No Longer At Ease
Obi did not sleep for a long time after he had lain down. He thought about his responsibilities. It was clear that his parents could no longer stand on their own….
"I must give them a monthly allowance from my salary." How much? Could he afford ten pounds? If only he did not have to pay back twenty pounds a month to the Umuofia Progressive Union. Then there was John's school fees.
"We'll manage somehow," he said aloud to himself. "One cannot have it both ways. There are many young man in this country today who would sacrifice themselves to get the opportunity I have had." (6. 37-39)
"What is a pioneer? Someone who shows the way. That is what I am doing. Anyway it is too late to change now."
"It is not," said Joseph. "What is an engagement ring? Our fathers did not marry with rings. It is not too late to change. Remember you are the one and only Umuofia son to be educated overseas. We do not want to be like the unfortunate child who grows his first tooth and grows a decayed one. What sort of encouragement will your action give to the poor men and women who collected the money?"
Obi was getting a little angry. "It was only a loan, remember. I shall pay it all back to the last anini." (7.105-107)
"Let joking pass," said the old man who had earlier on greeted Umuofia in a warlike salute. "Joshua is now without a job. We have given him ten pounds. But ten pounds does not talk. If you stand a hundred pounds here where I stand now, it will not talk. That is why we say that he who has people is richer than he who has money. Everyone of us here should look out for openings in his department and put in a word for Joshua. This was greeted with approval.
"Thanks to the Man Above," he continued, "we now have one of our sons in the senior service. We are not going to ask him to bring his salary to share among us. It is in little things like this that he can help us. It is our fault if we do not approach him…."
"Your words are very good," said the President. "We have the same thought in our minds. But we must give the young man time to look round first and know what is what."
The meeting supported the President by their murmurs. "Give the young man time." "Let him settle down." Obi felt very uneasy. But he knew they meant well. Perhaps it would not be too difficult to manage them. (8.24-27)