LAZY DAY

It’s a rainy day. I woke up to heavy rain, took a deep breath, and hugged myself as I opened and closed my eyes repeatedly. More sleep? Or should I start my day? 🙂 This is what the strike has turned me into, and I am loving it. He he! After all the stress of school in the past few months, I am glad for some rest.

I remember talking to my room mate some days before the strike, about how I longed for a rainy, lazy day. The kind of day where you wake up to rain, and you have nowhere to go, and so you just lie in bed and read a book;

Photo credit: margaretnelson.co.uk

or you continue sleeping…

When you finally get up, you take your bath (or not) 😉 , and eat a slow breakfast; not the noodles or whatever that you hastily gulp on school days before rushing to go listen to a boring lecture. The only hitch in a slow day such as this is that by the time I have breakfast, everyone else has had theirs, and most of the choice meat or fish is gone from the soup. Today, when I opened the pot, some stupid looking fish stared at me, and I stared back and said, “Hello!” before scooping some onto my plate.

I am currently listening to Wasiu Àyìndé K1’s Orín D’owó, and it perfectly fits the mood of the day. Slow tempo, nice melody…Eh ehn, as I was saying, the strike has changed my routine somewhat and, unlike many of my friends who are complaining, I have embraced the strike and all it has brought with it. I absolutely did not want the strike before, but now, I have realised that we are already on strike, and no amount of blame-shifting will change anything. I would have loved to work on my project in the meantime but since His Eminence, my supervisor is not reachable, not to talk of available, what will I do? Look, strike or no strike, time will be spent, so you might as well just make the best use of this free time you have. Even Wasiu Àyìndé agrees, and says, “Walahi talahi Àyìndé o, mo folóhun búra òrò ni!…béè náàni!” 🙂 While in school, we were always complaining, agitating for a little time, just to rest, and do something apart from academics. Well, this is it, use it.

Yes, thanks to the strike, there is finally some space in my head for creativity, and I can face my blog again. The joy I derive from my blog is inexplicable. It is the kind that makes me so happy that I just dance spontaneously, like I did this morning in the living room while still wrapped in my towel, dripping from my bath; thereby leaving a temporary mark of my silliness on the floor- in form of a wet patch. 🙂

My new routine, thanks to the strike, is something like this;
*Wake up late, around 7 or 7:30
*Pray, and study Scriptures
*Check my messages (chats, texts, emails)
*Read some blog posts
*Take my bath
*Have breakfast (10:30-11am) and read a book while eating
*Sew (12-4pm) This is usually interspersed with short breaks to read more blog posts
*Write (4-6:30pm)
*Cook (6:30-8pm)
*Chat (8-10:30pm)…etc etc…

I’ve not really been reading my school books. I was reading at first, then when I still had the break planned in my head-rest for the first two weeks, then study for the remaining five weeks-but after I heard of the impending ASUU strike of July 1, I just stopped. The only academic thing I have been reading is some projects of past students, and I’ve been writing my literature review. Humph!

It’s a lazy day, but unlike Bruno Mars, I feel like doing a lot. I want to write, and sew…but before that, I’m going to dance to some K1 music. “Yasin yasin yasin yasin…waduwe waduwe waduwe…million million…” 🙂 Do have a productive day. Thank you for reading!

FOR MY DAD

Retrospective. That word has always given my dad trouble, and always thrown the rest of us into fits of laughter. He just cannot pronounce it right, no matter how hard he tries. When he tries to say the word, he ends up saying something that is filled with the letter “s” and sounds like “Resrospes…” before he erupts in laughter.

In the days before he got his doctorate degree, before his presentations, he would have us all sit in the living room like a panel of judges while he went over his speech about three times. After several of such mock presentations, we usually knew most of his speech by heart, and whenever he got to the part where he had to say “Retrospective”, we would all struggle to keep a straight face because we knew what was coming. My dad would ‘chew’ the word hastily and talk past it because he was being timed, but afterwards, as we made corrections, we would all laugh. He would say exasperatedly in Yorùbá, “That word! I can’t pronounce it, I guess my tongue is too big!” The word is still a joke today, but anytime we laugh for too long about it, my dad retorts, “My friends, I didn’t have an English Language teacher in secondary school, yet my English is this sound. You should be applauding me.”

