Category Archives: True Life

Life Necessities

When I think of some of the things we did or experienced in the boarding house, I sometimes wonder how we survived without disease outbreaks.

I remember the periods we had no water; the rain just like yesterday’s heavy rain was welcomed with a grateful heart.

We opened the gutter slabs in the hostel and allowed the first stream of rain water to wash away any debris from the gutters. Once the stream of water was clear and we could see the bottom of the gutter clearly, we would begin to scoop the clear water with a bowl or cup into our buckets.

This water served for bath time and for garri 😀

During these water scarcity periods, we sometimes had to walk miles to fetch water from a village stream which was actually a pond because it never flowed. It was stagnant water in a large mass. The villagers washed their clothing on the brink of the pond and scooped water out of the large mass to rinse the clothes. So there was a possibility that soapy water from the brink splashed into the larger body of water.

We fetched our water from the large mass of water. Did we care whether there were soap splashes in it? The road to the stream/pond was so steep that coming back, we had to be careful not to trip with the buckets on our heads. We would cut banana leaves and place it on the water in our buckets. The idea was that the leaves stopped the water from pouring backwards as we came down the steep road. Thinking about it now, I don’t know who came up with that logic but it definitely worked for us.

The first bucket of water was for the kitchen where we would write our names down. This signified that we had earned our dinner. We would then go back and fetch another which would be for personal use. I remember there were a few seniors who were particularly wicked and sent juniors to get them a bucket of water from the stream/pond. Such juniors ended up going three or four times on a journey which was full of torture.

The water we fetched always had tadpoles swimming in them but that did not stop us from using it to drink garri. Once your bucket of water is settled in the hostel, we scoop out all the tadpoles and leave the water to settle. We would then blow the top of the water with “mouth breeze” and viola, it becomes purified 🤦‍♀️ ; what were we thinking. Students that had alum were considered kings. They broke the alum into their buckets to purify the water.

It is difficult to understand how we never had typhoid or cholera outbreaks. We however lost a student to typhoid in my final year. It shook us and it made us realize that we were all exposed to death.

Water is definitely an important necessity of  life.

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Photo credit: https://www.aces.edu

Introductions!

I was in a gathering of both men and women. We were asked to introduce ourselves.

I introduced myself by my first name. The others did as well.

Then, it was the turn of a particular lady; she introduced herself as Mrs……

We all got talking and even though what we were discussing had nothing to do with the family; Mrs. informed the rest of us that she had kids. I smiled.

The facilitator of the meeting had initially introduced herself to us by her first name but when she was asked to repeat her name; she repeated it as Mrs… I have no idea if the change in her introduction from her first name to identifying herself as a Mrs. was a result of the initial Mrs. who introduced herself but well….
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A few social gatherings I have been a part of, I have noticed a few women do not want to be identified as their first name. I am yet to understand why.

Does calling them by their first name belittle them? Or does it reduce the bride price that was paid by their husbands?
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To my fellow married women, how do you introduce yourself in a social gathering?

To my single friends, what is your take on introductions?

Do share your thoughts below.

Irresponsible Mother, Irresponsible Daughter

Date:                     December 31, 2018

Time:                     About 10.30pm-ish

Location:              Church premises

Everyone was dancing and praising God when I noticed the young boy seated on the aisle in front of me throwing up. I would put his age at about 5 or 6 years. A young girl who could pass for a 3 year old was sleeping beside him. I noticed the boy was holding a girl beside him who seemed to be oblivious to what was going on. She was a teenager; maybe a 15 year old. Another girl probably about 8 or 9 years sat on the other side of the teenager. They all looked alike; so my calculation was that they were siblings.

I tapped the teenager and told her the boy beside her was throwing up. She looked at me without any feeling and walked out of the hall leaving the boy who continued to throw up on the floor. I assumed she left to call the attention of their mother or their guardian. I wondered at her attitude, though. She did not give the boy a second look.

Two women sat on the same aisle; not far away from the boy. Another woman and a young man seated on the aisle in front of the boy all noticed him. The woman seated closest to him tried to pat his back. I would call her “Madam A”. The young man seated in front asked the boy to go outside to throw up. I said no, he could be weak and could faint on the way outside. After his episode of vomiting, he and the 8/9 year old girl left the hall.

The second woman seated on the same aisle, farther away from the boy went outside. She would be called “Madam B”. She came back with a dustpan filled with sand and poured it on the vomit. She made a second trip and came back with more sand. She must have informed one of the ushers because a lady came later with a mop stick. Madam B advised the lady that what she needed was a broom and not a mop stick.

