Old Journal Entry: The boy at Ibafo

A boy lunges at swarming termites under the floodlights of a filling station in Ibafo. He swings at them with a stick, misses, and leaps again. His face is alive with intent.

A middle-aged woman sitting just in front of me in the bus taps her friend and says, look at that. Ah! The friend replies in the open-mouthed exclamation typical of Yorubas; their faces become animated in recognition, ignited by the memory of years spent feasting on the winged termites the boy is lunging at. Only if I can place a bowl of water under that light, the friend says.

A few kilometers before Ibafo, we passed a truck up in flames on the other side of the median. The crimson flames lit the night and highlighted the morose faces of commuters stuck in the traffic jam caused by the fire. No matter how late they get home tonight, they have to be back on this road tomorrow. The hustle never ends.

I push back the window of the bus and stick my head into the cold night. The same act would have covered me in dust last month, but now, after a few occurrences of rain, wet puddles and cool breeze have replaced the heat and dust. This is the promise  of seasons: change is gonna come; e go better; tomorrow is another day.

I watch the women watch the boy watching the winged termites. I’ve never eaten termites. I know nothing of the pleasure craved by the women, but I can relate to the desire in the boy’s eyes. I want to wake up tomorrow, still filled with the eagerness to take a swing at life, fail, and continue leaping.


7 Replies to “Old Journal Entry: The boy at Ibafo”

  1. I have eaten winged termites before. Could be nice depending on how it is made.

    I love your conclusion of the matter. Life is indeed about steps we take everyday. Sometimes we fall but we only fail if we remain on the ground. The hope that things will get better keeps us going and definitely things will be better. If not here, then in the hereafter.

    Any plans to share your thoughts on South Africa?

    1. See ehn, that South African matter is the proverbial amukuru that can’t be killed in a rush. I’m still forming my thoughts on it.

      “Life is indeed about steps we take everyday.” True, so true.

  2. Good one Ife.
    “His face is alive with intent.” Yes, determination is a key to success. And the older women reminiscing, priceless.
    I like how you look at life, how you find stories and meaning in the ordinary events of life.


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