Wetin Dem Talk?

Christiana dream one kind dream last night. Since her mama born am, she don use her eye see different different things for this life wey she never ever talk about, but that was not until yesterday when she use her two legs waka go meet Aunty Counsellor, come open her mouth like pipe wey don burst out water full everywhere.

Inside the dream, person call Ranti, Christiana best friend for this world wey we dey so, tell Ranti say she see where them carry Christiana gist on top WhatsApp group chat, unto say as breeze blow fowl yansh don open and na Christiana be the fowl. Christiana no remember who call Ranti but she know say na Ranti tell am say her story don enter town brekete. Fear catch am.

Christiana jump up from sleep! She wipe her eyes make she dey see clearly. Her mind come dey follow her talk say, inside this Lagos? If people ever know the kind things wey Ranti say dem dey discuss about her for inside the dream? Her own don finish be that na. She dey suspect Aunty Counsellor even though she no tell am the things Ranti talk say those people for the WhatsApp don know about. Even Ranti sef no know those details about her life, upon how dem be like five and six.

Her secrets plenty no be small. She dey fear say na Bobo, her pikin wey never reach six years old, go suffer pass if people ever know about the kind life wey she don live. Christiana no dey fear before because she know say if na in those days when na only she dey, wahala no for dey because, she for don brush anybody wey wan use her eye see dutty but now wey she don born Bobo she no fit do some kind things again. How e go take affect Bobo life for outside? Na the question she come dey always ask herself before she do anything.

Wetin sef? E no get anybody for this life wey holy pass! Na the quarrel wey enter Christiana chest be that. Make anybody come meet me if him know say e no get secret for this world, if all of them talk say they never do anything bad before, make them come face me, water dey comot from Christiana eye as she dey for bed. She dey think am, say if people gather somewhere dey judge am, even if say na for inside dream e take happen, say e must to mean something. Christiana dey confused as to whether or not she go carry this dream go meet Aunty Counsellor, she fit help her understand wetin dey happen to her.

Ah, Bobo don wake.

Bobo enter Christiana bedroom, sidon for corner of the mattress dey look him mama like person wey miss road, sleep full him eye. Bobo how now? You no fit greet your mama? Christiana ask her pikin. Bobo turn him head face the mirror she hang for the other side of the room, he dey still like wooden image, Bobo no be you I dey talk to? Christiana ask am again. Bobo turn around look him mama for eye, he open mouth and the thing wey follow send electric shock straight to Christiana spinal cord. Bobo ask him mama, wetin dem talk?

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Diary – IJEOMA W.

Ijeoma shares a story of her family, values, and how she has incorporated higher education as self development in her life’s journey with online learning tools.

4TH MAY 2017, 12:31 AM

Learning is infinite in my family. We go to school, rest small, and then go back to school.

My mommy once said to me “You know in this family we are not traders or “business people”, what we do is book, so please read.” Both my parents have at different points in their lives studied for six degrees (combined), including professional certificate examinations. I have known about online education for a hot while now, at a point when I was in secondary school the dinning table in my house was practically a satellite university campus because my daddy was taking a Master’s degree program from a foreign university via the internet. Last year my Uncle Roman Oseghale graduated from the prestigious Telfer School of Management and Centre for Executive Leadership, University of Ottawa, Canada and last week he was the 8th speaker at The Platform. Essentially, “Book” is central to who I am becoming because my role models figuratively said so.

I took my first online course before I turned 18. The thing about having access and privilege is that if you don’t use it, it would have been a waste. On a rather uneventful day in my dorm room (shouts out to Manuwa Hall, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus), I had the opportunity of stumbling upon this website called COURSERA DOT ORG and I became very interested in learning what I was being taught in the classroom by myself, at least the courses I could find, so I started taking online courses that mirrored what my lecturers were teaching me in the classroom.

Part of it I will attribute to sheer curiosity. Coursera offered courses from Universities I could only dream about at the time, the first one I chose (and completed) was by Duke University, my friend Sanmi Oyenuga was studying Engineering there, I wanted to know what being a student at Duke felt like so I stayed up all night, having physically attended lectures during the day, learning and watching all these free lecture videos on my HP laptop with reliable internet courtesy of the “Lionet @ Manuwa” router that was conveniently mounted very close to the Mango tree whose leaves I could pluck if I put my hand through the pigeonhole in front of my room. The WiFi was strongest at night (back when Lionet was still Lionet, oh the sweet memories).

