“Apart from the service and worship of God, religion teaches us to respect the sanctity of life, a gift from God. When we abandon our dedication to the creator, we forget our commitment to humanity and the sacredness of life. Some end human life as if it has no value. God help us all, and may the people of Las Vegas, Nevada find peace in their lives someday soon.” ~ Fidelis O. Mkparu, October 2017.
My dearest friend Wolfgang,
I read the obituary page of our local newspaper today. Your name was the first on the list. The beautiful name you loved. I could not remember a goodbye from you, and no one called to let me know that you permanently ended your regular visits to my office. Shedding tears for your death would have been an insult to the jovial man I remembered. A kindhearted fellow who loved old cameras and beautiful ladies. You even adored my Yashica camera I bought 43 years ago, and rewarded my dedication to the art of photography with old fashioned rolls of films. Kodak and Agfa films you gave me remain in my drawer. I still remember what you said, “rolls of films for a perfect outdoor photo shoot.” A photo session set aside for a beautiful fräulein.
I will continue to cherish 21 years of friendship I had with you until the end of time. Death took you away and has overshadowed the 32 years that separated our births.
Goodbye my dear old friend.
Fidelis O. Mkparu, August 2017.
I identified my components this morning; one wants to stay in bed to enjoy the rainy day, the adventurist wants to run away to explore the world, and the best part of me accepts my calling to stay my course to take care of lives entrusted in my hands. Never run away from who you are. You can’t reach your destination in life without you. (Fidelis O Mkparu, author of ‘Love’s Affliction’ May 1, 2017)
I set out at night from Atlanta. No wind, or snow. Hovered over the Atlantic Ocean for thirteen hours. Sleepless night. Patience has become a part of me. Landed facing west. The glitter of setting sun. Hazy sky, and a gentle breeze. Harmattan kiss. It blows on you, mimicking onset of common cold. I remember the gloomy feeling. Lassitude.
Three hours of sleep on a borrowed bed. Watched international news until 4 am. Shaved, and showered. Arrived at the local airport in Lagos by 6 am. Long lines of travelers, and touts. Scam experts, and helpers. Grateful. Found saints, and not sinners. Security check with hustlers. Survived the pat downs. Ten hours of wait at the departure lounge. False flight updates every hour. Flights delayed, or cancelled. I became weary in the hall of departure. The real reason for delays eventually announced. Harmattan hijacked the sub-Saharan sky. Without electronic instrument-guided landing, the pilot would be lost in the haze.
As late evening approached, they asked us to board. We milled around, lacking vigor, and excitement. Three hundred miles of bumpy sky, I reached the second leg of my journey. With my driver, and security detail, we set out for my ancestral home. Not far from the banks of the river Niger. I arrived after sunset in sub-Saharan haven. My ancestral home. As the gate to my compound opened, I was overwhelmed with youthful exuberance. I knelt on the soil for the people that lorded before me. My ancestors. Renewal of our covenant. Never to become a profligate. This is where my soul belongs.
Eleven hours of flight across the Atlantic Ocean. By road, I crossed two rivers; river Niger, and John’s River. My destination was across from a market, and adjacent to a town hall. Lush Iroko trees in every direction. Scattered, and casting shadows over acres of brush land. A grazing field, decades before my life began. My father told me.
Two anthills guarding the footpath. Tall mounds from red soil dug up by ants claiming territories they did not own. I approached the mounds. Termites meandering around. New owners of the land, or mere tenants? No one had challenged their presence for years. My grandfather abandoned the space one hundred years ago. His son, my father, became the overseer until he departed twenty-one years ago. Timing of birth anointed my only brother as the manager of the estate. A veritable lord of the land. He lorded from a distance, until he joined our ancestors the day I was summoned home. That was how my journey began.
Pieces of broken earthen pots littered the ground. Along the path to my grandfather’s house, birds congregated on several trees with ripe fruits. On one special tree, red feathered birds, and buzzing bees shared their bounty. Beaks and talons probing abundant feasts. Buzzing and gyrations on dripping fruits.
I heard rumbling noise from a distance. Drops of rain on my face. Effervescent sounds on baked tropical soil. Unique aroma emanated from the fizz. Special earthy scent of the first rain. Anticipating a tropical deluge, I quickened my pace to my ancestral house. Corrugated iron roof. Rust and red dust. Delicate floor more than one hundred years old. Preserved for eternity, if taken care of. I removed my shoes and socks. I walked barefoot where my grandfather walked. An owl asked, “who-o-o who-o-o?” Words came out of my mouth, “I’m home grandpa.” A spiritual transformation.
I knelt, and kissed the soil. Sadness overtook me. Tears rolled down my eyes. I mourned for my dead brother, alone. I remembered the last time we stood together. Mourning the death of our father.
I returned from my sojourn, a Patriarch. It is my turn to lord over the land. My birthright.
Written by Fidelis O. Mkparu (2016), author of ‘Love’s Affliction’
“There was no moon to influence the night. Just you, your beauty, and your wondrous smile. We sat for two hours. Kisses and nibbles. Laughing and fondling. Falling for each other endlessly. We woke to embrace, and arouse. Fanning the fire we started. Losing every sense of time, and embracing candor. Whispers and moaning.” ~Fidelis O Mkparu, (2016) author of ‘Love’s Affliction’