A NORTHERN ECLIPSE
A time when bloodbaths are incessant
When bombs and guns click
Like firecrackers for the blood-thirsty and heartless
A time to die
IF you missed PART 1 Or Need A refresher – CATCH UP HERE
They danced all evening and walked hand in hand to the car where he gave her a warming baby boy hug, wholesome and engulfing and she held onto him like her life depended upon him. She kissed his cheeks and he gave her the boyish smile he always did and said
“Cheer up mother I want to see your smile and not the pain and doubt in your eyes, I will be back before you know it – but I promise to call you every single day – and even twice”
“you?” she laughed ” you get so busy sometimes you even forget to eat, I’d rather you eat when you remember than call me twice, but make sure you call – always”
She held his hands and swallowed her tears as she imprinted with her index finger the sign of the cross on his forehead and gave him a final hug – with a little reminisce of the boy who had so soon turned into a man and now a captain.
From the moment he could choose a career he’d stated that he wanted to be in the military, he wanted to fight. There was no deterring him, so whenever he came home from school with trousers torn in the knee area she wasn’t mad, his teachers said he spent all his time crawling on his knees hiding under desks, tables and flower beds, taking aim at his friends – playing the soldier… no matter where she hid his toy gun, he always found it somehow and took It with him to school. She sewed the trousers she could redeem and tossed the irreparable ones in the trash if she could barely make them into shorts!
That is how he earned his beloved nickname Solja boy!
The day was a beautiful day but the ceremony had come to an end, the guests were all heading to their various destinations and like every good thing – the end was nigh, so they all said their goodbyes and headed to the car for a drive back home.
On the ride home Solja boys mum held Papa’s hand, she knew he felt as apprehensive about the posting, and even far worse than her anxiety and worry, she had eavesdropped on his conversation, calling the general who helped them secure a place for him in the acclaimed NMA – Nation Military Academy after news broke of their son’s posting, asking him
“Should we be worried, is there anything you can do to reverse or delay this whole transfer till there is a little respite from the attacks up north?”
She knew even as a man with extreme courage and positivity, her husband knew better than he purported, that this may be the last time they saw Solja Boy, their adorable boy. The chances were 2:1 like every other soldier in is rank who had come back home in a casket from a roadside bomb or direct confrontation with suicide bombers or Boko Haram militants themselves.
There wasn’t much they could do, so together they stared into each other’s eyes she leaned her head on his shoulder holding and calmly but endearingly asking papa Solja boy
‘‘Did you give him the bible?’’
‘’Yes I did ‘’ he responded, tightening his grip of her hand as they by-passed the tall elephant stalks up the highway back home, on the dead streetlight-less road leading up the slope linking Mutengene and Buea.
She breathe a sigh of relief and said, very unsure but willing to reassure
‘’He will be ok, with us, or with his maker, he loves his job, we have known that for years, so let us give him a chance’’
The drive was short they were home exhausted and in bed in no time. The phone calls came into silent screen illuminations and no response because they were exhausted from the hectic activities of the day – by the early hours of the morning their phones had rang out of juice and laid by the side cabinets literally dead while Solja boy was calling endlessly to say something to his mum especially.
As the dawn slipped upon the villages below the south-western coast of the country – a son to a God-fearing woman and educationists nicknamed Solja boy boarded a helicopter wondering if his parents were ok and why they didn’t respond to his early morning calls.
With a cloudy mind, drill plans, area searches, briefs and checks he turned to his Ipad and made some notes as the helicopter shot through the pink sunrise heading North for a new beginning, updating his Facebook status to ‘Chère
‘Chère patrie, terre chérie,
Tu es notre seul et vrai bonheur,
notre joie et notre vie,
A toi l’amour et le grand honneur’
Adding his best photo in his uniform performing the salute during his swearing-in ceremony.
CAMEROON BILINGUAL ANTHEM
Three months has flown by so quick that Alain couldn’t comprehend how much time had passed between the battlefield and late night calls to his parents. Today It was a day like no other as something was definitely amiss, he had restlessly slept with the heat of a new environment and the generator humming a song that couldn’t put even a dragon to sleep…
Mosquitoes too played their part at singing the alto while the generator did the bass and the military base just buzzed… He loved every bit of this except for the nights he’d rather sleep in the forest than be on a bed and be attacked by all these idiotic equipment’s and insects.
These were a much smaller indecisive warfare than the enemies at the borders between Nigeria and Northern Cameroon. Sleep was so far from his chambers that he woke up and the first thing he did was grab himself something cold from the refrigerator, he gulped down almost a litre of mineral water in the heat and turned to his notepad and pen on the table.
Handwriting a letter was something he loved doing, knowing that his mum treasured every single word from him, he made sure to write as often as possible – plus one of his secret wish was ‘should anything happen to him with the uncertainty of his job , he wanted something tangible in his words and story to be remembered by.
He sat down at his table and scribbled a few lines in the dim light of his dingy bedroom, he was unsure why writing a letter was the top thing on his mind so early that morning but he scribbled away. He had been here 12 weeks and this was his fourth letter home and in an eerie kind of way, he wanted to make it more endearing, he was missing Mama Solja Boy, his beloved mother, he scribbled some more lines and whispered a slow tune of “Jesus never fails” a song she cherished and sang often.
Many a times they have gone to the borders to safeguard the boundaries and pushed back insurgents with gunshots and other explosives – some days, there was no one and nothing to fight for… Other days there was ceaseless gunfire between the men and the Cameroon police force. Alain was pretty confident about his skills and the team he was supervising. They worked as a team in every circumstance regardless of how dire it was…
His hand shook as he scribbled, he thought he was done expressing himself and was at the point of stopping but he was definitely making an error, something inside him was defiant and persistent to keep saying something and addressing every one of his siblings and family members as though it was the last time he would see any of them, if he were to die in the north all the things he wanted his mum to know will definitely be in his letter…
The War was taking a turn for the worse as the military were fighting invisible enemies… Suicide bombers, roadside bombs and landmines were their new tactics and it was hard to spot as they were using women and children in their new dirty warfare… How could they call this religion, it was even more devastating in Nigeria as small towns were claimed, wiped out and every male member killed by beheading, burning and their underage not up to teenage daughters were kidnapped, turned to war brides and at the worse end of spectrum those who wound-up with fistulas and no hope of ever living a normal life again were abandoned to die despicable deprecating deaths…
This fuelled his passion and hatred for the insurgents and he wanted nothing more but to be a part of this war… So he kept writing and sipping his ice cold water as the clouds cleared and gave way to a slightly pink sky preparing the way for a total eclipse no one saw coming… The blood that was to be spilled was already painting the earth and making the clouds pink…
In his military regalia he decided to dash to the post office put the letters in the drawers and head back to camp before rounding up the guys and heading deeper up north in Fotokol. His battalion was the lead team today so he needed to be present at the drills and the morning preparations, unbeknownst to him his day may never take him to Fotokol for the target that day was Dangaba.
The inevitable finally came for Papa & Mami Solja boy! Watch out for the final part of – A Northern Eclipse on Purfect Escape coming soon!
BOKO HARAM EFFECTS ON NEARBY CAMEROON BORDERS
© Property of Dorothy Diamond Do not share copy or distribute without appropriate credits.
Follow me on
Facebook @dorothy Diamond
Twitter Handle @dakoharrey