You suspected she was a stranger to Lagos the second you bent to enter the keke marwa and saw her already seated, waiting for other passengers to complete the required number of passengers. Each of you sits at either side by the entrance to the keke, she chose the cooler end while your butt slowly roasts from the heat the seat had absorbed earlier. There was something about the angle she tied her scarf that reminded you of the girls you had seen in Abeokuta and Ibadan and Iseyin, on your travels. This one just come Lagos, your mind which never shuts up, quips. Continue reading →
On this day nineteen years ago, my dad and I boarded a bus headed for Abuja that would follow the Jebba-Bida-Minna-Suleja route. I was going to Bida for the first time, Dedem Okey brought my admission letter the previous week and automatically cancelled the preparations we were making towards my accepting the admission at Lagos State Model College Badore. Continue reading →
The rough feel of the mass of ovaltine in my mouth finally kicked in the memories, I scooped two heaped spoons to my cup and stirred it into the hot water to get it to melt, I added milk and carried the cup to the dining table where jam and Agege bread had my name written on them
“Adaeze see this! Remember it?” I looked at the ovaltine bottle my brother held, it looked familiar but it didn’t activate any memory. Continue reading →
I was writing about going to ‘Mango village’ while I was in JSS1 with Glory (I can’t remember if Martha came with us or if she was supposed to be the sentry} but as I wrote, I remembered the story you are about to read and began to write it instead.
When I was in JSS1, I was a bony, big eyed bibliophile who had only one bucket, a green OK plast contraption that provided for all my needs which was only one- washing my body. I washed my clothes at the tap and formed a pouch with my house wear, as other girls did, for taking the clothes to the dormitory without needing a container for them. You didn’t need a bucket of water to flush the toilet, you simply needed a paper or leather (nylon) bag and a good throwing arm for flinging the products of your business far into the corn farms that framed the back of our dormitory. If you were not in the frame of mind to expose your tender buttocks to other girls and most importantly, the teachers in staff quarters who used the road a few meters across from Culverwell, you would brave the faecal landmines to have only the budding ears of corn and God as witnesses to your bowel unloading activities. Continue reading →
This time last year, I was in my hometown for my grandmother’s burial. I wrote this on Facebook on this day last year.
It’s exactly 1.19 kilometres from my mother’s house to my father’s and it took me 24 minutes to walk that distance this morning, I must have stopped to greet a dozen people, including a man whose name is Stone whose senses are a wee bit scattered. I remember joyfully walking that distance with my mother and brothers on our way to see Mama Christiana and the other Umuorue people. We loved walking because only then could we see Mimosa pudica and touch its leaves, we would watch with glee and fascination as the leaves wilted and “resurrected” after a few minutes, at that time we called it touch and die.
We’d greet everyone we met unlike in Lagos where we only greeted people we knew, in the village you might ignore an unknown face and he’d turn out to be your great grandmother’s uncle’s best friend’s son or simply your grandmother’s only sister (this actually happened).
The landmarks that shaped my memories are almost all gone; at Ama Ehuma used to be a big tree, it was very wide and very tall. One Christmas, the Christians cut it down because it was the home of the spirits- like the spirits cannot find another home. Today you’ll find a rusting sign on that spot- “Jesus is Lord over Umunanwiri Village”, maybe the spirits live in the sign now…. who knows?
Instead of the dusty road of my childhood is a tarred road courtesy of a certain Hon Emeka Ihediora who did for us what many promised (including a former deputy governor from my town) us but could not do. My children will walk that road with me and won’t need to cover their noses when cars approach.
Like my mother showed me, I’d show them the beautiful sunflowers that line that road, we’d touch the mimosa leaves and watch them wilt and resurrect, we’d greet everyone we see and I’d tell them about the people who’d walked the paths before them, tell them the stories of their mother’s people, their myths and fables. Unfortunately I can’t show them the wild pea that my Papa Vincent had planted for me just because I’d liked the flowers, maybe I’d plant it for them. Do you know where I can get the seeds?
I’d start by apologising for my silence, I’ve had plenty going on and I forgot I had a blog- seriously! It wasn’t until I got two beautiful emails from two gorgeous women that I realized how my silence seemed. I am ok, just dealing with a major change which I’d write about next.
I was writing a Facebook status that balloned into something else and I’ve decided to put it up here too. It’s about the sun and memories.
Continue reading →
Continue reading →