I walked into the facility and asked for where i could rent a room.
A middle aged woman directed me to a small office where other people stood in line.
I joined them from the rear and waited until it was my turn.
“I want a room” I said to the man sitting behind the desk.
“We don’t have enough rooms now. You and someone will share one room. The price is 1000 Naira” He responded.
Since many people were standing behind me, i didn’t want to waste their time by trying to convince the man that i needed the room all by myself, i just gave him the 3000 Naira and told him that i intended to stay up to three days.
He took the money, issued me a receipt and a key, then directed me on where to locate the room.
I walked towards the hostel, meeting people along the way.
Some spread their mats in the field and it was obvious that they prayed and slept there.
Inside the room number 11, I saw two students-sized spring beds.
There was nobody in the room, therefore i chose the bed on the right side and dropped my bag on it.
Right from then on, i didn’t know the next thing to do. I didn’t know how the program was at the Monastery. I needed to ask someone how to go about the prayers, therefore i locked the door and returned outside with my Rosary Beads, my missing brother’s picture and the Catholic Prayer book.
I saw some group praying in front of the Grotto and joined them. Unfortunately, they have gone far on the rosary procession.
Based on what i knew, i was supposed to start The Rosary from the beginning, therefore i left the group and walked outside.
In front of the gate, i saw some people coming up with gallons of water.
Common sense told me that they were coming up from the WaterFall.
Since i didn’t know where to begin my prayers, i decided that it was good to go to the WaterFall first.
I walked to where they sold plastic gallons and bought a 5-liter.
As i walked down towards the Waterfall, i attempted to say the Rosary.
I still remembered how the Rosary started but i was sure that i needed to be reading some prayers from the book.
Nonetheless i had to start from somewhere.
“In the name of the father, and of the son and of the Holy Spirit” I made the sign of the cross as i said it out loud.
“Our Father, who art in Heaven” I continued.
I hadn’t forgotten the Lord’s Prayers. I still knew that one because it was one of the most said prayers by Christians.
After the Lord’s Prayers, i started the ‘I believe in God’ until i got to a place where i couldnt remember the rest of the prayer, then i opened my book and started reading from it while i walked on the bad rough road.
Cashew Plantation stretched on both sides as i walked down the sloppy road and said my prayers.
Then i saw her.
Just like me, she was walking down to the Waterfall alone but due to her shoes, she was walking slowly while saying Rosary as i was.
“How are you?” I asked.
She stopped her prayers and responded.
“Are you going to the Waterfalls” I asked.
She didn’t answer, she just looked at me for a long period.
“Its OK sister. I am going there too and this is my first time” I said.
“Who are you?” She asked.
I told her my name and where i came from.
“Lets pray” She said as she started the Rosary from the beginning.
“Why don’t we just talk on our way down to the Waterfalls?” I asked.
“Brother, God has directed me to pray with you. Lets Say the Rosary first” She said.
Her name was Praise.
Praise was also from Enugu State but from a town in Ezeagu called Oghe.
She said she lived with a Reverend father in a Catholic establishment somewhere in Ugah, Aguata area of Anambra State.
It was actually good to find someone who was going to lead the prayers finally. However, my problem was that her own Rosary was very long. It was almost three times the size and number of my own.
I had always been lazy when it concerned prayers, especially the Holy Rosary. I never really came to terms with the method in which the Rosary was designed.
One had to repeat ‘Holy Mary’ many times.
But at that stage, i had no better option than to follow her lead.
“Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee, Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus” Praise would say.
“Holy Mary, mother of God, Pray for us sinners, Now and the Hour of our death, Amen” I responded as we walked down the sloppy road.
In the middle of the prayers, Praise suggested that we diverted into the Cashew Plantation to make some special prayer.
I didn’t remember what she called it but i followed her to a large Cashew tree where we stopped and started the prayer.
Some times, we would walk round the Large Cashew tree for a while before standing in one place again.
Sometimes, in the middle of the special prayer, she would start to sing while i responded with the Chorus if it was a song i knew. If it was a song i had no idea how to sing, i would just keep quiet while she sang alone.
Two Hours into our special Journey down to the Waterfall, we were still on the road.
I had a mixed feelings over the development. I knew that if i had gone down to the water fall alone, i would have probably returned to the Monastery long ago.
The Waterfall was an Hour walk from the Monastery.
We eventually made it to the Waterfall through the valley created by the water itself.
We had entered through an opening and started heading up towards the Waterfall itself.
The place was dark and scary to the extent that i would have returned back to the Monastery if i was alone.
The only thing that even kept me going was the fact that we met people returning from there, if not, i would have also told Praise that it was over.
But we kept going up and up for over fifteen minutes, passing through dangerous openings where i was sure that some snakes or even crocodiles lived.
But we kept going because it was a walk of faith.
Someone was missing in my family and if that was what it took to find him, that was what i would do