By Moyinoluwa Okunloye
Way back in the small town where I grew up, I remember that the measuring cup for grains was a big bowl called Kobiowu. There was the paint bucket which was a bigger measurement and then there was Kobiowu. It was what we used to measure cashew nuts to sell to farmers. It was what we used to measure palm kernel nuts that we had gotten out of shells as evidence for payment from the people that we worked for. In my house, it was the equivalent of Ademu (a big bowl) one of which we used to fetch water from our Aamu (water pot) and my grandfather had one for pap which he wouldn’t finish until evening. Kobiowu was a big bowl.
Over time, I have watched that measuring cup reduce in size with people trimming its edges or cutting holes underneath. Initially, grains in twelve (12) tin of evaporated milk would fill a Kobiowu. I watched as twelve (12) tin became ten (10) and down to seven (7). And to my surprise, instead of a decrease in price, the price keeps going up.
As I prepared for the lockdown to be sure that I had enough foodstuff, I found out that some sellers now equate a Derica (a big jar of tomato paste) with a Kobiowu. It is absurd. Even worse is how outrageous the price of everything became in the market all because of a realization that people would have no choice. Everything was gold – the littlest of things was ridiculously expensive (even sachet water was not left out). People sold essentials like sanitizers, foodstuffs and masks for prices that cannot be mentioned. And that got me thinking.
What is wrong with the world? Why do we make everything difficult for ourselves? Even buses and rideshare companies increased their prices by 100% just because they knew that people were desperate to do last minute shopping. We all know that fuel price did not increase and most sellers already had their goods in their shops before the pandemic, so there was no logical reason to increase the amount of goods or rides. Why extort people? Why make life difficult for ourselves. While I may not understand how the market works, I do understand a reason to be considerate and humane in a world where everyone is confused and trying to seek shelter and peace away from what plagues it.
As I saw how cruel we all became towards each other in the name of getting by, I also saw how much some people gave of themselves to donate, provide services and help to those who needs it regardless of relationships or familiarity. And I am inspired by these ones who are also confused but would rather make life easy for others in whatever way they can. So that we can all be safe and well at the end of the day. And I thank them because they are heroes. They are the ones to watch, they are the ones to aim to be like and they are the ones making the world better.
At the end of all of this, I hope we all understand that we only have to be humans and be considerate in whatever capacity we can for us to live healthy and for us to be joyful here.