Categories
Africa Nature Pastoral

Iyi Okoroafor

As I mentioned earlier, Nigeria is blessed with many water bodies. Chief among them is Niger and Benue rivers. There are small rivers like Cross and Argungu. Kainji Lake and Nigeria’s part of Lake Chad provide electric power and fish tourism respectively.

In Igboland iyi is the name given to streams or rivers. Rivers are very important to every community as they provide food and means of livelihood for people.

This is Iyi Okoroafor, located in Umuogele, Amuda, Isuochi, Nigeria. Images taken by Faith.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition Nature

Thoughts on the State of Leadership in Africa

No one can fully explain why we – Africans, are so poor in the midst of plenty. I will try to explain why.

There’s a lot of greed and grief in African leadership. When leaders are greedy, citizens stagger in grief. We still don’t know how the dust hit us between the eyes. And while we search for answers, leaders were busy looting the public treasury.

There’s a lot of laughter even when things are wrong – when things fall apart. Top lawmakers forget justice. There are many nations where civil rights are bought and sold like bean cakes. Best jobs are offered on the bases of man know man, so they are reserved for relatives or friends. There’s a lot of paper in the streets. Unemployed CV’s are used by vendors to wrap popcorn, while the owners roam the streets thinking of how to earn a living. Unemployed people fall for their dark side, taking decisions which may lead to social vices like kidnapping, robbery, internet fraud, drug trafficking, prostitution and more.

There’s smiles and sorrow. Out the streets happy children enjoy a game of football and just by the corner a hungry pregnant mother sit begging. There’s an empty stomach crying herself to sleep, there’s an orphan sleeping under a bridge. When the sun set, the beautiful hills we enjoy her view disappear with the evening breeze. But there’s hope to see it the next day.

There’s pain in a mother’s cry. Many pregnant women give birth at home because they can’t afford medical bills. To travel on road is another catastrophe. Bad roads record more death than usual. Some law enforcement agents take bribe before seeking justice and they think it’s their right.

There’s sad parents and children broken by dying hope. Schools are becoming a circus. Public infrastructure lay in shambles. Clean water and electricity are sometimes a luxury. Citizens suffer in silence, many even die silently. Some governments are only interested in retaining power and their economy (money), at all cost. Many pensioners lay sick, years of gratuities unpaid and when they finally die, corrupt officials seize their funds. Teachers receive a month salary after eight months of work! Most are under-payed, they look shabby and may want to do some monkey business to survive.

There’s some hope though. Yet leaders are like citrus; oranges and limes. Some are sweet, others sour. Some give hope that turn to tears and some may give nothing but tears.

I still believe and dream of a beautiful land with beautifully minded youth leaders and followers. A people connected by tenets of peace, prosperity, equity, tolerance and progress.

Categories
Africa Nature Pastoral Poetry

Lullaby

Evening breezes are swift lullaby
From the distance
Burning grasses sigh
Bats, owls hover above
Tiny insects welcome a starry night
Crickets quiz themselves
While the mantis scavenge for a bite
Still this airy night is very young

Categories
Poetry

The Waterfall: Sounds of Water

I stand to listen to you, sounds of water,
When birds fly above the green shroud
And small fish glide in the green current
When the waterfall sing a proud song

Mother Nature sings and wash her garments on rocks,
Happy girls and boys wash and sang along
Pigeons, egrets, partridges and wild ducks
All swim or wade through the calm music

Sounds of water brings to all a merry feeling,
Blue and grey clouds may stay to listen too
And for the villagers, it’s a comforting song
One, proudly written and sung by Nature herself

Categories
Poetry

Thoughts on Life 1

I believe that life goes beyond what we see and what we see teach us a lot about our existence.

I have met people with black, brown, yellow and white hair. I see blue clouds, sometimes gray, other times white. I have seen big oceans, small rivers and little rivulets, lived in big cities and enjoyed the small hamlet setting. Little things, big things, all add to life’s diverse meaning. Life’s diversity is an interesting one.

