I woke up at 3.20am to shouts of ‘Fire’ ‘Fire’. The lights had been turned off from the mains and one could easily here the muffled commotion through the walls. My eyes were wide with fear, the last traces of sleep vanishing into thin air. I reached for my glasses, jumped off the bed and raced out of the room, thoughts of survival foremost on my still foggy mind. I remembered I hadn’t carried anything and ran back again to my room, it was pitch black but the red light of the unanswered messages on my BB drew me to it, I grabbed it in a split second and ran to the front door to meet our help struggling to open the door. She was shaking like a leaf and shouting ‘Why won’t it open?’. I used the light of my phone to guide her, both of us breaking out in a sweat and calling my mum and brother to come out of their rooms so we could leave.
The fire wasn’t in our house, it wasn’t by the door either, but the pandemonium and frequent shouts made us know it was close. I glanced at my brother and noticed he’d carried his brand new galaxy tab. I shook my head as I joined all the other people racing down the flight of stairs. A Baba from one of the flats trudged in front of me and it took all my will power not to shove him rudely aside as I fled for dear life. We were young,the poor fella was well advanced in age, it’d definitely suck if I went down with him after I hadn’t even begun to enjoy the life of my head. I remembered my manners though and patiently waited. He must have sensed the urgency or heard the anxious grunts of the escapees piling up behind him and stepped aside, maybe to catch his breath, who knows? But we all seized the opportunity and flew past him. By the time we got to the second floor, we heard more shouts, “Go back, go back, use the fire escape instead…” We all turned around and raced up the stairs, panting, not speaking, sweating and seeing our lives flash before our eyes. Back on the 3rd floor we heard another shout, “Go downstairs the way you came up, hurry…”
At this point we were so confused, not knowing whether to run up or down the stairs, we just momentarily stood there waiting for a third shout to make it all make sense but as none was forthcoming, we snapped out of our reverie and ran downstairs as fast as we could. By the time we got to the first floor the smoke and smell of burning was unmissable and I prepared myself for the worst.
I got out of the building safely and noticed for the first time that I was barefooted. Oh well, there are worse things than that I said consolingly to myself. The neighbours put out the fire with fire extinguishers and may I add, the fire service never showed up, neither did I see anything more than lots of smoke. As people began to calm down and heart beats slowed, the gift of speech was bestowed once again on us and soon we were all talking at once, quite loudly, quite excitedly and no one actually listening to the other. My mum chided herself for not remembering her car keys, I laughed at my brother for saving his newest toy instead of his certificates and it was quite hilarious to see what some of the neighbours had managed to ‘save’ from their houses. Thankfully no one was injured and no property lost and soon we were back in our houses but I’d begun to think and since I knew I couldn’t go back to sleep since I was working on the Island that day and had to leave my house in less than 2 hours, I indulged…
I wondered at life and that which was most important. It was easy to list life, health and family as top priority but asides that, I began to wonder at what I’d rescue from a burning building if I could take just one material possession. Thank God for a cashless society so I don’t have to make this post about how I’d carry the Ghana must go full of money that I hid under my bed! (Disclaimer: No such bag exists!). So money aside, what would you save? It’s pitch black, you have 3 minutes and you can only take one thing. My brother chose his newest toy, my neighbour took his car keys, many others took their phones and another carried her handbag. But what is the guiding factor at times like this? Do we just grope around blindly or do we follow our instincts? The bible says that where your treasure is, there your heart will be. Logic states that you pack your certificates and ?passport from a burning building but these are documents that are often locked away and not easily accessible within the 3 minutes window you have. So logic aside, what would you take? What’s most important?
I’m thankful the fire was put out sharply but I am left with this lingering question and in my usual fashion, I have extrapolated it to my life. I ask myself today the same question I did yesterday…’What’s most important? When I can answer that question, then I can begin to reset my life and refocus because sometimes that which we consider as important is actually worthless. Where is your heart? What secret treasure drives you? Again I ask, what is important? Let’s put on our thinking caps and search within… Our sense of purpose depends on this one question…
Have a lovely evening peeps…xoxo 😉