Archive - December 2014

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Bangers, bisco ‘n’ brawls
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Our Red Sand Christmas
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I’m gonna swing from a chandelier
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I need to find my own strength

Bangers, bisco ‘n’ brawls

Last night the children began their annual bisco – lightening tradition. All nine of them. Nine children ranging from ages 7 1/2 – 2 1/2. Picture this. Nine adrenaline – filled, ever – ready for action, chattering, racing, never – tiring little humans. Their gathering and constant interaction recipes for a lot of things. I’d have thought two days together was too early for any kind of altercation but there have been at least three already. With threats of slaps and promised beating. Now add bisco – lightening to this mix. Almost total chaos.Spontaneous screaming in reaction to the fire cracker like quality and blaze of the bisco; scolding one another as they run riot, lighted bisco in hand, and willing the fire to last longer; and trying to cheat one another of taking more bisco sticks, leaving the younger ones in near tears as the older ones are always faster to bulldoze their way to this goal.   My sister in law, Eva, spices up the activity with glow-in-the-dark head bands. The girls look pretty in a Minnie mouse creation while the boys’ vary from Santa Claus to numbers to lighted decorated strands.  The bands give them a halo that can only be appropriate for children. Watching them run amok on the balcony with their bisco sticks is like watching angels rush around heaven preparing for the arrival of a new guest. Without the noise and chaos though. Bangers (faux explosives) going off add more sounds to the cacophony of ear – splitting screams already renting the air. As though we need more noise. Like higher prices of consumer goods and the dry harmattan wind, the sound of bangers is also a signature feature of the Yuletide. But I can swear that the boom – boom – is – that- an -earthquake – in – the – works? kinda sounds I hear in Benin are unique to the area. Boom – banger or not, the children are veterans to its effect and think of it as a bonus to their bisco blaze. It is easy, very easy, to shepherd”more

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Our Red Sand Christmas

Here’s another reason I like December: the holidays at grandma’s! Definitely not for me but for the children. I have to admit though that it takes the pressure off me to provide entertainment and excitement for them. So I’m always game for a visit to grandma’s. The children join their cousins, play and trouble one another, bring the house down with an increasing cacophony of sounds and try to pack into two weeks all the fun they’ve missed having together throughout the year. As though trying to make up for lost time while shoring up enough playtime memories to last until they meet up again. For the adults among them, it is a working holiday. We cook, clean, care and repeat until it’s time to go back to our different lives. But first we had to make the road trip to red sand land Benin, and sit it out for four hours or more (depending on the state of the highway and its accompanying Christmastime travelling traffic. Usually, we are out of Lagos on any of the weekdays and way before the highway bears striking resemblance to the central business district. Not this time.The children’s school closed for the holidays on December 19 and we were grandma’s house  – bound two days ago. Here’s some of our 5 1/2 – hour trip in pictures.

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I’m gonna swing from a chandelier

Hello December! I love, love, love this month. It is my favourite…right after August. It means holiday, family reunion, loads of eating and giving, togetherness, joy and just another chance to be thankful for life…and the entire year while looking, hopefully, towards the new one around the corner. Just thinking about it makes me want to cling a little longer to that chandelier. Hope it would hold my weight. Hello December! I’m glad you’re finally here, and I know you’d be good to me, to us, to everyone!

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I need to find my own strength

It is the start of another new month. So much for my NaNoWriMo challenge. In the last 31 days, this is the first time I’m scribbling on a page. 31 days of no writing (unless I want to count helping the children with their homework or writing a grocery list. And I was supposed to write everyday in the challenge!), no thinking about writing, and no thoughts spared for the NaNoWriMo project I was so certain I’d get involved in and write often enough. Life happened. We had a home invasion on November 1st. At exactly 2.05am, a loud sound woke me up as well as some of our neighbours. It was the sound of our front door being forced open. It was too loud not to be heard in the still and quiet of that night. I saw my beau, by a window, already shouting for help once he realized what was going on. When I came to the same realization, I ran back into the room and, shaking all over, called our next door neighbour for assistance.  Then I put the children together on one bed and knelt down beside them. All that came out of my mouth was ‘the blood of Jesus’ over and again. It didn’t take long before voices joined my beau’s in the living room. I had an arm draped protectively over the children when my beau led two men into the bedroom. Dressed completely in black. Swinging lit torchlights and hanging guns like handbags. Even as I type this, I have that feeling in the pit of my stomach that warns of something not –so – good is about to happen. I’m practically reliving the nightmare. They wanted gold. They wanted money. They’d do something stupid if they didn’t get enough of both or either, one of them warned. ‘Don’t worry, we won’t hurt you and the kids,’ the other one stated in a rather calm tone. If this was meant to reassure me, it didn’t work. If they were not going to hurt me and the children, did that mean they were”more

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