I haven’t heard from my friend Uzo in a long while and then I get this message.
“I am currently writing you from a low-cost hotel. I lost "everything" in my apartment to a flood which devastated many homes in my vicinity (it rained heavily for six hours). Ah! It was really bad. In one case, neighbours had to break into a man’s fortress-like house (he wasn’t present at the time) to carry off his bedridden wife.
I think I can now relate on a deeper level with victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.”
I Google his city (in Nigeria) and find pictures like this.
Yes, I think, he can relate.
I write back and comment that a “low-cost” hotel can’t be very nice. (I’ve seen enough in many parts of the world to know what they are like.)
Uzo writes back.
“Well, the hotel room is better when compared to other places I lived in—a two-bedroom apartment with a leaky roof, and then a mud house in the northern part of the country (in this case, I had to fetch water each day and there was no power throughout my one-year-and-a-half stay).
“I've to reprioritize my spending from now on, bearing in mind I have to replace (buy) some essentials at least, like settee and chair cushions, electronics. You may be wondering, but most of us (if not all) do not have insurance (schemes). I don't trust the state government to help; they put us in this mess with their shitty road constructions. They've seen the extent of damage caused by the disaster and are saying help is not for everyone. Can you imagine that?”
I ask if he’ll be able to move back to his home.
“Yes, I intend to go back home. In the meantime, I've invited some friends to help me clear, reorganize, and wash the things I can still use.”
I admire Uzo’s strength and resiliency. And I bitterly resent those who could, but don’t help—the wealthy elite of the world.