UJU – Episode 8
“wow, are you serious….eziokwu…so you bear same name with my daughter…haven’t seeing somebody in a long time that does…and is really good seeing one now….wait let me call her for you….Obianaujunwa ee… Uju… Obianaujunwa ee…”
“yes mum, I’m coming..”
The young lady walk down to answer the mum, she was very beautiful and her smile was so infectious, she look like the mum, she smiled at me as she approach the mother, she is not more than 20years, for the first time in my life i was proud of my full name, this woman reminded of mama, just the same way mama calls me that’s same way she called her beautiful only daughter, I thought the name sounded ugly despite it has a good meaning, but hearing this girl answer with excitement to her name, very proud of her own name and still wears a beautiful smile as her mother calls her make me wish i have wasted so much time hating a name other people cherish,
this family is wealthy, there house was massive that makes me wonder if such place really exist, the compound was full of flowers and cars, the inside is so massive and beautiful as the securities at the gates ushered me in with a smile, i was scared because of the beautiful house but all my fear Disappeared when i met the madam of the house, she looks simple despite everything around speaks of wealth, and she was warm and welcoming, beautiful daughter like there Obianauju was suppose to be called something like “princess, Anabel, Emmanuella, or all those beautiful sweet name but she looks so proud of her native name, when i was coming down to there house, I thought of a name to use for them and i remembered that living a fake life doesn’t really pay, sometimes it back fires and leaving you in ashes, I’m a living witness to that, so i decided to stick to my real name, and when the woman asked me of my name i didn’t hesitate to tell her my original name which brings all the exclamation, she looks so happy to have found her daughter’s name sake, I became so proud of myself and my name, because the rich and beautiful bears it too, this was suppose to be an interview but is turning out to look like a reunion of a lost old friend, I was happy as i shared in their joy, i will continue to thank God for giving me wisdom to stick to my real name which i was never proud of,
After all the whole night of praying I was still scared, my mind was telling me that i should stop deceiving myself that after all the lies I told, Things i stole and even flirting with men God can’t forgive me just like that,
I was still scared and said whatever will happen let it happen maybe i don’t deserve God’s mercy, I couldn’t sleep as i stayed up waiting to hear the sound of Kala’s car, I was already thanking God that he’s not coming back again that night, I was happy that God actually hard my prayer..
I was hearing Voices out side, one female voice and a male voice, that wasn’t Kala’s voice, I tried to listen to hear what they were saying
“run inside and get water, let’s pour him, the vomiting will reduce…please hurry up…
“but i don’t know the kitchen or where their stuffs are kept…i don’t know where to get water from..
“go to the next door after Kala’s room and knock on the door, there’s a girl staying there tell her what you need…please hurry now…
I was beginning to wonder what was going on, i haven’t heard Kala’s voice, someone was vomiting, I guess is Kala and his friends were trying to help him, some one started knocking at my door, i wanted to pretend to be asleep but i know is not Kala is the girl that needed water, I overheard that already,
I quickly rushed and open, there she was with her piecing tattoo, earrings was all over her ears, her hands were full of different kind of rings, she even have a nose ring too, leg chain and a long eyelashes and her cloth would have being better if she was naked, I stood there analyzing the girl and judging her forgetting i have no right to judge her, she’s a clubber and i once work there so what’s the difference between us…I wasn’t better than her, I tried not to judge her and listen to what she was saying,
“stop staring at me like a witch and come and get water for Kala, he’s throwing up outside, he hard too much to drink at the club and couldn’t stand by himself…hurry up na…why are you so sluggish…gosh…
I don’t know if i should be happy or sad at the news, but i got the water anyway and took it outside myself to him, on seeing him he was really in a bad condition, I took over from the guy and washed his face, I poured some on his head after which he was taken to his room, his friend removed his soiled cloth leaving him with just his underwear, I left them and went back to my room, I don’t know if i should thank God, pray and rejoice for Kala’s sickness or pray for him, but i was so happy that by morning i will be gone even before he wakes up maybe when i come back from the interview i can face him,
I left very early, I didn’t sleep most part of the night, i left the house even before anybody can wake up, I tip toed out of the house without a sound, they were all snoring, even the ring girl, i gave her a new name,
but i didn’t go straight to the place, I just waited in one vendor shop pretending to be waiting for somebody when it was time to go, the sun was out, i left.
And i was thinking that the woman may not like me and here she was calling her beautiful daughter to come and meet her name sake, when she came and smiled with her gap white teeth and said “your welcome, I’m glad to meet you my namesake”
She gave me a hug to my utmost surprise, I was speechless,
“can you cook bitter leaf soup that’s one of mum’s favorite soup or oha, she love this soup and there’s one other soup she likes so much but i can’t remember the name but Lydia our former cook who resigned after getting married use to make oha and bitter leaf for us but she can’t do this particular soup only mum knows how to do it and she doesn’t always have time to do it, she wish she can get somebody who knows how to do it but even if you can’t she will teach you…mum what’s the name of that your soup again…?
