Baba Moshuud’s compound (Series 1 - Episode one)

Early morning drama
The bell rang for the second time, louder than the first but nothing compared to the woman’s voice accompanying each ring, shouting on the top of her voice “emi mimo o”. Olabisi turned again, this time, she covered her head with the pillow, hoping that the sound of the bell would decrease but it didn’t. After several attempts, she hissed and got up murmuring about people who wouldn’t find peace because they didn’t give her peace.

She had been working all night editing the interview that was held with one ‘Honourable’ of the state house of assembly. Her plan to sleep till eight had been cut short by Iya Moshuud’s early Morning Prayer. This early morning ritual was usually her alarm clock.

Iya Moshuud unaware of Olabisi’s grumbling and thoughts filled with hate, continued her prayer. She screamed the words “eje Jesu’ seven times and broke raucously into a song. Though she was still in the backyard, her voice was so loud that Olabisi thought that she was already at her window. When Olabisi was renting the house two weeks before, no one told her that her landlady was a lunatic who paid unnecessary emphasis on the spiritual and was always conscious of the spirits that wanted to cause her downfall. It was because of this spirits that Iya Moshuud was walking around the house clad in only her wrapper as early as 5:30 am. She had a bell and in her left hand and a bottle of anointing oil in her right. She sprayed the oil on the walls and floors as she constantly repeated “eje Jesu”. Olabisi’s entire attempt to have her quiet time devotion was constantly distracted. Furious, she took her towel, picked up the bucket of water behind the door and headed off to the bathroom before the queue became too long for her.

Luckily, she met only two buckets in front of the bathroom. Not willing to take her chances she took her seat on the steps leading to the back of the house. From where she sat, she faced the bathroom that was made of iron roofing sheets. The rusty sheet at the front of the bathroom had a hole in the side which they all used their towels or wrapper to cover. But this morning, the guy didn’t cover that hole and when she turned, her eyes saw something dangling. She skipped a breath, no, three actually, got up immediately and walked towards the side of the wall where Iya Moshuud was rounding up her morning rendezvous.

Emeka, Mama Esther’s 7-year-old son stood behind Iya Moshuud and quietly mimicked her every move. Before Olabisi could tell him to stop, Mummy Esther came from the back yard, walked quietly to where he was and gave him a hot slap on the back of his neck, “yeye child. Is that what I asked you to do” she shouted with her hands on her waist; her huge frame towering over the child. Emeka murmured back, as he rubbed his head with his left hand on the back of his head and scowl on his face.

Mama Esther raised her hands as if she would slap him but she changed her mind. “Will you shut up. Na you go finally put me for trouble inside this compound. Don’t you boys get tired? First your brother, now it’s you”. She hissed. Emeka picked his broom sulking and said: “when she won’t let me sweep nko?” Mama Esther kicked him on the leg “you are still talking abi? I will break that your mouth for you”.

As both mother and child walked past, Olabisi who had been staring in amusement greeted Mama Esther but she didn’t answer. She was busy counseling Emeka not to toe the line of his brother. But after he had gone inside, Mama Esther said to no one in particular “but which kind wahala be this sef? Ehn? Is it every time one has to wait for this woman to finish that her yeye prayer before someone can sweep?”

Olabisi knew that mama Esther expected a response from her, something to nudge her to go on. But she also knew that if she did, she would create room for a conversation that would not end soon. So she turned her eyes back to Iya Moshuud and faked rapt attention.

Read - Baba Moshuud’s compound (Series 1 - Episode Two)

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