As soon as I got out of the car, he appeared from nowhere with their trademark… a basket.
I shook my head at him, a clear sign not to follow me. He retracted to the side of the car but waited.
“Where is Moha? I asked the security guy that parked me. Moha was my regular market-carrier boy. He knows most of my regular customers and can be very useful in bulk purchases.
“I never see am today Ma”, he replied…. “Hey you, where is Mohammed?”, he asked the other boy.
“Moha I don go fillage, I neba come”, he told us. I be Moha brada, I bring it come prom fillage”.
I smiled. This will be interesting. I looked at the security man and he nodded his approval.
I always make it a point of duty to get approval from the known for the unknown.
“Let’s go”, I waved to the boy.
He followed my lead immediately and he went into the market.
Within a few minutes, I started noticing his alertness and intelligence.
He picked up on things ease even with his bombed attempt at English.
He was adding good value to this bulk market project. I had just finished a bargain and was about to pay when he said….
“Wey today market?”……
“You blind?”, the customer hissed at him. But he wasn’t taking that.
“Na today market I go pack po madam”, he insisted stubbornly.
The customer shouted at him, but too late, I had caught on.
“Let’s see the today’s market”, I instructed joining forces with the mallam.
When the customer brought the ” today-market”, I was simply shocked. If the boy hadn’t spoken up, I would never have known the difference. I was so impressed and nodded my thanks to him. As I was about to stop at my regular meat sellers shop he interrupted again…
“Meat?”, there! He pointed to the other direction.
I nodded and followed.
He led the way into the interiors of the market. I have shopped in this market for an upwards of 10years but never ventured anywhere near where he was taking me. Few minutes into the walk, I got a bit apprehensive, but then again, he came recommended, so I continued to follow.
I didn’t even know his name….
“Hey, where the heck……..And we were there.
Lines of butchered goats and cows stared at me. A section were slitting and plucking chicken. There was blood every where.
I stared. In this same market?
The bargain I made buying meat was unprecedented. Never had it so good.
As they cleaned and cut up the meat for me, I engaged my lead in a conversation.
“What’s your name?”
“Thank you, Musa, I really appreciate what you have done”.
“Are you from Maiduguri like Moha?
“Yes, Moha mama fillage I run!”
I sighed. Communication was going to be a challenge but I really was interested in getting to know him.
“You mean you are from his mother’s village and you ran? From what? Why?”
“E no wan kill anybody”, he said shaking his head a bit disturbed.
“What do you mean you don’t want to kill anybody?” I asked focusing my attention on him.
“I come in the night, I cover head, I take it in the bush, I train it”.
Every hair at the back of my head stood still.
Father in Heaven.
This boy standing right before me escaped been kidnapped and trained as a suicide bomber.
“How do you know that?”
“E know that. I come Arabic school, I tell us time to take it go bush”
“Why did you run? Why didn’t you call the police or something?”
“No, no folice. I call folice? E kill family, e kill goat chicken, e burn house, e burn farm. Everything I go sam!”
“So you ran? Won’t they still hurt your parents and destroy everything?”
He shook his head. As he was about to elaborate he was called to carry our stuffs.
We walked silently back and I was full of thoughts.
Life is about choices. Simple.
You choose. To be good or to be bad.
To do the right thing or flow with the tide.
This boy’s story is full of intrigues, but one thing I am sure….
Christian or Muslim, black or white, young or old, male or female……..We have a choice.
To do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons.
This boy made a choice, so what is your choice?