Suspicions could cause you harm when not carefully handled. When we were kids growing up in the village, we had this local ‘Hide and Seek’ game we played at night. In our family’s compound was this old house that nobody lived in. All the kids, our (my brother, my cousin, and I) age mates in the village, would join us at night while we played this game. We would create two teams. Team A would go into the house, look for the best corners to hide, and some of us would climb to the top, hiding by the roof. Team B would give Team A enough time to hide, before going in search for Team A members in the dark night. You would grope in the dark for human body, and once you touched one, you have found that person, and the search would continue until all Team A members were found. Thereafter, Team B members would go into hiding while Team A searched for them. In trying to find the hiding party on time, I and my cousin would mimic a certain young humorous lunatic back then in the village who made people laugh when he talked and sang, drumming by hitting a stick on an empty tin. My cousin and I mimicked this lunatic so excellently that people would laugh when we did. We quickly converted this talent into getting out the hiding team on time. We would crack some jokes, and mimic the lunatic to make the hiding team members to laugh. And once one laughed, it became easy to catch him; you would trace the direction of the laughter and catch him.
On this particular day, when the team had gone into hiding, my cousin and I employed our usual tactics at getting them to laugh. One of them guffawed, and a thunderous fart followed. When he was caught, my friend, Oyas, that was caught alongside him said; “With the loudness of that fart, there is definitely no way faeces wouldn’t have accompanied it.” As he said this, he’d begun to grope on the dark floor with his bare hands. He wanted to prove that our farting friend had indeed defecated in his short. He had examined his short quickly before taking to groping on the floor. “Hmmm! Ijeto ni’ito! (Jeto has defecated),” Oyas said as his hand picked a solid smelling excreta from the floor. All of us started laughing. My friend’s intention was to prove that Jeto defecated so we could all laugh and make mockery of Jeto, but my friend became the victim of the ridicule and mockery. His plan was turned against him; the foolish one who searched for faeces with bare hands. As a matter of fact, our friend who defecated and was supposed to be mocked, jokingly said that his faeces were gold that people searched for. Today, each time we meet in the village, as old friends, we still make jest of my friend, Oyas, the ‘shit picker’.
Often times, we are like my friend. We allow the excitement to control our action. When we do this, there are high chances that we would not get the desired result. We treat suspicions as though they are proven allegations. It is dangerous.
What is the first thing you do when you suspect something is fishy? How do you address your suspicions? When you have reasons to believe that your close friend, or even a distant friend is stabbing you in the back, how do you handle it? When you suspect that your boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife is doing something harmful to your relationship, what do you do? When you suspect that people or colleagues are plotting against you, how do you react? Do you allow yourself to be controlled by the excitement or emotion? How do you treat suspicions?
While I was in the village, I was taught that when digging a burrow which you suspect that a snake is inside, you don’t stand in front of the hole to dig, since a dangerous snake may fly out of the hole to bare it fangs on you. I had this cousin who almost lost his eyes to a snake’s spittle back then in the village because he dug a burrow, positioning himself at the front whilst digging. When you suspect a snake is in a burrow, you have to position yourself by the side of the hole (behind the hole’s frontage) and dig, and you must do that with circumspect.
My brother and I practicalized this. We got to our mum’s farmland one certain morning to dig ridges for planting groundnut, and we found this hole on the farmland. There was a trail that went into the burrow, and from the appearance, only snakes left behind such trails. So, we decided that we were going to dig the hole, kill the snake so it won’t pose a threat. We did, using the technique we learned. We killed it and its numerous young ones just hatched from its eggs. Though this wasn’t the dangerous kind of snake. In my language, we call it Ogbhasomhi or Ovhausomhi; called the Boa Constrictor in the English language. The Boa Constrictor is much more concerned about its head than attacking you.
Positioning yourself by the side of the burrow saves you from danger. At such position, when the snake runs out of the hole, you can follow it behind to kill it.
The technique used in digging burrows when a snake is suspected to be inside, is an example of how suspicions are to be treated. You don’t challenge your suspect until you have dug behind to have your facts; if indeed it is what it is. You should not allow your emotions to control you, thereby acting too irrational. When you’re not careful, you compound problems for yourself, and you become the victim like my friend who picked faeces from the floor. Prove your suspicions by setting hidden traps for a suspected enemy, and until the hostile is exposed, you must tread with caution and never allow emotion to rule you. Whatsoever the matter might be, always tread with caution. Remember, your suspect is in that hole; stand behind the hole to dig, have him caught unaware and gain control over him.