My First Week in London

Life can be frightening if you don’t understand what’s happening

Life can be frightening if you don’t understand what’s happening: my first weeks in London

Last night, I had just finished a late supper and was watching a movie on television when I heard a very loud noise like an explosion. I looked out and saw numerous fireworks – sparkling light and deafening bangs. I asked myself what are they celebrating tonight? There’s always one thing or the other taking place, sometimes giving no peace when you want to rest.

This lasted several minutes, then with periodic 5-10 minute interval bursts sounding further away then back again, louder each time. It made me think of my first experience when I had just arrived in England during the seventies. I came to do a post-graduate course at the Royal College of Nursing.

I was in a first floor rented room, about to say my prayers before going to bed. I did not realise it was the Fifth of November, Bonfire Night. It seemed that there were explosions raining just around my window. I was ignorant of what it was all about. I had experienced the war front first hand during the Nigeria/Biafra War. I thought that I had been targeted and dashed to the floor, taking cover as if during the war again.

I dialled 999, asking for urgent police intervention, complaining that people were firing at my window. Before I got up, two policemen were knocking at my door. They introduced themselves and asked for me by name, so I opened the door, frightened and shaking. It was my first petrifying experience in a very civilised country.

I was asked how long I had been in England and I answered” “Just two weeks.” They were sorry and apologetically informed me that I wasn’t a target and that it was simply Bonfire Night, which people celebrate each year at that time. I was quiet, very surprised and worried. I explained that no-one had told me. They reassured me, saying, with time I’ll learn.

Every night before going to sleep and each morning I say Psalm 23. I trust in the Lord. I have always said that men will disappoint us, but God is as constant as ever. God never fails. Thanks be to God for his kindness all the time, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

God bless you all.

Gladys Ikeme. (child of God)