The Road Less Travelled
I spent 4 years in Nsukka, a small town located in the Eastern part of Nigeria- Enugu State to be precise. I won’t forget the time I spent there in my lifetime- the rich brick red sand, the soft green hills, the everyday sight of elderly women riding motorcycles and of course, Ogige market! Nsukka was home away from home for me.
Ironically, I never wanted to travel to Nsukka. I had desired to have my tertiary education in Lagos- a metropolis located in the Western part of Nigeria. Lagos was where I had lived all my life and I couldn’t think of giving up the ‘fab life’ of a Lagosian for the ordinary life of a student in Nsukka; but sometimes, being ordinary is good enough, even if it doesn’t seem so in our human eye- I later discovered this truth during my stay at Nsukka.
Dad literally forced me to apply for admission into the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; it was his Alma mater and he believed the change of environment would do me some good, seeing that I was an introvert and one of my neighbours once referred to me as a hermit. Fortunately, I got into the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and I embarked on my 9-hour journey to the little Eastern town. In my first few months there, I learnt a few greetings in the Nsukka dialect like ‘Ine Aga’ meaning ‘How are you’ and ‘A di m oyi’ meaning ‘I am fine’ or ‘A di m oyi keteke’ meaning ‘I am very very fine’.
Nsukka was the least place I expected to have fun, but my time there taught me something about travel – The success of a trip is not always dependent on the nature of the surroundings, the people that occupy these surroundings also have an equal role to play. Nsukka is an old town, and if not for the University which was established there, it would have been long forgotten but still, the people of Nsukka have magnificent hearts. They are hardworking, humble, interactive and light-hearted. I made several friends amongst the petty traders, who mere mostly indigenes of the town; anytime I had a bad day, seeing their bright smiles despite their hard circumstances, gave me hope and strengthened me.
A particular guy comes to mind- Chukwy- he was an indigene of the town and owned a little provision store on campus. He opened for business as early as 7am and closed at about 10.30 pm. What amazed me most about Chukwy was that he was slightly autistic but still struggled to make conversation with us- his customers- and diligently carried out his duties. Seeing Chukwy every other day, made me believe that no matter what life tossed at me, with the right attitude, I could handle it.
Several other people in Nsukka taught me to own my challenges, for instance, the elderly women who rode motorcycles. Woow! The first time I saw this it gave me goosebumps, I stood in awe, staring at the bravery and courage of a woman who was at least in her late 50s ride a motorcycle. It showed me the little power our circumstances had, in relation to the power our minds possessed.
Everytime I travelled to Nsukka, there was always something new for me to learn from her people. The four years went by quickly and on my last trip back from Nsukka, I was teary-eyed. I knew I would miss the town and her people a lot, but most importantly, I was happy that I had made the trip in the first place. I was grateful to have discovered my little town of no regret.
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