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I was ecstatic. I was finally going to university! The university! I couldn’t keep calm. I didn’t realise I haven’t slept at all until Mama came to wake me up for morning devotion. I had thought of my hostel. I had thought of lectures. I don’t know what to expect but I was very expectant. All through the night, I made a list of “Probable things to expect and probable reactions to them”.

I thought of my PepperSpray: my weapon against rapists and other miscreants. I imagined a scenario where I am held up in class till night. All my friends, whoever they are, have returned to the hostel. And I had no other option than to return all alone. I take the shortcut to my hostel (I hope there’s really a shortcut because I’ve not been to the school before). On my way, a shabbily dressed guy (probably a cultist) stops me. He starts telling me how he always has his eyes on me. Blah blah blah. Then all of a sudden he asks me to pull off my cloth…. No no no. That train of thought is not working. God forbid. Let me try another line. Then, all of a sudden he asks me to give him my phone. My phone???!!! The one my eldest brother bought me just months ago?  My phone!!! My baby!! No way! I put my hand over my mouth and mumble something. And he’s like, “What did you say?” I shift my head to the side and tell him I have a mouth odour. I also add that the doctor asked me to always use my dental spray before talking to anyone. I then bring out my homemade PepperSpray which is ground pepper mixed with water inside an empty bottle that previously contained perfume. He is confused and before he knew it I’ve sprayed my mixture into his eyes and taken to my heels. I felt so proud of myself for thinking that up.
I also drew up a reading plan for myself. It didn’t matters that I don’t know what the school’s schedule looks like, I had to think of things that’ll give me an insight of what a university is like. And I’m sure I won’t be disappointed if all my notions about a university is wrong. I’m actually the first university student in my family. And by family, I mean, all my grandparents’ children and grandchildren. And not just any student, I’m a student in the faculty of medicine and surgery! 
Many people in our clan and even our village at large are surprised. Not because I’m not brilliant, but because there had been no one who had made it into the university in my entire family, like I said. My family preferred trading. It gave quicker money and their “hands were made for trading”, as they always boasted.
Many times after my admission, I’ve been stopped by people, mostly women, to be asked if I’ve actually been offered admission. Of course, they know I’ve been offered admission. And of course, they know I’m going to be studying medicine and surgery. But they’ll still ask anyway. Everyone wants to have the gist firsthand not, “I heard that….” or “Mama Nkechi told me that…..” And, of course!, I try to keep my pride out of my voice, “Yes ma. The prestigious University of Nigeria offered me an admission to study _*med surg*_.” I just hope I succeeded in “not trying to sound proud”.


By afternoon, I’ve packed all my things and my aunts and uncles have arrived. Mama had cooked rice and also made onugbu soup. My elder brother had pounded akpu. Papa even bought some _minerals_ (mineral is what we call soft drinks in this part of the world). Aunty Udo offered to get a taxi that will take me to the motor park, from where I’ll leave for school, and true to her words, the taxi was there and my few properties were already in it.
As we ate, several aunts and uncles, and cousins even, squeezed naira notes into my palm. Words of prayers and encouragement and advice floated into my ears. It didn’t matter that none of them had been within the four walls of a university, they were still duty bound to advise.

“Always read your Bible.”
“Don’t forget to pray.”
“Always make sure you’re in class.”
“Always copy your notes.”
“Find a good fellowship to belong to and be consistent with your attendance.”
“Don’t join bad gangs.”
“Don’t allow all these _yeye_ boys that have nothing to offer to deceive you.”
“Don’t try to imitate all these good for nothing spoilt brats from rich families.”
“Don’t ever forget where you’re coming from”
“Don’t go for night classes or whatever it is they call it.”
“Mind the friends you keep.”
“Manage whatever money and other resources we can afford. Cut your coat according to your size!” I desperately wanted to tell this particular uncle that it was “cut your coat according to your clothe” and not what he just said. But I just smiled and nodded.
“Remember to be obedient to your principal and to your teachers.”
“Haba!” Aunty Udo interjected. “This is a university and what they have is a vice chancellor and lectures, not principal and teachers.” Aunty Udo would have thrived in the university if she had been given a chance. She was quite knowledgeable.
“Vice chancellor? Who is now the main Chancellor?”
“Me I don’t know o. All I know is that university people call their own principal vice chancellor.”
“Whatever. Nne, you understood me, right?”
I nodded.
So, with my back being patted and my newly installed braids being smoothed, I entered the taxi with my parents and some uncles and aunts who could fit into the small car. Aunty Udo was, of course, in the taxi.
They dropped me off at the park and with final blessings I boarded a bus, enroute Nsukka. My seat was by the window side and my family was by the window chatting with me, congratulating mama doctor and papa doctor.


