“Take It Easy, Joe!”

“Take It Easy, Joe!”

By Sr. Sheila Campbell MMM                                         Ireland                          06.10.2023

The other day I was leafing through some old MMM Magazines, and I came across the following story.  The author was not recorded, but it sounds like a newly arrived missionary in Nigeria.  The story is over sixty years old, but I am betting that the same customs are as active in Nigeria as they were then.  I was remembering my own experience in Brazil were some of the long distant buses and lorries had a similar custom.  I hope you enjoy it today.

“History was being made in Nigeria. It was my first time going to the bush, but that indeed was not the historic occasion. It was Election Day, and the roads were crammed full with the traffic of the crowds going to the voting centre. Women were voting too – an unheard-of thing in Nigeria – hence even greater stir than usual.

One lorry, the normal local transport, was stopped by the side of the road, boldly displaying the caption: “Take it easy, Joe”. The occupants were certainly practising it, for they were still there, chatting gaily, on our return journey. This fashion of having a slogan or motto on the front of all native buses and lorries fascinates the newcomer to Nigeria. Some of the mottos are quite amusing, like “Slow and Steady”, “Hope Rising”, while “Why Worry” and “Take Life Coolly” seem to be direct advice to the newcomer who feels she will never be able to cope with her new and multiple duties.

Other titles like “Union with God”, “Show Thy Light, O Lord” and “One with God” indicate the deep spirituality of the people. Sometimes I wonder if they realise the depth of such profound mottoes, or if they advert to them at all.

If it were to my lot to travel by native transport, I think I would pass over all their mottoes, both amusing and profound, and travel by the safe and sound advice of “Take it Easy, Joe!”.”