He is getting older now, and he talks from time to time of some dreams he nursed when he was younger, and how dreams change as one grows older. He says his biggest dream now is to watch his children succeed and make him proud. I really want us to make him proud, so that he can say later in life, “Retrospectively, I have had a good life so far. I have achieved my dreams, I am appreciated by my family, and my children have made me proud.”

I just hope he will not burst into laughter while saying “Retrospectively.”

Tyc, this is for you. HAPPY FATHERS’ DAY.

P.S: How did you celebrate Fathers’ Day? Share something funny about your dad, will you?
Thank you for reading.

RAIN ON A TUESDAY


Photo credit: Thinglink.com

It was just a few minutes to four in the evening, but it looked like eight in the night. It was raining very heavily, and everywhere was cold. I had gotten home just before the rain started, having rushed from work to the daycare to pick Deolu. I made hot tea for us both, and picked up a book to read, occasionally looking around for Deolu as he toddled around, his sippy cup in his hands.

I was reading “Born On A Tuesday”. I had bought the book because of its title which intrigued me. This was because Deolu had been born on a Tuesday. I am not a slow reader, but I had spent more than a week on the book already; thanks to all the chores around the house. I can’t read it at work, and once I get home, I usually cannot read more than two or three pages before I have to attend to Deolu’s cries, change his diaper, rock him to sleep, or cook some food for Tolu, my husband. Even as I read, I told myself not to spend too much time on the book, as I had to prepare Tolu’s dinner before he returned from work too. There are two things he does not like to be kept waiting for; his food, and me, in the “other room”.

I promised myself I would not spend more than one hour on the book, but I soon got so engrossed that I stopped checking the time. I stopped reading when I realised I could no longer see Deolu, or hear his babbles, I turned back to my book, thinking he must have fallen asleep behind the big couch as usual; but my concentration strayed from the book. When I checked the time, it was five thirty. I had spent over my promised one hour.

I went behind the big couch, but Deolu was not there. I went to the bedroom, and I still didn’t see him. My heart began to pound as I left the bedroom, calling my son’s name. I went back to the sitting room and frantically checked everywhere for him, yet I saw no sign of him. I ran to the kitchen and saw the door leading outside open. My jaw dropped as I tried to recall if I had locked the door behind me earlier but I could not. Deolu’s sippy cup lay on the floor in the middle of the kitchen, in a pool of tea that had dripped out of it unto the floor. I called my son’s name again, as I looked around and began to pull my hair in fear. Evil thoughts had begun to fill my mind.

I had checked everywhere in the house, now I had to check outside, but I didn’t want to go out for fear of what I would find. I walked slowly, my pulse loud in my ears. When I got outside, the rain had reduced to a drizzle. I saw different plastic containers that my neighbour, Mummy Sola, had put outside to collect rainwater. I saw the wide black container that Deolu liked to play with and I went to it. I was almost dead with fear as I peered into it.

My eyes reeled as I noticed something that looked familiar at the bottom. I peered closer and saw that it was Deolu’s sweater! I screamed as I put my hand into the water and withdrew the sweater. As I pulled it, it got heavier. When I pulled it out, it was not just Deolu’s sweater, but Deolu himself. His eyeballs had rolled back into his head, and his fair face had turned blue. I screamed as I sank to my knees in the rain and began to cry. Tèmí bàjé! I screamed my son’s name repeatedly as I cradled him in my arms and rocked back and forth. If only I hadn’t been so engrossed in the book! Now Deolu was dead!He died on a Tuesday! What would I tell Tolu?

