The wonders of God

The wonders of God

You are seated at a car wash. Waiting for your car to be washed.
A little girl of about nine years walks up to you. Looks you dead straight in the eyes and greets you.

“Daddy. Good afternoon.”

“Afternoon.” You replied.

“Daddy. I want you to buy me a sachet of pure water.”

You think. That’s okay. She’s a little girl.

So you ask the lady attendant at the car wash for a sachet of water knowing that they run a side business selling cold drinks from a freezer.

She says she does not have pure water sachets. Only the much more expensive bottled water. Even before you say anything the little girl (still unflinchingly looking you dead in the face. A fact that’s now starting to bother you) says “That’s okay. I don’t want bottled water. Tell her to go and get the water from the food seller manning the kiosk a few meters away.”

You are taken aback at her confidence.

You instruct the lady to go and get the pure water. She apologizes for her  oversight thinking it’s you that wants to drink the water. She returns with the water, and hands it to you. You give it to the little girl.

She stands there just looking at you with the sachet of water in her hand.

Then she says “I have a message for you.”

It’s getting more surreal by the minute.

“I can see you are scared. But don’t be.”

“You are going to give alms to some less fortunate people.”
(Author’s note: generally means beggars)

“You will get three 10 Naira notes. You will then buy three sachets of salt. You will give a salt and a 10 Naira note each to three different beggars. ”

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“Are you going to do it?” She asks.

You don’t respond. But you keep looking at her in wonder.

“I see you don’t believe.”

“But you must do it. Then you will see the wonders of God.”

You start to convince yourself that there might be something to this. This strange little girl. So confident. Looking you straight in the eye. She’s not even asking you for anything.

“You are going to do something for me.”

“You are going to give me N2,000. I am going to spend the money. But before I do, I am going to pray on it for 7 days.”

You are taken aback. You have no good response.

“Do it and experience the wonders of God.”

You hesitate. Is this true? Is this really happening?

She says “I know you have two thousand to give me but you are scared. Don’t be scared.”

You start to make excuses within yourself. How much is N2000. After all if you had done what you usually do while waiting for the car to be washed, you would have easily spent more than a thousand Naira: cut your hair for 300. Eat some sweet meats and “intestine” for another three. Have a drink. Wash the car for 700 hundred. So you could just skip all the extras and give the little girl the money.

But at the same time you bulk a little and say “I don’t have two thousand Naira.”

She says “That’s okay. Since you don’t know about it before today. You will give me a thousand Naira.”

You bring out two five hundred Naira notes.

She shakes her head and refuses the money.

You are perplexed.

“No. It must be a single N1,000 Naira note.” she says.

You call the attendant over again and exchange the two five hundred Naira notes for a single one thousand Naira note.

She accepts the money. Repeating what she had earlier said about the fact that she’s going to spend the money, but will pray on it for 7 days before doing so.

“Thank you.” She says looking you straight in the eye with a solemn expression.

She leaves.

You convince yourself you did the right thing.

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You get home and narrates the event to your better half. She laughs at you. Says she didn’t think you were that kind of person to be so easily taken in. She says you “Received a message for a thousand bucks. What message?”

You defend yourself lamely that a thousand Naira is not a lot of money. Besides, what’s the harm in the little thing she’s said you should do. It’s only another 200 Naira. You ask her to help you get three sachets of salt from the market.

The next week during your break you prepare three little plastic bags. Each contains a sachet of salt and a ten Naira note.

You tell your colleague that you need him to go with you to some far away public place where you are unlikely to be recognized. You tell him that you have been told to give alms but he shouldn’t ask for details. You only want him to accompany you in case you get accosted by the police or something “unplanned” happens.

You drove to the place, hand out the three bags as quickly as possible, and head back to the office.



Mission accomplished.

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Fast forward several weeks. You are at a completely different part of town to wash your car at a completely different car wash.

While you wait, you notice a little girl accost a middle aged man with a fancy Toyota Camry salon car who is also seated at the same car wash.

You look closely at the girl. You are almost sure it’s the same girl from your earlier encounter. But may be not. Could it be (you wonder)?

The gentleman gets up and goes to his car. Counts out some money from his gloves box, puts it in an envelope and hands it to the little girl.