Some minutes later, the boy and his immediate elder sister came back in. He didn’t look like someone who had just thrown up. He was smiling and they made an attempt to go back to their seat. The place was still a mess with sand mixed with vomit.

I noticed Madam B scolding both of them. She turned them back and refused to allow them go back to their seat. The children left the hall and went outside. I tried to follow their movement and noticed they were talking to a woman outside.

I recognized her. Before the service started, she hit my leg while trying to pass by and talk to the kids. I ignored and moved my feet away. She didn’t have to pass by my aisle to talk to them. She could have gone through the aisle where the kids sat; but well…Did she realize that she hit me? I couldn’t say but there were no apologies from her.

She left the hall. She came back a second time and hit me again while trying to pass by. This time I looked up and gave her the look. She apologized immediately and while leaving, she actually opened her mouth this time and uttered an “excuse me.”

Apparently, she decided to sit outside the hall while her kids sat inside. Madam B must have also traced the kids’ movement because I saw her walk outside straight to the kids’ mother. I noticed she was having an argument with the kids’ mother. I saw her point into the hall as she gesticulated. She stormed back into the hall in anger. I heard her tell Madam A and Madam C (seated in the front aisle) that she asked the boy’s mother if her kids related what had happened inside the hall. She had responded in the affirmative. Madam B said she told her that the place was a mess and that she should have at least come inside to see instead of just sending the kids back to sit in the midst of vomit. She said the kids’ mother told her she did not need to come inside; that someone will come and clean the mess.

Madam B said she was shocked. Someone will come. The someone that she did not deem fit to call or at the very least; send her teenage daughter to if she couldn’t. She had no words for the woman. She left her alone.

The two young kids came back into the hall. This time, Madam B quietly allowed them to go in and sit beside the vomit/sand mix. The usher came later to clean up the mess with a broom and dustpan. The teen girl came in much later after the place had been cleaned up. She sat down beside her siblings as if nothing had previously happened.

Maybe on a different day and in a different situation, I would have given the teen girl a little education on responsibility. But I realized my education would be a waste. She definitely wasn’t trained by a responsible mother.

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Photo Credit: https://www.highschoolsandhelicopterparents.weebly.com

The Red planet and Nigeria

I just watched little kids in the U.S rejoicing with adults over Nasa’s successful landing on planet Mars. Even at their tender age, they understand such developments.

Nigeria, my country!

Adults are still bickering over minute, teeny weeny issues. Social media is awash with grumpy and angry people. People who could divert that same energy into making a change in their environment. People who could stamp their feet in the sands of time and do something our future generations will remember us for.

Nigeria, what aileth thee?

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Photo Credit: https://www.canstock.com

Other people’s business

His phone rang twice. He tapped the green button on the screen and lifted the phone to his left ear. He spoke quickly in a language I did not understand.

A few minutes later, he dropped the phone on his laps. He looked into thin air like someone in a trance. He hit his right hand on his laps, then raised it to his chin. He sighed.

The phone rang again. He answered the call; speaking the same language again. Maybe it was the same caller, I assumed.

He ended the call and the previous gestures followed. Hitting the lap, shaking the leg and lost in thought.

Our conversations had never been more than “Good morning, good afternoon or good evening.”

Should I ask him if he was okay? Should I ask if there was a problem? Would he feel I should be minding my business? Would he feel I was poke-nosing into his private matters?

I decided to keep my mouth shut.

If you were in my shoes, what would you have done?

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Photo Credit: https://www.news.com.au

Are we mentally aware?

“Aunty, I took care of your car while you were away”. The man said.

I looked at him briefly and ignored him.

“You have a nice car and you are very pretty.”

I tapped the unlock button on the car remote once and eased in. I locked the door and started the car.

“Aunty I just need hundred naira.” He said through the wound-up window. “Please Aunty….” He kept saying as I drove off.

*****

This is the fourth time this well spoken man probably in his late 40s or early 50s would be accosting me. He walks the length and breadth of the popular streets in Surulere every day. The first time he accosted me, I did not realize he had a problem. As I eased into the marwa that was to take me to my destination at about 6:15a.m, he walked up to me and complimented my hair. I had packed it all up and it fell like the leaves of a palm tree around my head.

“Aunty, I like the way you packed your hair. It makes you look like an African beauty.”

“Thank you.” I had replied as I looked away and hoped the marwa would fill up on time so we could move. I was already running late and not in the mood for any chit-chat with anyone early in the morning.

“I just need hundred naira, please.” He had asked.

It was at that point I actually looked at him. A tall, well spoken man begging for hundred naira early in the morning. I was confused.

