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Summary

 sanjiv %2821%29

Jonathan Iwegbu has survived the Nigerian Civil War along with his wife and three of his four children, and thus considers himself “extraordinarily lucky”. He also treasures his still-working bicycle, which he buried during the war to ensure it would not be stolen. Another apparent miracle is his still-standing home, which he repairs and re-occupies after returning home to the capital city of Enugu. To explain both his good and bad fortune to himself and others, he often repeats the phrase: “Nothing puzzles God.”

Jonathan works hard in the aftermath of the war, using his bicycle to start a taxi service and opening a bar for soldiers. His family mirrors his example, cooking food and picking fruit for sale. Since the coal mine where Jonathan worked before the war has not reopened, this resilience is crucial towards securing even their minor comfort.

One day, after turning over rebel currency, Jonathan is given an award of 20 pounds. He takes care not to be robbed, remembering a theft he observed several days earlier, in which a man broke down in public over the indignity.

That night, a group of thieves knocks on his door demanding money. Frightened, the family calls for the neighbors and police, but the heavy silence when they finish reminds them that nobody looks out for anyone but himself. The thieves then mock them, crying out even louder to indicate how helpless the family is.

The thief leader demands 100 pounds, promising not to hurt Jonathan or his family if he cooperates. Eventually, Jonathan realizes their lack of options, and gives the thieves the 20 pounds of reward money so they will leave the family unharmed. Some thieves insist they should search the house for more, but the thief leader believes this is all Jonathan has, and accepts it.

The next morning, Jonathan and the family are back at work as the neighbors arrive. Sensing their confusion over his ability to toss off the situation of the night before, Jonathan explains to his neighbors that the reward money cannot compare to what he lost in the war. He chooses to focus on his work in the present rather than regret what has happened, since “Nothing puzzles God.”