Our bus pulled into the parking lot. That should be Lejja park. Nsukka! Here I am! I screamed in my head. Before I embarked on this journey, I made sure my phone battery was fully charged. And throughout the journey, my _baby_ kept me company. I watched movies, read some novels, read through some blogs and by the time our car made it’s way into the parking lot, my phone was already hot. I put it into the shoulder bag I was carrying and pulled my bags out from under my seat. On my way out of the car, I collided with one guy. “Sorry please” he pleaded and I nodded. Common collision is not enough to spoil my day.
With all my things out of the car, I decided to call home and inform them I have reached the park, according to instructions. I opened my shoulder bag and a cold shiver ran down my spine. I was momentarily paralyzed at the spot. If you’ve never lost your phone, or at least thought you’ve lost your phone, you’ll never understand this cold shiver I talked about. It practically puts your heartbeat on a pause. It took me several minutes to realise it might have fallen in the bus. “God! Let it not be what I’m thinking o” I thought as I walked briskly to the bus. I searched everywhere but still didn’t find my baby! My eyes blurred and I remembered the guy I collided with. He must have been the culprit.
I crossed my hands over my head as I walked back to where I kept my other belongings. The tears were pouring now. I sat on the floor and emptied the contents of my shoulder bag.
“Heeeeeeeeiiii!!!! God why me? What have I done to deserve this?” I was crying by now. I had literally downloaded my life on that phone. I walked up the park and then down. My hands still on my head. This theif didn’t even give me a chance to use my PepperSpray. I was crying, calling God at intervals without telling Him anything. “God ooo!……..Hei! God ooo Godoooo”
I tried asking people if they saw the boy but unfortunately, I didn’t have a good description of him.
“Aunty please excuse me. Did you see any guy?”
“Any guy?”
“Yes. He’s a boy. He’s somehow tall and somehow short. I don’t know but it seems he stole my phone.”
The woman even looked more confused than I was.
After some hours I was just sitting on one of my bags crying. People have gathered around me, consoling me. And the worst part of everything was that it was possible the guy I was looking for was there. I just couldn’t recall his face.
“Nne, this doesn’t call for tears.” One woman started. I just looked at her and continued crying.
“People sef! What won’t they steal in this life?!”
“Aunty don’t mind them. Anyone that stole your phone has stolen all your problems in life!” One girl said.
“The person should just bring my phone and my problems back! I don’t have any problem with my problems. My phone is more important than my problems sef” I cried and people started laughing.
“This babe sha”
I don’t blame them. It’s not their baby missing. I kept crying until one very fat woman with an oversized cloth hissed at me.
“Stay there and be acting drama until they tie you and your belongings in a santana” This also erupted laughter from my sympathizers. Wow! What a wonderful set of sympathizers.
Night was fast approaching and my sympathizers had dispersed. I couldn’t get myself to leave the motor park without my baby. I’ve been praying that God will touch the heart of the thief and make him return my phone. And I’ve been waiting for the repentant thief to return my phone.
“Babe, you still dey here?” It was a guy. Probably one of my previous sympathetic spectators. Probably the current owner of my phone. I hissed at him.
“Ah ah! We dey quarrel?” I ignored him completely this time. After some minutes, he left.
A headlamp flashed in my direction accompanied with honkings of the car. “Just kill me” I kept saying to myself. Somewhere in my heart, I was hearing things like, “This is your village people in action ooo”. I knew I was ready to run if the car came any closer.
” Chiamaka!” The occupant of the car shouted and alighted. I squinted in the dark and recognised her.
“Aunty Chioma!” I ran to her and embraced her.
“What are you doing here?”
The tears came again, fresh and hot from the oven. “They stole my phone.”
We already had company.
“Baby, this is Chiamaka, my mother’s friend’s…, in fact, a family friend. I’ve told you about her before. I practically grew up in their house. Chiamaka, this is Sam, my fiancé.”
Aunty Chioma has a fiancé!!! Gist gist gist!!!
“It’s alright Chiamaka.” Sam said and I nodded.
“You’ll come with us this night and tomorrow we’ll see what we can do about your phone. Okay?” I nodded.
And a rich, car owner fiancé at that! Gist gist gist!!!


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