Should I gist you about the first ‘Yahoo-Yahoo’ guy I met and the encounter I had with him as a little girl who just started reading? (Feel free to grab a calabash of palm wine before settling down to read this). In my last post, I shared with you how books became my escape route from house chores and how I eventually moved from being a ‘make-believe’ reader to a ‘true reader’.
In my reading adventure I came across a man named ‘Ali’, who turned out to be a scam and a ‘legit criminal’ ( you are asking if crime can be legit, well I do not know but it just popped into my head). Ali had a big house where he probably was living with his wife and kids (I am sure he used ‘419’ to marry that poor woman…lol).
Somehow, Ali’s house got burnt and fortunately no one in his house was hurt but the fire razed down everything in that house to the extent that all that was left of the house was just ashes (I am not sure if Ali had started his ‘yahoo-yahoo’ business before his house got burnt).
Ali was really sad and shaken by the fire incident, and he just could not think of where to start from. In the midst of all the pain he was going through, he decided to embark on a journey all by himself with no one in tow except for one or two sacks containing the ashes of his burnt house (curious about what he wants to do with ashes in sacks? Just keep drinking your palm wine).
He went for days and came across several remote villages and in one of those villages, Ali was served tea and the tea had no sugar. He just could not understand how anyone could drink tea without sugar (This is an example of what anthropologists/archaeologists refer to as ‘culture shock’…a person’s reaction when they experience something far removed from their own definition of ‘normal). So he asked the man he bought the tea from why the tea was served without sugar; the man was lost because he had no idea what ‘sugar’ is (‘culture shock’ again).
Ali got up from his sit and went to his bag of ashes and scooped one or two spoons into it and asked the man who served him tea to have a taste of it because the tea now had ‘sugar’, the valuable substance that had the power to transform tea into something better than plain. The tea man noticed a difference in taste but because he had no idea what ‘sugar’ is supposed to taste like, he believed Ali and requested to buy some (a typical case of ‘what you do not know will kill you’).
The ‘tea-man’ introduced Ali’s ‘sugar’ to the whole village and the demand became so high that Ali ended up bagging all the heaps of ashes from his burnt house to sell as ‘sugar’ to the poor ignorant folks in that village. Ali was making so much money from his own brand of ‘yahoo-yahoo’ that he became a millionaire overnight; his friends became envious of him and asked what the source of his wealth was and they were surprised when he told them he made money of the ashes from his burnt house.
Out of desperation to become as rich as Ali, his friends burnt their own houses too so as to get enough ashes they can sell and make money from, but by the time they went to the village to sell their ashes they were greeted with canes and stones by the villagers who fortunately had been introduced to sugar proper by a honest merchant.
The greed of Ali’s friends made them homeless (they all actually refused to help Ali when his house got burnt). Do you now agree with me that Ali is a ‘yahoo-yahoo’ man or do you think he was just a good salesman with very good persuasion skills?
I met Ali in an Old Oxford English Textbook I found in the house (I am not sure if it was one of my siblings that owned the book or one of my parents but it did serve me). Which book character has become unforgettable for you like Ali?