Alternate Realities (by Emerald Michael)

     To the rich 'Nigerian', the poor are a myth.
     To the middle-class, they are a constant reminder of what a major slip can cost them.

     Therefore, to both classes, poverty is the stuff nightmares are made of.
     That's why people come on social media sounding like all their delicate insides can ingest is Coldstone ice cream and Cheese-flavoured pizza. Like they began to use the dishwasher and vacuum cleaner before they even developed their premolars. And oh, it was private school(s) all the way.

      Because we all like to pretend poverty doesn't exist. We desperately want to wish penury away, so even an imagined reality will do the trick.
      But they're there. People who eat eba, eba and eba, IF they can afford three square meals. Those to whom jollof rice is a luxury only affordable on Christmas and New year's Day and the only achievement they can boast of is the subpar education they struggle to give their kids.
     The thieving politician looks out the tinted glass of his jeep, sees the sweaty man hunched over the blocks he's moulding and goes "What kind of person wasted his years so much that he ended up..there?"
     The middle-class wife strolls past the pepper seller's stall and thinks "Chai. I'm so glad I married a man who has money"
Beneath the forced smiles and sugary goodwill messages, lies the derision.
     The disdain when they meet someone who can't eat with fork and knife or afford 3.5g browsing data. The "at least I better pass dis one", accompanied by an imperious sniff.
     Maybe, as a result of some bad decisions or twist of fate or even hereditary factors, they ended up in that place that beats your imaginations.
     But they are there.
     Like some Biblical guy said, we will always have the poor with us. And it's no crime of theirs. Yet.

     Growing up in a township and living in a gated neighbourhood, where everyone has a big dog can give one an imagined sense of entitlement.
     That's why I always wanted to serve in a village. As long as there is 'NEPA light'.

     A chance to see things differently. How people live where there's no gas cooker and washing machine at home or cinema hall to go flex the weekend.
     How simple pleasures like playing in the moonlight still exist.

Please, strive to be rich. Life was meant to be enjoyed. Help your kids as your parents helped you.
     But spare a minute from your privileged life. Lower that supercilious shoulder. Look around you. Don't judge them yet. You dunno their stories. Try, even though twill be hard, to understand where they're coming from.
    No one's forcing you to help them.
    Just realize that the poor are there. And they also have a right to live.


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