In this part of the world, this our Ipatira community, when you hear that someone was struck by thunder and lighting, people immediately begin to suspect bad things. Since the day my wife was struck by lightning, I have not had one day of sleep. I have cried my eyes out, because I know a good woman is gone.
How did my wife die? It happened last week Tuesday, just after it began to drizzle. You know it has been very hot of late. So it began to drizzle and all of us in the community were happy that the rains have finally come, especially since NEPA has been doing us shege.
My wife, Iya Segun is a food seller at the community high school, where I teach. I’m an economics teacher in the school. My wife is one of the food sellers and being a food seller, like others the school designated them to sell under a tree. There’s a huge baobab tree at a corner of the school compound. You know, being a community school, we don’t have too many good structures, we couldn’t afford to give our good structures for food, not when pupils need classes and labs. So rather than give our food vendors one of the dilapidated buildings, we created a bamboo ring and a shade around the tree for our food and canteen needs.
Anyway, when the rain fell, nobody thought it would be a heavy rain because it was just drizzling steadily but not the type that will make you run or call everyone into the house. I was teaching a class then when suddenly, I heard a loud thunder clap, followed by lighting.
I remember the chalk dropped from my hand because the effect of the thunder was so much, the building shook and some of my students screamed from fear.
The first thing that came to my mind was to rush out and check my wife and others that were under the baobab tree. You see, this kind of thunder strikes very rarely for rain that isn’t even heavy.
By the time I got to the place, I found about seven people lying unconscious in the rain; three men and five women. The men were gatemen and one janitor/cleaner of the school and the women were food and fruits sellers. The thunderbolt had struck all of them and at this time everybody had begun to panic. Someone said we should go and get the Sango worshippers in the community; they said these people have the ability to speak to thunder and send it to anyone they want to deal with.
We were also told not to touch the bodies because we could be electrocuted; but after about say 30 minutes or thereabout, a miracle happened, one by one, the people that were struck by the thunderbolt became conscious and began to get up; you should have seen how everyone was jubilating but unfortunately, my wife did not wake up.
It was when my wife didn’t wake up that someone suggested we call the Sango worshippers. People around here believe that these Sango worshippers can talk to thunder and even send thunderbolt to kill anybody anywhere. Well, though I’m a Christian, I had to agree because, I still believed my wife can be helped to recover, you know become conscious like the rest, to get up and go home with me.
Unfortunately, even after many incantations, she did not wake up. They said they would perform some rites on her body before anybody could touch it. They were demanding for half a million naira. If I have half a million naira will my wife be selling food under a boabab tree?
The only thing that makes me happy is that my wife did not have any thunderbolt mark on her body because if she had, then they will say, someone sent the thunderbolt to kill her because of something bad she did. Already, people were carrying rumours that she must have done something to offend the gods or some people that is why they sent the thunderbolt to kill her.
The Sango worshippers didn’t let us carry her body until the next day; they said they must perform some rituals around the school compound so that thunder will not kill anyone in the school again. So the following day, I came with some people and took her body to the mortuary. We are currently making burial arrangements.
My wife was a good Christian, she was well behaved and very kind hearted. I don’t believe the lies they are spreading about her. I believe she died more from fear than the thunderbolt. She is hypertensive, and people like that, sudden fear can kill them.
-Based on a true story. However, names of characters and places have been changed to protect their privacy.