There are days I believe that poverty is a spirit that locates kindred spirits all over the world. I also believe that there is nothing anyone can do for someone destined to be poor.
You know, even Jesus said that ‘the poor will always be with you.’
Well, I think that just like slavery is not a choice, neither is poverty.
My line of thinking is making you uncomfortable, right?
I feel uncomfortable thinking about it myself.
But there is a level of self-sabotage that I come across from time to time that baffles me.
While some people are desperately seeking opportunities to better their lives, some enjoy the lack of opportunities and wear failure like a special badge.
They see nothing good anywhere.
“Na so wahala dey everywhere…”
They comfortably wear the agbada of sorrows and carry an atmosphere that would kill a plant.
Do you know what got me thinking this way?
Over the week, there was this story of a young man who got help from an elderly woman when he couldn’t pay his school fees and was almost dropping out of school.
The kind woman helped him and even housed him.
But how did he repay her?
He turned around and stole her gold and jewelry collection worth over 20 million Naira.
But this story is not new.
A genuine lifeline drops down to help you out of a pit you could not climb out of and what happens next?
You use the rope to strangle your helper.
Your father must be Poverty and your mother Destitution.
Your grandparents are Jail and Hopelessness.
Nothing is chasing you from the village.
The thing that is disturbing you can be traced to the DNA of prehistoric fossils. Something bigger than goodness has fought and won the fight over your soul. It may even be genetic.
So, in my family house, we have always had this housekeeper.
She has a daughter that married the village drunk and had six kids.
The father contributes nothing but his spermatozoa in the relationship.
The daughter is a cook in a secondary school and her salary is a paltry 10k a month.
To augment her income, she plaits hair on the side.
Now, her first daughter was 18 and out of school because they could not afford the school fees.
A friend of mine was looking for a companion for her young kids of that age.
She is a well to do woman and wanted someone she could put in school.
I suggested this girl and her mother and grandmother were pleased about it.
She comes over and did not like living with the woman.
She complained so badly and her mother asked her to leave the woman.
The woman asked her to pack her things so that she could bring to me before I ship her back home.
But before she left, the woman checked her bags and discovered that there were stolen items the girl had carefully hidden in her bags.
I was very upset and I told her family.
Just before I sent her home, another friend wanted to take her in.
This lady had a nanny already with two kids and wanted another person in the house because she traveled a lot.
She wanted a girl that would be going to school, so this young lady agreed to go and stay with her.
This second lady liked her a lot. Her husband was a medical doctor and I had a meeting with him the day I took the girl to them.
He told the girl he was willing to pay for her education right to the university level.
I excitedly told her family and they agreed to the new arrangement.
A few weeks later, I was told the girl was stealing stuff.
From cash to even taking a phone from the master bedroom.
I was shocked and willing to send her home but the family liked her and said they would give her another chance.
They changed the locks of important rooms to stop her from gaining access.
To add insult to the injury, the young girl started having older boyfriends, got a phone from heaven-knows-where and they became afraid she would bring unknown men into their house.
They stuck it out till she had to go home for Christmas.
They believed with a little time, she would change.
They bought loads of stuff for her and she was another person entirely when it was time to go.
She was fresh, bigger and well dressed.
But when she got back home, she decided she did not want to go back to the family.
For her, there wasn’t enough freedom to do what she wanted with this family.
And that was it.
No free education. No free food and a comfortable shelter.
Her family was still not going to have their first graduate.
She was a thief, a liar and a flirt and yet the family had loved her despite all of these things.
But the discipline of staying with a real family was not something she could muster.
You are in 300L about to lose years of schooling and someone bails you out and you decide to rob her.
Are you not wearing the breastplate of misfortune?
When people do not jump to help people who need help, there is a history like this.
If you have had to accommodate people less fortunate, tell me how many times out of 10 do these stories end well with gratitude?
I have witnessed people who did not have a roof over their heads accept accommodation, feeding and evening school fees from a family and at the end, they left like thieves in the night with stories of what wasn’t done for them.
No word of thanks after years.
A homeless person begging with tears streaming from their eyes easily becomes someone complaining that he was given food without meat.
These things convince me that the solution to the problems of some people does not lie in the hands of mere mortals.
The pot that was buried with their destiny is buried close to the earth’s core and trapped forever.
So does this mean we should shy away when people are in need?
Every human has opportunities offered to him.
It is like the world saying that ‘I did not give you a chance.’
Some are looking for the tiniest crack of help to flourish while some will still dry up in a fertile chasm.
May you see help in times of trouble.
And may the spirit of poverty never catch up with you.