SOMETIME in November or December last year, I had one of those dreams which keep one on one’s toes. I was on a highway, and at what looked like a road intersection, I saw a huge billboard. All that was written on it was a date in huge letters, written in three levels, one above another! That date was FEBRUARY 14!
For about one or two decades now, February 14 has become a lover’s meltdown in Nigeria, as it is in many parts of our earth. So, if I was still in that orbit of earth-life where it is permissible without sanction to haunt love nests, I would have thought a new heat wave was in the making. That not being so, I decided to gird my loins. I did everything I could to crack this nut. But it did not budge. Then, on February 12, I cancelled all my business appointments on February 14 and decided to stay indoor, reviewing major events and experiences in my earth-life so far.
Just before then, I had had a jolt in the passing of a woman everyone in my housing estate in Lagos called Mama Ezinne. She was a hardworking peasant woman who was like a Rock of Gibraltar in her family. She hardly had any other life outside her business. Even the bond of her marriage she did not seal until she had about six children. She roasted plantain, yam or corn on the highway in front of the estate.
As early as about 4:30a.m, she would leave her home for the corn fields, to bring day-old corn to Lagos. This gave her business competitive edge. Vehicle after vehicle would pull up. And in no time, business would be all over. I knew her about 12 years ago when I was building a house in the estate. I would either stop over on my way to the site to buy corn, boiled or roasted, for the workmen, or stroll down from the site to fill my stomach. The business environment was inhospitable. Sparks of hot coal flew about everywhere. And there was a lot of smoky air to be inhaled from the coal basin or from the traffic on the road. I taught her and some of her friends how to employ the diet to compensate for the bashing. We would scrape the burns from a roast plantain, cut it into two halves and them, like a hamburger, be deck the two halves with coconut oil or Avocado pear before eating them. Nettles grew around them. I taught them the blood-cleansing importance of this herb. And, before long, these plant became extinct in the neighbourhood.
Mama Ezinne often complained of headache. I advised it may not have come from hard work, but other sources as well, such as high cholesterol blood count and hypertension, for example. If she thought hospital bills were like a mountain of currency notes, I taught her that she was making money and she had to spend some of it on the well-being of her best friend, her body, the motor vehicle as it were which takes her everywhere. We sat down to do a small arithmetic. If a piece of corn sold on the farm for #5, and it took #5 to transport it to Lagos, and #5 coal was needed to roast it, and another #5 had to be budgeted for KAI (Kick Against Indiscipline) so that the roadside, nay highway business, would not be disturbed as it is forbidden by law, and if another #5 would be added for sundry public relations purposes, all of these brought the cost of sale to #25 against a sales price of #80 or #100. If we minimised the profit to #50, and she sold 100 pieces in one day, that was a tax-free profit of #5,000 in one day! Everyone who knew Mama Ezinne knew 100 pieces in one day was an understatement. Her success story underscores the versatility of Nigeria’s informal sector, and the failure of government policies to connect with the ordinary folks of Nigeria. She earned more that many people in white collar jobs, was close to finishing up a building in her village in Ebonyi State, yet knew nothing about the National Health Insurance Scheme and probably thought hospitals and doctors were drain-pipes.
On January 21, a Sunday, as she did her laundry, she slumped, came round in hospital shortly after, but did not survive the last round of headaches which had assailed her health for some months. Her death shook me up. Only the week before, she had seen me cross the highway to the other side aided by someone, as I cannot on my own gauge traffic momentum nowadays, and remarked to her neighbour, Mama Peace, also, a friend of mine, who sells fruits that…”Baba is growing old.” She always said that to my face, and I always replied by frog jumping as a way of saying I still had some gas and fire to burn, and we would all laugh hilariously. I did not realize there would be no more opportunity on this planet to dare her to a frog jump competition. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Mama Ezinne in Lagos who has single parent, widows or wives are bread winners for their families. They make good money from hectic, dirty business. But they do not know how to invest it in softer higher yield businesses such as Treasury Bills or Forex trading. If they can be helped to do this, many of them will graduate into money making that is less risky to their healths and lives.
Good-bye, Mama Ezinne!