Now you are sure it’s the same girl.

She thanks the man and starts to walk away.

You get up and follow her.

She sees you. There is recognition in her eyes.

She takes off. Running as fast as her little legs would carry her.

You take off after her.

The chase is on.

Weaving in and out of the crowded street. Finally you catch her.

Concerned bystanders expressed their concern.

You say it’s nothing serious. She did something wrong at the car wash over there.

You ask her if she recognizes you.

She claims she’s never seen you before in her life.

You ask her why did she run.

She claims it was because she saw you running after her.

You take her back to the car wash. To the older gentleman.

“Sorry to bother you sir. Did this girl give you a message? If yes, I think it’s a scam.”

“You should take your money back.”

The older man is not so sure.

“But she gave me a message for myself and my son.” He says.

“It’s a scam sir.” you insist.

But he is not convinced. Lots of people are superstitious. Easily swayed when it’s related to the spiritual or supernatural. Prefer to err on the side of caution. He says it’s okay. N8,000 Naira is not too much in case she’s “genuine”. You let the girl go.

Your 1,000 Naira pales into insignificance beside his N8,000 Naira.

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Fast forward another couple of weeks and you are back at the original car wash.

A couple of friends are seated near you. One is making fun of the other: “A little boy gave you a message and you part with a thousand Naira!”

You couldn’t help engaging them. You narrate your encounter. A third guy who was also nearby, gets up, goes to his car and brings out a bag of salt! You guess he took the “message” a little too seriously!


This is the latest scam in town. Might be confined to parts of Ogun state for now.

Note that another variation of the “message” is:


“My mum is sick. She’s okay now and back at home. But while she was hospitalized, we borrowed money from loan sharks. We are even ashamed to go back to our church because the church contributed money for us several times during her illness. But we still have a lot to repay.”

The wonders of God.

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(As related by my cousin)

Extraordinarily Delayed

My flight between Cologne and Gatwick was delayed leading to the email exchange below.

>> To:
>> From:
>> Subject: Re: [[ Reference ID: 106912622 ]]
>> Sent:
>> Good day Sir/Madam, I bought what is an expensive ticket (167.11 Euros) to fly between Cologne & Gatwick on the 4th of January due to an urgent need to be in London.

I got to the airport before 7pm. There was no communication of the delay until the attendant at the checkin desk told me there was a 2 hour delay. Which then became a 4 hour delay.

After 4hours 55 minutes we were ferried to the plane. A fellow passenger told me that Easyjet would have had to make a full refund if the delay exceeded 5 hours. I think this is a little underhanded. All my subsequent plans which depended on my arrival in London on time were shot. My Monday was shot as well because I then spent the whole day recovering.

I am writing to express my concern and permit my saying so, my displeasure at the events surrounding the flight. While I understand stuff happens, (I learnt only about the weather issue in Gatwick at 1:45am when we were actually on the plane) but this was a little too much. While we were waiting at the terminal, the updates on the plane status were infrequent and sometimes only announced in German. I might as well have spent the night comfortably in Germany and flown much cheaper on a later ticket from say RyanAir for example. In addition, you should also realize that being based in Nigeria, every Euro or Pound I spend is denominated at a ridiculously expensive exchange rate due to the devaluation of the Naira so while 167 Euros may mean 167 Euros in value to an European, it’s much more to me.

As the gentleman behind me said “every single person on the plane had a right to be grumpy but he was keeping his cool because he didn’t want to be thrown off the flight.”

Of course we didn’t actually take off until 3am which is actually 75 minutes after the 5 hour limit. Total delay time came to over 6.25 hours. This is my first flight on EasyJet which turned out to be not so “easy” for me. The long & short of it is that I think a refund is in order 🙂

Thank you

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From: []
Sent: Friday, January 09, 2015 3:58 PM
Subject: Re: [[ Reference ID: 106912622 ]]

Dear Ayotunde

Thank you for contacting easyJet Customer Services.

I am sorry for any inconvenience caused by the delay of your flight. I have looked at the Flight Disruption Report(FDR) for flight EZY 5378 Cologne-London Gatwick 4th January 2015.

