By Osondu Anyalechi [email@example.com]
Saturday, December 31, 2011
A mother visited her son in Lagos many years ago and in an attempt to impress her, the daughter-in-law served her the only two legs of chicken they had in the soup pot. Mama burst into deep grief, bemoaning her singular misfortune of her son marrying a lady from another town. ‘Is this how my son’s money is wasted – everything into the stomach? If she served me two legs of chicken – two legs for one person – who knows how many she has eaten? Did I not oppose my son marrying from ‘mba-kesi’? This is it,’ she lamented.
That simple act of kindness demonstrated by the lady, sacrificing their own meat for Mama’s comfort, had lit the fuse of calumny against her. It takes an adult mind to realize that whenever we receive benefits or services from people, someone has paid for them.
Many years ago, Rev. H.L.O. Williams, the principal at the Methodist College, Uzuakoli, was travelling to England, his home country, when their ship capsized. Death was imminent, looming on their faces. The passengers took their lifejackets immediately but a pregnant woman was wailing uncontrollably and violently. Her outburst had nothing to do with William Shakespeare’s postulation that cowards die three times before their death. She was not one. Her problem was peculiar - no lifejacket under her seat!
Who would help her? If it were giving out a coat, someone might sacrifice his and with time, be able to replace it. If it were giving out money, somebody could do it and would manage what remained with him. It was exchanging one’s life with hers. It was dying that she would live, a bargain for death. And that was what happened! H.O.L. Williams gave her his lifejacket. And He died! And she lived!
In Standard Four in 1953 at the Methodist Central School, Ovim, Mr. Nkama, our class teacher, taught us during the History lesson about Horatius, a brave Roman soldier. The Tuscany army was marching aggressively to Rome and nothing could hinder them. He realized that the only thing that could save his country was the sacrifice of life - his and a few others. Like a suicide squad, while fighting the invading army, his people busied themselves cutting down the link-bridge to Rome. When the bridge fell, he and his colleagues perished with it but Rome was saved!
‘England,’ said Nelson, ‘expects every man to do his duty’. That should apply to every citizen of every country. ‘Thank God,’ Nelson challenged before his death, ‘I have done my duty’. Nigeria will be a beautiful country if every citizen and leader, at the end of his life or tenure, at all levels of governance - political, commercial, religious, et cetera - will say to himself and also to the public that he has done his duty. Prophet Samuel made a similar declaration in public – 1 Sam 12.3. Apostle Paul also followed suit - 2 Tim 4:7. I hope the duty the Nigerian has done will not be that of meeting his projected stealing-target. It is the duty he had promised to accomplish.
Joseph, who turned down the sex advances of the amorous wife of Potiphar, went to jail without defending himself. Doing that would expose what really transpired between them, a wife her moral decadence was so messy that the Bible did not bother to record her name. If Joseph had produced her text messages, emails, love letters, gifts, et cetera, he would have ‘scattered’ their marriage. He chose to suffer so that her marriage would be preserved.
I met Esther, a Nigerian lady, in Dallas. She worked for Dr. Peter Odilli, the former Governor of Rivers State. She and her husband, Chidi, live in the U.S. Apart from her paid job at that time, she used her spare time in buying and retailing clothes. The business blossomed, bringing in almost seven times of her salary. With more responsibilities in her office, time became of much essence. It was obvious that she must quit either her paid job or her money-spinning business. Economic rationality favoured quitting her paid job. As a child of God, moral consideration tilted the balance even to her hurt, making her hammer to fall on the budding business.
That was a sacrifice she made to encourage parents in her community to be sending their daughters to school. A lady her parents had sent to the U.S. abused the privilege and refused to return. Other parents, as a result, decided to limit education to their sons. Her dad reasoned differently, refusing to associate the lady’s misconduct to her gender and thus, sent Esther to school. Her business did not require any academics but her paid job did. This meant that ladies, who did not go to school, could do the same business but not her job. Quitting the paid job would confirm the fears of the people in her community. God has today, honoured that sacrifice. I visited her store in April and November here in Dallas and what I saw is an eloquent testimony to that.
In the primary school, I made a sacrifice that attracted the wrath and cane of my master. We were living at Ngbo, in Abakalili. Their main market, Okwo, was held once in five days. The first soup I made, using the fresh meat I bought, usually lasted three days and the second, two days. One day, we had a visitor that fell in love with my soup, to the extent that my master requested twice for more soup, a man who was contented with what I served him. I managed the remaining soup for two days and the left over was not enough for the third night I served other people and went without food. ‘Thank sir,’ I greeted my Oga, not known that his children had told him that I did not eat. My reward was his cane!
No one could satisfy a guest speaker when he asked the congregation to spell LOVE. It was a surprise, even to the English majors. ‘I will help you, ‘he volunteered. ‘Please, write it down, the true spelling of LOVE’. In rapt attention, they listened as he spelt ‘S A C R I F I C E’.
For comments, please contact Osondu Anyalechi on
0802- 3002-471; firstname.lastname@example.org