My Baba, My Bodyguard

Forget the fact that fathers’ day is on low key again-  it always has been over the years. But let’s console with the fact that at least it’s on the calendar. 

I see many new dads doing their best to prove the world wrong. Perhaps, a few more years of insult will eventually change the status quo.

Nonetheless, there have been great dads, there are great dads and surely, there will be great dads. After reminiscing all the good times, I couldn’t help but type a few words in honour of Mr Shaibu. A man who has been so close to my siblings and I all these years. He’s our bodyguard.

Against all odds, he is my definition of a good dad. Here is why:

A good dad is the one who made sure my kid brother and I commuted safely to school at a time when we had moved to live far away from the district where our school was located.

He is the one who ensured we had extra money in our pockets to choose from the following: “for the road” chops; asaana, bread with margarine, sobolo, biscuits, lamuglee, abele maamu etc just so we could also enjoy after school hours.

He didn’t hesitate to pick us up from school at his leisure time. And as if by magic, he had the ability to sense danger whenever we we closed from school and got stranded. He shows up from nowhere when we least expected.

Usually on our way home from school, we pass by our favorite supermarket for our little shopping of ice cream and chocolates while we chat happily about school and the future.

That is before he decides to take us back to his workplace to announce the presence of “Member’s” little angels.

When we get home to brag to our kid sister about all the goodies Baba got for us, we try not to make her jealous by giving her own share.

At dinner, Baba makes sure he leaves some meat to share among his four children. We always looked forward to that, including our elder sister.

Baba is the dad who makes sure he grants your request of getting you a new school bag or “kamboo” (sneaker) no matter how many times he’s promised and failed- even if it’s ten years.

And when he finally brings it home, he hides it from you just to make you go mad as usual. After seeing how desperate you are, “tadaa!” he brings it out.

“Oh Baba, but this is not the one I asked for. This looks cheap,” then you start whining again with a frown.

“This child is troublesome! Do you know how I managed to struggle with other parents who badly wanted it for their wards? Take a critical look. This is the latest in town and I even had to bid higher just to get it for you and make those parents jealous. It’ll look so good on you. You’ll get your school mates talking.” That was his way of cooling you down.

He is the one who would carry you in his arms from the living room to your bed even after realising you’re feigning sleep. Of course, it’s a great feeling to be carried by Baba when you’re half asleep with one eye open.

On his day off, he’ll constantly ask if you’ve performed your daily prayers. When you tell him “Baba it’s that time of the month,” he gets puzzled and asks “ah, are you different from other girls or what? How do you manage to menstruate thrice in a month?” He knows when you’re telling lies.

When you go out on odd hours, he becomes suspicious of you meeting some “area boy” and he wouldn’t mind patrolling the neighborhood pretending not to be looking out for you.

When the boy is bold enough to come to the house and you both decide to sit in front of the gate to chat, he calls you quietly and ask you to tell him to leave.

I remember that day (like it was yesterday) when we were both driving around town. The old boy wanted to know if his school fees was on a good cause so he asked “Farida, what is written behind the taxi in front of us?”

Straining my eyes, I carefully muttered “Baba, it’s “dear-woo.”

“What?! So you mean you can’t pronounce “Daewoo?” Hahahaha!

Oh, that was real embarrassment coming from a man who had very little or no education. But he’s a veteran driver so I wasn’t surprised.

Till date, I experience flashback anytime I see a “dear-woo.” Don’t blame me, I was only a child still learning “s-o SO, g-o GO.”

I can’t recount all the moments I had with Baba but the few listed above are fond memories to remind my siblings and I that we are loved.

Because of this great man, I can type a word or two. I can boast of a safe abode. I can speak with pride and say “you know what, come and say hi to my dad.”

Because of him, I can confidently pronounce “Daewoo and Peugeot” knowing they’ve got something to do with cars. It’s been many years and counting and Baba is still growing stronger. I thank Allah for such a great dad.

All I’m saying is:

Baba, we are proud of you. “Allah y3 saa albarka.” Allah bless you with long life to see your great-grand children. Ameen!



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