The FDR states that the delay was due to severe fog in London Gatwick, effecting visibility, and causing arrival and departure slot restrictions. The delay was classified as Extraordinary, this means that it could not have been avoided, and no compensation can be paid. The FDR determines the official reason for flights that are delayed by more than 3 hours. A copy can be obtained from The Civil Aviation Authority, one of our governing bodies.

Our passenger and crew safety is of paramount importance to us and we will not fly if it is deemed unsafe to do so. I realise that this is not the response that you were hoping for and I hope that you will not allow this experience to deter you from travelling with us in the future.


easyJet Customer Services

fly us:
follow us:
friend us:

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From: []
Sent: Friday, January 09, 2015 5:01 PM
Subject: easyJet


You recently contacted our customer service team and we would be grateful if you could spend a few moments to provide us with some feedback on the service you received.

If you wish to take part please Click Here

Thank you in advance.

easyJet Customer Services

If you would prefer that we do not contact you again for feedback you can Click Here.

Then the email above came in shortly after the response from Christine. I ignored it, but maybe I should have sent a response giving them some negative feedback.

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So a week later I am at Heathrow waiting for my flight to Cassablanca to start boarding. I had checked in and was looking at the notice boards for the boarding gate. It was slightly over 30minutes to departure time, the boards still showed “Please wait”. I approached one of the information staff (blue skirt suit) and asked about the flight. She told me airlines had up to 30minutes before departure to display the boarding gate.
About 5minutes later, “please wait” became “flight delayed for 15minutes.”

The lady made her rounds around her counter and ended up by me looking up at the board so we got talking again. I commented that at least the there was an update and the Easyjet story came up. She laughed and said they were too cheap. She never flies them. That the bigger airlines operating in the UK would offer you a meal voucher if there was a delay close to 3 hours, and over 3 hours they would pay for your hotel especially if it’s a night trip. I told her that at roughly 170 Euros the flight wasn’t exactly cheap. A few more lighthearted words and she went back to her stand.

My original email was quite longer than the version above but the but the textbox on the Easyjet website for submitting the contact messages was limited so I had to pare it down to fit. I did get the meal voucher but would have included the text below in my message but for lack of space:

“Oh. I got the meal voucher which either allowed me a small sandwich for the full value of 4.50 Euros or a cup of expensive coke for 3.40 Euros, but not both. I chose the coke.”

And that is my Easyjet story.


Solitary Exposure

Solitary Exposure

Who am I? Where am I going? Why am I going?


As we went on the expressway towards Bonn, I am seated at the front of the bus, just behind and to the right of the driver. I snap a picture now and then when I see something interesting in the landscape. Looks more like the countryside.

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It struck me that 70 years ago, I would not have stood a chance. Even if I was alive, I would have either been in a concentration camp or making my way fearfully across the country in an attempt to escape. Along with the other “undesirables” such as the gypsies, the Jews, the invalid, the disabled, the colored, I would have fallen under the war machine of the Third Reich and threshed completely or turned into a bloody pulp of blood and gore on their wrathful wine-press.

But there I was seated in full view, just as cold as the next person, one ticket conferring equality on me just as the same with every passenger on the bus.
Thank God for the past, thank God for the present, and thank God for the future, because despite the violent darkness that shrouds the whole world, there are streaks of hope breaking through to light our way.

Thank God for Germany and her people: for rising above the past and surely not forgetting and being watchful. Hitler might have been an aberration. A mutant. But he was in good company of men like Goebbels , Dr Mengele, Himmler … So mutations are not so uncommon as one would hope.

But yet, for the believers, we hold on to 1 John 3:2 which means “perfection”:
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

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Between Bonn and Bad Honnef (1:58PM 02-Jan-2014)

I check in to the hotel. I had to go back and forth between a couple of banks down the road and the hotel. The hotel doesn’t accept debit cards and then I had to transfer money between my savings and current account since my ATM debit card was only linked to the current account. I have completed a couple of forms to have this fixed at my bank but I guess some requests never make it past the customer service desk.
Finally I had the cash.
The room is spacious enough with two beds side by side.
I take a shower.

I made the call.

Probably will get no response.
Well actually not nothing. Just some recorded voice in German which I assume said I should leave a message.

