The Nomad

As the twilight came
I took a walk for some air
And down the roadside I went
There stood a young man
Bearded heavily like myself
Throwing corn seeds into his mouth
And grinding them with such relish
That his brown teeth showed in the process
He stood by our fence
And I decided to go talk to him
He smiled at me when I went closer
He looked, wait no way
He doesn’t look to be from here
Yes, I seen those tribal marks somewhere
He must be from the North, yes
‘Sannu!’ I hailed
‘Sannu’ he replied
Looking at me carefully
‘Do you wanti some agwado?’
‘No thank you.’
I saw his garment flowing,
Sailing with the mild breeze
When the airs went back
The dress leaned deep into his flesh
And his muscles were exposed
‘Kai, do you speak Hausa?’ he asked
‘No, very poor I guess’ I answered
‘Okay oh’ he turned to call his cattle
Then I realised he was a cattle shepherd
I relaxed a bit, wearing a new smile
My new friend must have something
To tell me about his travels and animals
He saw my face with a smile and grinned
‘Tell me about your best and worst time
Of shepherding and pasture seeking’
I said not even thinking…
‘My best time is seeing my flock feed
On a valley of healthy green grass’
He said in nearly perfect English
‘When the sun is high above the firmament and Earth
And when the Cows give birth in the dead of the night
And the first mooing of my favorite calf’
He closed his eyes to remember more
‘What about your worst moments?’
I seem to have awaken him from his dreaming
For he suddenly opened his red eyes
And shot a blazing stare at my mouth
‘Why are there wars in Africa?
Why men kill each other?
Why are the streams dry
And the oceans rise high?’
He asked with a frown
‘I was born into an African society
Where men knew little but war
Full of hate, tribalism, ire and pain
And every time one want to start a life
There starts a war, nations against nations
Tribes against tribes, people against people
And hate is substituted for human love’
He pulled a twig off his long garment
‘How can we live in a society without love,
Without hope and trust for one another?
Why do we fight in Africa with guns made somewhere else?
Why throw a bomb to destroy this land full of drought
And pain of lack of food and water and poverty?’
The air blew harder
‘It is time to go home’
He said smiling, holding his stick
‘Well as for my worst moments
I abhor seeing people suffer
For nothing sake, I hate seeing pain and blood
And that people have to suffer for others atrocities
It makes little sense to me but that is the world
We love and live in… Injustice, inequality’
I can see he was pained…
‘It is only Kaunar Allah that can save us all’
He said as he called out to his flock of cattle
Tsssking with his tongue and gesturing with hands,
Hanging his long stick and hat behind him
He marched off, waving heartily to me
I realise that the world still have some good in it

Sannu… Hausa salute
Agwado… Corn in Hausa
Kaunar Allah… Hausa language meaning the Love of God.
The Hausa is a tribe in present day Northern Nigeria known for their unique culture, tradition, arts and food.

By Oke Iroegbu

Finance Graduate, Bibliophile and Bard of Ovim, his hometown. Read more at