Archive - January 2014

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Red Sand: Reconnecting…
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Red Sand: Reporting Live from Grandma’s House.
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Red Sand: Are We There Yet?

Red Sand: Reconnecting…

  He was waiting in front of the security door as I emerged from it, and with scant regard for the people in the banking all, I hugged him warmly but not before noticing that signature smile of his. We hadn’t seen each other in three, almost four years. Before then, almost a decade. And he had kept in touch faithfully. Calling and texting just because. Until four years ago when he had gone through a personal crisis. I took over the baton of keeping the communication channel between us open; his prompt responses to my messages told me he thought the same way and made my efforts so worthwhile. And the years seemed to have changed little about him. That very light – skinned tone was still…well, very light; his height showed no difference despite his ever – so – slight weight gain; and that quiet, serene air around him basically enveloped me along with the hug. By the way, where were his glasses? We disengaged and he took one of my palms in his as he led me away in the direction of his office, commenting on the fact that I looked every bit the same. ‘I’m fat!’ I countered, laughing. ‘That would be p-h-a-t.’ He complimented easily, opening a door to let me by. His pair of glasses came on as soon as he sat down opposite me. Aha! Now that was the complete look I knew and remembered. Then we began talking, trying to catch up on everyone and everything. Pockets of memories began to trickle in before it became a deluge. Did I remember Biggie? She had remarried and was based in Abuja. These were her numbers. He was in touch with Emmanuel and Linda but talked mostly with Emmanuel. Victor was in town last week for a week. Wasn’t it Jennifer who had travelled abroad? How come I’m saying it’s Precious?! Ken was out of the country too. What did I do now? What part of Lagos did I stay? How often did I visit? What did my beau do? His children just returned”more

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Red Sand: Reporting Live from Grandma’s House.

‘Laolu’s not sitting down.’ Ebru’s voice reached me from behind as I did the dishes. ‘Yoma’s eating her meat before finishing her food!’ Lily bellowed from the dinning table. ‘Annie fell down.’ T informed me. Yes. They were all there…well, almost all of them. emo committee. Representing their families, gathering for the holidays. While still single, living away from home and by some unspoken code, every year end saw my siblings and me converge at my mum’s for the Christmas and New Year celebrations, armed with gifts for everyone. By the time we all got married, the number of houseguests swelled with spouses and offspring, and has continued to swell. At first, the presents increased to encompass everyone but in recent years, only the children get to unwrap shiny Christmasy parcels and given by an in – house Santa Claus too! From Iceland, Norway and, three years ago when my family was absent, Agbarho. Yeah, right. Santa Claus is actually one of my elder brothers dressed in the red and white outfit, and loads of cotton wool stuck on his fair face for beard. The focus has shifted to the children. There is more emphasis on their excitement, enjoyment and holiday experience. Because in actual fact, it is now their time. The adults (parents and grandparents alike) are just present to ensure adequate food, fun, drinks and more fun. By extension, the noise level of the house went through the roof. What did we expect with nine active, adrenalin – filled children between the ages of one and seven running and screaming around the house for two weeks? More than half of them never took afternoon naps! Let’s not talk about the dirt – level, the clean-up frequency or what we had to do to keep the house constantly live – able during that period. Hurray! It was another Yuletide Season at Grandma’s. *emo committee* – committee of children.

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Red Sand: Are We There Yet?

I stank. Of vomit. Thankfully not the sort that contained oil and spices. Rather dried fruit and wheat. But I stank all the same. My attempts at cleaning up with moist wipes allowed me breathe in some version of clean air for a while until the Harmattan wind dried up my clothing, leaving pale brown streaks of Chairman’s breakfast behind. Then the smell re – introduced itself to me. We met an amazing traffic jam on our way out and spent two and a half hours getting out of Lagos. In that traffic was when T uttered suddenly: ‘Mummy, I want to throw up.’ I was holding up a ziploc bag for her as she emptied her bowels into it when Chairman (who was sitting on my lap) thought vomiting was trending and, without warning, released his breakfast on both of us. Now I was worried. The air conditioner went off and the windows came down. Cleaning up, at the time, was the least thing on my mind as I checked both of them for fever but found none. Emmanuel, the man in the driver’s seat, asked if I wanted to continue the journey. By now, we were out of the gridlock. I nodded, then began to clean up. Just then, T asked if we were going to see Grandma for the 900, 000th time that morning. Mad, mad traffic at Ore. Worse than the previous encounter out of Lagos. Chairman and T have just emptied a 500ml pack of orange juice and I’m beginning to count. I reach 8 before, as if on cue, T says she wants to take a leak, and joins the hoard of travellers (mostly children) doing the same on the side of the road. An FRSC official advises some of us to turn back and take an alternative route. There’s no telling when this jam will ease off. And coming from a road traffic worker, there are no prizes for taking his advice. The alternative route is no more than a bush path than can just about take an average-sized car. There are six”more

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