It was completely dark and the air that filled the room was dry and cold. Anyone present in that room could easily feel the effects of the harshness of the harmattan haze. I was half only asleep when I heard my mother query “Uche, Uche, where is the candle?”
I sprang up from bed, picked up my mobile phone and checked the time. Lo and behold, it was 5 O’ Clock. I was immediately thrown into a search for the only half stick of candle remaining in the house. My mother handed me a box of matches to aid in my search. I searched every nook and cranny but the candle was nowhere to be found.
My mother needed that candle lit up so that she could get set that early for market for she was a trader by profession. The truth is that after the demolition of the popular Tejuosho market in Yaba, Lagos, where she traded, other traders like herself were left with no interim place to practice their conventional daily buying and selling. As a result, displaced traders had to struggle on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (the major market days) for a space in the open field around the Yaba rail road/terminus. It was indeed a competition for survival; with well over 2000 displaced traders struggling under different weather conditions for a space to shade out their goods for sale, one can imagine the need to set out early enough. Whether or not a physical market existed, a good number of these traders especially women had to discover by themselves different means to still practice their trade that they might be able to put food on their family table- a good number of them were bread winners in their homes.
After a fruitless search of about 10minutes, I went back to the room and decided to lie down on the bed and stay alert for the next move or instructions regarding the candle stick. Like in the fairy tales, I fell sleep as if a spell was cast on me.
I was in a sort of dream, a dream that was quite different from any type of dream I had ever had before. I heard a calm voice that said to me “don’t let her go to the market this early.” Still in the same calm atmosphere, I started to pray for my mother. I asked God to protect, guard and guide my mother for the day. The calm voice spoke again and said “My protection is already upon her but don’t let her go out this early today.”
I was just about to ask “when should she leave?” when my immediate environment changed; I was in some sort of trance. The curtains of the room were split open and the voice showed me how bright it should be before my mother was to leave home that day. While yet in the dream, I pondered on many things.
Shortly after, I was in another dream. This time I was washing a big bowl in the sink of the kitchen when I suddenly noticed a lady standing by the gate. I couldn’t get a facial view because she backed my line of sight. All I could see was her flowing hair. I continued washing the big bowl when my mother stepped out of the house through the sitting room. I raced from the kitchen to the sitting room to stop her from going outside because I just had to stop her from going out that early going by the precept of my first dream. Well, before I could get to the sitting room, she was gone and I resolved that I would do anything within my power to ensure that she comes back. It was at this point that I struggled to get up from my sleep but each try; each flexed muscle aimed at my waking-up only made me weaker. I just stayed in bed.
I was in my subconscious when I heard my mother call out my youngest brother to open the gate for her to leave. Immediately, I got up from bed and went straight to the sitting room where my mother was. I told her to spare me some time that I would like to talk to her. She complied immediately and walked with me to her room. The time was already 6:30AM. I narrated the dream to her and told her not to leave that early at least for that day.
I looked outside her window to see if the brightness level had reached that which was revealed to me in the dream. It was still quite dark so I beckoned on her still wait a little. She argued that it was already 6:30AM and that God would protect her. I immediately remembered when the voice said: “My protection is already upon her but don’t let her go out this early today.” I tried to convince her to wait a little till it got bright at least to the level that I saw in my dream. She agreed without any hesitation. While she waited, I entered into prayer. I prayed that morning by the word of God; I thanked Him for his revelation and grace. When I was done praying, I looked out the window, it was just as bright as it was in the trance. I looked at my mother in the face and told her: “it is okay to leave now.”
I instructed my youngest brother to open the gate and I walked my mother to the bus-stop where she boarded a bus. I came back home and reflected on the whole experience. It was completely clear to me that indeed what I had heard that morning was The Voice of God.
True life story inspired by my encounter on Friday, 23rd January, 2009.