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It's there the first time in their hometown. Since Julie and Iyke were born, they have never traveled home or out of Lagos. Achim, their father left home during the war never came back. His parents thought he was dead. But during the war, he had jumped into a truck supplied aids to displaced persons, and off to the west, he went.
This year, after a very long time, he decided to come back home with his family; his wife Emily and their children Julie and Iyke.
He had booked four seats in the luxurious bus that will convey them to the east. It was a long journey but the excited kids wanted to experience it. From the park, they had started seeing people who were traveling home with boxes of clothes and other wares. Some bought foodstuff like rice and yam for the yuletide. Amazingly, some passengers had brought with them, live chicken, probably for the Christmas celebrations.
As the journey began, they traveled from Lagos early in the morning. By 7:00 am, they had reached Sagamu in Ogun state.
Now, some passengers had begun to sleep. Just then, a chorus by nine of the early morning overzealous preachers who usually would be one of the passengers woke everyone up.
> Good morning, Jesus,
Good morning, Lord.
I know you came from,
Everyone started singing along. Then the next song came in.
> I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my life,
I will enter His courts with praise,
I will say this is the day that the Lord has made.......
It was a popular song and everyone sang as she called. Then the next song came along
> Take glory father,
Take glory Lord,
Take glory Holy Ghost,
At this point, all the passengers are fully awake. She began to pray, committing the journey in the hands of God, asking for mercies and protecting for both the passengers and the driver.
After three hours drive, the bus had a stopover at Benin so that the passengers could have to eat and unwind.
Usually, the drivers are treated to a free dish for bringing customers to the entries.
The driver had completed his unwinding, so he honked the horn to call everyone back so they could continue the journey.
As soon as they got to Benin bypass, a lot of vehicles were parked and passengers lighting, running to nowhere in particular. There is a robbery on the highway and there are no security operatives to help out.
Emily started regretting embarking on this journey and held her children close to herself closely. Without hesitation, everyone started running down from the luxury bus and into the nearby bus for safety. Achim followed from behind as everyone with speed kept scampering into the forest.
Julie and Iyke were already looking sickly.
The robbery lasted almost an hour. When the coast is clear, people started returning to their buses and they sped off the scene.
At first, there was silence in the bus for some moments as everyone looked through the window on both sides of the bus to see what going on along the route. The bus was speeding off while following on each other's trail.
When they reached Onitsha, Iyke saw the long bridge across the famous river Niger. It was one of his highest points in the journey after the heart-raging experience of having to run to safety during the robbery they had earlier encountered. He had read about it in his social studies that the bridge means a lot to the people of the east.
They arrived home late evening. Many family relatives came around to welcome them back home. Achim who was long forgotten suddenly reappear with his family.
Julie made new friends at the village only that they could not speak English and she couldn't speak their local dialect, Igbo. It was an enjoyable moment for them.