Lands of our Fathers

The Nigerian Civil war also known as the biafran war began on the 6th of July 1967 and ended on the 15th of January 1970…No, I wasn’t born then, But my GrandPa was…
I remember many years ago, At his feet we’d seat in awe of his Biafran tales of war, and he’d tell tales of Guns, shrapnel, Bombs going off and how he was thrown off his bike by a bomb blast and he’d go on and on about air-raids, and people eloping, and we’d laugh when he got to the part about scarcity of salt, can you imagine Salt Scarce??..and people eating lizards, the absurdity of it all, we’d laugh cos it was super-funny!, we never got tired of those stories, and even now i see him, seated clad in a T-shirt and a wrapper, hands behind his head, eyes closed in reminiscence, straight faced.

I remember it all now like it was yesterday, not once during those ‘Funny story sessions’ did he break to smile, I recall now the pain, agony and anguish he went thru everytime we’d ask him to tell us those tales, asking him to relieve those horrific moments all over again detail by detail, he never turned us down, but we were kids..what did we know?, I can hear him now, getting to the part of his tale when they heard over the radio that the war was over and people came out from hiding in their numbers, Only for the shelling and air raids to begin again, people were massacred and livelihoods lost, Now I wish I had understood all those years ago the underlying lessons of life he was teaching us, the essence of life and the opportunity of having it, the grace of being born in lands not torn by war and the hope of never witnessing one, but we were kids..what did we know?, I understand now the horrors he went thru reliving those tales at the expense of more pleasurable ones.

I wish, I could look him squarely in the eyes and let him know those stories have impacted my life and improved my understanding of Life, its essence. Grand Pa passed on before I got the chance to say those words to him, I understand now that a part of him never really Came back from the Biafran war, I understand now that a part of him was lost in it forever, he had gladly stayed trapped in those memories to see his Grandchildren walk free of it. My Grand father was a mechanic during the Biafran war, He was a hero, But we were kids..what did we know?

(If you’re looking down at me somewhere in those skies, I hope this makes you smile and you’re happy with my life)

– based on a true life story

– In Memory of Late Pa John Egbuna


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