Thankfully, the marwa filled up and the driver eased in and drove off.

 

The second encounter with him was in the afternoon. I was walking with my son. As we attempted to cross the road, he looked at my son and smiled at him.

“How are you? Hope you are taking care of mummy.”

“I am fine, thank you.” My son replied.

I immediately recognized him and I held tightly to my son as we crossed the road.

“Aunty, please I need just hundred naira.”

 

On my third encounter with him, I had stopped to buy suya from my regular customer. He walked up to me and said; “I thought you had a baby on your back. I didn’t realize it was your knapsack.”

He started with his compliments as usual and kept talking. I ignored him and faced my business. He asked for hundred naira and when he realized I wasn’t looking at him, he walked away.

The guy selling suya to me smiled and I asked if he knew him.

“Yes, I know am well well. He dey waka everywhere dey ask for hundred naira.”

“Ahn…ahn…” I lamented.

“I hear say na this street im papa house dey. Dem say after im papa die, na so he kolo.”

“Wow!!!” I exclaimed. “He no get family?”

“Dem say im brother just leave am for house. I hear say he don travel comot.”

I paid for my suya, thanked the guy and walked away.

 

Whether the story about his father dying, his brother travelling out and leaving him alone is true or not, I have no idea. But one thing is sure, the man needs help and it seems like he has been left to his fate.

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Photo Credit: http://www.chinalawandpolicy.com

The troubled N100 note

“I cannot collect this 100 naira. Please change it for me.” The lady said.

“I no get another one.”

“Please change it. No one will collect it from me.”

“I say I no get another one. Dem go collect am no worry. Wón ti cancel 100 naira, kò sí mó ní ta.” (The 100 naira has been cancelled. It is no longer available). The marwa driver said to the lady impatiently.

The lady refused to budge as she pointed the dirty, torn and cello-taped 100 naira to the driver.

“Aunty, no waste my time nau. Abeg, get down make I dey go. Mo ní wón ti cancel 100 naira.” (I said they have cancelled the 100 naira). He repeated.

I looked at the lady refusing to collect the money and the other passenger (a lady also) seated beside her. The three of us burst out into laughter as if on cue. The elderly man seated gingerly beside the driver smiled. “Ta ló sö fún ë pé wón cancel e?” (Who told you it has been cancelled). He asked as he looked at him.

Kò sí n ta mó.” (It is no longer available). The driver replied.

Wön ò cancel è. Wön kò ò print è mó ni.” (It has not been cancelled. They have only stopped printing it).

“Aunty ë jò ó, ë jé, owó ni.” (Aunty, please eat it. It is money).

The other lady passenger and I looked at the lady still holding the money. We both had smirks on our faces.

“Oya give me 500, make I give you 600.” The driver eventually said.

The lady opened her bag, pulled out a 500 naira note and was given three 200 naira notes in return.

She eased out of the marwa and we continued our journey with the elderly man laughing at the driver as he repeated his statement about eating the money.

****

In recent times, with the unavailability of clean 100 naira notes, I have also had to avoid buying things that would make me receive the note. Most of the notes in circulation are in a sorry state and you begin to wonder as there are so many insinuations about the note.

Does anyone still have clean and new 100 naira notes in their possession? Do well to share 😉

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Photo Credit: http://www.naijaquest.com

Parenting Manual

“Please write down your name sir.” I said to the man seated in front of me.

He took the pen I offered him and began to write. His daughter stood by his side. She was probably about four or five years old. I smiled at her.

Maybe it was the smile that attracted her, I have no idea but she decided to walk round the table. She stood beside me as I continued to attend to her father. She opened my side drawer and took out the milo sachet I had bought the previous day.

She walked back to her father with the milo sachet in her hand. What I heard next was definitely not what I was expecting.

“Did you say thank you?” Her father asked her.

I looked up at the man with unbelieving eyes. The milo sachet was the medium family size not the mini ones.

“Say thank you.” The man said to his daughter.

The little girl shrugged her right shoulder in defiance.

“Say thank you.” The father repeated but his daughter ignored him.

I was done attending to him and I handed him what he had come to pick up.

 

As father and daughter walked out of my office with my milo sachet, I shook my head. I also had kids but it was not in my place to tell a father how to train his child.

If the father saw nothing wrong with his daughter taking what was not hers, then I had no words for him.

The “say thank you” and the defiance showed by the daughter was also a source of concern but well….

If at that age, her father was unable to exercise his authority over her, I wondered what the future held for both of them. Parenting is the most important job anyone with kids would ever do. There are no perfect parents but there are bad parents; parenting definitely does not come with a manual.

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Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.co.uk