The internet has been good to me. So far, I have expanded my knowledge base and I am open to learning more about the world around me. I have started this free Bioethics course by Harvard University on edX.org today. It started in April, slated to end in October. I hope I finish it within the stipulated 7 weeks at a personal pace of 2 to 3 hours of study per week. Where I’m from, they measure accomplishments based on how much “Book” you know and how many lives you use your knowledge of “Book” to change for the better. I figured, I have unlimited internet data and I want to be successful in my village so why not take a course? On the 25th of April I watched a movie: “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”, based on a book of same name credited to the incredible medical investigative journalist, Rebecca Skloot, two days ago my Americanah friend Ayi Daniels reminded me of the uproar that is Roe vs Wade and today I signed up for Professor Cohen and the team at HarvardX to school me on Medical Ethics, a course my lecturers have previously taught me in class, just because life is all about patterns, haha.

Thanks for reading to the end, buy yourself a bottle of Fanta!


Originally Posted On Facebook.

All-Inclusive

Thank You for being in my life and for making me feel welcomed into yours.

‘Tis the season to be jolly! And to deal with your family members, once again! It is also snowing on my blog! I don’t recall setting snow but let us enjoy this little gift of snowballs dropping while we read this blog post now shall we?

Emonena turned the big eight-o two years ago, it feels like such a long time ago but I remember the details of that event so vividly because it was the last time most of my family members came together to party in December and…wait for it…IN THE VILLAGE, If you are Nigerian I’m sure you already know what this means. It was Christmas at Grandma’s! People do not easily forget Christmases spent at their Grandma’s or do they? I don’t know.

Emonena is my Grandmother, she’s also the one I get my Ajebutter-ness from, yes, totally. When she turned 80, her babies and other people who absolutely love and respect her decided to throw her a big birthday bash, it was phenomenal. They shut down the village, literally.

Emonena ran an all-inclusive household and she raised her babies to be all-inclusive in their ways. What do I mean by this? Here’s a little back story that will help you understand where this blog post is going:

Two nights to the big party, my mother and her sister teamed up, they decided to organize all the Grand babies a.k.a Third Generation to which I belong, to learn a song and a dance, and we were going to perform this song and dance in honour of Emonena at the party (and we did). In the course of organizing the third generation to harness their collective creative talent, different important questions arose. The one question that inspired this post was from littlest cousin, Tamara, she asked “Why is *Rapulu dancing with us when OUR Grandma is not her Grandma?” Rapulu and Tamara are around the same age, Primary school age, Rapulu’s parent is either my Grandma’s friend or beneficiary and by the reason of Emonena’s 80th birthday bash, there were at least 10 different Rapulus in the house with us, they were all expected to participate in the song and dance. Emonena meant something important to all their parents, in diverse ways, but the fact remained that Emonena was not their Grandmother and Tamara in all her innocence did not understand why they (The Rapulus) were invited to perform in Emonena’s song and dance. Looking back, it was a monumental success, considering all that went down in the two days and nights of rehearsals before the main event, whew, dealing with family (especially teenagers and young children) can be very, very stressful not to mention getting them to learn a song in Isoko and teaching them how to do the electric slide, thankfully they had the shoki part of it all covered. Shouts out to my mommy and my aunty and everyone who contributed, especially Emonena who sat outside in the cold with us during rehearsals, best believe she did.

In an all-inclusive household, All Lives Matter. There is no outsider, everybody is an insider. Big Mama’s House vibes, you follow? Emonena is the reason why being all-inclusive is now one of my personal values, and I don’t mean this in a I-am-Mother-Theresa-of-Calcutta way, or any way in fact. It is just something I have come to learn about myself; that I make people feel at home quite fast, which in itself is not a very wise thing to do, considering the fact that people are inherently wicked and jealous and unkind and filled with bad intentions. That being said, there are good people out there, people like Rapulu’s parents who are appreciative, who come back to say “Thank You for being in my life and for making me feel welcomed into yours.

Merry Christmas!


***

Ajebutter – noun – if you behave like your father has money, people will say you are an Ajebutter, i.e you eat Butter at home.

Rapulu – an Igbo phrase which literally translates to “Leaving work”, also someone’s name.

Isoko – Ethnic group in Nigeria with it’s own language and food and everything unique to an ethnic group

Shoki – Contemporary Nigerian Dance Step, the jury is still out on who the originator is. Google if you may.

