I set out to Awhum Monastery at some minutes before 9am that Monday morning.
With the small package in my hand, I walked to the road and entered an Enugu Bound dirty public bus. A few people who knew me asked what happened to my car.
Since i was warned not to tell people where i was going, it was difficult to defend why i was taking a public transport.
Eventually i settled for lies.
I told them that i was going to Enugu to pick up another car.
I was going to seek the face of God but i had started lying while still on the way. Humans had managed to confuse themselves with lies to the extent that we no longer felt anything while telling people lies.
The reason they gave me was that evil people would destroy my prayers if they knew that i was going to pray in the Monastery. It was my mother who told me that evil men may prevent God from answering my prayers.
She gave me examples of where the devil attempted to deceive people including where it told Jesus Christ to jump down from the mountain and where it told Job to denounce his God.
I had decided not to go with my car, just to please her and to make her know that i was really going to Awhum, not really about the stories of The Temptation of Jesus Christ and Job.
I had no business living with such examples.
We got to the Garriki area of Enugu and stopped inside a general motor park.
From there i entered another public bus to the New Market area where i picked up another bus heading to 9th Mile.
At 9th Mile, i finally entered a half dead half alive old 504 Wagon. The driver had insisted that he must carry two people in the front where i had found space.
Gawd! Two people in the front seat of an old car?
“Driver, how can two people sit in this small space?” I had asked the car owner.
He didn’t tell me what i wanted to know, rather he said that it was the norm.
“It is not the norm, it is what you and your fellow drivers here made it to be. This seat was built for just one person. Carrying two people here could disturb you and that could lead to an accident” I shouted before i remembered that i was supposed to be as uncomfortable as ever if i wanted my prayers to be answered.
According to our people, we must suffer before God sees us as being humble. There was no way God could answer your prayers if you prayed while eating Ice Cream or Burger. You must be hungry and must have fasted before your prayers would be answered.
The belief system down in Africa was one contradictory phenomenon that was impossible to explain with logic. The people just believed everything they were told and lived by it.
The Other four Passengers at the back of the old 504 had started getting angry with me. They sided with the driver to tell me that the car usually carried two people in front. One of them went as far as telling me that if i wanted comfort, i should simply buy my own car.
“How much is the transport fare?” I suddenly asked.
“300 Naira” The driver said.
“Fine. I will pay 600 Naira For the front seat” I said.
I was already sitting at the front seat and had locked the door.
The woman who was supposed to sit with me in the front had started barking and shouting.
“You are paying 600 Naira so that i will not enter this car, you wicked evil man. Since you have money to pay for two seats, Why not go and buy your own car?” she shouted as she grabbed the car door handle and opened it with force, then she started forcing herself to sit beside me.
Gawd! What kind of people were being raised in Nigeria?
“Wait Madam” I said as i pushed her out and walked down from the car.
“You can sit now” I said as i walked to another car.
“How much is Awhum Monastery, i want to go alone” I said.
The new driver insisted that cars carried 6 people which when multiplied by 300 Naira, amounted to 1800 Naira.
I counted the money out and gave it to him.
He jumped into the car and started the engine immediately.
We drove past the first car, the driver and the sturbon woman were still quarreling.
It seemed that the man was telling her that she should have waited for another car since i agreed to pay for the two seats.
The rest of the passengers had walked out from the car and the chaos had attracted people.
We left the scene and headed towards the Monastery.
We got to the Awhum town and turned right into the forest. The dusty long non tared road stretched deep into the forest as we drove past few thatched houses belonging to the natives. We occasionally meet Bikes that had gone to drop off people at the Monastery.
Some 30 minutes after leaving 9th mile, we arrived at the Monastery gate.
There were hundreds of people there, some selling plastic rubbers for holy water, some selling Okpa, some selling foods and others selling Catholic prayer books and other praying items.
The Large gate was open. Beside the fence was the track road that led to the Awhum WaterFall.
On he left was a stretch of Cashew plantation.
Beside the plantation was another track road that led up to the hill where A large Cross of Jesus Christ was mounted.
Along the road that led to the Large cross were the Catholic Stations of the Cross.
For those who didn’t know about the Catholic Station of the Cross system, it was a system designed for we the catholic faithful to carry the cross like Jesus Christ did.
The procession included stopping at each Station to pray before heading to the next one.
Depending on how long the area was, some stops were usually some meters apart but since the road to the top of the hill was long, the Stations were about 50 meters apart.
We were required to stop at each station, kneel down and pray, before we moved to another.
At each Station, a statue of Jesus Christ was built. Each station represented the sufferings Jesus went through before he was finally crucified at the top of the mountain.
As i watched, i saw some people walking from one station to another with their knees. The idea was to suffer the same way Jesus did.