For Kamsi, rainy days came with its overwhelming downsides, though not like the arduous ones that came with sunshine. Still, she preferred the sun to the rain. Rain made her feel stuck. This feeling always brought along a company of thoughts, like the stars scattered in the sky with each trying to outshine the other. Usually, settling for a particular thought over the other was followed by a mind battle, the type Joyce Meyer described in her book “battlefield of the mind”. Today, the rains came and Kamsi began the brooding session with a little struggle but eventually dwelt on the most worrisome issue lately, the youths.
Couple of months ago, a bloody fight had broken out amongst the youths of a community she had volunteered humanitarian service to. A fight that saw the indigenes running to neighbouring communities for safety, children crying for a touch of comfort from their mothers, farmers running from farmlands and leaving their crops behind. In the midst of the chaos, Kamsi sighted a newly posted pastor frozen at a spot with his big red bible pressed against his chest. In that moment, she could bet he had forgotten that only an unshaken belief in God’s words, the ones stored in his heart, could save him but not the book itself, and that at this point he needed to run. Fear was written in the eyes of everyone, even the bravest men trembled at the sound of the gunshots. The ground felt the effect, as lots of persons occupied every space on it, in the struggle to find their path to security. It brought to mind a mild image of the civil war Kamsi had only experienced in the pages of Chinua Achebe’s “There was a country” and tales told by her grandfather.
“Every community should have freedom fighters to tackle issues like this,” someone said
“Yes, they should. They were the ones that pursued the troublemakers. They are also given the necessary empowerment,” the other replied.
While listening to this baffling conversation, Kamsi reasoned to herself, “when did giving of guns to young persons become a form of empowerment? Whatever happened to education being the greatest weapon you can give to anyone and teaching them how to fend for themselves the right way?”
Little wonder they ply the streets like hulks, with guns made for hunters, cigarettes in their hands and their eyes bloodshot. When they should be in classes like eagles, learning to fly. They had gradually become lost with no vision for their future and no patience to learn, not even to learn to spell their own names. Lost in a struggle that they knew not its history. Until they are found, they remain lost.
Love, on the other end, had been given different definitions. Sadly, some youths chose the worst definition there is. Some young girls with protruding bellies, while others as mothers of little children scattered all over the place like ants. Girls that aught to still be at the feet of their mothers learning to become women. Daily, they sell their bodies like garri, a common commodity. But quite pitiful even garri had raised its price and has now become costlier than their values.
It was amusing to Kamsi how the teenage boy down the road only had to text, “hey baby” during their Facebook chats to get Tamara building castles in the sky. Even the look in little Oluchi’s eyes, the sparkle that came along with it when she spoke about love brought concern to Kamsi. Though it sounded funny as she said, “when a girl has a boy that is her friend and they are in love, that’s her boyfriend.” Between those innocent words, spoke loudly of a misconception about love displayed in the home videos she watched relentlessly.
Kamsi recalled her childhood, how strict her mother had been when it came to movies, and how she and her siblings felt embarrassed when kissing scenes came up. Now, the restrictions were gone and most parents cared less about the movies with which each scene displayed sex acts and children watch with no sense of being embarrassed. The result had been teenage pregnancies, everywhere in the neighbourhood, hiding under the shed of love.
Kamsi had been seeking different means to talk with Musa who spends his money on alcohol and weed. He and his clique seemed to be high at all times. Hardly did he smell normal, rather normal for him had become the suffocative odour of the deadly mixture of weed and shots of alcohol. When he went broke, he settled for cough syrups with codeine just to feel high, “on top of the world”, he would always scream at the balcony.
Partying had become a lifestyle for Gbenga, her next door neighbour, with loud music and beats that made the walls of Kamsi’s room shake like an earthquake was about to happen. Beats was all she heard in all those parties with no lyrics to compensate for the noise. After some hectic night shifts at the hospital, she would only yawn for some peace and tranquility but then the noise made her wish farfetched. The next morning, he would always pass with a smile and inquired,”hey doc! How was your night?”
During the last party, she stood watching from afar, she sighted Tamara in a crop top and a bum short which could pass for underpants. She had seemed drunk, dancing with her hands raised to the sky, swaying her hips from side to side with the boy behind her running his hands over her body. The next day, Kamsi tried cautioning and Tamara had said they were only having fun.
“Is either the world itself has gone bananas, with alienated moral standards or the youths have indeed gone wild like a faulty brake of a racing Ferrari. How then can the display of madness at every corner, every glimpse at a youth be explained? ” Exclaimed Prof Bassey, her patient, whose son had used part of his school fees to buy the latest iPhone.
“Kamsi, in my time, education was the only thing in the minds of young people because we realised we could buy the world with it. Now, I don’t know why you young people trade being educated for fancy things,” he continued. It had taken Prof Bassey several months to recover from the shock.
Every action could be blamed on youthful exuberance, like her mother would call it. Yet again, she reasoned, should things be ignored and swept under the carpets of “they’ll grow out of it” when we could have a society filled with young persons focused on living right and changing their world?
Amidst the madness, she knew some youths, like herself, strived each day to create a niche for themselves, impacting the lives around them and literally making a difference every way that they could. Just like the ones she had seen on the news yesterday protesting for “Not Too Young To Run Bill” with placards. She saw the sincereity in their protest for a chance to be part of governing their Country. She thought deeply, if they knew the cost of what they were demanding for or if they were just making a fuss out of the whole situation without a deeper understanding. She imagined lots of Musa, Tamara, Gbenga and the freedom fighting youths ruling the Country, how disastrous things would turn out.
Within, Kamsi knew there was more to a youth than being wayward and there was more they could offer than only been used as political touts. She believed this. But even greater, she believed one could only learn how to rule by first ruling one’s self .
Suddenly, the vibrating sound that travelled with Gbenga’s loud music began again, shaking the walls of her room and shaking her brain as well. This time, she decided to speak up and give him a piece of her mind. That being young wasn’t a license to be wild and stupid without a care in the world how your actions affected others. That being young didn’t come with less responsibilities but demanded a higher level for one to be responsive to one’s life. She will let him know that being young wasn’t a time to waste and scatter but a time to gather as much as possible, a time to build. Yes build for himself and his generations unborn. She would give him a long sermon from her mother’s favorite scripture, Ecclesiastes 12:1. Though he might think she has lost her mind, she didn’t care, today she would tell him all what being young is about. Most importantly, she would let him know being young wasn’t about partying all day and definitely not about disturbing her peace.
“Yes! Today is the day they’ll all receive some sense!” She screamed at the top of her voice fiercely and made her way to Gbenga’s apartment.
Written by:Jennifer Chioma Amadi
We have so much to offer as youths, don’t waste the time.
IT CAN ONLY GET BETTER