I Didn’t Know…

That was the day I met hunger.

I saw it with my two clear eyes and it wasn’t pretty. It had two horns, a really ugly, terrible, scowling face and claws that were as long as they were heinous. It clung to me with a fervor I could scarcely fathom, and threatened to swallow me whole.

I was in year one in the university. My foodstuffs were totally exhausted and I could see the reflection of my gaunt face very clearly at the bottom of my pots. For three consecutive days, I had had only Garium Sulphate and Home Boys Kola (if you do not know what these mean, please go back to school). By the third day, Friday, my stomach had risen in indignant revolution. Give me food or I die, it protested. I was no longer VALENTINE– I was HUNGRY!

I had gone to check my account on the morning of the Tuesday and it was as empty as the head of a Nigerian legislator. I was livid with rage. How could my parents not know that they had a son in school?! Did they think he was eating papers? I left the bank in a huff. I am not the asking type so it didn’t cross my mind to go to any of my flat mates to ask for food. I also decided not to even call home. If they didn’t think I was important, I would prove I could manage on my own. A hungry man is an angry man. So each time my stomach grumbled, my head rumbled.

But three days of profound hunger was sufficient in itself to inform me of the gross folly of my actions.

Eventually my mum called. I allowed the phone ring twice and didn’t bother to pick. When it began ringing the third time any thought of ignoring the call was chased out when the evil, two-horned hunger took a liberal bite on my small intestine. I picked the call promptly. I was angry and tried to let it show in my voice.

But she was angry too.

Why hadn’t I called for three days now to tell her I had received my money? She had even added some money and no call to say “thank you”? I felt she was speaking lost languages. What money? Soon, we were able to ascertain that mum had indeed sent cash three days before and it hadn’t reflected as at the time I went to check. (no thanks to UBA and their ever consistent poor services!)

I apologized to mum and, with a vengeance, went to withdraw. The first thing I did was to treat myself to a spoil. I deserved it after three days of pure, undiluted HUNGER!

But then, I asked myself the question I still ask myself now. So there was money in the bank all along and I was suffering in silence?! I had money that I didn’t know of and was distressed by deprivation. How often has the same thing happened to us in life too?

In us, with us, within our reach we have the solution to a problem yet we dwell under the clutches of that problem, oppressed and tormented simply because we didn’t know. For three days while incapacitating hunger was my closest companion, I had money. Now listen to this profound truth;

Even though I had money that could have fed me, I was still victimized by hunger simply because I didn’t know.

Even if you HAVE the solution to a problem with or within you, you will still be under the bondage of that problem as long as you do not KNOW what you carry.

Someone said, what you don’t know can’t kill you. I beg to differ. What you don’t know can kill you. It can maim you and render you useless. It can deprive you of needed relief. Oftentimes, the problem isn’t what you don’t have but what you have that you don’t know.

Without a doubt, I believe everyman is liberally endowed with almost everything he needs to succeed in life. Why then do we have unfulfilled, distressed, frustrated people in the world? Is it that they don’t have? No way. It is that they do not know what they have. Some know what they have but they don’t know how to put it to use. Some know how to put what they have to use but do not know when to put it to use (doing the right thing in the wrong time is the same as doing the wrong thing).

Some say wisdom is better than knowledge. I think wisdom is the same as knowledge- only higher. Wisdom is knowing where, when and how to put knowledge to use. Do you KNOW what you have? Do you KNOW all that you carry?

In that pace of men who strive to know… I hope to see you.

AKPOVETA, Valentine ‘t


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