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Bitter-Sweet Pie by Solomon Ekoja


There was a boy named Wazobia from the Nzaga-nyanga hills, about four thousand miles away from the capital city of Jos. The community was so hostile to the point that visitors who sought to introduce Western education were slaughtered once the news broke out. Many a foreigner tried to have access to this hostile group of people but all efforts proved abortive. Some who succeeded in visiting the community were killed to appease the gods of the hill. It was in this type of community that Wazobia was born but he chose to be different. The whole community was deprived of Western education because they held to some erroneous ritual beliefs that education was meant for those with mental illness. The low level of illiteracy took its toll on the members of the society, as they preferred wearing fig leaves to putting on clothes made from cotton or wool. Many a youth met premature deaths when they insisted on associating with modern trends.

In spite of all the community was practicing, Wazobia was a very dogged and subtle boy. This made him come up with the idea of taking charcoal and slate each time he was about to go for his hunting adventure. While others were in the heat of hunting, he would privately retire to the top of a raphia palm and write down the names of some tree species commonly found in the forest. Among the numerous tree species, he saw in the forest, he took a keen interest in Anceistoclads korupensis and Prunus Africana because of the manner in which the fluid from these species killed pests on contact.

After each hunting session, each youth was to take his kill to the village square for evaluation by the king. Most of his peers returned with large antelopes but Wazobia on several occasions returned with nothing. This made the villagers suspect he was involving himself in some illegal activities against their norms but no one had a piece of concrete evidence to lay the charge against him. His colleagues in society were entrusted with the task of monitoring his movements and the activities he engaged in during hunting sessions. He was nearly caught by a neighbour of his while he practiced his writing skills but he luckily escaped. Meanwhile, many a member of his community were exposed to deadly diseases as a result of multiple sex partners, dirty surroundings and drug abuse. This was a great source of concern for the young boy who saw scores die yearly from different ailments.

One fateful day, while the rest of the villagers were conducting a festival, he sneaked out for his study. On his way, he discovered that a helicopter carrying some European researchers developed a fault mid-air and crashed near his village hill. The incident made him scared but he summoned courage to visit the site to see if he could render assistance to the victims. On arrival, the helicopter was on fire with all the passengers trapped. He forced his way through the window using his local hunting gun and succeeded in rescuing the crash victims. Being a member of a community that was hostile to foreigners, he quickly resolved to hide them from his fellow villagers. He fed them with green apples and lodged them at a cave, rarely visited by members of the public. The researchers agreed on taking Wazobia along with them but he resisted the offer at first. After a series of pressure, he succumbed to the offer. Two days later, the researchers recovered and established contact with a rescue team. The rescue team on arrival whisked the crash victims and Wazobia away without the knowledge of the villagers who were engrossed in a weeklong ritual to appease their gods.

On arrival in the United Kingdom, Wazobia was flabbergasted at the site of his new environment. He even had to change his clothing from leaves to cotton to be able to cope with the harsh weather condition of Europe. While there, he enrolled at a foundation school where he was able to perfect his reading and writing skills. His seriousness earned him a scholarship exam, which was to be written a month later. He burnt his midnight candle to be able to meet up with the syllables for the examination.
On the date of the exam, he was terrified by the number of students that expressed interest to partake in the exam, but that never dissuaded him from the “I can do spirit of a Nigerian”. In the course of the examination, the invigilators informed the students that only ten students out of the thousands sitting for the examination would eventually be selected.

A few weeks after the examination, the scholarship results were released by the concerned agency and to the surprise of everyone, Wazobia was among the lucky students that gained a scholarship to study any course of their choice at Harvard University. He opted for pharmacy because of the interest he developed in some African tree species in the course of his hunting sessions in Nigeria.

