Thursday, 6 October 2011


Joseph comes up to the Cotonou border on his bicycle. He’s got two large bags over his shoulders.

The customs official stops him and says, “What’s in the bags?”

“Garri,” answered Joseph.

The Customs official says, “We’ll just see about that. Get off the bike!” the Customs official takes the bags and rips them apart; he empties them out and finds nothing in them but garri.

He detains Joseph overnight and has the garri analyzed, only to discover that there is nothing but pure garri in the bags.

The customs official releases Joseph, puts the garri into new bags, lifts them onto the man’s shoulders, and lets him cross the border.

A week later, the same thing happens. The customs official asks, “What have you got?” “Garri,” Joseph answers.

The customs official does his thorough examination and discovers that the bags contain nothing but garri. He gives the garri back to Joseph, and Joseph crosses the border on his bicycle.

This sequence of events was repeated every day for the next three years. Finally, Joseph doesn’t show up one day and the customs official meets him in a beer parlour in Cotonou.

“Hey, my friend,” says the customs official, “I know you are smuggling something. It’s driving me crazy. It’s all I think about….I can’t sleep. Just between you and me, what are you smuggling?”

Joseph sips his beer and says, “Bicycles”!

You would agree with me that this is very funny. (Or maybe you don’t.) But while I’m laughing I can’t help but think.

One, we must learn to THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. The customs official should have known after a while that it is not garri that Joseph was smuggling. And also that contraband does not always have to be in containers. Joseph used on him what we call a smokescreen, and he didn’t see through it.

Two, LOOK BEYOND THE OBVIOUS.  What appears is not always what is. Plain and simple!


So, while we laugh, let’s think. YOU WILL SUCCEED!

No comments:

Post a Comment