Saturday 26 September 2020

Rather A Man Than A Fish



I was thinking this morning...... When I read the headlines 'Zambia’s President mourns death of 22-year-old fish,' my first impression was that 'Fish' is the name of someone in Zambia. I was wrong. The report revealed how Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu has joined the nation in mourning the death of a fish that lived in a pond at the country’s second-biggest university. Students at Copperbelt University (CBU) lit candles and marched around campus to mourn the big bream. The hashtag 'Mafishi,' as the fish was affectionately known, is trending on Twitter in the southern African state. Wow! There are 18.4 million people in Zambia with an average of 315 persons dying every day according the World bank. There was no national mourning for anyone neither did we read about the President mourning anyone of them but a fish?

But why? Why would the country be mourning a fish and not it's people? It is reported that for the last two decades, CBU students have believed the fish would bring them good luck in exams. Some students used to pay homage to the fish before exams, believing it brought them good luck while others saw it as a stress-reliever, says BBC Zambia reporter Kennedy Gondwe. Hmm!

Shortly after reading the story, the WhatsApp platform of my Class of 86 set of my secondary school was alight when a photo of a onetime classmate of ours was shared. Papa Sam, as was fondly called by everyone in our neighbourhood in Warri then, dropped out of school early to go into maintenance of gas and kerosene stoves and similar household equipment. Thirty years later, while most of us his classmates have taken up white collar jobs and moved to bigger cities in different nations of the world, Papa Sam remained true to his calling, helping the ordinary people in Warri to fix their faulty stoves. Yes, years of manual labour has made him weak, looking older than his mates, but with shoulders raised he continued to serve his customers. He seems content just solving the cooking problems of people without tearing their pockets.

'Mafishi' gave Zambian students hope for their exams while Papa Sam gave struggling families in the Ogboru and Obahor neighbourhood of Warri hope about their faulty stoves. Who is giving you hope and who are you giving hope? My hope is not in any fish or creation but on the creator. Psalm 146:5 'Blessed is he whose hope is in the Lord his God.' One lesson I have learnt is that the greater your service to mankind, the greater your honour. Things are tough in Nigeria and in the world today. People are hurting and barely making it daily. A smile, a call, a helping hand, a prayer partner can make a world of difference. Irrespective of whether you have a white, blue or black collar job, give someone hope today, so that, rather than a fish, you will be celebrated. I will rather a 'papa Sam than a 'Mafishi.'

Happy Sunday.

......Just the thought of a certain Wey Mey.

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