It takes more than good intentions to go hiking at Ado Awaye mountains. When you are over fifty, you need wisdom, fitness and the support of every other thing. This was supposed to be my third time climbing these mountains. Piece of cake. So I thought. Anyway, we got to Ado Awaye at about 12 noon. Four in number. One of us decided to eat before we hiked. This was the origin of my ordeal. I also ate.
Who can resist the sight of Amala lafun ati ọbẹ̀ Ilasa? Immediately we left the food canteen, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy climb for me. Sweating from the 12noon day sun/heat, I fell one step behind my partners. Then two steps, then ten, till I had to tell them to carry on that I would meet them at the foot of the rock.
Once they were out of sight, I sat down. “This is bad. Why did I eat this heavy meal at this time?” No one answered me. However, some little school girls who saw me sweating seriously gathered around me saying, “epele Sir”.
The Amala was telling me to find a place to sleep and my brain was telling me my reputation was at stake.
My mind said, “your wife must not hear that you got to the mountain and couldn’t hike it o. Mufasa, get up and be the man”. So I did.
Every step was a battle until I got to where the others were waiting for me at the foot of the mountain. There, I told them it was wise for us to wait a while to allow the sun to shift a little. My co-hikers agreed because it made sense. What they didn’t know was that the Amala agenda had defeated my good intentions. (Good intentions are not good enough in some cases in life). With that, I bought off about 45 minutes rest. I thought 45 mins was enough for my belly to overwrite the intruding Amala code. No way o. Eventually, I signalled to Tadek, ATG and Aisha that it was time.
Selfies, grins and a groan, then off we went.
In two minutes, I was already lagging behind again.
“Amala, I don’t deserve this rubbish you are doing o. Don’t disgrace me like this”. It didn’t hear. All I heard back was loud rumblings of disagreement from my overfilled belly.
So, I mixed some Nescafe with the glucose that was always in my camera bag thinking that would take away some of the heavy-body feeling and import new energy from somewhere. Anywhere. “Nibo, ko work“. My feet refused to pick up speed. My heart was pounding and my camera became as heavy as a cement bag.
“It’s just a hike. Why is everything conspiring against me today? Let me kuku turn back”.
“No, ma a try e. Okunrin lada”.
“Your wife will laugh at you if you turn back”.
“Well, no problems if she laughs at me, at least I tried. There are many my age who can’t even come this far”.
“Ogbeni, kontinu joo. No fall our hand o”.
“Besides, If you don’t tell her, how would she know. Eh, who would even tell her. I will just give Tadek and the others a stern warnings, and even the winds would say nothing”.
(Debates, tiredness, embarrassment. Need to take a decision).
“Alagba, sorosoke jare”!
So, I called out to them as they ascended………“Guys, this is not happening today o. Amala has won this round. He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day. Please go on without me”.
After a little shalaye, they agreed.
I returned to the base camp, sat under the tree, feeling like a failure.
“How can a hiking gladiator be defeated by a small bowl of ilasa and only tiri wraps of amala lafun?”
“For God sake, why did I eat such a heavy meal and hope to hike a mountain at the same time? “
“But the other guy did too and he is not disturbed”.
“Is your name the other guy?”
“Did he invite you to join him?”
“No Sir, but he was the one who took us to the joint”.
“Okay, did the other two people eat?”
“No Sir, they said they weren’t interested”.
“So who asked you to eat?”.
“It was, em, na d em, alluring smell of ọbẹ̀ Ilasa naim hold me ni.
Ogbeni, gbenu dake is better than shalaye.
(Explanations, self interrogation and justifications)
School girls came around again. Staring at me from afar . Maybe they knew. Maybe they were saying amongst themselves. “Look at the man who ate Amala and wanted to climb the mountain. Amala man, Amala man“.
“If I catch una”.
Amala, lafun amala
Òun ti ẹyẹ bá jẹ
Leye ngbe fo
Ọkà tí Maami ro
Ọrẹ Ilasa ati ẹ̀fọ́ riro. …. (Poem to be completed someday).
So I spent time watching the kids in the school by the foot on the mountain. Just a little distraction from the accusations of my soul. Can you imagine been accused by the same soul that didn’t say anything contrary when the amala agenda was placed before the senate committee on the food affairs of my life?
Later they returned. They talked about their exploits up there. I couldn’t contribute a thing. I was subdued. I was the man who ate the amala. I had good intentions, but are good intentions always good?
My wife asked me later in the evening.
“Oga, how was hiking?”
“It was great”.
I quickly changed the topic. Wisdom is profitable to direct .
Guilty feelings. Why should I tell her the truth?
“Una want the woman to yab me àbí”.
How can a general in the army say he went to war but didn’t get to the war front because the sun was more than 40 degrees or he fell for amala. Ka ma ri.
Are my hiking days over?
Have I become too lazy?
I think it’s laziness. Too much sedentary lifestyle. Truth was, I was out of shape and was ill-prepared for this trip.
Take heed of my warning if you are one of those over fiftys like me who eat well, drink vitamins etc but don’t exercise. You don’t know how out of shape you are. Do something now. Good intentions are not good enough.
Well, let’s see what happens tomorrow. I am told Idere Hills is harder to climb than Ado Awaye Mountains.
I will tell you what happened next week.
To read another poemBenefits of Travel photography to the photographer
Well, this is my story. Lessons learnt. What do you think? Sorosoke in the comments section below.