Categories
Africa Igbo culture Nature Pastoral Series Uncategorized

Tradition: Iri Ji Festival


Let us pray (ka anyi kpe ekpere)
Nna anyi, we gather again
To celebrate the New Yam!
The King of all crops
Which you blessed us with
The crop whose soft tendrils crawl,
Through our fine, fertile soil
And carries with it abundance,
Greatness, joy, peace and love!
We celebrate the forests You till
On our behalf,
The greenery with shrubs and trees
With every fruit that we desire
And every kola and food we relish!
We celebrate the waters about it
The Waterfalls that surrounds it
The streams and rivers that feed it
And rainy blessings which You brought

Learn Igbo language and culture here.

As we split this yam,
We split open doors locking our treasures
And fortunes
Let every tasteless thing in our lives
Receive this new taste of life!
We split open the delays holding our blessings
So let the hills and valleys grow in abundance of food
As You provided the forests and rivers,
The Yams and the palm oil and kola!
We plead for the knife
With which to cut our Yams!
Let our lives be fresh like the morning palm wine
And tasteful to ourselves, clan and  community
We eat the New Yam!



Commentary:
Nna anyi: Igbo language for ‘Our Father’

☺️ Welcome to Igbo land, situated in the south of Nigeria. A tribe known for their resourcefulness and love for their culture and traditions. The piece above depicts a casual prayer made in preparation to the New Yam festival.

August is a beautiful month for the Igbo people. The most prominent activity recorded across Igbo land this month is the celebration of the ‘New Yam’ festival. Yams are perceived as the King of all crops and most times are harvested first in the region. The New Yam festival is a celebration of the prominence of the crop in the region.

The evening prior to the day of the festival, all old yams (from the previous year’s crop) are consumed or discarded. This is because it is believed that the New Year must begin with tasty, fresh yams instead of the old dried-up crops of the previous year. The next day, only dishes of yam are served at the feast, as the festival is symbolic of the abundance of the produce.

Categories
Africa education Nature Pastoral Series

Thoughts on Africa 2: Education

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the true goal of education. – Martin Luther King, Jr

Education is crucial to self, community and national development. It is one tool that can bring social, economic and political change to Africa.

There’s little done to improve the African education sector by governments. So the work shouldn’t be left to African governments alone. To forge a brighter future, we need to work extensively to revive the nursery, primary and secondary education sectors in most African countries. These sectors are in a very bad state, especially in West Africa.

In some areas, school facilities are dilapidated. Buildings are in ruins, some do not have rooftops and some learn in the open, under the sun’s heat. We have records of children learning in flooded classes, in roofless halls and very bad academic environment. Some teachers are not truly teachers, just victims of unemployment. Salaries are sometimes withheld, why? I can’t even say. A time will come for that.

For teaching efficiency, I recommend training, more training and continued training of teachers and the education workforce. Knowledge is not static, it is dynamic and changes almost each day. So training is key to efficiency and we must adopt new ways of teaching through use of the internet and other media. Payment of salaries is another issue facing the academic profession. Public school teachers are sometimes owed for months! Therefore teachers lose the morale to work. Tell me how working in such hard economic conditions can bring efficiency. Private school teachers are not paid well. The income is quite ridiculous for a graduate!

Management should include technical/commercial education curriculum in academic work. Some students do not really care for Maths or History, but if you raise a drawing/painting board you can buy them over. We can create a diverse academic environment that will from the scratch develop skills and talents in students while providing a basic education. The convention of attaching core subjects status to some selected disciplines should be abolished. Allow students grow into their skin, on their best ability, preference of thought and pace (time). Government should partner with the ‘private sector’ to renovate schools and provide academic materials for teachers and students. Schools should endeavor to teach students in local languages as well as the lingua franca. Success comes from within and we will get there some day.

I will update more on my thoughts on Africa later. Have a great day.

Good morning from West Africa.

©Oke Iroegbu

Categories
Uncategorized

Thoughts on Happiness 2

Happiness is contagious. Happiness is like a light bulb in a dark room. It does not shine in a corner but lights the whole room. Note that happiness is not a function of material fulfilment.

Peace, joy, cheerfulness, contentment, happiness and gratitude are classed as a family. This family work as a team. If you are happy then you definitely have peace of mind. A happy person is a cheerful person, a person filled with joy and someone who doesn’t count the have-nots in his/her life. A happy person is grateful for the little things he/she has. So you can see the ‘relationship’ in the family mentioned above.

Why should you be happy? You should be happy for life, for your ability to detect colors and walk unaided. Even if you have a sort of disability, you still have life! Research says laughing (smiling, happiness) improves our health. So when you are happy, you age slowly while negative and toxic thoughts are far away from you. If you are a happy person, people around you will likely be influenced by your happiness. If you are the kind who hopes to see a positively changed world, then happiness must be part of your tools.

It is necessary that you try your best in finding ways to remain happy for the better part of each day. Think about what gives you joy always, read uplifting literature, attend meetings that bring you cheer and happiness, hang around people who truly love you and give kindness to people who are in need of it. Go, plant happiness in many hearts and your community.