Someone began to call my name but when I turned, I saw no one. I turned back to my son and continued wailing. Whoever was calling me did not stop, but I refused to answer. Soon, the person came close and rubbed my cheeks tenderly.
“Yeni. Yeni. Why are you crying?” Then the person held my shoulders and began to shake me. When I looked up, Tolu was crouched before me, worry on his face. I looked down at my arms, to show him our dead son, and I saw that I was not holding Deolu, but a throw pillow. I was not even outside, beside Mummy Sola’s black plastic container in the rain, but on the chair in the sitting room. I had dozed off, and my book had fallen out of my hands to the floor. I told Tolu about my dream, and he cradled me in his arms and told me everything was okay; Deolu was asleep behind the big couch; it was all just a bad dream.

Later, when I got up to go and make dinner, the kitchen door leading outside was open, and Deolu’s sippy cup lay on the floor in the middle of the kitchen, in a pool of tea that had dripped out of it unto the floor. I turned and ran to the sitting room to check behind the big couch. Deolu was not there! Instead, I saw Tolu on all fours, reaching underneath the couch and pulling something. He looked up at me, smiled, and said, “We need to change the position of this couch. Deolu has rolled under it.” I sat on the floor, put my head in my hands and began to laugh.

MY SERMON

Hello. I am back.
I won’t make any ta-da! or toot-toot noise. This is not a proud, loud re-entry. No. Instead, it is a shamefaced, silent re-entry. It has been 129 days since I last posted, and they have been some really tough days. Since Feb 1, when I last posted here, I have wondered about my blog and its abandoned state. I have read on so many blogs about how it can be very difficult to post; but I never knew it would be this hard. Four months! Jeez.

I don’t know if it was writer’s block, laziness, lack of passion…call it anything. But in the last four months, writing was very difficult for me. I just couldn’t think of anything to write. Anything at all. When I did think of something to write, which was not very often, I could not find the strength to write it down. I can’t really explain it, but the thought of putting pen to paper just made me tired all over. I could hardly even find the strength to write in my journal. Anytime I wrote, I would start with the words, “Many things to write, but no energy,” or “A lot of occurrences to record, but little time,” or something else along that line. I would then scribble a little more before my attention drifted to something else.

When I talked to some of my close friends about it, they said not to worry, that it is due to all the stress and hassle of final year. Oh, did I mention? I’m in my final year of university, and I feel like i’ll just drop dead sometimes. Anyway, a lot of my future posts will be inspired by my experiences this year, so watch out. Eh ehn, where was I? (This is another thing that happens often now; I’m doing one thing, and before I know it, my attention has walked out on me, leaving me wondering, “What was I doing? What was I saying?”)

So yes, schoolwork (all the daily assignments, tests, seminar, presentations, reports, proposals, and crazy deadlines) actually contributed to the whole issue, and I could hardly think of writing. My press duties also suffered. Every Friday when going to the meeting, I would go with something I had dug up from my archives or my blog. Whenever I was told to write something and submit for printing-e.g Editorial-the little humour I had left in me would just disappear. I didn’t tell anyone in the press about my problems, you see, and so, I was still expected to churn out several pages as usual. I was tired! And I even considered quitting, but my Faculty Press is one of the few things that make my life in UI enjoyable, so I stayed.

Those who have been close to me this year know that I have gotten to a place in my life where God is #1. He comes before every other thing, and I tell Him everything. When I got absolutely tired of everything- at that point, nothing made me happy, least of all my writing- I went to Him and told Him. I’d been telling Him right from the point I stopped posting in February, but when I didn’t get a speedy answer, I knew something would be born out of the whole process. I also read a lot- again, I forgot to mention that while I wasn’t writing, I was reading like crazy. In fact, if books were calories, I would not fit in a doorway now. I read several blogs, ebooks, and paperbacks. It was while going through Instagram and checking out blog links that I found Pribodunke of http://www.pribodunke.wordpress.com and a post she’d written, titled The Originals. You should read it, it was very apt for me, as if she was talking directly to me. I was very grateful for it, and I told her so in a comment.

