Things suddenly started falling in line, in pleasant places for Daniel; suddenly because of the way the events happened. It seemed overnight. Precisely nine months ago, no one could have predicted the sudden turn of events. Nothing seemed to work. Doors were tightly closed against him. Bills were piling up and staring him in the face. His lone black belt had peeled, leaving him with some ugly sight. The soles of his shoes were not left out of the hard times; it had weathered more than two rainy and dry seasons making it look uglier than it could have ever looked of a more buoyant purchaser.
Daniel had attended a number of interviews but had not succeeded in clinching any of them. In more three occasions, he came very close to clinching some three different jobs. In almost all of the occasions, Daniel would leave the venue of the interview so upbeat that his bad days were almost over. Days later, instead of the much anticipated offer letter, Daniel would get a very polite email from the Human resources department telling him how sorry they were for not offering the opportunity and the half-hearted best wishes that always accompanies such mails. On almost equal number of occasions, Daniel would return home to cry uncontrollably. He would bury his face in his palms and would wet his palms with as much tears as his eyes could produce. Notwithstanding whatever happened the previous day, Daniel would pick himself up the following day and would set out by faith for yet another round of job hunt. He would come back more dejected than he was before he left his house. That was daily routine for Daniel.
The height of it all was the day he bought some roasted corn by the road side few poles away from his house only for him to discover that the paper that had been protecting his palms from the heat of the fresh corn was a copy of his curriculum vitae. He spent what to him was a fortune preparing and printing the number of copies he thought he needed to cover the number of organizations for that period of time. The moment his eyes fell on his surname, he quickly unfolded the paper to expose the full name. Daniel collapsed on the floor immediately he saw the full names, Daniel Echezona .
Before Esther, his heavily pregnant wife could get help from outside, Daniel had sprang up to his feet and beckoned on his wife to come back inside. “I am okay, I am fine. I will not die in this condition. I am fine my wife,’’ he said still looking dazed. He was still trying to console himself when he inadvertently started shedding tears. The couple spent the rest of the day consoling each other, insisting that things would definitely turnaround in their favour.
One morning, just some minutes past 8:00 am when construction workers at a site not too far from where they lived had returned to site to continue from where they stopped the previous day, Daniel dressed up and left the house. He did not tell his wife where he was going to for the fear of being discouraged from engaging in the kind of he planned to do. His pocket had totally dried up; his pregnant wife was not feeding as she should have. The fan in the house has broken down thereby making it very difficult for the wife to sleep comfortably with her protruding tummy. Things had come to a head and Daniel desperately needed a source of income no matter how small. He was not sure his wife would support his plan to engage in some menial jobs. He walked straight to the supervising engineer and requested to be included in the day’s job. In spite of his harsh days, Daniel still looked fresher than most the workers on site. The site supervisor turned down his request immediately without waiting to hear the details of what he had to say. All effort to engage the man in further discussions was turned down and was politely told to leave the site. Daniel refused to go home after he was dismissed, instead, he elected to sit somewhere on the site and watching and wishing he was one of the labourers, he was certain they would receive some compensation by the end of the day.
After about an hour or thereabout, the site supervisor had need for someone to keep an on the guys while he attended to other things outside the site. He beckoned on Daniel to come. Daniel sprang on his legs and ran towards him. ‘’What’s your name again?’’ The man asked. The man cut in as soon as he asked the question and told him precisely what he wanted from him. An excited Daniel took his position immediately and got down to the assignment. He was asked to count the number of times the workers carried some blocks to the required area of the site. The supervisor did not stay longer as he had anticipated but he allowed Daniel to carry on while he attended to other things. Daniel did not leave the site until it was time for everyone to vacate the site. He got a full day’s worth of pay like others. He thanked the supervisor again and again and asked if he could come back the following day. The supervisor did not promise him any job but did not object his request to come back. The following day, Daniel was assigned the same role he played the previous day. He went about his assignment with every seriousness and carefulness it required.
Three weeks down the line, Daniel was still going to the site every blessed day, he had become the eyes of the man on the site making sure his instructions were carried out to the latter. Within those three weeks, things had started looking up in ways Daniel and his wife never imagined. He could afford to meet more than the basic demands of his wife. He was able to clear the backlog of his NEPA bill and his light reconnected. When the site was completed, the supervisor took Daniel to another site. Daniel worked with the supervisor for about three years after which the supervisor started pushing jobs his way and that was how Daniel became a contractor. Daniel never short-changed his clients, he made sure clients got quality jobs commensurate to their money’s worth.
Exactly five years from the first day he visited that construction site, Daniel moved into his own house at the outskirt of the town. His wife could barely remember the harsh conditions she had to endure during her first pregnancy.
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