By HASSAN TAIWO

We are kissing and kissing and kissing and my stomach is tingling.

It starts where it all starts, the beginning. We are walking down the road where rain has made a puddle and we are having to be jumping, jumping and jumping like Olympian high jumpers. He is telling me things, telling me about how his weekend went, tracing the scar on his head as he is telling me these things. I am listening, listening as far as the arc of his full lips permit, listening as far as the rough tangle of his hair permit, listening as far as his perfect face allows. He is noticing. He is noticing that I am looking him. He is asking me “What?”, “Nothing” I reply as I be catching myself. He is telling me now about how his childhood went, one story after the other, telling me about how girls be liking him and he doesn’t like them back, telling me about how girls be too dramatic. Telling me all these with those perfectly arched lips. I am only hearing as far as his hotness of himself permits my senses. I am tingling, tingling with trepidation. He notices me notice these things and asks “What?” again. This time, it is different, I summon courage and tell him “I want to kiss you”.  He weighs it in his head and finally he be saying, “I have a boyfriend’, I thought you should know”. I laugh and also be saying I have a girlfriend, I also thought you should know”. We both be smiling the smile with the promise of more.

  We are kissing and kissing and kissing and my stomach is tingling. Butterflies in my stomach tingling, Mama’s sweet jollof rice tingling, Kumbaya for my souls’ reprieve tingling and sweet sweet honey tingling. This is going on and on like a good movie just that in our case the director is not yelling that we be cutting. I am beginning to be thinking that this boy has been hiding the whole of heaven In his lips this whole time. Mid-reverie, the boy whose mother they be saying is a witch and father a demon shines light on us and next thing he be shouting “Fag! Fag! Gay! Gay!”. I is breaking the embrace, I is scared, I is thinking there is no way out of this one. Next thing, people are coming out to gather us, to snap us, to beat us. Next thing, I is hearing him tell them that he is the fag, he blackmailed me, I is hearing him tell them to leave me alone. Next thing, the crowd is telling me *Ndo, **Pele, Sorry. Next thing, I is seeing them take him away with slaps and kicks. I is screaming “I am sorry!” but my voice is not responding. My voice is not talking. My voice is not a voice.

   I be go to my room but I can’t be sleeping. I be hearing his screams as they beat him, put sticks in his anus, slap him around. I can’t be sleeping. I be screaming, I be praying, I be being miserable. Too much! too much! too much! my mind be saying. My mind is telling me that I can’t let him be dying like that, I can’t let heaven be treated like that. I be opening a word document, I be typing, be telling the world the truth, be typing, be crying, be typing, be crying. When I be finished, as I wanting  to be saving the document, I be remembering the words fag! gay! fag! gay! also be remembering Ndo, Pele, Sorry. I be liking the other one better, I be liking the sympathy and care, I no be liking the screaming. Now, my hand is betraying me, I be pressing delete when I want to be saving, as I am deleting, I am shouting to heaven Ndo, Pele, Sorry. Ndo, Pele, Sorry. I be crying too as I am shouting it to my heaven, Ndo, Pele, Sorry. I be remembering that hot March those many years ago, when Mama be telling me “Humans always find a way to make themselves victims in another’s tragedy”. Softly, softly, I be whispering it as I fall asleep, Ndo…Pele…Sorr….


*Ndo – Igbo – Sorry
**Pele – Yoruba – Sorry

niankh
The above picture of two men kissing is of Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum. They were ancient Egyptian royal servants; they are believed to be the first recorded same-sex couples in history. It is the only tomb in the necropolis where men are displayed embracing and holding hands. In addition, their chosen names form a linguistic reference to their closeness: Niankhkhnum means ‘Joined to life’ and Khnumhotep means ‘Joined to the blessed state of the dead’, and together the names can be translated as ‘Joined in life and joined in death’.