So, yeah, I told God I didn’t know what was up with this gift He has blessed me with. It wasn’t flowing well any longer, and I didn’t know what to do with it anymore. It occurred to me after several days of praying, and fasting that maybe I wasn’t using my gift exactly how God wants, so I asked Him to show me.

I am a very private person, and I find it hard to talk about myself, and much harder to put details of my life on social media. When I do put stuff about myself online, trust me, it is with effort. Whatever it is- an experience, a picture, whatever- it has undergone consideration and several re-considerations before posting. Even when I wrote my own stories, I would try to disconnect myself where possible. This was also because I don’t want to have a blog that is sort of an online diary. But after praying, I realised,that was what was wrong. God does not want me totally isolating myself from my stories when I post them. Sure, He’s not asking me to be all over social media, but I should stop thinking my experiences are of no worth to people! Also, my idea of what I wanted my blog to be was different from what God wants it to be. I wanted my blog to be about culture, traditions, society, and an occasional infusion of ‘God talks’. I felt I was not qualified enough to discuss religious matters; people like Seye of http://www.glorysounds.wordpress.com seem more qualified. I would not try to be more spiritual than I am.

But again, I got it wrong. What I hadn’t realised was that, there are people who have questions about God, and their walk with Him, and they feel like they can’t direct their questions at “mature Christians”. I know how hard it can be to believe that some mature Christians we know once had doubts and questions like us. I also know how comfortable it can be to know someone who has gone through this phase, and ask them questions. No one wants to be alone in their experiences. I couldn’t write because I wanted to write things other than what God had put in me to write. I wanted to write excellent literary pieces, mind blowing poems; but I thought my walk with God was not worthy of mention. How ignorant I was. Do you see the link? I didn’t want to write my experiences, or about myself, so I had nothing to write. And it took me four months to realise! What I didn’t understand was, when I write what God wants me to write, other things will come too. Ultimately, this blog is not supposed to be about me, or how it will be for my happiness alone, but how it will touch lives. We are indeed blessed to bless others.

I read Toke Makinwa’s book, ‘On Becoming’ again last week, and I saw a place I highlighted, toward the end of the book. It read, “We are all preachers; our lives are sermons, and it’s up to us to decide what the sermons say.” That was my confirmation.

Four months have gone by, I am sure I have lost several readers, but I pray I gain you back. I have grown up some more in the past months. I have cried so many times, but after all those tears, I have developed skin as thick as pònmó (precisely the dry pònmó of Ijebu); I have learnt to stop trying to explain myself to everybody; and I have learnt to accept my weaknesses and love myself all the same.

This is my sermon.

I have to say thank you to some special people who showed me that I was not forgotten. Jidenma, thank you. For your concern all these months. Thank you for always asking, “Dunni-Dunni, how is your blog?” Your words contributed in no small amount to my return. Sinmi of http://www.unboxedliving.com Thank you. For your strong, quiet presence as I like to call it; your reassurances, and the little nudges and pushes. Teniola…thank you. For everything- your friendship, your support; for being “impressed” with me and laughing at me in my times of “impression”. Your confidence in me stupefies me! And you, yes you, reading this right now, thank you. For coming back.

Tell everybody, Enioladunni is back.


Photo credit: pinterest

*Pònmó- Yoruba word for Cowskin.

GUDU GUDU MÉJE- ON EXTORTIONS AT YORUBA TRADITIONAL WEDDINGS

Gudu gudu méje, yàyà mefà- that is what any man who celebrates a marriage ceremony is said to accomplish. Now, while I do not know the English translation for gudu gudu méje, yàyà mefà, I do know of a crazy joke that tries to tell of how it originated. I don’t remember clearly all the details of the joke, but I remember that it had to do with Yoruba people asking a white man what he thought about something. The white man said, “Good” seven times and, when the people tried to confirm what he said, they asked him, “Gudu?” and he replied “Yeah” six times, and the people went about saying, “Oyinbo se gudu gudu méje, yàyà mefà” – seven goods and six yeahs. It is crazy, I know, but it made me and many other kids laugh when we were little. A suitable translation for the phrase would be “a great feat.”

