Ama-Hausa, the central area of Hausa speaking people in Owerri town, is at its regular as Ezeama’s feet get off the tricycle ‘keke-napep’ and step on to its ever busy roads. Gold merchants from different corners of the market approach him in a rush; “Enyi, you wan buy gold?” (Translates- ‘My friend do you want to buy gold?’) A tall dark merchant with a huge gold tooth asks, “You wan buy dollars?” asks another, simultaneously. He ignores them and walks straight into one of the shops in the market. 2 traders exchange pleasantries with him at the door, they usher him in and get down to business. Ezeama produces the necklace from his inner shorts and sends the entire shop into a semi-freeze. “Why the necklace cut? Na so you buy am?” one of the two merchants demands an answer from Ezeama and he begins to stutter. “Na my mama wey get am. Na for her hand e cut and she dey hospital. We need money so she say make I come sell. You go buy abi you no buy make I go another place”… after some 10 minutes of deliberations, the merchants decide to trade. They weigh the necklace on the scale to derive its value. Tiny beads of sweat cover Ezeama’s forehead, “what are they checking again?” He has no clue what’s going on and they can tell…
“This madness has to end. I wish someone can just go and assassinate all the old politicians make all of us start afresh…” a bitter youth speaks up from the back of the hospital reception; the breaking news on the television reveals a Python just swallowed some major government funds, Forty (40) million based on the reports and testimonies of a government staff. “Since when did snakes start swallowing money? Next thing we know, animals will be richer than us” he says. Mild laughter erupts among some of the people in the waiting area of the hospital’s reception. “Enough is enough!” Just then, Ezeama walks in and heads straight to the reception desk. “Nurse! Nurse! Where is my mother?!” he asks, frantically. “Hey young man, bring your voice down, this is a hospital please…” one of the nurses scolds. Turns out his mother had been moved to the ‘General ward’ down the hall way along with the other beds arranged haphazardly. With tears in his eyes, he makes the deposit of (N50, 000) Fifty thousand Naira. “This is all I could raise, it should cover the cost of the operation.” The nurse accepts the payment from him and swings into action, sluggishly. “Madam please hurry!” Ezeama tries to hurry her.
John drives into the FMC (Federal Medical Center) car park and Chief Mrs. practically rushes out of the car. She rushes into the hospital to find her children sitting at the reception, they look worried. She walks over to them calmly. Nkechi’s eyes are closed and her ears plugged, she rests her head on her brother’s shoulders. The time is 4 p.m.
The children of Umunoha sit around his backyard quiet, they are too sad to speak. “Where is Ezeama?” a strong male voice demands from a distance. The children don’t move, he observes this and stops to calculate his next move carefully; he was not sure how they’d react to the incident. “What is going on?” he begins by asking, Olanna is quick to drop her analysis. “We are at risk, Dede. We do not feel safe anymore. (She sniffs) You gave us a wrong operation! And you were not there to protect us!” the tears in her eyes say it all, the children are scared, stiff scared. Anorue does not like this at all… This can be very very bad for business…