The Procession

The dominant voice in her head still had the strength to be a Commentator meanwhile the will to live mixed with her sweat and seeped out of her pores.

ding ding ding ding, a Whatsapp message entered Onyi’s phone and she murmured, “who is that rude boy blowing up my phone by this time of the night?” She reached for her phone and unplugged it from where it was charging beside her bed. The room was dark. Before she unlocked her screen she saw from the drop-down notification bar that the message was from her class Whatsapp group. A thought snaked its way into her head, I just hope sey we no get emergency test tomorrow like this so. Onyi drew her secret pattern on the touch screen with her right thumb, touched open the Whatsapp app, and she read the message. What she saw made her cackle like a Witch from one of the elite covens in Edo state.

ha-haha-hahaha-hahahahaha-hahaha-ha-ha-ha-hahahahaha-haha-ha, she lost control, hahaha-haha-hahahaha-ha-ha-hahaha-ha-hahahaha-ha.  This went on for a while. She started clapping her hands in tandem with her words “this-must-be-a-joke, na-lie, this-na-April-fool“. By this time, her roommate Kene had woken up from deep sleep. She moved around noisily on her bed which was on the other side of the very big, old wardrobe they shared, on a good day it served as a boundary between the girls’ large personalities.

vroom-shrr-brr-grrr-drrr, She tossed and turned in her bed, she sure wasn’t in the mood for  Onyi’s rubbish drama tonight. Kene started rambling loud enough for Onyi to hear her,  “Madam are you alright? Do you know what time it is? Please you are disturbing the peace of the whole hostel and I am trying to sleep, my head is aching me abeg, reduce your voice. Don’t you know the time? What kind of behaviour is this? Consider me too na, no be only you get loud voice for this room, me sef fit decide to run mad but….” her voice was hoarse.  Kene talked very fast, like she was trying to finish licking a moderately sized Ube that just got off the grill before it got cold.

peeem-peeeem-peeeeeeem, peeee-peeee, pim-pim, pe-pe-pe-peeeee, The sheer number of humans walking on the main road that early in the morning drove the Drivers crazy, one can assume that they unanimously agreed to forget their hands on their horns at the same time. It was the next morning and Kene walked beside Onyi on the main road, they moved together in silence while others sang those awful songs.  Kene made sure Onyi walked on the inner side of the road. She knew that she was all Onyi had at that moment in time and she was going to do everything she could to make her roommate feel safe. She took Onyi’s hand, to make sure she didn’t lose her in the crowd, and led her, navigating the crowd like her mom used to do when they were out in public back when she was a little girl.

yeeeee-eeehhh-ewooooo-onwuuu-ewoo-yeee-onwuoo, The voices went up in unison as the group approached their final destination. Onyi felt hollow, she had a blank expression on her face. The dominant voice in her head still had the strength to be a Commentator meanwhile the will to live mixed with her sweat and seeped out of her pores. She couldn’t help but study her environment: hian why is that one manifesting. She was breathless, it felt as if a hand was squeezing her chest and she squeezed Kene’s hand tightly: so this is how this boy just left without collecting my number? She felt her head turn towards the direction of the loudest voice: This Morenike too dey do one kind it’s not as if she ever acknowledged his existence. Onyi felt drained, she didn’t sleep a wink throughout the nightKene was saying something to her, she looked straight at her face but her ears failed her. “ehn?” That was the first thing she uttered since they started walking. Her voice betrayed her, it was weak and tiny. She sounded like a starved baby Zombie.

It was a sad day for the entire Department of Geology in  Nsukka, 300 Level to be precise. The previous night their Class Representative hung himself at The Cricket Pavilion while the school slept. He was a charismatic leader, well loved by those he served. His Lecturers fondly referred to him as “Bright Chap” because he had a record breaking GPA of 4.9. He was also tall, dark, handsome, and the object of Onyi’s desire. When she read the Whatsapp message she temporarily lost her mind because the phrasing was unforgivable, the grammar wrong, and whoever sent it was in such a hurry, he or she spelled black without a ‘c’. Onyi decked in White from her head to her toe, She looked like his angel for that day.

New Message: 015 Geo-Ginger Group

“Felix is been found dead at Cricket Pavilion by his hostel guys, they say he committed (Suicide) but they are investigating. you guys should wear all blak tomorrow morning for the procession, we start at main gate and walk to department by 8AM. May he r.i.p, what a pity. onwu di njo”

01:23AM

***
This story is based on true events.
May the controversy end on it’s own.
R.I.P Nwanne.

How to become a Childhood Friend

There is no such thing as a perfectly written eulogy. – Ijeoma Wogu 2016

Coming up with the title of this short, I had Prof. Wole Soyinka and Mr. Okey Ndibe in mind
Re: The man died. Foreign gods Inc.

I have a gazillion Childhood Friends. I pray for them everyday, I love them and wish for nothing but the best for them, all the time.


