Favour without hardwork is an illusion, hard work without favour is oppression
Kanayo Aniegboka (Kani) 

As Achievement returned to join the buffet line to be served, Favour and Hard-work were arguing over the previous night's football match. They were obviously fans of rival clubs and Achievement could not help but wonder, as she looked at them, how different yet inseparable they were. She could not wait to hear Favour’s story. Hard-work had given her some insight, but she was sure it was Favour’s story that had the key, because some things didn’t make a lot of sense with Hard-work’s story. She had heard a lot of Good Samaritan stories, but one involving 7-year old children? That felt like a stretch. She was sure Favour would balance it out.

Sipping her cocktail during lunch, Achievement wondered which she enjoyed more so far, the exquisite meal she was having, or the intelligent discussion going on between the two amazing gentlemen. She now had a sense of their personalities; Hard-work was stern, rigid, stickler to the rules and a nerd, he didn’t take unnecessary risks and thought through everything like a hundred times before taking a decision. Favour, on the other hand, was spirited, easy going and played off the seat of his pants. He would easily gamble a million dollars on a deal because his gut felt it was a good deal but not Hard-work, Hard-work needed proof for everything, it had to make calculative sense. Hard-work believed in diligence and persistence, Favour believed in attitude and motivation.  Achievement was enjoying herself but as much as she would love to sit and just listen to them, she was on the clock, and there was that thing of cracking the code that bonded the two of them, so she had to set the meeting back on track.

“Sorry gentlemen,” cut in Achievement, “we have a story to finish, then I will be out of your hair.” She turned to Favour, “I think it was your turn to tell me a tale sir”

“But I’ve already told you mine. It was simply a need to clear the streets of a riffraff!”

“Favour the lady is doing a job here” Hard-work cut him off, a bit of sternness entering his voice.

“ok, ok. Relax. Jeez” Favour whined at Hard-work, then turned to Achievement with a smile, “What I remember…,” he cleared his throat, “One of the days that daddy drove me to school, you see my father insisted on taking me to school each time he was in town instead of the driver, so this certain day, we were passing by this junction with a traffic light and there was this little boy with a tray of akara. I don’t know why I never noticed him before that day; I mean I passed that junction everyday on my way to school. Anyway, the car in front of us wanted to buy some of the boy’s akara, which was actually what made me notice him, but the traffic light turned green and the driver of the car had to move along. The concept that moving vehicles were faster than man was obviously lost to the lad because he took off after the car like a lightning bolt, usern bolt would not have been a match for him. While running alongside the car, he tried to wrap some akara balls in an old newspaper, count out the driver’s change and collect his money all at 30km per hour. Of course this proved to be too much of a challenge and the impatient man behind the wheels decided to abandon the purchase and sped up his car, leaving the young sales man in a cloud of dust. I had watched the whole thing from the vantage point riding behind the car, and daddy had seen this too, so when our eyes met in the mirror and I called out, ‘daddy’ like a whimpering cat from behind, my father knew what I was asking of him. We stopped beside the boy, bought the akara and drove off. Unfortunately, the image didn’t leave my head; of that boy my age running beside a moving car trying to sell akara to not very interested people. The next day, I asked daddy if we could buy the boy’s akara so that he won’t have to run after moving cars. Then later, I would bug him with questions about the boy that I shouldn’t have expected him to know, like; ‘where were his parents? Did they know he was running after cars? Was he lost and they were beside themselves looking for him? Which school did he attend? Why did he not go to school…?’  My father had had enough, when one day, during lunch, I asked him, ‘daddy is his leg hurting from running with all that akara on his head?’ Daddy would usually respond, ‘I don’t know’ or ‘Maybe’, or ‘I guess so’, but that day he said, ‘son when next we see him, you can ask him’.

On our next drive-through, an amusing thing happened; the boy had a barrow full of akara,” Favour chuckled and sipped from his wine, even Hard-work smiled from the corner of his lips. “Daddy sighted this mound of merchandise and exclaimed, ‘you got to be kidding me’. He looked at me from the rear-view mirror and explained that there was no way he could buy a barrow full of akara, but I was insistent, ‘what if the money he makes is for his school fees?’ I cried. Daddy replied that he probably didn’t go to school, so I wound down my window and asked him. Of course you already know he didn’t answer the question, so I assumed he was deaf and dumb and my argument that we should buy his akara became more adamant. At the end, I told my father that if we wouldn’t buy all his goods, then we had to take care of him, that way he wouldn’t even have need to sell anymore. That was how we ended up at his house discussing having him on scholarship and paying a monthly stipend for his upkeep. Knowing that he would struggle academically, I volunteered to tutor him. We ended up spending a lot of time together studying at my house, and he gradually became a part of the family. In our Primary five, just before we turned eleven, I suggested to dad and mum to adopt him since he had no parents of his own. I don’t think it was much of a struggle cause my parents had already come to love him dearly. Even though we didn’t have paperwork done, by our twelfth birthday, he moved into our house and has refused to leave since then.” Taking a long sip of his wine, Favour added, dramatically waving the wine glass, “and that is how I got saddled with the grouch”

The table fell silent, save for the jazz music from the unseen speakers. A personal valet, which was part of their lunch package, stood in the corner, fixed, staring into space, no doubt listening to everything. Achievement could tell that Hard-work was solemn, obviously moved by the story. Favour on the other hand seemed uncomfortable with what seemed like a reverent silence coming from the two of them, so he waved his hand in her face and said,

“Madam prim and proper, cat got your tongue? Say something.”

He was clearly trying hard to save them an emotional moment, but it didn’t work because Achievement felt the wetness on her cheeks and realised she had started shedding tears and so had Hard-work, which made a conflicting picture from his stern hard self.

“Hard stop this” Favour said very coolly, like someone trying to calm a dog. Achievement realised that they must have had this kind of moments before and Favour had been trying to prevent the usual outburst.     

“I’m ok” Hard-work replied, drawing in a very long breath.

“And you too madam prim and proper” favour smiled at Achievement.

She wondered where he had suddenly brewed the nickname from; she was anything but prim and proper. And why on earth did that smile make her feel weird? She must have looked more bewildered than she realised because Favour touched her arm gently

“Are you ok?”  He asked

She looked up and stared into the deepest sea of genuine care she had ever seen. At that instant she realised with a sudden thud why she had taken the extra time to touch up her powder in the ladies, it was the same reason she was tearing up so badly at their story; She liked Favour! ‘Oh boy’ she muttered under her breath “Oh boy”

“What was that?” Favour asked leaning forward.

“I said tell me how you guys got into business” Achievement replied, wondering if anyone noticed that she was flustering.

By its very nature, hard work attracts favour
Kanayo Aniegboka (Kani)

Kanayo Aniegboka

Kani is a Nigerian born and based minister, public speaker, entrepreneur and life coach. His keen and unique perspective to life issues makes him a refreshing voice to listen to. He currently serves as the Executive Coordinator of House on the Rock - Word House and sits on the board of a number of companies.

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