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Gaari, the food of the nation, isn’t just a go-to food when you’re broke. It has helped me not to die of hunger, but it has also saved me from incineration. Want to know how? Read more on this story.
As a student with poor parents, I lived and dined in poverty. It would have been better if I had well-off roommates. At least then, I would have been able to live off them. However, we were a group of impoverished undergraduates.
My roommates, Deji and Shola, had had enough one day. They said they were going to go into “Yahoo.” I looked at them in disbelief. “See, others are doing it and they get away with it. We’ll do it and get away with it too,” Deji said with all conviction. I shook my head. “I’m never doing this.” It was hard holding on to my stance.
A few weeks after, Deji and Shola started and made some money. They rejoiced so much, like madmen. They did not share their money with me, and I was glad they did not make the offer.
About a month later, I became very broke. I had no money on me and couldn’t call home. My roommates had ostracized me, even though we still lived together. I was really hungry and my stomach rumbled like an earthquake. I decided to go to Iya Pupa’s shop. Iya Pupa was the woman who sold “Gaari” near our apartment, and I owed her money for about two months now. I really didn’t want to go back there, but it was either I die of hunger or face shame.
When Iya Pupa saw me from afar, she started closing the shop. I ran to her and begged her, “Oh oh, should I pack my gaari before you come and finish it, even before buying it?” Iya Pupa never ceased to hide the fact that I was her chronic debtor. I explained to her how bad my situation was and pleaded with her to give me more time. She eventually agreed and brought out a cup of gaari with a sachet of water. “I’m giving you this one for free so you won’t die before your time,” she said. Even though her words could kill, she was a nice woman.
I was still drinking the gaari when three armed men barged into the shop with Deji and Shola. Fear vibrated through my bones, and I could tell there was big trouble.
“We’re looking for Debo, are you the one?”
Before I could reply, Iya Pupa had come to my front and asked them what they wanted. The men introduced themselves as EFCC officers and said they had come to round up scammers in the nearby apartment. My legs went weak.
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“You see this boy here, with the way he has been drinking gaari for the past weeks, I’m sure it will soon grow on his head. A person who can’t pay three Naira is scamming someone?” Iya Pupa said distastefully.
The men nodded after a while and left, dragging Deji and Shola with them. I looked on as my roommates were being led to their retribution. At that moment, I realized I would forever remain indebted to Gaari.
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