Ifunanya and I went to Secondary School together where we hardly said ten words to ourselves for the entire period of three years we spent in the same confinements. We got into the same University and became inseparable. We were familiar in an unfamiliar place, so we became a team (makes you wonder about the beauty of biology doesn’t it?) helping each other through our individual life battles and culture shock. She is the only person in the world that has asked me to be her ‘birthday maid’, as in a maid of honour but for her birthday and not her wedding. She recently came down with malaria and she reacted to her treatment, the following conversation ensued:


IFUNANYA:
Had drip yesterday.
And injections.
Was reacting to a malaria drug
So they had to suppress it
 JAYJEYSTIC:
Ndo o
What drug?
IFUNANYA:
Serious tremors tho, weakness and loss of appetite
Lol
I have try
I’m a survivor
 JAYJEYSTIC:
Malaria na bastard Sha
 IFUNANYA:
Camosunate
 JAYJEYSTIC:
The stuff sounds like something they use to fight Boko haram
Camo
 IFUNANYA:
Looool
This geh


Tayo is the one friend to whom I have reported all my major life events since we were teenagers, since the early Facebook and BBM days. When I passed my SSCE, when I got into university, when I failed a course in university, when I was in an accident, when I moved continents, when I had that existential crisis on virginity and what not, when I had to go to different embassies by myself I hatched an elaborate plan and ran it by him. That time I tweeted about how much I appreciate all my friends that look out for me, I was referring to Tayo because he had asked:


TAYO:
How e dey go
JAYJEYSTIC:
E get as e be [ long chat where I pour out my frustrations, which I was unaware were gathered at the brim of my mind, waiting to come out]
Thanks for asking.
TAYO:
*one strength emoji* I like your spirit though. Keep up the ‘fight’ and don’t be discouraged.
JAYJEYSTIC:
Thanks. Same to you.
TAYO:
*one kiss emoji*
JAYJEYSTIC:
Aww *four kiss emojis*


Chisom walked down the corridor of Manuwa Hall with her freshly braided head of hair that made her hang her neck at an angle to help reduce the pain, she looked a bit puffy, and ready to take on Monday morning simultaneously. We didn’t notice her until she started taking off her slippers by the door, She exclaimed in her peculiar way when she finally entered the room “Ah! You guys are eating Plantain and you didn’t invite me!“. The first thing that struck me about her was her complexion. She was the fairest person I had ever seen, Omalicha. The second thing was that she wore socks indoors, like me. Ours was predestined. In the following weeks, we shared our stories, zoomed in on our similarities and there was no stopping us. By the time it was the Student Union Government election season, we had formed our own version of the cool kids subculture in school. Once, during the campaigns, an aspirant came to the hostel to talk to Chisom and when he left she said to me smiling “I feel like we’re the Kingmakers, we are important in this election, we decide who wins…“. Chisom taught me how to acknowledge my privilege in life and how to use it. To an extent, she taught me how to be human. When I won a beauty pageant it was Chisom behind the scenes, literally. Before I left Nigeria she invited me to her parents’ house in Abuja, twice. We sat down and talked about this and that and it was that week it got real for me: I was leaving my friends behind, I even said to myself “I’m not going to make new friends abroad“.


Kingsley and I met in 2014, he doesn’t know this but the very first time I met him, he was teaching a tutorial. I was listening to him teach and that was when I saw him through the eyes I imagine Simon Cowell uses to judge Got-Talent shows, and by the time we were done with the tutorial, I was Simon hitting the Golden Buzzer for him to move on to the “live shows”. That night, when I got back to my room I made a tweet about him. I said how he was full of promise and how he was a great teacher. Time did it’s thing and sooner than I had expected, we actually became sort of friends. I think he also  came to see me with the “Simon Cowell googles” but I’m not sure, you can never be sure when it comes to that boy. Kingsley recently entered into a short story competition called #JollofRice by Okadabooks and he won the first round, (by getting the highest number of votes/reads from the general internet public). His story was unique, very very well written, funny, Nigerian and relevant to the time it was written. Today I woke up to a Whatsapp from Kingsley:


KINGSLEY:
I lost * three crying emojis*
JAYJEYSTIC:
You won.
Don’t say that.
KINGSLEY:
Lol. Don’t worry I am over the loss now.
JAYJEYSTIC:
Okay.

I think I reacted to the message in the way he expected. To a large section of the people I have come to befriend, I am that friend who believes in your dreams fiercely, as if they were mine. The grounded one, you know, the one that scolds. The one that hands out tough love cookies without batting an eyelid, also the one you can rely on to reassure you. Kinda like my version of what Tayo is to me.


