and would make me return earlier than i should.
“My brother, you are going there to seek the face of God. You must not think about luxuries and you must not be in a haste” She had said.
Before i could counter her argument, my mother joined and sided with her.
They gave me suggestions on how to get to Awhum with public transport.
They even believed that i might not go to Awhum if i took the car.
When it seemed that their argument power had swallowed mine, i agreed to go to the Awhum monastery without my car.
I knew that It was going to be difficult.