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By M. U. Adikwu

Various Talks of Disappointments
Day after day we hear of disappointments. Disappointment seems to be part and parcel of human existence on earth. I am sure God Himself is disappointed with human beings and their activities on earth. We hear of children who have disappointed their parents and vice-versa. There are also stories of woes of disappointment between husbands and wives; between lovers; between apprentices and their masters. In fact, it is not a common phenomenon for a man to satisfy another. The failure to satisfy ends in disappointment.

Common Disappointments
In the early parts of past few centuries, it seemed that men were more than women. Getting married then was a difficult phenomenon. This was due largely not to cost of marriage, but to the scarcity of women. Many men then would “secure” females early from a neighbour’s house,
either for themselves or their male children. The man or family concerned would approach the neighbour with some money to “deposit on the head” of the girl when the girl is still very tender in age. Such girls are often sent some gifts from time to time to enable them to ‘grow up properly.’ When such girls become mature enough to be married, many would refuse to get married to the person that has “deposited the money on their heads.” Such disappointments are usually very painful, because the man might have waited for a prolonged period of time, sometimes up to 10 years or more. The man might have sent the girl to school to acquire Western education at his own expense. The girls or their families might on the long run refuse the girls to get married to such men for very flimsy reasons.

It is possible that the girls have seen richer men than the first or the girls suddenly realize on growing up that the men were not ‘clean’ enough or even that they are more educated than the men. Quarrels too between the two families concerned may result to the termination of the relationships or the men may finally find out that the girl is not well behaved. In more recent times, this is not too common because most people will only marry girls that are matured. What exists now is that some women, because of advancing age, may get themselves betrothed to a young man and train them in schools.

After completion of their trainings, many of such young men refuse to be
joined to the women in marriage because of their advanced age, thus disappointing the women. Some of these boys may have entered one form of covenant or the other with the women. This, however, does not deter them from marrying other women on the long run.
There are also disappointments between wives and their husbands. Some wives do everything to keep their husbands happy. They are good looking as far as the human eyes are concerned. Yet some of these husbands go after other women and lavish their love on them instead of their legally married wives. Many of these women are disappointed in their husbands, wondering, “What do these other women have that I do not have?” They wonder if these were not the same men who promised heaven and earth when they first came to them. They
have forgotten that it is the pattern of men to serve good wine first and the bad later (John 2:10). It is only God that does the opposite. The disappointment becomes more serious if the husband comes home with a sexually transmitted disease.

Similarly, some men are disappointed with their wives. When they first went to marry them, anything was good when they first met their men. Now that they are in their husbands’ houses, nothing is good. The husband may do all in their power to please their wives but such wives
are never satisfied. They demand for one thing after the other. They must be given Hollandaise or nothing more. They eat the best and choicest meals while only the remnant is kept for their husbands. They hate everything about their husbands even the way they laugh.

One of the most painful groups of disappointments are those who come from one’s relatives. There are some people who all the days of their lives have worked to train their brothers and sisters. At the end, what all these people get as ‘thank you’ is to be abused and asked how
senseless they are. They often reminded of the number of cars their classmates have bought; the number of houses their classmates have built both in the village and in the cities. Their wives are often regarded as the major devourer that have “eaten–up” all that such men have
laboured for, even when their wives may have starved, to ensure that such men train their relatives. Many of such men and their wives end up being highly disappointed in life.
There is also the issue of fathers who have laboured all of their lives and have “achieved very little” in the eyes of the world because of taking care of their wives and children. Many of such men end up being disappointed when on the long run their wives and children tag them
non-achievers.

I remember that one of such men told me one day that he would prefer to kill his wife and face the law instead of his wife’s continuous nagging that he has not been able to buy a car as his other colleagues had done. I thank God that this man eventually did not kill his wife before his death. He, however, was able to buy a car from bank loans. Probably the nagging worked. The pains from such nagging wives about one’s ineptitude can be very serious, especially when one notices that such women are usually very demanding with very little to show from their own end. I am sure a few husbands might have ended up killing their wives. Others might have committed suicide, while worst still, some might have ended up exterminating their entire family through killing their wives, children and themselves.