At Harvard University, everything from lectures to practical classes looked very strange to him but he was able to adapt with the help of a colleague of his named Kaitlyn. She was from a British ancestry that earned their wealth from the transatlantic slave trade. In spite of the efforts of her family to dissuade her from learning about the history of slave trade, she resolved to embark upon a secrete research at the national library to unearth these hidden history and understand the ordeal faced by her African brothers during that era. Her efforts to dig into history for instance led her to the story of Konta Kinte, a young boy from Sene-Gambia who was kidnapped from his village when he went to fetch some wood to make a drum for his brother. The pitiable condition in the castles where slaves were temporarily housed for months coupled with the devastating conditions faced by the slaves during their onward voyage to America often left her in pool of tears. During another research engagement on YouTube, she discovered that many Africans who were brought in as slaves were often coerced to discard their native names and take up derogatory foreign names that was demeaning to humanity, forced to work against their wills under dangerous working conditions, denied from raising their own families because of the castration service that was in full swing on many plantations and denied of their fundamental human rights. Due to these findings, she had a soft spot for Africans and resolved in her heart to help any African that crosses her path in life. Although many of her peers chose to be secrete racist, she took a different path in order to repair the bad history and records of her family against the black race.

When she noticed that Wazobia found it difficult to comprehend what was taught in class, she organized a tutorial lesson to help him cope with the rigors of medical school. Their friendship grew daily to the extent that she was able to influence him to abandon traditional worship and embrace Christianity. He became a regular member of the Pentecostal fellowship in his school and often told the congregation about life in Africa.

One night while sleeping, he had a dream where some organic structures appeared to him. He pondered over this for a long time and shared it with his friend. They decided to pray about it before conducting an extensive research to unscramble the potency of the structure. Several trials from the research were not successful and this made Wazobia almost quit the project, but words of encouragement and support from Kaitlyn however, helped him to overcome the thoughts of giving up. He went the extra mile to visit a biological garden and came across the tree species he studied during his hunting days in Africa. He made effort to get some plant extracts, which he compared with the organic compound he saw in his dream. The result showed that the extract and the organic compound had similar structures. H then used the extract to produce a drug called solution. Preliminary tests at the laboratory of his university proved that the drug had the potency to cure Cancer, Hiv, and other deadly diseases around the world.

A week later, the drug was sent to the advanced laboratory of the world health organization for a confirmatory test. The technicians tested the drugs on mice, monkeys, and guinea pigs and the results proved that the drugs truly had the potential to cure the ailments in question. The drugs were mass-produced and sent to all the continents of the world for use on ailing patients in hospitals.

After graduation, many pharmaceuticals contacted Wazobia for a work placement but he declined their request. He instead chose to relocate back to Africa in order to contribute to the development of the continent. He spent some time praying and preparing for the uphill task of returning to his hostile community. On arrival in the company of his team, he discovered that his people were still practicing the evil traditions of their grandparents. He disguised himself to be a lunatic and when the villagers saw him afar off, they ganged up and forcefully took him to the king’s palace. At the palace, they were thoroughly beaten before judgment was served. The king inquired about who they were and it was at this point that Wazobia revealed to them that he was a son of the soil. The whole village drew close to have a better view of what was unfolding and discovered truly that it was Wazobia their son, who had been declared missing for the past seven years. The king wept for his cruelty and organized a welcome party for them. At the party, Wazobia told the villagers a comprehensive story about what transpired from the crash accident to the time he discovered the cure for Cancer and Hiv. Many villagers who were on the verge of dying from various ailments were treated with solutions and this helped them to regain their health to the pleasure of the entire community.

After days of public awareness, the villagers accepted the idea of Western education and even started wearing clothes made from cotton. Bricks were laid to erect the school structure and within three weeks, the entire village enrolled in the school to acquire education. The world leaders organized a ceremony to appreciate God for the breakthrough, and award the team that contributed to this achievement in the health sector. This arrangement coincided with the Valentine’s Day which was also the proposed date for the marriage of Wazobia and his dear friend Kaitlyn. As she embarked upon her trip to Nigeria, the main pilot who had initially gambled with his assistant pilot to land the aircraft blindfolded mysteriously crashed the plane killing all passengers on board. It was indeed a bitter experience for Wazobia but the discovery of the drug provided solace to humanity.

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