Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Letter to God

Dear God,

1. Writing to You is not what I do often. I usually speak to You in prayer even though I know I should be speaking with You a lot more ("blushing", have mercy on me!). Guess what, Lord? Today is my birthday! Yeeeeeeeeeeees! I am feeling special. Laughing Out Loud! I know You did not forget, Lord! :-) You don't ever.
2. Usually on a day like this the spotlight is on the celebrant but I have been thinking Lord it really should be about You and deservedly so. Reason - You are why I exist. First, I had no say, input or contribution whatsoever to make when You were at work forming me. Secondly, you "tailor-chose" my parents, physical attributes, natural endowments and core giftings. Those decisions were too complex even for my parents to have made any meaningful input. They were simply God decisions. So what started out as an intimate private moment between tall, fair-skinned and handsome Matthew (my Dad) and his curly haired nubian beauty Jummai (my Mom) on that cold Yola night was actually Your top secret project codenamed Richard.

Growing Pains: Pleasures and Pressures of Living in a Developing City

"Piim! Piim piim!"
A few seconds pass and "Pim! Piim!! Piiim!" again.
I turned around to see an approaching taxi cab, the driver making gestures at me with his hand to find out if I needed a ride. Uncommitted, I continued on the sidewalk only for the cab to slow down beside me and the driver probing a little further: "Drop?" (Local slang for "do you want to charter a ride?").
I shook my head and he sped off towards the traffic light some distance away. Almost immediately, my ears were again inundated with the growing sound of "Piim piim, piim piim! Piim piim, piim piim!" as a second taxi cab drew closer, the driver dancing on his seat to the loud beat of Fuji music (a popular drums-rich Yoruba music genre) and looking in my direction for the signal to stop but receiving none.
I laughed and muttered to myself, mentally shaking my head, "What do we do with these aggressive and unrelenting Abuja taxi drivers who never give up and never keep quiet until you are seated in their car as a passenger!”

Morning delight!

I love mornings. I mean I love the morning experience. Mornings are usually my most productive and inspiring moments. They are sometimes my struggling periods too, trying to work out my bearing for the day. Very often as the "anesthesia" of sleep wears off and loses its effect on me and I lazily jostle into wakefulness, nature's jazz band is beginning to play softly in the background, serenading, reassuring and entertaining. The rooster, king of the morning, like a brass master, opens the musical score skillfully blowing his trumpet in the still-dark, insect-sound-laden, early morning silence: "cock-a-doodle-doo!" Or better still, in Nigerian pidgin: "kukurukuuuuu!" (laughing). And almost immediately, another member of this cock-ensemble positioned somewhere some distance in the neighbourhood joins in, echoing back this rooster-trumpet sound. This seemingly two-piece rendition goes on and on. And in no time, the twittering of sparrows, the whistling of swallows, the singing of wood thrushes and the cooing of doves and pigeons harmonise into this amazing birdsong and dawn chorus in the unfolding musical interlude.

What's A Year Got To Do With It?

I have a small Samsung smartphone. I don't particularly like big phones partly because they are clumsy to carry about but also because it appears I am some kind of phone monster who makes them to run for cover! Sadly, I have lost quite a number of them. Hahaha! Nevertheless, it's amazing what you can do with your phone. Outside making and receiving calls and engaging in social networking, my Samsung galaxy has become my trusted journaling companion. Often, lying on my bed, I just start journaling. Of the several note-taking apps out there, Evernote is my favorite. So a couple of days ago while journaling and thinking about how fast my year seemed to have unfolded and also wrapped up, I got to wondering about what's really in a year? I mean like what's a year really worth? What's the value of a year?

Masquerade Songs!

I stretched out my right hand, rather hesitantly, to turn the cold water tap but then let it freeze midway. The picture in my mind of shivers rocking through my body at contact with the shower water left me undecided to take the plunge into this miniature waterfall. The option of turning the hot water tap was none the better as an electricity outage earlier meant that the heater was of no use to me when I needed it the most. Mustering all the courage in me, I jumped into this controlled downpour, skipping as I did, to shake off the cold water induced shivering. A familiar yet unexpected hum suddenly seemed to well up inside of me. I ignored it at first but it grew in audibility, striking a chord in me. It resonated of an experience from my past. It aroused a sense of nostalgia. In that bathroom moment, I was literally transported back in time to Luukwo village.
The sound of pigeons cooing outside, cocks crowing in turns, a mother hen clucking, subdued by the chirping of her chicks, and the distant squealing of a pig fight indicated that it was daybreak already and everyone was up and about their business. It must be a beautiful day, I concluded. Well maybe for them but surely not for me. I tried to justify my condition as I laid there in bed, my body sore and my hands achy. The blisters on my hands had made me to detest the hard and physical aspects of the life of a village farmer. And don't even mention the early wake-ups and long bicycle rides to the farm! "Is this what they do daily?”, I questioned.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Christmas in Bakin Ciyawa

I am a village boy! Okay before I became a city boy, I was basically a village boy at heart (Laughing). I find village life very intriguing! The raw beauty of nature is so alluring and I marvel at the sense of community and solidarity that exudes around so effortlessly. There appears to be an unwritten law that everyone is their brother's keeper if not watcher. "Nobody should mind their own business" it seems to declare. And so as day breaks, as if to put this code of conduct to practice, the ritual of neighbourly salutations can be observed as people move from house to house exchanging pleasantries and getting updated on happenings. Native intelligence and practical wisdom are in no small supply as you listen to the threads of discussions among villagers.