Happy Fathers Day.
Several years ago in Abuja, I was on my way someplace important with my brother. We had taken the bus and it was a rainy day. Everywhere was wet and messy. Somewhere along the way, a family got into the bus. A father, mother and a number of little children. They were wet, dirty and smelly. The kids were shivering with the cold and you could tell they needed to snuggle up to someone. And no prize for guessing who was available, but did I mention they were dirty, smelly and very wet?
The father looked at this nice, clean looking lady in jeans and top, and he spoke sternly to the kids so they would not move close and soil her body. The lady thought of her 1 year old son back in her beautiful home, who was warm and dry and well-fed. And she pulled the wet and dirty kids close and tried to keep them warm. Clothes can always be washed, or thrown away if need be.
That father looked at the lady, and while his wife poured prayers of gratitude on the woman, he did not sat a word. He just looked. But he didn’t need to say anything; the look was enough.
It was a look that told the story of his struggle to raise a family in the midst of hardship. A look that condemned himself for being so poor that he couldn’t even afford the most basic things for his kids.
It was a look filled with longing for the day his wife would look clean and fresh, and would be in a position to dispense kindness.
I do not know the man, but I see his kind everywhere I look.
Today, I celebrate all such men who will never get to read this types if posts because things like FB hold no meaning for them. Men like this who suffer the brunt of our wicked policies and practices. Men who must lie awake at night wondering where the school fees of 1,000 naira will come from.
Men who impregnate their wives every year because sex is the only pleasure they can afford and family planning is an unknown. Men who also would like their kids to attend good schools and use iphones but who know that barring a miracle, the kids would at best end up like they, the fathers.
Today, wherever you are, I pray for you that somehow, those same children with smelly bodies and runny noses will rise up and wipe away the memory of poverty!
Happy Fathers Day.
I know you can’t read this wish though…sigh!