Marriage anywhere in Nigeria is expensive; any Nigerian can attest to that. Some people choose to make their weddings as cheap and low-key as possible, but that is the exception, not the rule. Some people even have low-key weddings because they have been warned not to have an elaborate wedding as that will attract evil eyes; but that is another discussion entirely. The typical Nigerian wedding oozes of money and effort, regardless of the social status of the families involved, as everyone wants to have a wonderful wedding ceremony that will not leave the mouths of people for a long time. I do not mean that weddings of the middle class match those of the upper class in terms of splendour and class (pun intended) 😉 I mean that regardless of the social class, Nigerians put effort into their weddings, and this is always apparent in the way they go about during the party, greeting everybody present, and smiling with their entire mouths.
Before I commit the blunder of generalisation, i’ll narrow this down to my sphere of knowledge. Let’s talk about Yoruba weddings. Did I hear a yoohoo! 🙂 I have not been to many church weddings, and I have been to even fewer traditional weddings. In fact, I attended my first traditional wedding or engagement in January 2015; but I digress.

The typical Yoruba family wants to have a lovely wedding ceremony, at least by their standards. The bride’s and groom’s parents will want to wear matching clothes that no one else will wear, so that they can be identified as the ‘Bàbá and Ìyá ìyàwó’ and ‘Bàbá and Ìyá oko” respectively. The two families will want their family members and well-wishers to wear clothes of another fabric, and this is popularly called ‘Andco’ or ‘Aso ebí’. The bride’s and groom’s friends will also have their own unique fabric, so they can be identified as ‘Òré ìyàwó’ and ‘òré oko’. And of course, the oko and ìyàwó themselves will wear matching native attires of ‘big’ lace and ‘Aso òkè’ or Aso òfì. This is still the traditional wedding, not even the church wedding or the reception.

Of the few traditional weddings/ engagements that I have attended, only two have caught my fancy. The rest were just annoying, and I could not stop thinking of how soon we would be served our jollof rice. The reason behind my annoyance is that engagement ceremonies tend to be just a whole lot of extortion from the groom, his friends, his family, and the well wishers! A typical Yoruba traditional wedding is conducted by a woman, who is called the ‘Alága ìdúró’, and whose job it is to call in the two families turn by turn (if you’ve watched the movie The Wedding Party, you know how much fun this can be *winks*), introduce them to the guests, call in the groom and his friends, ask them to prostrate on mats before the bride’s family, and ask them to drop some money to prove their worth. Before this, the groom and his friends would have been met by the wives of the bride’s family, who are referred to as the ‘Obìnrin ilé’, at the gate to the house, and made to pay them some money. Heaven help any groom and his family that comes late to his engagement. He will be made to pay so much money that he will almost cry. The bride is also called to dance in with her friends. She is encouraged to dance well, and long, as it is her day of joy and honour, her ‘ojó èye’. The bride is never made to pay any money, láíláí.

While engagements can be fun to attend, the time spent collecting money can be really annoying. After collecting money from the groom and his friends, some alága ìdúrós go on to ask the groom’s parents to pay some money before the bride can dance in. When she dances in, they make everyone spray a young girl (usually from the bride’s family) who will read the letter of request for the hand of the bride in marriage; which has been brought by the groom’s family; then afterwards, the groom is made to pay to lift the brides veil; after they have been joined as man and wife, the alága ìdúró still goes on to make the guests pay some money and offer prayers for the couple. Argh! By the time the ceremony is over, some grooms and their friends will wear a frown, angry with the alága ìdúró over all the extortion.

I attended a cousin’s wedding at the end of 2016, and at a point, I got so tired of watching all the extortion. I asked my mum if it is even a part of Yoruba culture to extort a groom heavily on his wedding day. Surprisingly, she said no. The two engagements I mentioned earlier impressed me because no money-at all- was collected from the groom, his friends, or his family, and yet the event was fabulous. And don’t think they were not well to do; they’re in fact one of the very affluent families in Ibadan.

