Thursday, 6 October 2016

I am going home

I’m sitting here at Nsimalen airport, which is bereft of activity, an airport of a country far smaller than my country, but which seems to have more functional facilities than the airport in the capital of my great country. 

I am looking at my suitcase, the proof of my three months stay in this country and wondering whether I should be feeling this way. 

One friend asked me last night if I cried saying good bye and another asked if I was sad leaving. My response to both questions was laughter. I had music on so loud like I was celebrating my departure. 

Usually before trips, especially after living in a place, I have knots in my tummy but this time I was numb, no feelings whatsoever.  I didn’t have much time to see the best of the place but I sure saw some part of the bad! In the short time I stayed here, this country didn’t grow on me at all. 
I’ve checked in and I am sitting in the lounge, there are still no nostalgic feelings and thankfully, the staff at the airport had so far been nice. I’ll leave in peace with no hostility or aggression trailing me. 

It’s time to leave and as I wait for the call, I have a smile on my face as I think of the smiling and welcoming faces of my family, the warm hugs and being carried. I think of our dogs that will jump on me to show me that they missed me, liking and scratching. All I can think of ‘I am going home’.

I settle into my seat and look out of the window with a smile. As we take off, I look at the town beneath me and say a quiet thank you under my breath then a smile, a broad smile crosses my face again with the thought ‘I am going home’.

I walk out to my sister’s wide smile and waiting arms. She lifts me up and spins me around, the first of many hugs, and now I know I am home.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Being "African"

I was out with friends and it was an informal gathering, so of course we were all free to tease each other. We jumped from one topic to the other, and the banter just went on. We were on the topic of food and milk came up, I mentioned that I hadn’t had milk in a while.

 In response to all the whys, “I am lactose intolerant and I have irritable bowel syndrome”. I got such an incredulous stare from some of the people I was having a chat with. What do you stand for or who are you really, some stares seemed to say. Then there was a barrage of comments and questions. “I thought that was only for white people?” “With you, I only hear sicknesses that I hear on TV.” “And it’s not just her but in her family, some people are allergic to sea food, nuts and other things.” “What kind of food do you eat apart from all these oyibo dishes?” “You do not eat enough, you don’t eat pepper, you eat all these salads and vegetables.” “You are too punctual and exercise too much when you are not even fat!”

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Health is wealth

I woke up fine but at some point, I started to feel funny. I dismissed it at first but it all seemed to go downhill from there. I started this new work out so I thought that my body was simply adjusting to that. I was hungry and had started work without breakfast which I do very often. I went back to get myself something to eat then continued work but my whole body was revolting. I had a light headache, I was slightly dizzy, my tummy was in a state I could not describe, I felt cold but hot at the same time then my temperature had gone up. I spoke at this point, I told the residence manager that I didn’t feel well. I asked for a home malaria test kit and took the test, it came out negative. That was a relief as I had way too much work planned for the week to fall ill. I was meant to travel the next day.

I knew getting to a good hospital would be in the capital so I was slightly worried. She asked what my symptoms were, when I explained, she knew just what I needed. The first thing she said was ‘your flat mate had the same not long after he came here’. I asked her what she meant, then she explained that she thought my body was still adapting to the environment and that must have been the explanation for all these things that I could not explain. She advised that I get vitamin C effervescent. At this point, I could have ignored her advice but I followed. One of the things I know is, you cannot take the knowledge the locals have away from them. 

Monday, 5 September 2016

Bumpiness all the way with this trip continued...

If you missed the first part, please read it here 

This was what the room looked like. I find the best in every situation, so here, there was clean water. It wasn’t brown but clear and that was amazing to me, given the circumstances. There was no phone network in the two villages where we would be working, but there was constant light. I hardly used it but it was comforting to know. 

The room consisted of a bed, a table and a chair

Friday, 2 September 2016

Groundut soup/sauce

I have always liked this soup/sauce but I don't enjoy it when it is prepared in certain ways, with okro for example. I have made this before but decided to try it again. I read a few methods of preparation and got some ideas of how I wanted to make it.

- chicken (I had four pieces)
- 3 onions
- garlic
- 5 tomatoes
- 1 pepper
- seasoning cubes
- salt
- groundnut paste
- palm oil/groundnut oil/vegetable oil
- crayfish
- a pinch of curry
- carrots
- green bell pepper

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Bumpiness all the way with this trip

If you missed this post From One Place to Another, please follow the link as that will help to put things in context :-)

 We set out as early as 7am, we were going for a week. It was a rainy day and as we drove out of Bertoua, I was told that we would be driving on dirt/untarred roads for the rest of the trip. We finally took the turn that led onto the dirt road and gosh, nothing could have prepared me for that level of bumpiness. We drove through mud and deep pot holes, I gained a lot more respect for people who have jobs as drivers. The dexterity with which the car was handled, I would have come nothing close to it. I counted the hours, I tried to get my mind to wander but it just wouldn’t, every part of me was involved in the bumpy ride. My insides were turned over and over again, my body rocked back and forth violently as the road determined. We had a loo break in between and I jumped out of the car just not to feel constricted by it because I didn’t like the car very much at that point. See some photos which I managed to get when it wasn't so bumpy of the road below:

Monday, 22 August 2016

Is This Some Form of Identity Crisis?!

There have been different instances of Nigerians living abroad saying such horrible things about Nigeria. We must understand that when the media reports certain things, they are blown out of proportion. Everything makes the country seem unappealing in every sense of the word to return to. However, bear in mind that with the media, no news is good news!

In the light of this, a friend and I were chatting and we were talking about some of the crisis that are ongoing in certain parts of Africa. We ended up having a lengthy chat about the crisis in Central African Republic, at a point she wrote AFRICA! I asked what about Africa, then asked her simply if the United States where she currently lives in is any different. I asked her if people were not being killed in broad daylight with not much being done about it. I asked her if she had had to go through the painful speech with her sons of how to behave and how not to behave in public. I asked if she had warned them not to wear hoodies, if every day she didn’t live in fear with the hope that nothing would happen to her children. I also asked if the many threats, some that are not even reported are not terrifying enough in the U.S. I am not in any way saying that one conflict/any form of killing is better than the other, but I do not understand why there is the need to ignore the problems that exist in front of us, while we are so quick to point at other people’s? Note in this case, that every person apart from her nuclear family lives in Nigeria. She was born and raised in Nigeria but relocated with her family to the U.S. about four years ago, then all of a sudden, the very place that raised her and accounts for most of who/what she is, is now talked about with disdain. We ended the conversation with her writing, “abi ooo nobody is safe anywhere”.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Minced meat mix

I was shown how to make this dish and I found it delish! I will definitely prepare it again.

1) Leek
2) Basil
3) Celery
4) Green bell peppers
5) Parsley
6) Onions
7) Garlic
8) Tomatoes
9) Eggs (I used 2)
10) Ginger
11) Minced meat
12) Seasoning cubes
13) Salt
14) Carrots
15) Green beans
16) Potatoes
17) Tomatoes
18) Mustard
19) Black pepper
20) Lemon juice
I know this is a long list but it will be worth it... The amount of ingredients you use will depend on how many you are cooking for.