When news filtered into town recently that Ebola was planning to make another appearance, fear began to flex its muscles because of how freely it roams when the monster is in town. So naturally, I went looking for any of my neighbours who provide pleasant company.
Inspired by the remarkable sacrifice made by Dr Stella Ameyo Adadevoh, and fully convinced that her life itself was incentive enough to fire the flame of efforts aimed at completely eliminating Ebola, my neighbour had spent countless hours poring over huge tranches of historical literature on how monsters, especially of the Ebola variety, were eliminated. I was surprised that anyone would still be interested in Ebola considering how we celebrated the clean bill of health we received after the first major baptism with the disease. We were not going to change our famed tendency to ‘move on’ after any challenge because of Ebola.
Other persons in other climes, would pursue such incidents through and through, knowing as much that could possibly be known about the disease and comprehensively eliminating the threats it poses to life even after a temporary relief, like we experienced in those days. They don’t mind that such investigations sometimes consume heavy amounts of time and resources. It is one of the reasons they have truly tested and working systems delivering high performance, and outcomes while we continue to grapple with systems that give average performance and outcomes, at best.
Evidently, my neighbour was beginning to behave like others who have not breathe our air for too long. As we discussed more details of her investigation, she told me she was going to Germany. ‘Whatever for?’ I asked her. She said she had arrived at a working hypothesis but would not tell me.
‘What kind of hypothesis?’
‘Some kind of hunch.’
‘What is it?’
‘I’d rather drive it to its logical conclusion before talking about it.’
I left her after some time with my own curiosity already piqued. Why Germany? Did Dr Adadevoh ever travel to Germany? Was Ebola ever in Germany? The questions continued to pour on my mind like waves on the sea.
What about Germany would fix the emerging puzzle? Thankfully, I did not wait for long before some of the answers came to me in the form of the poem by the Pied Piper of Hamelin. The lines just would not stop ringing. I had visited a dear friend who was mourning the passing of his beloved son. We talked about sundry issues until for some inexplicable reasons, he began to recite the famous poem. He became quite animated as he mimicked the movement of the rats moving to the rhythm of the pied piper who led them away, every single rat crawling out of their hiding places, mesmerized and hung upon the tune of the piper. To the relief of every citizen in the town.
My neighbour was going to Germany. First, she would comb the various museums and any other place she might find the musical notes of the pied piper. Then she would look for any of the descendants of the piper. Any in whose DNA might reside the same genetic prowess for musical composition as that which the patriarch had deployed centuries ago, to control the irritation, which rats had become to the people of Hamelin.
But where might she find the musical notes and the descendants with the right mix of musical prowess like the main man? I began to see a stretch of possibilities as my mind combined conventional wisdom with unconventional wisdom. I began to see the need to compel science to meet the arts. If we got the right musical notes and tunes, we just might be able to call out all the rats in the city to a place where we could easily eliminate the threat of Ebola completely. Animal rights activists will register their support when they are told that through science, the rats carrying the Ebola virus will be identified and eliminated from the pack that have been captivated by music from the pied piper. Then I imagined how traffic on Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos would look if our modern day piper decided to lead all the rats in Lagos Island to the Mainland or to Epe.