On Good Neighbors

Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off. Proverbs 27:10 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/pro.27.10.KJV

I have amazing neighbors in this hood I live now. I moved in just a week before lockdown started last year. Its a block of one bedroom bungalow each, fenced and gated. You know you have neighbors but they aren’t in your face. You are alone in your fenced apartment. They are alone in their own apartment too but you hear their voices.

The family next to me on the left is an entire family-father, mother and children. They are from an eastern part of Nigeria that I do not actually know. They are not too there, they are friendly if they see you, greet you warmly, the kids really don’t care in a good way. They are a family who mind their business.

The one next to them is a single bachelor, yellow, good-looking and my favourite. He’s from the food basket of the nation. All the people I’ve met from that axis are usually nice people. I can’t forget the security guy at the estate I lived in Wawa, Opic Estate in Lagos who would open a gate that leads to a shorter route for me to pass every morning. He went home that period and brought me two yams, very sweet. He was so kind and protective of me. I can never forget him.

Now, when this yellow neighbor greets me, he’s usually very polite. He’s the only neighbor who says ‘good morning ma’ to me. I tell him ‘good morning sir’ too. I am not your mummy😃. He’s very kind and warm. He has helped me to fix my security light, brought drinks to my house, helped with waterboard issues and all that. Well, he just moved out recently to the airport area I used to live because he’s getting married and has even promised to come take me to know his house. Who does that?

My right hand neighbor is a premium Edo guy, young, suave and well loved. He’s involved in ‘majekobaje’ things in the area. When robbers came to our area during the lockdown, I heard him on the phone speaking with people in the area, raising alarm. When he speaks in his bedroom, I can hear him even though we don’t live in the same compound. I think my bedroom window opens into or faces his bedroom. I don’t know how to explain this.

So I got some vegetable seeds, pepper and okro seeds from my uncle’s farm and he helped me to get soil, put them in plastics, gave me manure and helped me out. He gave me curry leaves to plant. He took me to his compound and showed me his own nursery. He has Efo soko, pumpkin leaves, bitterleaf, pepper etc. I gave him some Efo Tete seeds too. He practically packed sand for me and helped me set up my own nursery too. He even promised to get me some pumpkin seeds. Now, I’m a small scale neighborhood farmer who will soon be self sufficient. In few months, I won’t be buying okro, vegetables and pepper from the market again. People who live in my quarters all practice subsistence farming. I noticed that everyone has a small nursery in their backyard. There are a lot of mango trees, orange trees on my street.

Good news is that my okro plant is already growing. Thanks to my neighbor, he showed me the mistakes I made while planting the pepper and vegetable, little wonder they’ve not grown.

Edo guy got married on Val’s day this year and I gave him little cash when he got back to buy isi ewu for himself and his wife. There was a period he came to fix his electricity stuff at my backyard and saw that a part of my fence had broken down at the back. He drew my attention and I began to lament. I was very broke that period. He offered to help me pay. He was even going to withdraw but I declined and called someone I know to help me fix it. The person didn’t collect money from me sha.

Another time, when NEPA and waterboard people used to knock our gates anyhow, he suggested we should do jam lock and he agreed to look for someone to fix it. I told him to make sure he does it when I have money. However, when he was ready to fix it, I didn’t have money. So he paid for both of us, went to buy the locks, got the technician and connected the wire to his meter to fix it. I paid him back the following week.

I was walking out of the hood one day, on my way to church, when I met Oluwafemi. He looked at me and asked if I went to OAU. I said no. Because of his light skin, I thought he was Ibo. When I heard his name, I said to him “Femis are usually heartbreakers they said we should avoid”. He laughed and laughed and we went our separate ways. I didn’t see him again till two or three months later.

“you still live here?” I asked. ‘Yes now’.

“So where have you been all this months?”

“I go to work”, he replied. Well, because we both go to work and come back late, we rarely meet. I didn’t even know where he stays. I just was jamming him at different parts of the hood.

After another three or four months again, I jammed him on the street not far from my house and asked “are you a ghost? Where do you even live?”Then, he pointed at a house that’s just five blocks from opposite mine.

He asked where I live too and I pointed at my house. We had been meeting on the road for months without knowing where we both lived. So, he came to knock my gate after service one Sunday and started preaching to me😅😅. Or he started discussing the word of God with me in a strange doctrine of once saved is forever saved. He started giving me books to read and we started discussing under the tree opposite my house. I never invited him in because my house is always a mess anyways.

Gisting with Femi outside Bible talk is always fun especially since he went to OAU, he’s from the South West and looks to me like a long lost brother. He’s a realtor as well as a staff of an international NGO. He sells houses and lands. He bought this very fine muscle Camry that’s very neat and one day, after our Bible argument, he asked if I would love to go eat Amala with him. I had been craving Amala that period so much that I jumped at the offer. Nobody had ever invited me to an Amala outing before 😂🤣. I didn’t know where he was driving us but I trusted him. It was about 7pm and we went to Amala 360 degrees. I ate amala with abula and enjoyed my life.

Femi drove to my office to do an affidavit while I was writing exams. I told him who to meet and how to get there-google map of course. I became his chief consultant on marriage preparation affairs. He wanted to know the best federal registry to do his wedding. I told him to go to AMAC. He’s getting married this month and I saw him on Monday while sitting under the tree outside my house. I travelled out of Abuja for a while and I informed him so that he would not go and knock my gate. But we didn’t see since I returned. He came to meet me and said he was on his way to Gombe. He had a flight to catch by 5pm. So, we chatted a bit and he left.

It’s great to have wonderful neighbors who care about you, who stick closer than a family across miles. It’s a huge blessing and I’m grateful for the gift of them.

Author

She has won many awards in writing and poetry amongst which are CLO essay competition (1st Prize Southwest) NDIC essay competition(5th Prize in the southwest) and a World Bank Essay Certificate of Participation She has worked with woman.ng as a content editor and a host of sites as a ghost writer. She has written great inspirational content for fashion brands/blogs. She has been featured on radio and recently added public speaking to her portfolio. You can hire her to write a professional/business profile for you, online content editing, book editing, guest blogging, ghostwriting, content creation or if you need copies of her book, contact her via [email protected] Facebook.com/Yetunde Olasiyan instagram.com/Yetunde Olasiyan Follow her business page on Instagram @officialladywriter

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