#SAVE 2020 | ERIC NWANSO

  ONE .  DAY . AT .A .TIME.

Certain daily occurrences trigger your trauma. Footsteps, long walks, people’s faces, smiles, body smell, voices, creaking sound of the door…the dark. It’s primal. With trauma, it’s really the everyday things. Random things convincing your brain and body, you’re in danger and there may be no way out.

It was a Friday night and I was home alone, I didn’t want to be by myself and so, I invited a close friend over to catch-up and talk about life in general and living. He was on his way and in my excitement, I took a stroll down the road and I saw this guy I had seen on the street, several times, who seemed like he needed help or even a warm place to sleep or just a meal.  I invited him over for the night to sleep on the couch while my friend and I sleep in the bedroom after our discussions. How naïve of me. Onye Omaa e meka (a good Samaritan in the Igbo language). My friend’s visit got me really excited as we haven’t seen each other in a while, Lagos living. We all ate, had conversations and we went to the bedroom for more, my friend and I fell asleep like babies with no worry in the world. It was dawn and we were awoken by the noise of a generator. I went to the living room to check on my guest, he had left with my phone, my friend’s wallet that had very important things, one of his phones, leaving the door slightly ajar. How did we sleep through all of that?

I tried my phone number and my friend’s, they were both switched off. My friend was worried about his wallet because of its contents as they were important to him. We tried severally to no avail, we were that exhausted in every sense and only food could help us continue. We tried the phone number one more time after breakfast, someone answered the phone and we were elated and asked if it were possible to come to pick up the wallet and he said, yes. We got dressed and headed to the address sent to my friend’s other phone number. We called every twenty minutes; to get directions and when we got there, the phone number was switched off. We sat in defeat and decided to catch our breath. It was quite a walk. After the on and off games with the calls and directions to different addresses, within the area. We were finally given a place to come to at 12 AM. 

Happy to finally get this over with, tired to the bones and mentally exhausted, we headed to the final address, hopeful. It turned out to be a dark and deserted street in a dangerous neighbourhood. At this point, I didn’t really care what happened to us as long as I get the wallet. I felt responsible for the loss and would do anything, to get it back. Boys could have come out, stabbed us or killed us but I didn’t mind. I took my friend’s phone and called the phone number to tell him we are here. I negotiated our safety and I walked boldly into the dark night, as my friend was asked to stay back and promised that nothing will happen to him. I saw my guest down the street under a strobe of light. I asked for the wallet and I was led to a kiosk, what’s the worse that could happen? He walks in behind me and locks the door. He brought out something that was definitely not a wallet; it looked like something that I only saw in movies, not in real life. A gun.  Take off your trousers or get shot, he said.

I finally got the wallet but never told my friend what I had to give up that night to get it.  Years go by, on a dark street, as I take a walk down this dark road, it brought back floods of memories of that night. A trigger that reminds my body that I have been here before. I shook it off and I walked through the street, facing my demons. Man up about it, that what society tells men all the time. Living one day at a time. I’m not a victim, I’m a survivor and I’m much more than that night and I don’t want it to define me.

– ERIC NWANSO

About Eric Nwanso

Eric Nwanso is trained actor who has starred in award-winning motion pictures like A Mile From Home, Render To Ceaser, Just Not Married, short film, Brood, part of the Surreal 16 Collective, anthology film, Visions, which premiered at New York African Film Festival2017, British Film Institute, London Film Festival, 2018, Africa International Film Festival, Nigeria, 2018 and other festivals, Nigerian Prince, winner of the AT&T Untold stories competition at the Tribeca film festival, 2018, TV series like The Benjamin’s, Aduke Hotel, Two Sides of a Coin, and web series such as Kpians- premonitions and plays Tunde Leye’s  book, Afonja and the cancer-play, Colour Me Pink ( performed at the Lagos Theatre Festival, 2019)

He was trained in Method Acting from King’s Theatre, Lagos Nigeria, and Acting for Screen Workshop with Nigerian Director Mark Kusare and Film Acting at Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) 2014 and writing for TV class at Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF 2018). An alumnus of the acting and writing workshops of Africa international Film festival in 2014 and 2018.

Naturally drawn towards psychological dramas and stories that highlight the complexity of the human nature, Eric’s love for story, craft and artistry stems from an innate desire and passion to explore these often overlooked and diverse facets of humanity. Loves to write about shared and specific human experiences as an African man. With interests ranging from mental health and wellness, education of the African female and male child, peaceful co-existence, volunteering with his time to these causes and more in different capacities. Loves to travel, explore and learn about diverse people, places, and cultures within and outside the continent of Africa.