Morning has Broken – Part One

Morning has Broken – Part One

by Sr. Ese Idogen MMM      Nigeria          03.05.2022
Srs Lucy Agbese Ese Idogen Torugbene resized

I received my letter that evening after a special evening missioning prayer. I was filled with feelings of excitement and at the same time, anxiety. I was going to Torugbene? Alone? As I laid on my bed, I could hardly sleep. I thought of all the stories I have heard. I thought of the water, the life in the creeks, the isolation, the floods and I remembered I heard someone say in amusement, “you will get to attend Mass only once in a month”. I burst out laughing, it was a joke! Oh, so I thought!

Arriving in Benin on Tuesday with my sister novices, the Sisters there were all excited for us. We were going for mission, and we were happy, despite the anxiety and worries. We were hopeful. Little by little the next morning, I found myself all by myself boarding a vehicle to Bomadi and Torugbene in Delta State, Nigeria.I arrived the bank of the river and hearing the sweet voice on the other side of the line, “okay Ese, hold on, we are coming over to pick you up “. I felt relaxed and welcomed already. As I waited, I saw the vast mass of water in front of me. Never have I seen such in my life before. Was I afraid? Not at all, I was super excited. I could not wait to ride on the speed boat. My community member came, and it was a good thing she brought a life jacket. When she fastened that life jacket on me, I knew I was in for an extraordinary adventure.

Life in Torugbene was quite different from life in the “Upland” as a proper Ijaw man would say. Ijaws are the local tribe. We were four members in my community but Mother Nature blessed us with many other community members. You would soon know them! Noises in the ceiling kept me wondering whatever creature was there might fall on my head. Then, on the wall, came Brother gecko running all over and generously sharing its droppings; Sister frog was very liberal with her gift, she sang so loud in the morning waking me up with her ‘croak, croak’. It sounded nothing like the prayer of the frog, Fr. Tony DeMello talked about. I dreaded the day I would wake up and find one on my bed!
The rising sun was beautiful. If you have ever seen beauty in nature when the sun rises and radiates its ‘yellowness’ on the calm moving waters, when you see such beauty in nature, I bet you would want to sing with me “Morning has broken…”

From where I stood, I saw children dipping themselves in the water and I smiled. Before I could swallow the handful of smiles, what followed puzzled me. There another child squatting and silently doing her ‘business” in the water and then, another followed, dipping a container, and drinking happily. I was dumb founded. My new young friend standing next to me seeing the puzzled look on my face, smiled and said in pidgin ‘Sister na Ijaw blood, e no dey do us anything” {Sister, we are Ijaws and our blood is strong, the contaminated water does not affect us}. I smiled; I knew it will take more than words to convince my friend the dangers of drinking contaminated water.

Just before I could say a word to my friend, I heard a voice calling, “Sister, eeh sister, eeh, my pikin no well o, e dey shit since morning” {Sister please help , my child has being having diarrhea since morning}. She stood there in front of the clinic with her dehydrated baby.

(to be continued)