Life is colorful. Colorful things are usually beautiful. The color of life is being alive! Positive vibes begets happiness and joy. Now if everyone could take a moment to think about life’s many colors, we can agree that our existence and success is tied to others (including our environment) and not ourselves alone.

There are reasons our body system is different from other animals and there are more reasons why we are super intelligent.

Simple things not material things give life its true meaning. So life is to be enjoyed not endured. Walking through green parks and caring for people, loved ones, pets and our environment has proved that life’s most precious and important gifts are not material things.

Now we exist because there is an earth to take care of and that we all have roles to play. So we live to protect our environment and to add value to other people’s life and existence.

Categories
Poetry

Four Poems

(i.) The Moon
The Moon is following me
And with her light I see
Wherever I walk she stalks;
Behind my shadow she follows
And how she sweeps the land
Looking for me in the quiet clan
(ii.) Village Square
The nights dancing festival
Brings all, big and small
The farmer, the wine tapper
The cobbler and the dancer
A night of skewered meat
And one, were lovers meet
(iii.) The candlelight
See how her pretty light flickers
Throwing the light on my papers
Like a tongue of fire
She seeks to be admired
For even the wind has come
To rest and get some warmth
(iv.) The dancer
The drums beat hard

When she strod forward
Swerving about like a mad maiden
In a big and crowded man-full den
Dancing to the cat-calls, the desires, the drunk men
And for all that cared to come watch or listen

Categories
Poetry

Cat Poem by John Hollander

I saw this and thought I should share it. Cat Poem by John Hollander, first published in 1984.

Categories
Poetry

Noisy Weekend

Ah. It’s a hot noon here. Dry harmattan wind made it even worse as it brought hot air. I’m back from work and quietly sitted, looking out the window. I could be less bored in a natural environment but all I see here are buildings, electricity poles and people. There are little or no trees in this vicinity. The skies are so unromantic here, they are not blue. I really miss the tranquil countryside. The memories of the last holiday spent in my village still warms my merry heart.

There’s books to read but I’ve put reading on hold for work demands much of my time. Children are playing outside and their noise bother me. That’s one reason I dislike slums and cities. I can’t wait for the evening to come so I can have some quietness and cool breeze.

This week was stressful. I introduced classes, revised past work and gave out tests. Also I welcomed new students and made lesson notes for classes. Teaching math is a tasking job. But as learning and life is a cycle, I enjoy giving out my knowledge to others.

I’m going to hang out this evening with colleagues and friends that live nearby. There’s a favorite restaurant where we enjoy drinks and discuss the week’s scores and events.

I wish everyone a lovely weekend. TGIF

Categories
Poetry

Tropics

The taste of coconut oil is on my lips
Sunset surf the evening wind
The cloud is blue, tree leaves green
The sand is warm, sea water cold
Up the skies, birds fly away happy
And on the beach crabs walk
Out on the sea, blue whales horn
Beauty is our tropical songs
For her lullaby play over the sea breeze

Categories
Poetry

Amuse: Three Things

Three things still baffles me
A crab, walking like an undecided drunk, a tip to the left
And then like a call back to his senses, a step to his right
A herd of goats and sheep, giving a familiar stare,
One might think they knew him from somewhere
An ant, very wise to store for the winter
But hungry enough to die by melting sugar

Categories
Poetry

Green

Green is the color of life,
Of dew descent upon tree leaves
And branches,
Of forests blessed with floral things
And many beings that fly on wings
And plumages

Categories
Poetry

Two Poems: By the Poolside and The Shepherd’s Muse

1. By the Poolside
By the pool that stills my soul
I watch the slow tide drift by
My song goes high pitch
When a catfish disturb my tranquility

2. The Shepherd’s Muse
Glad that the night brought pleasant airs
The shepherd lay to recall the day’s stress
Crickets chirp, the night is very young
But dreams come fast to the weary normad

Categories
Poetry

Africa: My Idea of Love

You are my idea of love
The sun rising behind these hills
My morning dew and muse,
The songs I sing in my heart
And my secret joy and happiness

You are an elixir to my bones,
The unseen muscle behind
When I lay unsure of myself
You play strings of my heart
To make each day golden to me

Categories
Poetry

The King’s Messenger: Town Crier

Kokookoroko kokorokoro
A greeting called from afar
The children ran out excited
As if this message was for them
But then who knows?

