For a very long time I struggled with myself to give meaning to the word miracle. Yes there are a number of definitions and yes, it means different things to different people. Some describe it as an act or event that does not follow the laws of nature and believed to be caused by God. Others think it to be a lucky thing that happens that you didn’t expect or think was possible. Like many other words and concepts, it all boils down to individual perspectives. So, I was never going to settle in a hurry for just what I have been told miracle is until I finally experienced it sometime in February 2016.
I had just finished my first fiction “Guntamala clan” and have been looking for a way to publish it. I sent a brief of the manuscript to three publishing houses in the UK with no positive response. The publishers here in Nigeria told me outrightly that they can only do the job if I paid for it and how can I pay with an empty bank account. Of course who can blame them? No one wants to invest in something that may not be successful. I was done communicating with some of them through emails and the social media so I went to Lagos. After reading my manuscript, one of the publishers said to me “my friend you have a very nice story here, I believe you have what it takes to be one of the finest story tellers of this time but you will have to go and come back after two successful works” I returned to PortHarcourt devastated. The only thing that kept the fire in me from going off was the other young writers I met and a couple of others who have started making breakthroughs in their writing careers who shared similar experiences with me.
Two days after I got back to PortHarcourt from Lagos, I was narrating my sorry experience to one of my friends as usual, on a free bottle of Star beer courtesy of this my friend. After I was done with the whole details, like other friends and family members I have shared my plight with, I was expecting him to start sympathizing with me but to my surprise, engrossed in his phone without even looking up, he said “Oboy go tell Chief DLB na” That statement was very far from what I had expected from him. So I quickly gulped the remaining beer in my glass and left him there. I was angry because I felt he was making mockery of me. I mean, why didn’t he mention other people that I have been very close to instead of mentioning a man that hardly knew me.
The following day was a Monday. I woke up with a very sad mood that was gradually becoming an every morning thing since my return. I managed to summon strength for my morning jogging. I was back from jogging before 7:30am. By then the sun was already up in the sky, exposing a very clear morning. Dorned in her usual blue color of the navy, the sky calmly promised everyone who looked up that the day was going to be fair and beautiful. Somehow, as the hours passed away, I started having a particular feeling of joy that I could hardly explain as at then. Looking back today I realise that what I felt especially as I looked up to the sky that morning was a promise of a miracle.
Then I was already a member of the Dumo Lulu-Briggs Youths Foundation (DYF23) but only on two occasions have I met with Chief Barr. Dumo Lulu-Briggs who happens to be the Grand Patron and I was going to meet with him for the third time by 11am on that day in a meeting between him and Stakeholders of the foundation.
During the meeting, I could hardly concentrate, my friend’s voice kept ringing back in my head. When the meeting was finally over, almost everyone had something to tell him privately. I was a little bit sceptical but when the voice in my head wouldn’t let me be, I summoned courage and pushed my way through to him. Standing in front of him, I lost my tongue and only gained it back when he stretched fort his hand and said “my brother how are you” I rushed his hand, held it with my two hands, opened my mouth to answer the question he asked me but found my self saying “sir I am a writer, I just finished my first book and I am looking for fund to publish it” he looked straight into my eyes and said “really, what did you write about?” In the next couple of minutes the world stood still for both of us. He stood there and listened to me like no one has ever listened. When I finally ran out of words, he looked at me for a couple of minutes that felt like forever and when he finally spoke with a smile on his face, the words that came were the most beautiful five letter words I have ever heard “how much do you need” I went blank, I was confused, I started sweating immediately. It took people around us to bring me back to my senses as they unanimously repeated the question he asked me “he said ‘how much do you need'”? When I finally mentioned the amount I needed, he looked at me and smiled again then he asked “are you sure that will be enough?” I said “ye ye ye yes sir” while nodding at the same time. He turned to the president of the foundation “presido I will transfer some money tomorrow to the foundation’s account so that you can give it to him for his book”
When the money finally got to me, it was more than I requested for. I got his phone number and sent him a thank you message, that was when he asked me my name. Chief Barr. Dumo Lulu-Briggs sponsored the publication of “GUNTAMALA CLAN” without even knowing me, not even my name.
Miracle for me is when a man lifts a man or woman falling by the way. Miracle is when a stranger lends a hand to another stranger, it is when we help fulfill the dreams of others. There could be no greater miracle than waking up every day with a renewed hope because you know that one man out there cares.
Kiikpoye Karibo writes from Abua, Rivers State.