I have come to realise that some people actually enjoy the typical engagement ceremony that is full of extortion. Some grooms even look forward to it, so that they can defend their manliness and prove to the world that they have what it is a man needs to have a wife- money. A lot of alága ìdúrós pray for it because they will have additional cash apart from their agreed pay from the families, potential ‘letter readers’ pray for it, so that they can be sprayed a lot of money- I know of a girl who cried profusely when she was told that her younger sister would read the letter- but as for me, I have no fancy for it. I don’t think it is any way a measure of gudu gudu méje yàyà mefà. What do you think?

P.S: If you know the full version of the gudu gudu méje yàyà mefà joke, please share it in the comments, will you?
Thank you for reading!
Oh, and have a lovely February!

Image credit: Google Images
The wedding Party

GROWING UP; GRATEFUL #2

When I was little, I could not wait to grow up. I looked forward to living alone, having my own keys, making decisions for myself, getting home when I wanted, deciding what to cook, or whether not to even cook at all. People used to tell me, “Adulthood is responsibility,” but nobody really explained the ‘responsibilities’ in detail. Nobody told me how tough it is to have to make your own decisions, how thoughts run through your mind everyday, so wildly that you feel light-headed, and sometimes very heavy. I guess this is because people’s responsibilities differ, and you get to understand yours with time.

I never had a bunch of keys of my own until a little over a year ago. I was very happy about it, and I would dangle it a lot, and when I came back to my room in the evenings, I would dump it on my table with a flourish as I had seen it done in movies. However, I have come to realise that while adulthood is having my own keys, responsibility is making sure I never lose them as I would have to spend money getting new ones.

Adulthood is having my own bank account with money in it; responsibility is ensuring I spend the money wisely, and not call home before the next due date to ask for more. Adulthood is living alone; responsibility is having to think of bills to pay. Adulthood is having men ask me out without having my parents hovering around; responsibility is being sensible, even in the rush of hormones and emotions, and being a ‘responsible daughter’. Adulthood is having my own foodstuff to myself; responsibility is choosing to eat healthy despite this.

Although I enjoy the feel of rushing around (both physically and mentally) to get things done, there are days when I wish I could go back to being a child and have all decisions made for me, even down to the colour of my underwear. Days when I didn’t have to worry so much about what I will become and how I will become it; days when I don’t have to be so scared of how soon I will be catapulted into the over saturated Nigerian labour market, and how well (or badly) I will cope in it; days when I didn’t have to be so petrified of disappointing my parents and everyone else that expects me to “make it”; days when I was- as my parents like to put it- without worries.

However, despite all the fears that can make adulthood unattractive, I have come to realise that every phase of life is beautiful and should be enjoyed. Spending too much time waiting for the future has cost me some wonderful opportunities and I am not about to let the same thing repeat itself. This phase of life I am in now is one I wished for ten years ago yet, sometimes I am tempted to overlook it and wish for the next phase to come quickly. I have resolved that though I am expectant of the future and all it holds for me, I won’t let that stop me from living in, and enjoying the present. So, as much as my responsibilities may seem now, I know they will only become more as I grow older. Therefore, I will be grateful for these days of “fewer responsibilities” before I become “more adult” and have even more responsibilities to handle.

What are you grateful for?

HELP!

Help! In my sin I wallow
The depth of my faith is so shallow
My pride, I can’t seem to swallow
I delay my salvation till tomorrow

Help! I fall into sin
I always let the devil win
I try not to let him in
But my defences are so thin

Help! I am covered in shame
My faith, the devil is determined to maim
My hunger for sin, I can’t seem to tame
But I don’t want my life to remain the same

Help! I am in chains
Wandering, my life as aimless as Cain’s
Seeking soothing, like that from rains
Wanting to be like the saints

Help! Please help me out!
In desperation I shout
Christ Jesus, I cry out
Please help me out!

April 20, 2016
7:55pm