Bunie was my sister’s next door neighbour at her place off campus, He was also her classmate. I found him annoying in the way you find a tall, handsome, light-skinned boy that goes to your Teenagers Church annoying and the feeling was mutual. We got along despite each other, I was staying with my sister that semester and Bunie’s Chess board worked its magic to bring us together. It was our common ground. As usual there was no light/power that night in my sister’s room. We played two sets by candle light and he won both so I lost interest in the game. Sore loser that I am. We bickered and bantered, I started playing with the matchbox.  I lit a matchstick and blew it out, put it in my mouth and instantly felt like smoking something, anything. My sister’s room was on the second floor, I got up from my position on the floor and opened the window, sat on the window stool with half my upper body leaning outside, there was neither burglary proof nor mosquito net standing guard so it was just human, window, and night breeze. There was a piece of paper on her table, I reached for and took it, rolled it, not minding what was written on it. Bunie was carried away with the business of arranging the board for another round, he looked up at me when he sensed burning paper and shouted in horror

“what are you doing?!”

His voice was laced with concern and panic? I laughed and coughed. Bunie warned me to stop playing with fire and in that moment, he too became my Childhood Friend, for life.


For: Kayode (Sir Kassanova) Adeniji.
1994-2016
Sun re o, ore mi atata

Igbo Energy

(Originally posted on Facebook)

Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; energy can only be transferred or changed from one form to another. This is the first Law of Thermodynamics so it is a universally accepted truth. I speak what I call elementary Igbo and I understand the language enough to be able to buy goods in Ogbete main market (Enugu) without getting cheated by the sellers and to answer questions from my uncles when I am in London as that is the language we speak at home, abroad. At this point I’ll like to reiterate what my very intelligent friend Nnamdi Chris Ekeh (who I sometimes practice speaking French with) says, ”Courtesy demands that you speak in the language you are spoken to”.

My younger brother Oghoghomena Menah Wogu, inspires me to learn more Igbo words and phrases because he genuinely cracks up anytime I say something in Igbo 🙂 🙂 and we have a few jokes we share over and over again that have to do with the Igbo language. With my little knowledge of the Igbo language, something I never fail to do is try to translate Igbo names to know their English meanings. I like music and I find Igbo names (especially the long ones) to be very musical in a way that only Igbo names can be. My sister’s name Uchechi Wogu is a sentence and I wish my name Ijeoma, was longer.

I am writing about Energy and Igbo names for two reasons and two reasons is enough reason for my overactive creative mind to write a 500+ words-long post on Facebook. 

Storytime: When I was around 11 years of age, my cousin Ore who was in university at the time, told me about a friend of hers who had only his name to show for his cultural heritage, his name was Ewoma, I think, and he went to her university. She told me this story because I told her what people in my school called me. (It was Mirabell, for those wondering) We both understood that like Ewoma, we did not speak our native languages and knew very little about our cultures and the idea was that I needed to hold on to what I had, and just like Ewoma what I had was my traditional/native name ‘Ijeoma’.

The other day I was speaking to someone and he asked me if Ijeoma was my full name (I go by Ijeoma nowadays). I said Yes and asked him what his full name was. He said Chukwumaifonaeme. I told him what I thought about his name and I also said that his name has followed him, to which he replied “All our names, really”, I answered “Yes. All our names follow us”. I felt like the Energy in the name he was given is being transformed into another Energy which he now knows as his ‘personal life experience’ (I say so because he told me things about himself).

Igbo names can be lost in translation sometimes because we try to over simplify their meanings by making them out to be more literal than contextual. The very science of Igbo nomenclature and it’s roots in the philosophy of the Igbo language is so profound that even as an elementary speaker of the language, I find myself moved by Igbo names. I found a quote on the internet and this quote for me, was the cement between Energy and Igbo names although It focuses on translation:

Reading Lakshmi Holmström (1935–2016), whose translations took Tamil literature to world readers

Quote: “I think that most readers – and again I’m excepting the specialist reader or indeed the discriminating and sensitive reader – don’t understand what exactly is involved in a translation. They can’t quite grasp the notion that languages differ hugely in lexis as well as syntax; that one language doesn’t ‘move into’ another automatically. Nor do they realise that when you translate a work, whether it is a poem or a long work of fiction, you have to keep in mind the integrity of the whole thing. Words and sentences may be the bricks and mortar but it has a structure as a whole that you are constantly aspiring towards. But of course, I’m also aware that different translators read, interpret and work differently.”

