Sunday, December 18, 2016

Break a bone

I have to duly apologise for not blogging much these past few weeks. It's been a riot in my life but I wouldn't bother you with that part.

I promise that 2017 will be bigger and better as I hope to be more regular on here and churning out different stuff that will make you glad you are a subscriber. If you aint, then please join the queue.

As y'all know, this blog is about Nigerian football and footballers-reports, videos and commentary, however, I will also be going on a whole lot of directions in 2017.

The blog will get up close and personal with new series popping up every now and then aside the usual reports.

This week, I'm going to be featuring my friends ( journos, footballers and friends) who have been fortunate (or unfortunate in some cases) to be treated with traditional methods when they had a dislocation or broke a bone.

Traditional bone healer. Pic courtesy

I have been through such myself which actually prompted this series. Mine happened in 1999 during the semi-finals of the Zaria Mock World Cup.....errr....let me suspend mine.

You will get the full gist some other time but for today I will be featuring Iwedi Ojinmah, who happens to be my boss at

Iwedi, with a horse he hired but didn't pay up.

The beautiful part of his tale is how he layed it out. Iwedi is the quintessential story teller who knows how to make you feel like you're actually there when the tale happened....he is a word-smith who translates letters into a 3D like realm. He also has a book called 'The Distant Son' which is currently on sale here -Distant Son

Here is his story

The match itself was inconsequential as Government College Umuahia lived up to their reputation of the juggernaut of the region, and pulverised Oboro High School 10-0. Yet within minutes to the final whistle, disaster struck, and our Captain Okonji took a nasty knock after being uprooted by one of their savage defenders.

He screamed in agony as his knee puffed up to twice its size while being carried to his corner in Wareham house. Everybody was in suspense and the whole school now walked around as if on egg shells, in sheer trepidation.

 For good reason, because our next match was justwithin days, and this time we were meeting the dreaded CKC Onitsha who in turn were the alpha team in their region that particular year, and we needed Okonji to shore up our back.

It got worse when the school Dispenser slash Nurse came out shaking
his head upon seeing the captain, and saying “he is out for two weeks” - even with the application of his strongest Sloan’s liniment.

And this is when we turned to the bone stretcher.

He came from our classmate Nkwakpuda’s village, Umuibeji, where his father was the Eze and rode in that evening on a wobbly bicycle. He was a gnarled old man who barked out instructions like a sergeant major. 

Even his eyes were like coals. He also smelled of gin.

Okonji was soon being held down by four of our strongest wrestlers and started weeping even before he was actually touched, because he knew what was about to happen.

The "Doctor" meanwhile was mixing some red clay, like the soil found in the Enugu hills, in a little calabash adding more water and spit in it as he deemed fit, till he had it to his liking. Finally he added some crushed Alligator pepper seeds, some more unknown stuff and broke an egg to finish his paste off. Some claimed it was a snake’s egg others
a vulture's and a third set a lizard's - but to me it looked very much like a regular chicken egg.

For 30 to 40 mins he massaged Okonji's leg  and knee as he screamed to high heaven - even though someone had put a ruler in his mouth so he would not bite into his tongue.  He also farted nonstop and cursed everybody holding him. He was in such pain that even I, who didn't really care from him outside the realms of football, as he always seemed to be punishing me for this or that, felt pity for him.

Finally it was all over and after downing some codeine tablets he fell asleep in a sweaty puddle, and the Doctor grabbed his bike and began his ride home.

At  the next morning the team started its daily run which would lead them all the way to the grounds of the then School of Agriculture (now Michael Okpara University of Agriculture ) and back. I can still remember that day vividly. They had slit blankets like ponchos because
of the harmattan cold, and in the dark looked more like giant bats rather than the finest footballers in Umuahia.

Leading them was Okonji…..singing at the top of his voice and  “mondieu”, without a limp It is that day I learned to respect African traditional medicine and while I know it cant stand alone as remedy for everything, the sooner we give it its due respect and incorporate it into our own special type of therapy, like Cuba and China have…..the better.

Addenda: CKC beat us 2-1 in Onitsha in a match that dragged on for two
days, and went on to win the Principal’s Cup as well as the World Cup
trophy for Secondary Schools in Dublin Ireland.  That year was 1976.

No comments:

Post a Comment