"Aunty I go help you press ya bodi well well . You go like am I swear".
I was speechless. If you know me well this rarely happens.
Time was midnight. I had just arrived home and I was in my car parked in my compound waiting for my friend to come pick me up and Awolu had waylaid me.
Awolu is the typical Aboki out of about 50 living in my area doing random jobs from money exchange to scrap gathering. From the day he approached me infront of my gate asking me to give him any job his loyalty to me was unquestioned. "Good afternoon aunty" I looked up and saw the unkempt looking man with rough dirty hands and several missing teeth. I took a step back. "Good afternoon" I replied "Aunty any job you get, I go do. Nothing too small"
He had just arrived from Maiduguri where Boko Haram had decimated his village and those surrounding it. He was desperate.
Over time he cleaned up as I got him odd jobs. Without asking he would clean my car every morning. The occasional "Aunty I never chop today" never went unheeded. I got him a phone which he claimed he lost but someone else told me he exhanged to pay a debt. I got him another one.
I was rewarded in several ways. I once MISTAKENLY 😩 bashed someone's car. The man chased me to my street hell bent on revenge. Awolu was the leader of the abokis who rallied together and harrassed the would be aggressor and sent him back on his merry way.
The day my weed smoking neighbour wanted to hit me because I insulted her boyfriend, Awolu held her hands behind her back and pinned her to the floor, knee on her back screaming, "IF YOU TOUCH MY AUNTY YOU GO DIE !"
A male friend from out of town once tried to surprise me by showing up at my doorstep. Awolu was quietly following him behind and his "Aunty you sabi am?" Was what interrupted my squeals of delight at seeing an old friend. "I no dey see am for here I say make I come check !" 😩😩😦 My friend Jide found that odd and asked me, "You have a bodyguard ?"
I could go on and on. In Awolu, I had a most loyal body guard and handyman.
One of my male friends who visited once quiped that the way Awolu looked at him made him uncomfortable. I laughed and said, " Just give him 2,000. You'll be besties"
So yesterday night as I sat in my car, in comes Awolu, very hyper. "Aunty how are you." "I'm very fine and you ?" "I dey. You wan commot make I open gate? Be like say Ismail (The Security) dey sleep." "No never mind Awolu. I dey wait for my friend". I continue pressing my phone and look up about 5minutes later startled to see Awolu staring at me intently. "Awolu any problem ? You can go. " He breathes out heavily. "Aunty I wan tell you something. " "Ok I'm listening." "Aunty this thing wey I wan tell you, I go tell you this night. I go tell you. Yes ! I go tell you something !"
Me in my head: Oh not tonight Awolu. Im not in the mood for your local street gossip and Hausa girlfriends"
Awolu continues, "Aunty Asake, I see as you dey work. You dey work hard. You dey work like man. I like am. Aunty any work you get just call me. I go do am. Walahi ! Call me any time. I go do anything for you."
Me: " Ok Awolu, thank you. I will call you if I need anything.
But Awolu was not done. "Aunty if don tire just call me, I go help you press ya bodi. I go press am well well !"
Me: 😲😞😟 "Huhn ?"
Awolu: "Yes aunty, you go lie down for bed. I go press ya leg, press ya back. Press everywhere. I go help you press am well well walahi !"
Me:.......................... Thankfully my friend arrives and I escape.
Its 5pm the next day... I'm still processing...