“hahahaha…obianauju you are funny…now you have a name sake we will call her Uju and call you your full name so that we don’t confuse ourselves….okay the name of the soup is okazi soup with moulded egusi…is actually my native soup…i know you wouldn’t know how to do it because it entails a whole lot of things…but i will teach you don’t worry….so which soup can you make Uju?
“that’s very good my dear, we will start our teaching next week, the driver will take us to the big market where we can pick all the ingredients, i will show you where and how to buy things because you will be going alone with the driver as soon as you are capable, Uju we are happy to have you in our home you have practically become one of us, you will call me mum not ma, we are all family and no need to move to the boys Quarter you can have the next room close to my daughter’s room, nobody is using it, we are all real people here, we don’t live a fake or general lives, and i tell anybody that’s cones to live or work here, and we are godly people, God first before anything, we do general morning devotion everyday and we make sure things are done properly, don’t worry with time you will adapt to our life style, Wednesday and Sundays are off days for you, we have about 10staffs here and they eat three times a day, i try to make sure of that, that people don’t go hungry when there’s resources to feed them, we will tell you other things later and you will get to meet other workers too, and my son, Victor guess you have already met him, he is a total different man on his own, hmmm, anyway when can you start Uju?
I was like “wow” could this be really true, so God really do answer prayer, I was too grateful as happiness suck through me, i asked her if i can start immediately she laughed and said okay, she asked her daughter Obianauju to be take me to my room and then to the kitchen, I thought of my stuffs, shoes,bag, cloths and other little things at Kala’s place, going back to get them will be deliberately entering the lion’s den, he may not even allow me to go out again so is better i leave them there let him burn it or give out.. Or even do anything he wants to do with it but i will never go back to that house, I thank God enough for last night, for making him drunk and sick last night, cloths won’t be a problem, if i have to beg for cloths to wear here so be it, or i will borrow some money from other staff when i received my salary i pay the person back, but that’s not the problem for me,
I followed my name sake round the house as she showed me places with excitement, and she suddenly asked me about my load, when i will go and get my stuff, I was stammering to answer because i don’t know what to tell her she surprised me and told me not to worry she have lots of cloths to give me, she said after we will go to her room she will sort them out, I hugged her in excitement and she responded by hugging me back, we later went to her room to sort cloths as if we are best friends, she talked about the brother and told me her brother can be very stubborn, she said Victor is not so friendly, and doesn’t give a care to anybody, he lives his own lives, he just came back two months ago from his masters course in America and has always keep to himself but i shouldn’t let him get to me, he likes being on his own or going out to meet friends, I shouldn’t worry he is mostly in his room or out with his friends, he won’t be much of a bother to me if i do what he says or cook whatever he wants to eat there will be peace, I wanted to tell her about the kinds of friends he move with are not good, but i kept quiet because is too early to start contributing to their lives and Victor looks like somebody you can’t easily influence,
I was ready to make my first soup, Oha soup… It reminds me of the oha tree with wicked tiger ants in my compound.
My Oha soup turn out fine, everyone was impressed, I continued in the cooking, wakes up early to make breakfast for everyone, prepare for lunch then comes dinner, I started loving the job, I met other staffs, they were all nice, the securities, the Gardner, the car washer, the cleaners, laundry staff and others were all friendly, is as if they were trained on the job to always be nice, I became very close to some of them, like Joe head of the staffs, they report any thing to him and he takes it to the madam of the house if he can’t solve it, but i don’t report to him i report straight to the madam of the house, who everyone calls mummy,
my name sake, my madam’s daughter keeps me company sometimes or assisting me with small things in the kitchen, we bonded so well.
The day for the ukazi soup came, I was so willing to learn the delicacy that mummy’s favorite just as she was generally called, after buying the item needed, the Igbo market women helped her in cutting the achara, and there was also palm fruit seed, we came home and i watched the process, I have heard of this soup but haven’t tasted it, it wasn’t a general soup it was just for her, it was actually a long process, but it turned out so delicious, the soup was so rich, and I loved it and wrote down the procedure in a book, on the third time of making it, i was good to go, I prepared it for her on my own with the help of my book too and she gave me a hand shake, and said although it wasn’t perfect but i will get it next time and i did, I won her heart all over again, the soup also became one of my favorites, and when i finally have my family they will love ukazi soup, I know they will.
