Sunday the 3rd. A very sunny sunday. There I am, having lunch with a good old friend and reminiscing about university days, the easy life in Jos, and arguing about our chosen career paths. In the process we are pinging and exchanging rock and gospel music. Suddenly Bubu pings me all the way from the UK asking if its true that there was a plane crash in Iju-Ishaga; some place I’d never heard of. I had seen someone’s DP mention a crash earlier, but was carried away by our converstion that I didn’t pay it much notice. I casually reply in the affirmative (How can she hear this gist before me?) and quickly go back to my contact list. In minutes everyone’s DPs, PMs and BCs are changing with horror pictures and stories of a plane crash and pleas for help to fire stations and rescue teams.
With no electricity in the house, we are left with our phones to catch updates as we discover that a plane containing 153 passengers and 7crew members crashed into a residential building…
I get a hold of the manifest from a broadcast and proceed to send it out to my contact list (Shame on anyone who doesn’t want BCs at this time!). Soon they are confirming victims they knew: colleagues, friends, family members, prominent individuals and whole families, all wiped out.
Our sunny sunday just turned black.
Monday the 4th. My battery was flat from so much pinging, tweeting and calling, so I was out of touch for almost 12 hours, shoot! I made an effort to rush to work to get more stories from the net, newspapers and the grapevine.
The stories from news paper articles, radio/TV reports and eye witness accounts are horrific, the pictures even moreso. Everyone has someone to blame from the President Goodluck Ebere Jonathan, to the crew to gave the plane the go-ahead to fly.
All day I have tried to put myself in the shoes of the victims as they came to the final conclusion of what was to be – the end. What was mommy thinking as she held her kids to her breast? What was the darling husband thinking when he looked into his wife’s eyes… till death do us part…
What about those people who were home and the skies came crashing down on them?
Trying to relive the lives of the pilot, cabin crew and passengers. That’s the only way I can feel something. If I can feel the fear and the pain, if I can hear the screams, maybe I can begin to feel more grateful for my life.
God knows that each day when I leave the house and come back at night, I cross myself thankfully for surviving the rough buses, the expressroads and bike rides. After this episode, I don’t feel grateful enough. For my family, friends, for another chance each day to make it right, to do good, to love more, to give more.
At this point in time, there is not much one can say.
My heart is heavy as I write this. Somehow the numbness I felt yesterday is melting away and I’m feeling human enough to say I’m very sorry, Nigeria. But I am so thankful, Lord.
I will make it Right.