Thursday, April 26, 2012

Perpetua: The Story of Most Women.

Perpetua’s father was from Fundong, and her mother was from Tombel or some Bakundu village where the people eat only pepper, pepper, and pepper. Perhaps because of her mixed parentage, she always stood between the South Westerners and North Westerners. If a South Westerner said something provincialist against the North Westerner, she will say, “even you too?” She was beautiful, intelligent and morally rich. Many men fantasized about her except for Fai. He told us that even if Perpe (diminutive for Perpetua as she was popularly called) was given to him for free, he will not take her.  He meant that even if Perpetua’s parents did not want the bride price, he will not accept her because he will have to be fighting her with other men, and he was not ready for that. “I don’t like a woman that every man likes.” He emphasized!
 It was my responsibility as their leader to guide them in the choices they made. We had a brother called Sama in our group. He liked Perpe, but she considered him incompatible. She only liked him as a friend or brother in Christ but no more.  Perpe was living with one of her aunts in Bambui village, so she lived in the hinterland itself. After school or church, Sama will accompany her to her house almost daily. We all thought she will marry him, but Perpe vowed never to. She did not like runts. Sama will say, “Yes, Perpe, I know, but I have not stopped growing, and I am not suffering from any bone disease that will prevent me from growing. We are still just 18.”  She didn’t like non athletic guys. “Perpe, are those playing football with ten legs? Don’t they have two legs like me too? I will learn.” He will plead his case smilingly. No matter his plaidorie, Perpetua had reenacted the Chinese proverb that said, “If a man wants to do something, he will give a thousand reasons, and if he did not want to do it, he will still give a thousand reasons.”
I used to have a crush on Perpe but when I saw Sama’s dedication to win her, I felt like God will never forgive me if I took Perpe from Sama. Instead, I tried to help Sama to marry Perpe. I told her that God wanted them to be together. “Please brother Arrey; don’t break my heart” Perpe echoed. “I don’t want to marry him.” She pled as if it was Prince Nico’s “Na My choice”.
When Perptual was going to Bamenda, it was brother Sama who trekked with her for perhaps 2:45 mins. When she had problems with her registration, it was brother Sama who went with her to Yaoundé.  He went to her class every morning to tell her good morning.  When Perpe was sick, it was Sama who slept with her in the hospital for two weeks. He was so into Perpe that gainsayers called him woman wrapper. Unbelievers said he was the nadir of the aphorism “monkey di work baboon di chop.” I had advised Sama not to give up, so his persistence made others to think that Perpe had bewitched him. I used to say, “Sama, good things do not come easily especially because women and pendulums are synonyms. She may swing one day to you. One day, one day, Perpe will knock at your door” I will add impetus!
Unfortunately, when a Bambui guy who worked and lived in Bamenda came to town, his uncle took him to church. He fell for Perpe and swept her off her feet. He was tall, athletic, economically buoyant and the talk of both the town and village. All qualities Perpe fantasized about in her subconscious and conscious nature.  They got married in  late 1991. Sadly, I had graduated and left Bambui.
In 1992, I was on my way to Bambui to visit the brethren I left there. I stopped at Sister Sally’s house in Bamenda. As I was eating the rice and drinking the Top Anana she served, she asked me, “Brother Arrey,” as we were accustomed to calling each other, “did you know sister Perpetua?” I said “Yes, who doesn’t know Perpe.” “She is in the hospital and we don’t know if she will even get well. We have been praying for her but now that you have come, please let us go, so you will pray for her.” Sally informed me. I quickly stopped a taxi, and we went there. At the hospital, the nurses refused that we should see her, except her relatives. I told them that I was her pastor, and I have come to pray for her. We went in, and once she saw us, she smiled and called, “brother Arrey, Sister Sally” in such a faint voice.  She had bruises all over her face, her hand and head were bandaged liked Lazarus from the grave, and her feet were suspended as if she had a car accident where she was the only survivor. 
I asked Perpe what happened. She said one word, “Andrew” and began crying. Sally said, “Brother Andrew na yi massa.” I felt so bad as she sobbed the more, fighting these words through her tears, “Brother Arrey, I should have listened to you.  Before you entered, you came to my spirit, and I remembered how you used to say ‘marry the person who loves you most and not the one you love most. The one who loves you most will feel like they do not merit you and will treat you like their only world.’” I smiled and little pride entered into me that one of my prophecies was fulfilled. That is how much we were close as brethren that our spirits communicated together. Then she continued, “This morning, my younger sister told me that she went to our house to take some of my clothes, and Andrew had a girl there. His girlfriend said my sister must knock before entering the house.” For more than a month that I am here, Andrew has been here only once; I mean, one time brother Arrey.”
I muttered that those were grounds for divorce; abandonment and infidelity. Sister Sally quickly interrupted me that “the bible is against divorce.” I smiled and asked Perpe if she was in contact with Sama. She said she did not know his whereabouts, but Sally interjected that she had met him sometime at Mbengwi Market. I said “we could go there right now.’ So we went there, and Sama had his small secretariat he did documents. He was too elated to see us. I told him that Perpe was barely hanging on her life. He shuddered as if a part of him was in trouble. “Which hospital is she?” He asked. I told him. He quickly closed his store, and we left for the hospital. When we saw Perpe and she saw Sama, she almost jumped from her bed to embrace him, but the nurse stopped her, “Perpe it is not time for you to start standing.” She was just too happy to see Sama again. Thenceforth, Sama took over the visitation and even part of the hospital bill. Miraculously and graciously, the Lord healed her that she even became more beautiful.
In 2001, when I went home, they had already been married for eight years, and they are still happily married today. They had written me a letter telling me how grateful they were for the role I played in creating their terrestrial felicity. They said, “Brother Arrey, marriage is sweet. We don’t know why some people are not happy in their own marriages.” Sama’s shortcomings that Perpe saw have been conquered by his love, acceptance and value for her that they lived a happy life because Perpe married the person who loved her most and not the one she loved best. 
It is divine and natural for men to run after women and not the other way round. Perpe finally had someone who adored her because he felt he did not merit her. Marriage relationship is like the relationship between Christ and the church. Christ loved the church and died for her, the man should love the woman and be ready to die or her. If a man is beating you up, cheating on you, and treating you badly, he will never give a pint of his blood for you. That is not a good relationship. On the other hand too, the woman must submit to the husband as if she was submitting to God; that is why Sarah called Abraham, "My Lord." Therefore, if a woman sees herself running after a man, she should consult the oracles because something is grievously wrong with her. Can you remember someone who was ready to die for you? Go and call them or go to the net and write them now. Don’t let their shortcomings purloin your earthly bliss! That will be shortsighted!

Until then, insist more on people’s strengths than their shortcomings.

St Arrey of Ntenako.

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). "It is not how well you know a person; it is how well you treat them that they will live longer and happier with you." Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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