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I do not have the right adapter for my laptop’s power supply so once I run down the battery, I am without “eyes” on the Internet. I have the phone though so I can still peep in.

The whole day was before me. A stranger in a strange land. I decided to go for a walk after I ran down the battery of the laptop.

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I have got lost several times in Amsterdam. So a little German town won’t faze me. The street names are just as strange and slightly similar. The cold is still getting under my fleece and leather jacket. And I can certainly feel it on my thighs through my pair of black jeans. But I feel extra alive so I walk on.

The Germans are known for their love of – or strive for perfection. “Engineered to perfection”. Benz anyone? Lots of nice small German machines on the road. There is “money” in this town. But no pretense at royalty or over abundance of wealth thereby making up for some character flaw. Like some people back home but I guess same applies in all countries – if you look closely enough.

A lady walks up to me. Tomboyish. She asks if I speak English. She needs a bus to some tongue twisting place. She could be Scandinavian from her English. Said someone directed her to the bus stop across the road but her stop is not listed on the small plaque displaying the destinations. I am a visitor myself. She asks about the rail station. I was able to point her in the general direction. I told her to ask as she goes along. Not very many people on the streets though.

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There is a young boy dragging a trolley bag coming the opposite way. Probably early teens. I stop to take a picture. He crosses the road to the other side well before we meet and continues on his way. Our eyes meet a couple of times. We fear what we don’t know. I might be the bogeyman but he’s too young to be a mugger.

This street surely has an end?

Or is it a test? The short responses. The “no” responses. It is just me.

If she’s worth it you won’t quit. If you quit you aren’t worthy“. Saw that on Facebook.

Surely Facebook has made it as informal references into some academic theses by now? What happens if Facebook goes under? I guess same thing as when referenced books go out of print.

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I come across a lady with a cute dog. I ask if I can take its picture. She said why not. Stood by me and tried to get the dog to look at the camera.
She said something that sounded like “ah-cee, ah-cee whaa-whaa”. I think it means stop or stay.


Ah! It’s not an end but there’s a definite curve to the road. I am flanked by two kings: Jesus, heavenly king on the left. Ceasar, earthly king on the right. Narrower is the way … I hear the bell toll just then for whom it will. Actually it marked 7pm.

king1 king2

I go on past the little church. Further down I see an overhead bridge.
I shall take the overhead bridge as its end. It thins out and splits into several roads there. A car just rolled to a stop. I could have sworn I head its rims scraping the Tarmac. But then it continued on its way on one of the smaller roads and was soon out of sight round the bend. I am retracing my steps. Can’t be less than 40mins. What goes down must come up.

I can barely control my fingers anymore. They are numb.

There is snow on the ground.

snow1 snow2

There is a full moon out.


Must be some iconic church to be preserved in the middle of the road. Have I captured some piece of the Templars code on film? Can I decipher it to get to the source of unlimited wealth or the holy grail?

templars1 templars2

A lady runs by me to her car in front. I thought she was the one that gave off the strong smell of tobacco. But it was an older gentleman parked on the curb. He was just starting his car to take off and he had a big fat tobacco in his mouth. The inner light of his car was on. He looked directly at me as I stared at him in turn.

A middle age gentleman stood in front of a compound with a dog whose mane would arouse the jealousy of some lions especially considering its relative size.
I crossed the road and approach the man while at the same time taking off my head warmer. The cold should not make for any preconceived stereotypes but given that I haven’t come across any black faces since I arrived, better to do everything to appear “less” threatening. I smiled broadly and asked if I could take a picture of the dog. He apologized that his English isn’t so good. So I held my hands in front of me like I was holding a camera and pointed at the dog. Oh. Sure. He says.


I am back at the beginning. I take a picture of one side of the room.

Where are you.

8:15pm Bad Honnef

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Saturday starts slowly.

Then you came along.

Then Saturday ends too quickly.

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Sunday morning, I check out of the hotel and pop into the neighborhood Catholic church. The service is in German. I stay just inside the door. I close my eyes for a couple of minutes and say hi to God.


church1 church2 church3 church4

Then it’s up the hill.


I am going back. I am at the airport.

It was nice seeing you. No. More than nice. Great.



Solitary once again.