In life, nobody is an ordinary person no matter how little. There is something unique about every human being. That is why life would definitely be incomplete when the so-called ‘ordinary’ people are removed from the social system.
Despite that some flavours of yoghurt may be nourishing and expensive, yet yoghurt does not quench one’s thirst like ordinary water. The simple reason is that yoghurt was not created to satiate the thirst; rather it is on its own lane as an appetizer.
Now, that entity called ordinary does not mean it is not valuable. One of the cheapest commodities in the market till date is water. As low priced as it is, I am yet to know what can take the place of water in life. Without it, there is no life. There are several expensive drinks, both local and foreign, but they can never perform the functions of water in life. Water is life, life is water, and without water, we cannot survive running our everyday affairs, yet it is tagged ‘ordinary’ even as it remains the cheapest and readily available for human consumption and other necessities.
Interestingly, it is not for nothing that some people describe fellow human beings as ordinary people. These everyday people referred to as ‘ordinary ‘are so valuable in life, but most people do not understand it. I have heard individuals say ordinary clerk, bricklayer, messenger, house help, gateman etc. Please reconstruct your mind and use appropriate language if you are one of those who call others ordinary. Funny enough, these ordinary people have saved lives and have allegedly caused havoc at times. Not once or twice have police officers arrested these ‘ordinary people’ because they are usually the primary suspects when a crime is committed around them. Now, listen to ordinary magic girl called Uzoaku who was Mrs. Uche Ifeadika’s house help. Uche was one of the focused-frontal girls in school then. She married almost immediately after school and had three daughters back-to-back. While in a comfortable marriage, her challenge was to feed her young children who dreaded food and looked anaemic at all times. A situation that took the couple to different paediatricians until she got a different ordinary househelp named Uzoaku, who she later named ‘Girl with the magic finger’. The new girl watched Uche struggle to feed her children and therefore devised a sustainable means. Just like most young children, whenever their mother is not within sight, her children would behave and feed well but the moment they could reach out to her, all attention seeking purposes would heighten and none would eat. Uzoaku therefore got a light cane and truly uses it on them unlike their parents. It became a case of ‘the fear of Uzoaku is the beginning of feeding well.’ She would let her Madam step out before meal times; then she would take over, arrange the girls, set their food before them and sit in an opposite direction armed with the light cane in her hand. Her voice would gently hit them “Start! The girls who are battle ready would start as if there would be no tomorrow, especially sighting that tiny rattan which Uzoaku brandished with style. She would observe, give them time, her voice would come in another command, Stop! All would be on attention, next is ‘drink water! Then start again! All instructions would be fully obeyed and all plates cleared including beans that they disliked. Her madam who noticed the secret would hide by the staircase until dinner was over before she showed up. It was the same ‘ordinary girl’ who discovered that her children preferred cooked food to cereals. With this technique one could notice the physical transformation of the girls including the growth of their dark fluffy hair, bright eyes and smooth skin. ‘Ordinary’ domestic servant saved the life of three little girls with patience, gave their parents a relaxed mind and all became happy ever after.
Remarkably, bosses who find it difficult to respond to the greetings of their gatemen, salesboys and girls or junior staff, are only exhibiting pride, which it is said goes before a fall. Do not be too proud to respond when a junior staffer calls your attention to an issue or your domestic servant greets you. Do not proudly assume they do not know anything. This reminds me of the homily said by Rev. Fr. Francis Ohe, a visiting priest during a morning Mass at St. Peters Catholic Church, Ejigbo sometime. He told the story of a professor of Mathematics and a canoe paddler who got involved in a heated argument onboard a canoe, and off course the professor won with algebraic proofs. Now, they have got into the canoe to cross the river, this wind came from nowhere and was about to capsize the canoe. Professor screamed out loud and said how would we manage the wind without sinking? Canoe paddler said, ‘we will wrestle the situation through mathematics and algebra.’ Paddling a canoe was not the professor’s specialty and he almost gave up the ghost out of fear while the paddler did his best to calm the situation. Do not be proud to listen to the advice of your followers because they might even be better leaders, just that you were privileged to be more educated or accomplished. As no one is the Socrates of our times that knows it all, a university professor cannot be a cleaner, meat seller, car-wash operator, petrol station attendant, pilot, cook, hotel manager or cleric, nurse, mortuary attendant, but he needs all these and vice versa. Even during low moments, the bereaved needs others to support, guide and stand with. A teacher needs the beverage seller; a petroleum attendant needs a tailor, a journalist needs a medical doctor, a cobbler needs a barber, etc. No man can live and provide all the services he needs all by himself; that is why people should respect others; this manifests the essence of living.
In offices, a worker could develop sudden health challenges, it is the fellow workers that would step in and stand in until the family members come. A staff would have donated his or her car to take the worker to the hospital, foot the bills, stay with the patient for stability, administer drugs and be his or her brother’s keeper before the biological family and extended friends get there. Life was created for all to need one another, no matter the stage in life. We need one another to live and survive. A leader might not know it all, but with his obedient team, they would carry the day.
If you treat ordinary people in your life as garbage, one might die with his or her ailment. Naaman became a story in the Holy Book. How did it happen? It was a house girl that told him how his leprosy could be cured.
Meanwhile, who are these ordinary people? That some men and women did not attain heights or certain levels in the society through education, business or social life, does not mean they are useless or irresponsible. No one has the right to call God’s creation ordinary. Those who call orders ordinary obviously do not know that life is a bank account in God’s hands. Nobody knows the balance of the remaining days; so keep depositing forgiveness, respect, love, pure heart, prayer and obedience into you heavenly bank account. Above all, always do good and do not see or call someone ordinary.
Those people who others see as low-class might not be necessarily low life people. Take the case of humble Mr. Ajagu, an Executive Director in an insurance company, who traced his driver to his driver, Sunday Ekpenyong to his rented two-room accommodation in Orile Iganmu. Ekpenyong had taken ill and was away from work. The visit of his boss elicited joy in Ekpenyong’s heart. In appreciation he treated his boss to a lavish and sumptuous freshly cooked light soup, known as ‘Nsala. Boss enjoyed the meal and complimented it. The following Saturday, Mr. Ajagu reappeared with his own wife. Without mincing words, he asked his driver’s wife to teach his own wife.
Who says the movers and shakers are better than ordinary people? God created the ‘ordinary people’ and deposited in them strength, weakness, mind and soul just like God did for all.
Good people of God know it that no one is better than another, especially the ordinary people. We all need ourselves one way or the other. Let us not allow pride to destroy us; seek for the services of the ordinary people, they are important and serviceable.
Do not forget that wisdom is profitable to direct and when we do things together, we do it better; but let it sink into our minds that anything called ordinary has its value.