I was writing my column one Sunday afternoon a few years ago, when I heard a knock on the gate outside. My visitor turned out to be Florence Akibom Ufeanyi Fusi, a mother of three who departed the flesh on February 19 this year, aged 51…Her uncle, Simeon Ekor, an acquaintance of mine, asked her to see me in respect of a throat challenge.
She had not been able to swallow food or drink straight from a glass. She had been in hospital for some months and had been fed intravenously. She weighed about 40kg. She was confident and calm. When I checked the pressure points at the back of her palm, she responded positively to almost every touch, suggesting a systemic problem. She expressed pain every time. And, soon, her cold hands began to become warm, and she began to sweat all over. Mrs. Folake Sanusi, who was with me that afternoon, to help out with research for my column and to learn about the use of herbs for health, a mission on which her church sent her to me and to which I responded with occasional talks given to church elders or the congregation, helped me pack some herbs which were to help with throat infections. But when she brought her laboratory test results during her next visit, I knew the condition was far more serious than it was at first assumed to be. By that time, she was unable to swallow even a drop of water without wanting to convulse from a terrible cough masterminded by the throat to prevent the water going down to the stomach. Funny enough, she was able to swallow saliva, however much it was.
Mrs Fusi was losing weight, and the only way left for her to feed and live a semi-normal life before a surgery that was said would correct the throat condition was to feed through a tube inserted into the stomach from the skin. She dislike this. But I was able to persuade her to let it be fixed. And that was how we became friends. Her doctors at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) fixed the tube. She had to liquify all meals and get them down the tube into her stomach. But, alas, she could not take in more than five or six tablespoonfuls at anytime, two or three times a day. So, we had to narrow her meals to those ones which would give her carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, vitamins, enzymes and co-factors, improve immunity, challenge the condition, yield energy, repair injury, build tissue and balance mood and mind as well, as she was experiencing sleep disorders, too.
Every week, we both smiled as her weight increased from thirty-something kg to about 65kg. The surgeons had said they would carry out the corrective surgery on the defective throat passage if she attained 75kg. I must add here that she had a whole army of friends who backed her up, without whose attention and love I do not think she would have added about four years to her life since I first saw her. She called Mrs. Ogunwale “mother” and Dr. Abayomi Aiyesimoju “father”. Mrs. Ogunwale invested time, energy and money in her. Dr. Aiyesimoju invested no less. Even when he had to travel abroad, he placed two able doctor friends of his at her disposal. These were Dr. Ogunbadejo and Dr. Omowunmi Fagbemi, whose wife was another “mother”. There was, also, Mrs. Ojo, the Caribbean nurse and homeopath, who would leave her home in the dead of the night to give her pain medicine. Mrs. Fusi often wondered about what would happen to her little girl, Daisy, if her condition took her away. She thought her three children, Victor, Caroline and Cella, would get by on their own. Daisy was her brother’s daughter, and was still in high school. Her brother willed Daisy and five other children to her as he was dying, saying she was his only sibling who could look after them the way he wished. Mrs. Fusi found they would be a handful to add to her challenge, and traveled home to tell his Catholic priest of her plight. She settled for Daisy and Verna. Verna was to come to Lagos later this year and be taken to either Mrs. Ojo or Mrs. Fagbemi. I found Mrs. Fusi a receptive, hardworking, generous and loving woman. Her house was a vistors’ nest, and she personally cooked for everyone who came, even if she could not eat like them. No wonder many men trouble her for marriage even in that condition. She shooked them off. I advised she report the naughty one to Mr. Soji Mopson, who gave her adequate cover. I advised her to diversify the produce on her small farm. In one pawpaw fruit, there were hundreds of seeds. If we planted them all, no one would go hungry, I teased. She grew more than 50 and planted about 30 seedlings in my house. As mine had not fruited, she sent me four pawpaw fruits every Sunday.
Whenever she was attending her LUTH clinics, she would stop by in a car provided by Mrs. Ogunwale to take me to the office. She made friends with people she met at LUTH. Despite her condition, she would go by bus to visit sick ones among them at home, to give them hope and love. I was the first person she called one day, crying, after some men in a taxi cab she boarded at LUTH took her ATM card at gun point, emptied her bank account and pushed her out of their vehicle as it was in motion. And when her doctors at LUTH insisted she had to have chemotherapy and radiation before the surgery, this being the current international convention for surgery for her type of challenge, I dutifully advised her of the implications, and even published an article on it in my column and website to underscore my worry. Both knocked her out! Chemotherapy and radiation are products of Intellectual medicine and stand in contrast and opposition to intuitive medicine and to that charge or admonition that neither drugs nor injections, but the right kinds of foods and drinks bring lasting health.
