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Saturday, 24 June 2017

The Crack Team

Hello everyone, here is Vivian Beulah Igbokwe again, a consistently passionate writer who has been featured on my blog several times. Her articles and views are her own experiences and opinions and they are very interesting and enlightening. 

If you would like your written articles featured in my #BlogFeaturePost columns, kindly send them in to

Enjoy. :)

I remember a series of occurrences in my undergraduate years that I’d like to share regarding stammering. Although I still stammer now, it is largely suppressed and a miracle I will forever celebrate in my life. I actually speak and do presentations before large audiences now; it was impossible in my university years. Stammering is usually associated with stress. If you are a stammerer and find yourself stammering so much at any particular period, take a break and give yourself some good rest. I never knew this then and even if I did, I wouldn’t have done anything about it then because 100 level was very stressful. For example, to make one payment, you might get to school by 7:00 am and leave around past 6:00 pm.
Getting done with clearance was something to celebrate and when we thought we were through with the unbearable stress of clearance, lecturers started bombarding us with assignments upon assignments. They ensured we had permanent frowns and strains on our faces.
With all that stress, talking was a very difficult thing for me to do. I had to ask directions to practically everywhere because I was a fresh student. The worst was when I had to pronounce words that begin with L, M or H. Sometimes while stammering, the person I was trying to get directions from would walk away. He probably had a lecture to catch up with and the words weren’t coming out. Some others will smile and patiently wait. It was so embarrassing. I considered writing down my questions but I didn’t want to give the impression that I was dumb. So, I stood my grounds and stammered on. To add to the wahala, it gave me chest pains to stammer. Consequently, I got to the hostel each day with pains in my chest. 100 level na wa!
In my department, we were quiet few in number. Somehow, I was chosen as the assistant course representative. The first day, I conversed with the course rep, he stammered so much. I met my match that day. To make light of the situation, I smiled and said, “ah ah now, if you want to talk, talk. Stop cracking.” We both laughed and it was cool because afterwards, he would crack and I would crack and we both cracked together. Cracking, then, became beautiful because I didn’t need to feel embarrassed cracking before a fellow cracker.
One cool evening, as I left the school after studying, a guy approached me. He stood before for five minutes before he spoke. I was surprised because I knew I wasn’t that pretty that a guy would be dumbfounded standing before me.  I also knew my hair was not on fire, what could it be? When he finally spoke, I had to hold myself from laughing.                                                                             
“Wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-what is your name?
““Wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo…?” I didn’t wait for him to finish. I quickly answered, guessing what the question would be.
“Education Biology. 100 level.
I had to cool down and wait the next ten minutes for him to introduce himself to me. My brothers and sisters, no be small thing. His name was Emeka. When he said he was in third year, I felt pity for him. How was he coping in school with this kind of heavy cracking? In fact, it wasn’t just cracking; it was computer shut down. He finally landed - he liked me. Most of what he said, I had to deduce because I could barely hear what he was saying. I told him I would think about it but I knew I wouldn’t go out with him. How would we communicate seeing we both crack? Through sign language? I imagined marrying someone like him. Our children will simply be dumb (lol).
Brother Ignatius was a nice brother in fellowship that had a sweet smile for everyone. Sometimes, he would accompany the smile with a hand wave. We all loved Brother Ignatius. He never greeted, he just smiled and waved.  One day Brother Ignatius decided he would greet me. Why me?  Why not someone else in fellowship? By the time he was done saying good afternoon, five minutes had passed. Of course, he didn’t stop that day. Every fellowship day, Brother Ignatius would greet me.  I would patiently wait for him to finish with a kind smile and kind look on my face. One day, he took it a step higher and asked for my phone number. I gave it to him. Whenever he called, I would tell everyone in the room to keep quiet; that Brother Ignatius was calling. I would then wait for five minutes on the phone for Brother Ignatius to just say hello and ask how my day went.
 After a while, Brother Ignatius said he wanted us to talk over midnight call. I nearly fainted. Why me? We spend 5-10 minutes just to exchange pleasantries in the day, how long would it take in the night; especially judging by the fact that the call would be free and Brother Ignatius would be free to crack as long as he wanted? Why wouldn’t Brother Ignatius write what he wanted to say in a note and I would reply? Whenever he asked for a date, I would give an excuse. Finally, I had to give him a date. On the D-day, I dreaded nightfall and especially 2:00 am, our appointed time. When he finally called, I nearly cried. I battled with sleep on my end, and thunderstorm from his end. He stuttered so much, I pitied his teeth and lips.
Brother Ignatius just called me that midnight to know how I was and how I was coping in school. That night, as he cracked, I concluded that Emeka is simply an orator. With Emeka, it was computer shutdown. With Brother Ignatius, NEPA took the light.
I’m glad I’ve managed to overcome my cracking and I really wish there was an instant cure for stammering that could help stammerers overcome the constant embarrassment they go through daily. Until we get a cure, let me implore you to always exercise a bit of patience with stammerers whenever you come across them.
Twitter/Instagram: @club7teen
Facebook: VivianBeulahIgbokwe

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