What I am amused about is that there has not been a single comment. The truth sometimes stuns us into silence.
The money quote is the final quote — “Morality is a virtue that can only be afforded by those who have never had to simply survive”
I remember the day I would have become a thief very vividly. I was at Sabo in Lagos. I was broke and hungry. I had to do anything to stay alive. I had gamed out the scenario in my head. Picked a time the food seller would be most distracted. I was trying to make up my mind if it was best to steal her food or steal the money she had made for the day. I had made her trust me but that trust was wearing thin as I was owing her. I didn’t care that she had been generous to me in the past. I just wanted to eat and I needed money.
This was after my NYSC when I had no idea what to do with myself and my future. I was being kept at my old NYSC job temporarily because they didn’t know what to do with me. I was only lucky that my uncle was one of the owners of the company.
What saved me and the lady that day was that my mother miraculously appeared at the instant I had picked to strike. The food seller had gone to the bathroom and as I was about to take her money, my mother called my name. IT was as if I was in a trance. My mother had travelled from Benin City to Lagos to get a UK visa because she was also tired of being owed salaries by the government for months. She was a teacher who had trained in the UK and wanted to go back.
The government owed my mother, who could not support me because she was a single mother taking care of 4 children after a separation. Yet, she was the one who saved me and the food seller that day. She brought food from Benin and still managed to give me some money to survive till I was finally paid.
That day, I realized how slippery the morality slope was. The real reason I was also very broke was because I had to support another girl who was in the same situation as myself. She was also an ex-corper in Lagos, living with a Muslim family during Ramadan and she was also broke. I didn’t judge her when she decided to become a married man’s mistress. I couldn’t judge her when I was in the same situation and the only option I thought I had was to become a thief. The complex web of interconnected lives in poverty would have been further complicated if my mother had not shown up.
I finally decided to leave Lagos and the struggle when I was…….attacked by thieves. The irony!
Morality is indeed a luxury and privilege.