IT has been over a decade but the words come resonating through time like it was yesterday. Emmanuel, the ‘immaculate’ he called himself, and his task was to make sure we understood the essence of the English Language. The immaculate one didn’t just want us to blindly cram the idioms or read the comprehension passages without insight. He would always say life itself is a teaching board, one cannot learn in isolation for every element, every event works to make us or break us.
One of his favourite sayings was this: “Change is the consistent inconsistency of life,” he said it way too often that it became a mantra, a cliché and at some point, a sentence of beguilement for members of my class, but as I starred at the heap of tomatoes the seller just said was N50, I couldn’t help but remember, Emmanuel ‘the immaculate.’
How many months ago was tomato as precious as or even more precious than rubies? I genuinely blinked back my surprise and asked her for a second time to ascertain the price of the fresh, beautifully red fruits. The seller affirmed N50 to my utter amusement. I gave her a N100 bill and requested for two bowls. I made a pot of stew that lasted me 4 days…
Wasn’t it just a few months ago that it seemed like the entire nation would crumble at the feet of the magnificent valour of tomato ravaging Tuta absoluta? Three balls of tomatoes sold for as high as N500. Nigerians resorted to tomato paste and for those who couldn’t stand its stale taste, leafy green vegetables. However, how readily available and affordable were the vegetables?
In those few months, while the price of tomato sky rocketed like Niel Armstrong’s rocket landing in the moon for the first time, leafy green vegetables as well became like princely emeralds. A tiny moth eaten bunch sold for N100 or even more.
Cooking became a hobby for several Nigerians, even the classy ladies with long nail extensions took them off and entered the kitchen. Tuta absoluta waged war against Nigerians and it seemed as though the nation would never recover from its ravenous rape, but did it?