The Trial of Sister Shilla - by Seun Sobola - THE BUSINESS PACKAGE


Wednesday, August 24, 2022

The Trial of Sister Shilla - by Seun Sobola

There is nothing achievable on earth that Shilla Erinle has not achieved. In her White Missionary School, at age four, she proficiently attempted a mathematical question which was above her age. Her class teacher, a good looking man in his early thirties, had asked her, “If a car travels from D-E at 28km, E-F at 53km and F-D at 65km, find the total distance covered at EDF.” In no time, she solved the question and everyone was left as silent as a stone. 

At age twelve, she represented her school in an international quiz contest and she carried the day. At nineteen, she had received a bachelor of science as a Surgeon at West Ham University in London. And at twenty-five, she had become an operational professor in a clinical hospital in her new town. To cut the feats short, Shilla’s joy of the honey was not in the leaking; it was in the gulping.

Shilla is the only child of her parents. People had laughed at her mother many times because she was barren. And ever since she was born, her mother in particular, had become fond of her. She referred to her as the beauty of her life as she had brought many honours to her.

Like her parents who later redeemed themselves, Shilla was brought up “in the ways of the white man”, which meant the opposite of the ancient. She has acquired an important role in her church as a standing usher. And as an ardent reader of the compendium too, she has composed many lyrical hymns for children’s every midweek prayer. The children in the church call her “Sister Shalom” because of her peaceful way of living.

Shilla was at daggers drawn, at eight years old, when her neighbour offered her the bean cakes meant for the celebration of Egungun. She shook her head contemptuously and said, ‘I rebuke your unclean foods in the name of Jesus!’ The bean cakes carrier was so terrified that she cursed her for her antics. Her parents had to beg on her behalf. And whether the curse was reversed or not we never knew!

When she arrived from the day’s work, Shilla sat on one of her chairs. She was as quiet as a mouse, then made forward towards the window where she would pour heavily her griefs and tears. Her eyes were full of sadness and her face had lost its colour within five minutes. She is hopeless and crestfallen. She had prayed and fasted many times. She had even gone to mountains but all to no avail. Couple of days ago, she clocked forty but no man has approached her.

A member of her church, last night, by the name Pastor Paul, invited her to a dinner date. She had thought that was the man but it never worked out as she was left as sad as a night. Pastor Paul merely wanted to be a frog and not a prince. So unusual!

On this rebound, she decided to visit her mother again who had countless times called her so they could put salt on the snail. But it is now dawned on her.

Mrs Laroye, adjacent to Shilla, bluntly she began that she was barren for many years. Though she did oftentimes get pregnant, she would have miscarriage. She was devoted to getting children for her husband and Shilla’s father was as loyal as an apostle when he was alive. The more they both tried, the more futile their efforts ended So, their situation became, what couldn’t be cured had to be endured.

With tears splashing as water, she claimed she never lost hope. Her friend, one day, took her to a diviner who worshipped Erinle. Erinle is one of the powerful gods in Yoruba cosmology before Christianity was brought into their town. She bowed before the god and offered: cooked beans, corn, cold stream water with guinea fowl and made a covenant with the god that “if she could conceive again and the baby stayed, she would always take the child to the god every two-two years.” Indeed, the god was humane enough and Shilla was born. But Shilla has never set her eyes on her source. 

As if waving her hand to signal back-to-sender, Shilla rebuked everything that her mother said as fast as a hare and ended with a joyful smile.

‘My life is my redeemer who is Christ Jesus of Nazareth. He has come to launch a new covenant with me. He gave up the ghost so I could have Holy Spirit to lead me to God. Or you’ve forgot what the Bible says in Psalm 27, vs 1? Let me tell you: The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?’ 

Shilla’s mother becomes more passionate. She wanted to weep but she couldn’t. She told Shilla that discretion was the better part of valour but Shilla remained insane. Moreover why does she have to worry since happy marriage depends on luck. Subsequently, she took her bag and left her mother’s presence.

That same day, Shilla prayed fervently before she slept. In fact, she did not sleep the same or the usual way. Not facing the world directly but on her right hand side as wholesomely enunciated by Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in the Holy Qur’an. She went into a transience and fantasized about a tug of war. Two Greek warriors were fiercely fighting. She was one. The other was a masquerade. Left in the old bones of ritual farewell to the dead, she eventually killed the spirit and quickly woke up to have a prayer of ‘’Deliverance’’.

Three days later, a pastor came to hook up Shilla. She was highly elated. It was only for two days that all her misfortunes gave way to future prospects. She is going to marry to become a mother. Her to-be husband infected her more and more by his passion of the white ways that she grew more in faith. It then looked like her portion in life was in the consolation aboundeth by Christ Jesus.

On the eve of the wedding, lambs from nowhere assembled in front of the couple-to-be’s house. They came in the thousands, crying with incited sounds. All the couple-to-be could do is to continuously crow verses in their mouths. But through people’s stones, the lambs left. That same night, the couple-to-be’s house broke down, killing only Shilla while others sustained minor injuries and were rushed to the hospital. 

Shilla’s mother pathetically went to the diviner’s house after forty years the following day. By the time she got there, both the diviner and the god had left the house.


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