Mide’s story still baffles me to date.
I mean, how can someone, so full of life, having suffered so much in life and just at the fringe of enjoying after all the years of suffering, die just like that, from some freak occurrence.
I mean, its rude, its harsh! And she was so young!
I met Mide during our NYSC, she was a very hard working lady who was also very active. You would often see her engaged in one form of activity or another.
She used to buy and sell, yes o, that lady can sell cement to Dangote, very resourceful young woman. Even if you didn’t want to buy her market, she would convince you to.
She also played volley ball for our team because we corpers had a volleyball team. She was big but she could move faster than me. She was such an active person, mixing with the rest of the corpers around here was easy for her. I mean, how would she sell her ‘kaya?’
That is how come I became her friend, being a corper myself. She sold me undies at one time and pointed me to one of the best salons in town. I found it comfortable talking to her. We were both strangers in the land we had come to serve.
Mide, that’s what I called her was a very sweet and lovely girl. She finished at a University of Education in Ogun state. I really don’t know what course she studied. We usually didn’t even ask that question. We just introduced ourselves by the universities or higher institutions we attended.
I got to know a bit of her background. Her mother died this year, yes, the woman had suffered to raise Mide and her siblings since their father passed on years before. There were days, according to her, when they went to bed hungry and there were days the woman would be sick and they wouldn’t have money to pay for some drugs.
Mide told me she wished her mother had lived to see her finish school and start earning money.
So what happened to our friend?
She was planning to celebrate her 23rd birthday. She saw a wig I wore weeks back and told me she wanted that same type. At that time, she was wearing weaves. So the plan was that she would remove the weaves and buy my type of wig.
A few days after we had talked about wig or weaves, she told me she discovered lice in her hair. How did that come to be?
She told me it could have come from one of her many pupils and it made sense. I figured that 8t6 could also have come from her students, you know to make ends meet she also taught some secondary school children?
I just thought that would be the only way she could have got the lice, I mean she was not a dirty lady, she was very neat, very clean lady, how else would she have got infected with lice if not from the scruffy kids she taught? She hugs them and they mill around her all the time, so yes, that is the only reason she got infected with lice.
I remember jokingly telling her to keep her distance from me as I didn’t want to get infected myself.
Mide must have decided the best way to get rid of the lice would be to use sniper. In my days as a young person, when there was lice epidemic at school, our parents used camphor and kerosene, they would apply the mixture to our heads and wrap a scarf tight around it.
I wasn’t privy to her using sniper and even if I had known, I would never have imagined how deadly that would be. I mean, sniper, that pesticide used to kill rodents, who would’ve have imagined?
Anyway, I heard Mide applied sniper to her hair after she had removed her weaves, she tied a scarf and was said to be waiting for a while before going to wash it off…that did not happen.
What happened was that she began to foam in the mouth minutes after; she was said to be convulsing. One corp member saw her and raised an alarm, all of us came rushing out. We didn’t even suspect sniper was responsible, we just thought she was sick. So, we quickly carried her and hailed a cab to take her to the hospital.
At this point, her eyes were just rolling back, we were slapping her, calling her name, asking her what happened, did she fall? Did she eat something, what exactly was responsible for this state she was in but she wasn’t talking to us, she was foaming and choking and convulsing seriously.
We didn’t get to the hospital before her body just went limp on us. We looked at each other, no, she couldn’t just die, she couldn’t be dead, no, way, people don’t just die like that.
Who would take care of her siblings? She was about to celebrate her birthday, plans were already in top gea.
This was a young woman who lost her mother just this year, no, no, no!
But she was gone.
She was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital and you know the most baffling part, it was the sniper that did the job! The sniper she applied herself.
Who knew you dont even have to ingest sniper before it does its job?
It must have seeped through the pores of her scalp and poisoned her blood, that’s the only explanation, I just can’t think of any other.
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)