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Seeds In The Ground BY …Nneoma Wokemba

Seeds In The Ground BY …Nneoma Wokemba


Kelechi died at the age of 35. By this time, he had sponsored people through university and had paid fees for numerous people at various times. Let me tell you a bit about two of such people. I will call them A and B.

Kelechi was in medical school when he met A. He was driving home from school one evening when he saw a family with young children being forcibly removed from an uncompleted building. His inquiries revealed that the family didn’t have a home and moved from one uncompleted building to another. To sustain the family, the father used to go through heaps of refuse looking for anything of value that someone may have thrown away. The mother sold fruits in front of whichever uncompleted building they were living in. They had six children. 3 boys, followed by 3 girls. All very young. Kelechi felt that he could not possibly drive off after hearing this so he offered to take one of the sons and put him through school. I don’t know how they decided which of the children to pick but they picked A. A was the third son. That was how A came to live with Kelechi who was himself also a student. He enrolled A in primary school so he could write common entrance. A proceeded to secondary school, a boarding school, all fully funded by Kelechi. After secondary school, A gained admission into the University of Nigeria Nsukka. Kelechi funded his education at that institution. While all this was happening, Kelechi graduated medical school. After housemanship, he decided to go into business. A was more like a son now and was working with him on holidays. In addition to living with him and sponsoring his education, Kelechi also paid A an allowance. A enjoyed his life so much and wasn’t too keen on being identified with his past. Kelechi always reminded him that he was supposed to pay it forward and his family should be the first beneficiary. A’s two older brothers became a bus conductor and mechanic respectively. Kelechi encouraged him to use his allowance to ensure that his sisters stayed in school. A’s father moved to the village and Kelechi helped his mum and sisters get decent accommodation. A’s mum could now upgrade her fruit selling business. Last I heard, his youngest sister was writing WAEC, something that may never have happened if Kelechi hadn’t stepped in that fateful evening. At various times, Kelechi had to fight for A to remain with him. His mother and some family members didn’t understand how a student would take on that kind of responsibility. Some insinuated that he was being manipulated. Kelechi stood his ground. He was so committed to A that Kelechi’ criteria for a future wife included someone who could accommodate A and others like him. Fortunately for all concerned, we hit it off and I assumed the role of mother to A seamlessly. At the time Kelechi died, A was about to go to for NYSC.

One month after Kelechi was buried, I received a visitor. Mourners were still trickling in so it wasn’t unusual for a distraught stranger to show up at my house. He introduced himself and proceeded to tell me how he came to know my late husband. He was crying through the entire narrative. According to B, he had gained admission into Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) after many years of trying. He started school without knowing how he was going to pay his fees. At the end of the first semester, they were told that those who hadn’t paid would not sit for the semester’s exams and would lose their admission. One morning, B was walking along Ogui Road in Enugu looking lost and forlorn. Kelechi’s main office was on Ogui Road. B was standing by the gate of Kelechi’s office building when Kelechi came to work that day. He stopped and asked the young man what was wrong. B told his story. Kelechi invited him into his office and asked him to drop his personal details as well as school details with the secretary and that they would be in touch. He later sent his secretary to ESUT and she confirmed that B was a bonafide student. Kelechi instructed them to pay his school fees and call him to collect the receipt. B could not believe that an absolute stranger would do this for him. He was in for another shocker. He was informed that his school fees will continue to be paid until he finished school as long as he was making good grades. Kelechi made good on his promise. His fees were promptly paid and he went to the office at the appropriate times to pick up the receipts. On the day he came to my house, he had gone to the office to give them the bill for his final project. Kelechi had told him to inform him when he was ready. B went to the office only to see Kelechi’s obituary poster on the wall. I can’t even imagine how he must have felt. He asked questions and was directed to my house. Note that I was not even aware that Kelechi was doing all this. The young man looked so hopeless that I had to give him the money for the project. That was the last time I saw him. I don’t even know his name.

After his death, I got quite a number of calls from people that Kelechi was doing things for. He paid school fees for some, rent for some, gave some loans, paid hospital bills. With each discovery I felt more in awe of the man that he was. Kelechi did not die a rich man. Far from it. But he died with seeds in the ground. Over the years, those seeds have brought in continuous harvest that the children and I have enjoyed. Kelechi did those things very casually. He wasn’t doing them expecting anything in return. None of those people could pay him back for his kindness. He did those things because he felt it was important to share what he had with others. For someone that was born with a very shiny silver spoon, he understood suffering surprisingly well. It was his life’s mission to make sure that he affected positively, everyone he came in contact with. If Kelechi made these investments in people, do you think that it is possible for his children to suffer? Mbanu. Little wonder we have lived the kind of life that we have. No money in the bank but every need met. Let me tell you something. Didi will be in SS2 come September. Since the first day she walked into school at 2years and 2 months, I have never paid a dime in tuition or bought any books for her. Her tuition and books have been provided for without any input from me. Are you surprised? I am not. Her father has seeds in the ground. Soma will be in university next month. The school we settled for is relatively expensive and paying for it won’t be easy. Will she go to that school? Of course she will and I’m sure you’ve guessed why. Her father has seeds in the ground.

Although I feel very blessed to have been married to a man like Kelechi, for the privilege of reaping a harvest that I did not necessarily sow, this post is not about his virtues. I just want to encourage someone out there not to relent in doing good. It might be taking a lot out of you but if your spirit moves you to help someone, by all means do. Do not be discouraged by lack of appreciation. Do not let naysayers convince you that you are being used. If you are led to do it, just do. A and B disappeared from our lives. Many others did. The last time I saw A was in 2004 when he took money from me to report to NYSC camp. He asked for money for a lot of things and I gave him all. At that time, my mantra was “What would Kelechi do?” I later discovered that the bill he gave me was fabricated. He left with that money and we haven’t heard from him since. Am I bothered? Definitely not. The Lord said we would reap a harvest. He never specified where the harvest would come from. I have reaped and continue to reap a bountiful harvest of the seeds sown in A from other sources. Harvest is harvest.

Thank you for reading this very long post. I hope someone has been inspired. Much more important than accumulating wealth is making sure that you have seeds in the ground.


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Posted by:- on October 12, 2018.

Categories: Literature

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