Few days ago, I went to visit a man I respect so much. He is a little bit less than 80yrs old. He told me a lot of stories about his growing up and how difficult it was to get anything done then . He told me as children, they only took their bathe any day they were going to church.
This was due to difficulty in getting access to water. The nearest stream from my village is about 15km away. Since their legs were their best automobile and calabash the only water container, the much they could fetch was only used for cooking. There were no hospitals. Women gave birth in their huts and had no single access to modern medicine. A lot of them died giving birth. Even when they survived, many of them lost their babies to different kinds of infections. He went further to tell me of a man who is now more than 100yrs old who told him how he went to Aba on foot just to buy a text book when he was young. People went through all these due to limited knowledge.
I have previously been told how children possessed with ‘ogbanje’ spirit died in succession thereby leaving their parents in perpetual anguish. Growing up too, I had witnessed a family who had cases of infant mortality attributed to this ogbanje spirit. We were told that these children were buried with pieces of oil bean seeds thrown into their shallow graves. This was believed to make it impossible for the children to reincarnate in the family. This would bring infant death to an end. But that never worked as the next burial would soon take place.
With the intervention of science, a lot of these problems have been nipped in the bud. We now know that the so called ogbanje was the creation of the ignorant minds of our progenitors. When people marry without confirming the compatibility of their genotypes, they stand great risk of having ‘ogbanje’ children. With this single knowledge, the myth which neither traditional ritual nor modern religious prayers could solve was successfully unravelled.
There is no such thing as ogbanje but sickle cell patients. These are children whose sufferings are consequences of their parents’ ignorance or stupidity or both. Once you do the needful, you eliminate every possibility of having ‘ogbanje’ in your home. One thing science keeps doing is to expose the ignorance and stupidity of the past and offering a way out. This gets me thinking. What ignorance of our time will be exposed by future scientists? In what ways are we collectively ‘foolish’ in the ways we do things today?
Science consistently challenges how things are done not to malign the approaches but to improve them. With these interventions, life has been made easy and will still be made easier. Certainly some of the science interventions will be greatly challenged due to our religious leaning, but one thing is sure: science means well. As we look back on the ignorance of our progenitors, so will generations to come look back and shudder in shock at our level of ignorance. There is no end to change. No end to improvement.
My Name is Jude and I read Lailas blog