The day I mastered the act of balancing a pot of water on my head and carrying it without the aids of my hand was a day to remember. Akueke mastered it years before me. Okay, maybe not exactly years but, that was what it felt like, and, everyday as I trod after her to the stream, I felt like Susan Storm the invisible. She was the one people offered to help, she was the one whose waist beads danced the feared surugede dance and finally, she was the one who got all the stares.
I couldn’t take it, I just couldn’t and so I vowed to learn. Even when I had broken almost half of my mother’s prized water pots, I kept at it. Even when my mother threatened to trade me for water pots, I kept at it. Days went, weeks passed, months crawled, and finally, like well plaited suku, my water pots stood unaided. I would catwalk with it, I would whistle or sing as I passed to make sure that the world watched spellbound and, they did. The thing though was, that was it.
No-one crowned me with the crown of glory, no-one swore that nobody in history had been able to walk this majestic with a pot of water, nobody died, no voice from Heaven, no salutation from the river and other forces of nature. People watched but, they all faced their business after I passed or moved on to the next. That day, I learnt that what makes success sweet and tangible is the value it brings you, how it makes you feel, and not the applause of men. The applause of men would never be enough, it has never been. The applause and approval of men is one of the most fleeting things one would ever know.