I am typing this on my way back from zaria…
The car ran into a pothole a little after Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, zaria. Tyre bursted and we are waiting for another vehicle. That moment when tyre busted on the fast lane and driver had to swerve to the other lane was shocking. Nobody shouted because thankfully, the car wasn’t on high speed. But it shook vigorously as it crawled out of the main road. Here we are…But that is not the crux of the gist. I had left for zaria on Friday afternoon, after rummaging in my wardrobe for a decent flowing gown. I couldn’t find one. I got worried that I might be sent back from the gate again. I wrote ‘hey your dress is too short’ about two years ago or thereabout when I was turned back at the gate for wearing a knee length gown with a jacket. I was told to go and get a trouser/leggings across the road before I could be allowed to enter.
I finally settled for a knee length skirt and top(maybe out of defiance) since the weather was too hot for comfort. I knew I was going to arrive by evening and so, probably avoid the eagle eyes of the security at the gate.
I was ‘deceived’ to enter a car on the pretext that it remained only one passenger to make it complete. After about 40mins, we took off. The journey was smooth and uneventful until we got to Kaduna. The road was under repairs because of the volume of traffic that would be plying the road from kaduna airport due to closure of abuja airport. All vehicles were on one lane.
Traffic crawled along the road with heavy tankers blocking everywhere. The more I sat down, the hotter my body became and the thirstier I got. The water in my bottle had become hot by this time. We had not even gotten to kawo.
When we eventually managed to get to the front gate of the Nigerian Defence Academy, I heaved a sigh of relief. The time was past five. I knew they would have closed in my faculty. So, I relaxed anyways.
For the very first time, I didn’t have any lodging preparation so I had no where to look forward to. I always went to the guest house in my previous journeys but I knew it would have been fully booked by then. I was just hopeful.
I got to ABU front gate few minutes before 6pm. I craned my neck from afar to see if there was any security at the gate. I hadn’t come all this way to risk being turned back at the gate. It was a young man that was there. To my chagrin, people were allowed to enter only with their ID.
Mine was somewhere deep in my bag since I didn’t know that was the new rule. I began to search frantically for it. Then, I heard “sister, just go”. I could not believe my ‘short skirt luck’. No ID, no flowing skirt or gown, yet I was allowed. I was relieved. First hurdle crossed.
I hopped into a keke(tricycle) going to social science. The offices were locked. I found a place to buy drinks and snacks while looking around for any beautiful or familiar face.
The time was now 6.40pm. It was becoming dark. Yet, the son of man had nowhere to lay her head. As I walked along to no where in particular, I saw a young guy and asked
“Please, which way leads to the female hostels?”
Which of the hostels are you going? Is it Amina or Ribadu? He answered
Even though I didn’t have anyone in mind, I just answered
“Amina hall” since it sounded feminine
Just follow that road and go straight, then, ask again.
I muttered my thanks but it was on the tip of my tongue to ask if he had any younger sis or cousin or friend in any of the hostels who could lodge me but I let it go.
I walked towards the description and a young slim, beautiful lady walked ahead of me with her face partially covered. She was wearing a long dress too. I summoned courage and moved close to her
“Hello, do you stay in Amina Hall?”
“No, Ribadu. Are you going to Amina?”
I actually don’t have anywhere to stay. I was going to Amina probably if I’d see anyone to lodge me for the night.
“Oh, I am squatting with someone at the moment but my roommates are zaria based. I dont know if they would be travelling this weekend. Let me call my friend” she said
So, she called and called and her friend didn’t pick.
“Let’s just go”….she said
I couldn’t believe my luck. We got to the entrance of the hall. She explained to the security.
” what tribe are you”, the female security asked
I told her.
OK, you may go in. I was supposed to show my ID too but they didn’t bother me. Lucky twice.
Hauwa turned out to be an angel. “Make yourself comfortable, sleep on the bed”, she said to me. She wanted to prepare indomie for me but I declined.
I got introduced to her roommates Mary and her friend whose name I can’t recollect again. I met keren too. I slept after 10pm so I didn’t know when hauwa’s friend, Aisha( who squatted her, the owner of the bedspace) came in. I woke up after midnight to see someone sleeping beside me. She wasn’t scared to find a stranger on her bed. She even told me she slept soundly and didn’t know I was there (lol). Aisha was as loving as Hauwa and Mary.
Mary is a student and businesswoman. She sells airtime and satchet water in the room. Early the next morning, she had gone to purchase her ware. I met her on my way to the tap with bags of water. She is very industrious.
Mary refused to take pictures with us because according to her ” she doesn’t look fine” that early morning. I didnt see Keren in the morning. Hauwa and Aisha were delighted when I told them I was going to write about them on my blog. They were happy to take pictures with me. Aisha even went to look extra beautiful just for the pictures.
She kept screaming ‘I am available ooo, I am single and ready to mingle’.I laughed and laughed. Hauwa and Aisha are both Chemistry undergraduates in ABU, zaria.
They made the journey worthwhile. See the beautiful pictures below.