I must say my cooking job wasn’t so easy but working with this loving and warm family makes it easy for me, only Victor makes it difficult but everyone knows him so it was clear to us who he is, and his request must be met,
I still haven’t heard from Kala and is being two months, he called me during my first week here but i always ignore his calls, and sometimes switch off my phone since i don’t really have people who calls me often, I haven’t heard from Ada and Bibi, sometimes I’m tempted to call but i always wave it off, we have all moved on, she’s happy, enjoying her apartment with Bibi forgetting my existence, I wish i can also forget her but she crosses my mind sometimes, I know we will meet someday but not as her kids nanny or married to a palm wine tapper as she has wished me but as a different person, ones i have enough money I will enrol in a part time school like some other staffs does, and also go to computer school for future purpose, I don’t transport or buy food here, I have little expenses, so I have to save money, I know i will be alright because God is watching over me,
Ones day Victor came to the kitchen and told me to prepare jellof rice and chicken tomorrow that his friends are coming over and i should make sure it taste great,
i replied him “yes sir” just as everyone else, he was different from his mother and sister, he likes keeping to his self and doesn’t relate well with staffs, if his cloths are not well ironed he punished the laundry staff by telling the accountant to deduct their money, he doesn’t tolerate nonsense, all the staff are scared of him, he doesn’t listen to anyone except the mum who always tell him to calm down, whenever I’m ask to do something for him i always take my time because i can’t afford my money to be cut, since I’m seriously saving up for the future, and the job is very important to me, he once shouted at me and gave me a serious warning after i made tea for him one morning and he did not come down on time to the dining table, and the tea got cold, when he came down and started shouting my name, i left everything i was doing and rushed to the dining he asked me why the tea was cold, I tried to explain but he shut me up and asked me to trash the whole thing and make a fresh one for him and send it to his room, he warned me never to allow his tea to ever gets cold no matter how long it takes for him to eat, I have always makes sure of that, he doesn’t talk much but he is a fast talker when he is angry, he will speak so fast with his polished English, just like the Americans, everyone already knows who he is and always avoid getting into trouble with him, after all he was the man of the house,
Today was no different as he sounded it clearly to me about the jellof rice with garnished grilled chicken,
I was already taught on the food menu, the mummy of the house take out time to teach me how to make other continental dish aside the ukazi soup or other native soups, and I’m a fast learner, I learned everything i was thought, even write them down,
Victor wasn’t anybody’s friend when it comes to staffs, he treats us like workers unlike the mother and sister, he doesn’t call anybody by name, you will hear him call, hey” or laundry, security or even cleaner, he even call me cook sometimes, he will say something like this to his sister, “Uju, please tell the cook that i will be having Quaker oats for dinner… Tell her to make it down before i return back and leave it in a flask or microwave, I hate cold food” he doesn’t even know i bear same name with the sister or he doesn’t want to know,
he was really rude like that, the first week when he noticed i wasn’t in the boys quarter like i suppose to be he asked his mum in my presence why she gave me a room close to his kid sister Ujunwa, instead of the the quarters where the other staffs stays and the mum warned him not to question her ever again in her decision and he apologised immediately to her and walked away,
After giving me instructions on the food to make tomorrow for his friends he stopped at the door and asked me
“why didn’t you tell your boyfriend, Kala that you were coming to work here, he was actually looking for you it was until he mentioned it to me last week that i told him you are here and he was very surprise, he said you never told him about it… Why?
“uuhmmm…Kala wasn’t my boyfriend he was just accommodating me because i heard issue with where i was living, so i begged him to accommodate me for sometime until i got a place….”
“that wasn’t what he told me, I’m hearing a different thing from you… And when you finally got a place, you left without even saying thank you or good bye to him, making me look like a bad person when i told him you were working here for almost two months, which isn’t important anyway…what you did does not speak well of you, he deserve to know you got a job and accommodation and he also deserve a thank you…
“yes sir…you are right… He went to a club that morning and was sick so i didn’t get to tell him about it….I’m sorry sir”
“that’s not an excuse, and you know i don’t like liars,right? You were mostly with him so why didn’t tell him all the while…. Never mind… He initiated the meeting here, I didn’t want to but the pestering was much, and i know is because of you, he wants to see you and the only way is to initiate a mini gathering, I guess you are already told about the rules here, no boyfriend or girlfriends allowed in here but you can see them during your off day… Kala will be coming down so i know what that means for you, I don’t want you trying to act reunion movie around this house or at the flower lane, be on your duty at every point in time and act professional at it, you will also be part of the staff to serve us, you said you had three years experience so i expect professionalism in here,i haven’t had any friend visiting me for security sake i do the visiting instead but i decided to host them close to the swimming pool so make sure everything needed in the area of food is well taken care off….. Hope I’m clear enough?
He turned and left my heart was beating so fast, this guy is really mean, which one is reunion movie, Kala is a nobody to me except that he accommodate back then,
Kala is coming tomorrow what do i do and I’m expected to be on my post at all time, I will dish out the food to the staff in charge of serving guest food to go and serve them but now I’m required to serve along with them, how do i face Kala, what did he tell Victor what I’m i suppose to do now
My heart was beating because i know Kala will want to disgrace me but that doesn’t bother me all that bothers me now is my job,
That evening i sat with Joe, the head of the staff who also stays at the staff quarters,
he is one of my close friends there i told him about what was going on and he said i shouldn’t worry that Victor maybe difficult to please but he wasn’t stupid , he knows the kind of friends he has and won’t allow them to bother me, I believed Joe as i looked forward to waking up early and making jelof rice with garnished grilled chicken.
To be continued
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