The Long Trip
So, I got to the office and said goodbye to my boss and then my colleagues. Goodbyes could be very hard to say at times. Minutes turned into hours and hours into days and it was finally Wednesday. Camp officially opens on Thursday so I had to travel on Wednesday since I was going by road.
I had met some guys on a virtual platform and we were supposed to move together on Wednesday. So, we booked our ticket for 3pm to enable us get to kano by Thursday morning. I finally packed my things and headed for the park. Getting to the park, I got to meet the virtual friends we have been planning our trip together.
One-two! I bought my ticket and got my seat number. Other commuters came and bought their tickets. However, the bus scheduled to leave by 3pm didn’t leave until 6:10pm. My friend had already informed me that he arrived his own camp that same Wednesday. And that he got a place to sleep over till Thursday when camp would be officially opened for registration. What a trip! The bus was dominated by more of prospective Corp members (PCM) going to Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina etc. There also some Hausas who were either returning to their place or going to buy things.
The bus had barely got moving when the PCMs in the bus got everyone cracking. There were the crazy ones, the calm ones, the notice me ones and the too-know types. It was obviously my first time travelling such long distance and boarding a luxurious bus. I had mixed feelings and just went to my solo-mode, which was observing. After travelling for about 5 hours, people started keeping quiet. Those who had their phones fully charged, had their earphones plugged to their ears. They were either listening or watching one thing or the other.
Yeah! I remember this particular lady who was so pressed and wouldn’t let anyone rest. She kept pleading with the driver to stop, but then who stops a bus just in the middle of nowhere in the night? She paced about and had everyone pitying her and as sweet as it sounded, all she got was pity-share pity! If you have boarded a luxurious bus before, you would know what I am talking about.
The driver and his assistant were literarily in a different world of their own. Worst still, he was listening to very loud ‘gbedu’ and was in cloud 9. So, the woman who was pressed tried to knock to get the driver’s attention.
Unfortunately, all she got was a sorry statement that the driver cannot just stop at just any place. She was told that it would amount to endangering the lives of other passengers. Finally, we got to Akure shortly after we passed FUTA, the driver halted at a filling station.
Everyone who needed to do one thing or the other did what they wanted to do.
Those who needed to ease themselves did; those who wanted to buy some things bought; those who needed to stretch their feet did and everyone felt good all over again. I didn’t waste time to ease myself, bought one or two things and stretched my feet. In 30 mins, the driver commenced the journey and everyone was back to their seats.
As a free being that I am, I particularly told the driver that he was the only one enjoying his music. He apologized and increased the volume so that as the journey continued, everyone was enjoying the music. By now, I had accepted my seat partner and we conversed once in a while.
He obviously didn’t understand English at all. Unfortunately for me, all my friends were at the back. So, I stuck to my phone and when I couldn’t use my phone for lack of battery, I decided to just meditate on the life ahead.
It was now past 1am in the middle of the night and I was not even thinking of sleeping at all. Let’s just say I was scared to death and crazy thoughts were creeping in. Lol! I had thoughts like; what if the driver slept off while driving and he entered the bush? What if armed robbers stopped the bus and collected our stuffs? What if there was an accident? So many what ifs and as soon as any crazy thoughts crept in, I would immediately pray against it. Still, I couldn’t sleep.
The part that worsened the scenario the most was the fact that I couldn’t even see outside clearly. The times I saw outside, it was just bushes and I couldn’t help but wonder how the driver wasn’t scared or didn’t feel sleepy. Ah! Now, I remember why he wasn’t feeling sleep at all. I had wondered why anyone would sleep so carelessly.
Earlier that day I boarded, I entered the bus and met a fat man sleeping and sweating profusely yet enjoying his sleep. He was so engrossed in his sleep so much that he didn’t take cognizance of his immediate environment. I figured why when he stood up about an hour to departure and went to the steering- oh! He was the driver.
The journey continued for another 3 hours and then the tire got punctured and in fact, tore. Mo gbe! In the early hours of the morning? I thought they checked this bus well before we left. Sebi I saw them servicing and checking the bus? Besides, didn’t they say that Ezenwata don’t always have issues on the road? Lobatan! I just hope they fix this as soon as possible so we can leave this deadly zone. Me and my crazy thoughts!
Okay, you need to know that I am really very spiritual, I pray, I kabash.
I even fast as well but somehow, these thoughts crept in because it was my first time travelling on a night journey. I was scared but still went out to stretch my feet, eased myself and quickly got in before the tire was replaced. So, the journey continued and those who wanted to sleep continued their sleep.
It was now morning and so, I could also sleep. I enjoyed my sleep now because all through the night I couldn’t sleep since I wasn’t used to sleeping in the bus even at night. We finally got to Kaduna where the first set of PCMs amongst us alighted.
Another driver took over the wheels. I was already fully awake despite the very short sleep I had. Everyone had stretched their feet and those who needed to ease themselves and also buy things ensured they did. And by now, my friend had already messaged me that he was through with his registration. In fact, he was the first. In my mind, I was just saying lucky him!
Immediately the new driver took over the wheels, I went to meet him and told him we were Corp members and that we were going to the nysc camp ground. He immediately said he would notify us when it was time for us to alight. After another 3 hours drive, we finally alighted and the taxi drivers were waiting to take us to wherever we were going.
To be continued…