This post is for my daddy, because he always says that he hasn’t done his job to teach us the Igbo language. Daddy jisike, we love you like that and we are just fine!

LOVE FOUND

I have woken up to listen to Asa’s lyrics on two separate occasions in the past 3 moons, When my aunt died it was Baby Gone, today Bibanke.

Pictured above is the Love Garden in UNEC (University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus). It is where young lovers go to at night to express their love, other notable things happen here but that is a story for another day. Maria photographed it on a nice day in 2014 after the flowers had been expertly manicured by the Groundskeepers.

Thus goes the story of Love Found.

Love did not come to Maria in the Love Garden. She was very well known for being a controversial person when she started school at UNEC, she had the temper of ten angry men and the sharpest tongue to go with it and rest assured she knew how to make perfect use of her arsenal. To cut the story short, she didn’t have many friends because the general perception of those close enough to try to befriend her was that she was a handful! Okon on the other hand, always fancied himself as an alté person, he found Maria interesting and befriended her when they were both in their first year of school. Maria and Okon became really close and he succeeded in rubbing off his coolest-young-man-in-the-room attitude on her. She adored Okon. To the ordinary eye, they appeared to be in Love! But no, what they had between themselves was sacred. Love couldn’t begin to describe it.  They called themselves best friends as many others the world over, who find themselves in similar situations, tend to do. Maria and Okon eventually had some problems in their friendship when she suspected that  he had gone on to befriend someone else. The trust she had in him, for him, and in their best-friendship dissipated before she knew what was happening. She felt betrayed by him and confronted him but he simply dismissed her feelings, he thought she was being such a babe about it, after all, they weren’t in an exclusive relationship. Okon carried on with his new friend while trying to maintain what was left of his and Maria’s relationship. Whenever they spoke about the other woman he saw it as an avenue to tease Maria about how clingy/jealous (he basically appointed himself judge and jury over their matter) she was. Months went by and they weaved a new kind of dynamic in their friendship in which Maria accommodated Okon. She did it because she still admired and valued Okon, she respected his choices and brought herself to care less and less about the effect they had on her. Maria met someone new and her world was turned on its head by the forces responsible for such events… same forces that she suspected for telling the butterflies when to start flapping their tiny wings in our tummies when we are flattered by the sheer existence of another human being. In those days she touted her dedication to her friendship with Okon but when the forces came along, it was surreal, that her, Maria, would go out there and allow herself to desecrate the same friendship which she fought countless  losing battles with Okon for. That she, Maria had gone to bring the other man. That she found Love and it was not Okon. She was subdued by the emotions. Maria took out time to evaluate the outcome of her happily ever after with the other man and she was forced to grow up in the wake of the events, and take in the lessons that came with her friendship situation, one of them was that happiness is sometimes selfish and everyone deserves to be happy. She was on the other end for the first time and it was only then that she sympathized with Okon and the other woman.

the END.

A Nigerian Quirk #5

GETTING FLOGGED FOR DUMMIES

I sat outside at church on Sunday, like I always do. This rain started at some point; it wasn’t really heavy but it came along with a strong wind and was pouring. So, most people outside intelligently went in and fixed themselves in at any space they could find with their plastic seats.

This interesting event happens. This lady in her thirties comes out with her little daughter, probably between two and three, and they come next to where I tucked myself in, and she yells to her “Stay here! Don’t move! I’m going to get a cane for you! I’m going to really flog you!” She looks around, sees an umbrella a friar kept beside me and she takes it without asking me if she could borrow it or not. She walks into the windy rain under the umbrella which of course, wouldn’t do much to cover her. She breaks off a little branch from one of the flowered plants growing around the church without considering what the guys that run the church would think of what might be considered her ‘destructive action.’ She’d probably use the “Well father, you know what the Bible says, ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child,’ so, I had to do it” line, and walk scot free. Anyway, why did she go through all this? Because her daughter was making noise inside the church. Did she eventually flog her? You bet she did, and real hard too! What would make a parent do such a thing? Nigerian blood, simply put.

Oh man, growing up in Nigeria? Get prepared to have your ass whopped on a daily; that ish – being flogged, it’s standard. We knew the ins and the outs, the dos and the don’ts, the getting flogged commandments, everything. There was no Getting Flogged for Dummies, nope, none. We learnt all these ourselves.

