One evening three angels came from heaven to the often desolate grassy area behind the dining hall in federal government college Okigwe, Nigeria. They sat upon the grass and began a game of ludo using a board and pieces that had been left lying there.
‘I don’t understand these humans,’ the first angel said, ‘what they have terrible need of, they refuse to take when it is given freely to them, but they kill each other over things of little importance.’
‘Like a child that does not come to the loaded dining table when summoned but goes to eat bits of discarded food on the floor, ‘the second angel said shaking the dice in the cup.
‘I marvel greatly that God died for these people.’ The third angel said. ‘But what makes them so blind.’
‘Yesterday,’ the second angel said moving his piece forward three steps. ‘I saw a man destroy the life of a little girl in this school. The man is the French teacher, and the girl is his student in JSS2.’
The three angels stopped their game and went to see the little girl. They found her crying alone in an uncompleted building behind the junior classroom block. They sat with her for a moment. Then she stopped crying and stood to leave for her dormitory and the angels returned to their game.
They played in silence for a moment. A gentle wind blew making the tall elephant grasses and the gmelina tree branches wave slowly. Different birds cried their different happy cries as they chased each other in play. The sun was bright but gentle. In the distance, the faint hum of motor cars on the express way could be heard.
‘When do you think they will come?’ the third angel asked breaking the stillness.
‘They will.’ The first angel said.
‘Amen.’ the second added.
The angels were about starting a fourth game when the sound of footsteps carried to their position. They returned the ludo board to its place and got on the roof to watch the outcome of the events with some anticipation.
Two girls approached the dining hall. One was a senior for she wore no pinafore. The other was a junior. They approached casually, occasionally kicking at pebbles and things on the floor as they advanced. The angels saw clearly the sorrow and despair in the eyes of the younger and the worry in the eyes of the older.
‘May it turn out according to the will of the Lord,’ the first angel prayed.
‘Amen.’ The other two answered.
‘Oluchi, where did you say you kept the ludo?’ the younger girl asked.
‘It’s at the back,’ the senior answered even as she turned off the path and headed through the tall grasses to the back of the dining hall.
‘Oluchi, what made you think of coming to a place like this?’ the younger girl asked as she bent to pick the ludo board and pieces.
Oluchi suddenly gripped her wrist and turned her around so that they stood face to face.
‘Chichi I want you to tell me everything that happened.’ She said, her eyes searching the younger girl’s face.
‘I don’t understand what you are talking about.’ Chichi replied feigning ignorance.
‘Chichi come on, you can trust me.’ Oluchi said in a compassionate voice, as though she already knew all about what had happened and only wanted to hear it from her. ‘I am your school mother, and I am also your friend. Please tell me, I want to help. I know something is terribly wrong for I heard you were crying again in the uncompleted junior block.’
Chichi’s defences crumbled and she began to weep despairingly as she narrated to her friend what the French teacher had done to her.
When she finished, Oluchi hugged her tightly and they both cried.
‘Oluchi, what am I going to do?’ Chichi cried, ‘I want to die. I can’t bear it…I just can’t bear it.’
‘Don’t say that, you will not die, okay,’ Oluchi said wiping the tears from her friends eyes, while she herself wept profusely. She understood the torment the little girl was going through. She knew what it really meant to feel desecrated.
‘Chichi,’ she continued, ‘I guessed what happened the first time someone said they saw you crying; and then you began skipping your French classes claiming you were ill. Plus everybody knows the French teacher’s questionable attitude towards girls. The moment I guessed what happened, I became concerned about you and began looking for an opportunity to speak with you privately.
‘Chichi trust me, only God can really help you out of this terrible mess and make you happy again. So my advice for you is you should pray – cry – to God for help. He will hear you and heal you. But first are you born again?’
‘I don’t know,’ Chichi replied lamely. ‘I go to church and all that.’
‘Going to church does not mean you are really a child of God. You need to place your life in God’s hands. He knows what is best for you and intends for you to get it if only you trust Him.’
‘You mean to “give my life to Christ” like most preachers say?’ Chichi asked.
‘That’s exactly what I mean,’ Oluchi said. ‘Next you need to forgive the French teacher from your heart. You have to forgive him to be healed because your bitter thoughts will only cause you more trouble, and they may not even affect him a bit. After that you report him to the principal so that he is stopped before he does something worse.’
Chichi promised to do as Oluchi advised and the two girls picked the ludo and returned to the hostel, each experiencing a vague feeling of profound accomplishment.