We discussed possible causes of her throat condition. Looking at it from the perspective of Energy Medicine, this was a Fifth Chakra infaction arising from the suppression of the expression of free will. We narrow this to either workplace experiences or forced detachment from the cuddling warmth of her young love, against which she was powerless at 16, and casting into the cagey, and suffocating icy cold union. In ability to express free will often causes throat problems, according to energy medicine physicians.
I will miss Sisi Flo, as we called her. But I will not feel sad that she has gone. She believes we continue to exist in another plane of existence after physical death on earth. Thus, I pray she awaken in that world to joyful activities, far, far, far beyond the land of shadows or the land of twilight, in those luminous gardens which are the dreams of many souls on earth who know about them.
Good-bye, Sisi Flo.
It was as if this gentleman of many parts and father of 14 children, who would have been 76 on June 24 this year, knew his time on earth was nigh. A writer, political activist, award winner, a lawyer and educationist, he felt himself hemmed in by strange forces when an eye condition began to disable him from writing and reading. But this was only a shadow of the health challenges to which he eventually bowed on February 18, to the surprise of his wife, Veronica, and my good self who had thought he was coming out of the woods.
I met Dr. Momoh through his wife some years ago. Our common turf was the exchange of ideas in a chat group of more than 300 persons through which we discuss the ways and means to naturally prevent our health from breaking down and, if challenged by any vicissitude, how we can get it back on track without dangerous side effects.
When Dr. Momoh sensed that he needed help, he asked for guidance about Alternative Medicine doctors in England who could offer it. He was traveling abroad for some other purpose(s) and thought he could kill yet another bird with the same stone. The first name that came to my mind was Dr. Adeniyi-Jones. He combined orthodox medicine with alternative medicine. But Dr. Adeniyi-Jones was not in town when Dr. Momoh arrived in England. So, he saw someone else, and felt happy that he did. It would appear, though, that he did not follow up this appointment and prescription to the letter. He appeared a busy man, who soon forgot his problems as his health challenges shows signs of remission. Many of us often found ourselves cast in the mold to which I, too, confess some guilt, as I do mention in this column.
To cut the long story short, as we say, Dr. Momoh soon found he had to be on the health road again. Back to England he went. He declined invasive surgery and chemotherapy but accepted a medication which appeared to have knock him out. He was weak, irritable, lost appetite and home sick. This was during his second visit to England. The first was in August last year. The latter, I believe, was in January this year. This last visit, I spoke with him once or twice. He said he would get well once he returned home to his wife. His wife wanted him to exhaust available opportunities of any therapy of his dream. But when his health appeared to slide still, she agreed he could return home. He did. But he still continued to refuse food and medication, and took seven pints of blood to no avail. Once, she told him he was breaking her heart by so doing. He replied “yes, I will break your heart”. She cried. I told him it was ungentlemanly to say that to a lady, especially a wife dotting all over him and wishing him to get well. In their 35years or so of marriage, she had stuck to him as the shell of a snail stick to the snail. When he was going abroad to study law, she resigned her job as Assistant Chief Inspector of Education (professional line) in Edo state to follow him, thereby aborting her dream to become a permanent Secretary someday. In retrospect, he may have become tired of his burdensome health, lost the will to live and wished to go. His soul may have been loosening it bond with his body, and he may have been considering food and medicine a disturbance to his dream to go. Nevertheless, he apologised to her and to me, and was always happy to hear from me. She called in the doctors again and again. They did all they could. Then, at about 4a.m that Sunday of February 18, Dr. Momoh died of cardiac arrest!
Dr. Robson Momoh came from the prominent Royal Momoh family of Auchi where free will and the family bond are always in conflict. By its tradition, this family demands that its departed members be buried in Auchi and according to Islamic rights,
pHOTO cREDIT: From polanuevarutadelempleo