There are also cases of disappointments between apprentices and their masters. These disappointments between masters and servants are common especially in business dealings. Some people hire others to sell for them for some fixed period of time under an agreement that after the stated period they will “settle” them. “Settle” as used here means their masters will in turn provide the money, and sometimes introduce them to big companies that may provide some wares or goods on hire–purchase to the new business men. For some the amount of money agreed upon is quite small as their masters know they will introduce them to various ways of doing business including introducing them to big firms that are ready to supply the goods “free” until the emergent business man is well settled to be able to make returns. Many of the apprentices serving such masters become disappointed as some masters may refuse to “settle” them at the end of the agreed period, as they may see the new business entrants as competitors. This has led to great disappointments. Some people have ended up in killing their
masters in such cases and vice versa. The situation is most pathetic when such masters have used their apprentices, not only as business associates but as housemaids as well.

This is more common with traders than other forms of apprentice relationship such as carpentry, tailoring, mechanics, etc. In these other forms of servant–master relationship only the knowledge acquired is considered most of the time and the apprentice may have to pay for this. Another area of common disappointment is found when men pool together their resources to start a business. As the business grows one of the partners often try to outwit the other in money sharing. Some even try to seek to stop one of the partners from continuing with the business through the use of legal means while others may use brute force including diabolic means. The partner being cheated out of the business often feels disappointed.

Hired labourers often disappoint those who hire them. In many village settings, labourers are hired for farm work. Most of such labourers require payment of the entire money or part of it upfront. Many at times, the labourers end up not doing the work they have been paid to do. Many of such hired labourers are good at disappointing those who hired them. On the long run the person concerned may look for other labourers who may repeat what their predecessors have earlier done. Another group of disappointers are the artisans – such as tailors, carpenters, cobblers, bricklayers, e.t.c. Often this group of workers will collect a job to be done but rarely keep to the terms of the agreement in terms of timing. For example, a carpenter may agree to produce some pieces of furniture at an agreed price within two weeks. At the end of
two months and in some cases, 2 years, the said pieces of furniture are yet to be produced, even when some or all of the money has been paid for the said furniture. The artisans may prefer to collect other new jobs even when they have not completed the old one. The clients are often very disappointed.

There is what is often referred to as “contribution” – a kind of thrift society. Many people cannot do much with their monthly salaries especially when it comes to capital–intensive projects such as building a house, buying a new car or even marrying a wife. Some are not even
able to pay the school fees of their children. With these, many workers or even business men come together to agree on how to raise large sums of money without interest. Thus, there is an agreement that each member of the “contribution” group should set aside some amount to be
paid at periodic levels to a member of the group. This is usually on a rotary basis. Some members, once they get their turn of money refuse to pay for others leading to a great disappointment among other members. And yet still some other people approach wealthier friends or neighbours or even those at the same social level as they are who may have some money to spare and borrow such money from them. The neighbour or friend may even have need for such money but may believe that the borrower may have more urgent need. At the end of the agreed period many people do refuse to return the money lent to them even when they have it. This is often a common disappointment to friends and neighbours.

There are various levels of disappointment in our society. Many parents are very disappointed in their children when they find out that their children belong to secret cults or even armed robbery gangs. Many of such parents may be providing more money than their children may
need only to find out that they are indirectly contributing to the purse of secret cults. Great is usually the disappointment when news reaches them that their children belong to one clandestine group or the other.
Similarly many Christians become extremely disappointed when they realize that their pastors whom they have held so high are members of secret cults or robbers or even womanizers or rapists. A loving family wakes up one day to note that the man of the house has impregnated
her maid or that the house help has impregnated her mistress. What a disappointment this could be! Thus, it seems that human existence is replete with disappointments.

Adikwu writes from Abuja, and can be reached through phone number : +234803-437-8988; email: adikwum@yahoo.com

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