You had to know when to cry – you start too early and your folks would think you’re trying to trick them into not flogging you, and because of it they’d flog you more; start too late, they’d think you’re forming Superman and so to be sure, they’d flog you much harder and much more and maybe even throw in a bigger sized cane into the mix for the heck of it. You had to time your crying perfectly. Before the first stroke comes, just say sorry, no crying. When the first stroke comes, then you can cry and it has to be immediately you get the stroke.

And it doesn’t stop there. You had to know how loud you could cry – if you cried too loudly, your folks would think you’re trying to get the neighbours to come around and save your ass and so they’d give you more strokes all the while giving you some time in-between to calm down with the noise so they can go on; you cried too softly, you get no compassion at all and you seem like you aren’t sorry at all and like you are really stubborn. You have to find that mid-volume, depending on your voice and how loud it is. The only time you cannot cry is when you are at school. You dare not cry at school! Your whole street cred till the day you go six feet under rests on it. I still have a mental list of all my boys that cried in school. I’d pay them all a visit when they have their own kids. It would make a fun story for their kids.

The when to cry and how loud to cry strategy doesn’t get them to act compassionate towards you though, it’s just to reduce the number of strokes you get. But who’s counting anyways? Only butter kids (kids from posh backgrounds like Ijey) have that. Street boy like myself, we measured stamina! The cane stops coming when your parent’s physical endurance gets low. Then there’s the choice of weapon too, which basically is whatever you get beaten with. A list would be helpful here, but a truthful list would be inexhaustible. So, I’d list a few I can remember. There’s the standard cane that was bought in the market. You’d see that mostly used in schools. There’s koboko also bought in the market but that’s military grade. If you get that weapon, then, well, you’re some really bad guy or just unlucky with the dad God gave you in that regard. Mothers do not use those. Hold on, let me think it through… Doesn’t quite sound right. Let’s say, most mothers don’t use those. But then, why would you buy cane from the market with your money when the economy is hard? So people like me got flogged with canes gotten from big shrub branches and the likes, just like the kid I mentioned earlier, that are around the home. Then there was this mind game our parents played with us – they’d tell us to go get the cane we would get flogged with by ourselves. You didn’t want to get something really thick and big cause it would hurt more. And you couldn’t get something small that would hurt less cause your parents would not allow that. Why would they? They are Nigerian, man, not soft. So you had to get the in-betweener and it would be in your best interest to get one that would pass on the first try. If you don’t, you’d get sent back. The more you get sent back, the more flogging you get. But cause I’m such a nice guy, here’s a tip to any kid still in this situation that might be reading this – get a lot of canes and somehow make your parent make a pick. But have a good look at what you get because you might still be asked to make a pick. Don’t forget, your parents were once kids. Then there’s the leather belt, which is the civilian version of koboko. There’s even the footwear for short spanking just for the spur of the moment. There’s even the flat sides of machetes. Basically, anything that’s solid and can be held in the hand makes the list.

There’s some other act that any Nigerian with getting-flogged experience would know – after flogging sobbing. Any kid that can pull it off is a professional (pronounce that “professional” with a thick Nigerian accent though for full effect)! Basically, how it works is, you’d have tears in your eyes (which could be for hours… okay maybe an hour or two), make sobbing sounds like a teenager who just lost her boyfriend, and stay at a corner by yourself. This is the only way you could get compassion from your folks. Just go to a corner, make sure your sobbing is loud enough for them to hear, but not too loud to be a nuisance. If it doesn’t work, just sleep. If it does works, they would call you over to their side, hug you and all that and explain to you that what you did was really wrong and make you promise you don’t do it again, o di egwu!! If you are lucky, they could give you some food you like which wouldn’t be normally given to you. As a kid, I liked bread a lot, still do. I liked having it with Milo and milk. It was by far my favourite meal and we had it only on some mornings. Things were hard bruv. Normal breakfast was moi-moi, rice, yam, unripe plaintain, or okpa. Once after being flogged by dad because I came back late from playing with my neighbours outside, I pulled off a perfect after flogging sobbing and he gave me my favourite meal for dinner. Boss!

AVOCADO

Nneka carried her portable Bluetooth speaker into the bathroom with the tips of her fingers, her hands were soiled with the avocado face mask she had just made with the help of Wikihow.com. Continue reading “AVOCADO”