It was a Saturday evening, and my phone rang aloud. Excited, I rushed to take the call; it was from one of my friends from College. “You have been posted to Yola”, were the only words she uttered. Immediately I put down the phone. For a minute I was stone cold, how was that even possible? I had never picked Yola amongst my choices when I filled in the Law school form. In that state of confusion, I let out a deep cry, wishing I would feel better afterwards. I slept that night in a pool of my own tears, but I woke up feeling better, having accepted my fate. I could not go back or change anything. Announcing my posting to family and friends brought even more depressing thoughts, as everyone had a sigh on their lips and an ill story to tell about the climate condition of Yola.
Yola is the capital city of Adamawa State, one of the Northern states in Nigeria known for a high level of heat almost throughout the months of the year. The wet season is hot and oppressive, whilst the dry season is sweltering and overcast. The major cause(s) of the high level of heat can be traced to anthropogenic activities, specifically from the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These activities have over the years contributed greatly to the climate condition in Yola.
I braced up, gathered my clothes, and everything else I would need for the travelling ahead. Three days after hearing of the posting, I set out on the journey to Yola. A journey I had no option of cancelling or going against.
It was February 2020 when I arrived in Yola, Adamawa state. As normal, the mornings were a little chilly with breezy and frosty mornings but the afternoons were of a normal mild atmospheric condition.
Classes began in earnest and at intervals, our lecturers would take a pause from delivering the day’s work to remind us to brace up for the coming heat. It had become a routine to hear about what lay ahead of us.
March came by quickly, and as expected the weather began to change. Gradually the days were becoming unbearable, afternoon naps became terrible, everywhere and everything was literally burning hot.
The outbreak of Covid-19 then sent everyone packing home; it was exactly March 25th. The Federal government had announced that all schools would be shut down to curb the spread of the disease. With joy in my heart I put my things together ready to set off for the journey back home.
We counted months. March, April, May, June and the pandemic was still looming, school was still shut down. 2020 rolled by and we were already in 2021.
The federal government announced it was time for schools to be reopened since the pandemic had eased off, and vaccines were out to manage the subsequent spread of the outbreak. The news brought some mixed feelings to me: I was happy, because I was going back to school after such a long time staying at home, but on the other hand I was sad, because I was going to battle the weather again.
I set out my bags again for a second journey to Yola on the 1st of February 2021. As usual, the mornings were a little chilly and breezy. Then March came by and trouble started with the weather.
A certain Friday after lectures I returned to my dormitory, and prepared to take a nap. As I did so, I sneezed. I wiped the mucus discharge from my nose, and all I could see was blood. Yes! Blood soaked in my handkerchief, it was the scariest thing I’d see in a long time. I was startled – what was this? Why was it happening to me? What was I supposed to do? I had lots of questions, and I had answers to none of them. It took a while to get all the blood wiped off.
I woke up really early the next day and dashed out to the clinic. I met the resident doctor, who asked me to explain what I was at the hospital for. After I told him, he looked straight into my eyes and said it was a case of Epistaxis.
He continued, “It is as a result of the harsh weather in this town”. My mouth was ajar, I’d never heard or witnessed anyone suffer an ailment as serious as this because of harsh weather. He went further, “Use an umbrella under the sun, always wear a mask to sieve the air you breathe and make sure to lubricate your nose at all times”. I found strength, and dragged my feet off the doctor’s office. As I shut the door behind me, I got really scared of what was going to happen to me: I still had a whole month in Yola ahead of me.
I walked back to the dormitory in deep thought, mostly calculating how much longer I would stay in the town with harsh weather. I did as I was told by the doctor, but at intervals, my nose was still spotted.
However, it was a thing of joy as I wrote my final exams and again I packed my bags. This time I smiled properly, because I was leaving for good – there would not be a third coming.
I immediately moved to the country’s capital city, Abuja, where I found a rather mild climate that was soothing, and which I did not react to. I had to do away with using umbrellas as I did at Yola, since the weather in Abuja did not require one, and also had to stop lubricating my nose. Gradually, I found myself returning to my normal self without having to wipe a spotting nose at intervals.
As I look back on what happened at Yola, I have come to terms that it is certainly not something I would want to see someone else go through. I have had to take some time over the past two months to educate the people around me – particularly those who have chances of going over to Yola for their compulsory law school program – on the risks and dangers associated with the climate of Yola.
However, I can tell my approach of reaching out would be limited, hence I want my story to reach a wider audience in and out of Nigeria to prevent further cases of epistaxis.