Heads up, listen attentively
Komkom korookom
Another beat rang out
Pushing the mild hit
Into the ears of even the heaviest village sleeper
‘Oh how cute, it is one of the King’s messengers’
‘A tall and fine one for that matter’
A group of young women chatter

The morning of a market day
Even before the sun sets out on a journey
The gong goes before the man
A metal gong tells the whole clan
The tidings of the hamlet
The days not to visit the rivulet
The day to farm the deep forest
And when a service the King may request

The boxing day, a vengeful day
Long brooms wait, stalked away,
Up the roof barns where fish get smoked
And elders show teeth, tobacco soiled

When the messenger comes
Mama will always say
To bright little ones
‘Listen attentively, listen with your ears
They might have a message for you or you
From the king or the brave hunters
Come from the seven hills
And seven rivers far away
So you must listen and pay attention
There are wisdom in every muttering’

Then each time it all comes back to me,
Even now I on my face keep beards
I still listen when all is quiet for the messenger
And his gong that goes Krookoko kom kom!

Note:

Krookokom… Onomatopoiea of the sound made by the messenger’s gong.

Town criers carry messages from the King, his council or the elders. They communicate important information to villagers.

Categories
Poetry

Bad phone

Hi guys!

I’ve a bad phone and this is affecting my writing. I won’t be regular as usual.

Later…

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education Igbo culture Love and Christianity Nature Pastoral Poetry

My Soul Longs for Thee

My soul longs for thee, dear motherland
To run the patched dusty red muds
And to swim in the rivers crisscrossing all over you
Let me climb the trees of your forests
And drink from the shallow streams

My soul longs to nibble the tender pumpkin seeds
Freshly cut from hilly farms
To dance with warriors, home with wild beasts
Painted with scary colors of chalk and charcoal

My soul longs to scout the green forest and sniff out hares
To sit with and learn of the elders’ wisdom
And to eat the round, reddish bitter kola nut

My soul longs to see the appearance of the full moon
And how she may light the town center at night

My soul longs for the long, quiet and sunny day
In a far away hamlet, saved from wild bird calls
And dancing tall trees in the morning harmattan wind

My soul longs to hear the winds speak
To make rain fall and shepherd the cattle,
To calm a weary horse, and feed my chicken

My soul longs to see the wild
To ride through fields of Baobab
And to drink local juice brewed myself
To travel on a safari to East Africa
And dine with the Masai who fright Lions

My soul longs for thee beautiful African homeland!

Categories
Africa culture/tradition Igbo culture Nature Pastoral Poetry

Family is Energy

For more than a week, the waters of our rivulet Oko’pia has been chalky. Villagers say each time this happened, an animal (Atah – Alligator) is digging away at the source. I don’t know where the source is and honestly if I knew I wouldn’t go. 😐

Our farm lies further away from the village and we always cross Oko’pia to get there.

Yesterday we went to dig up yams and I got these images.

Now it’s almost time to go back to town. Work will resume in few days! I had fun helping my family in the farm and seeing good old friends. I feel refreshed and revived for work. Family is energy! 😌

I have a piece of advice for everyone this new year: Never forget your family and good friends.

Categories
Africa Nature Pastoral

Egypt: Land of the Mummies

Here is Egypt’s iconic pyramids taken by a friend who went there last month. Welcome to Pharaoh’s land!


There’s a lot to see and do in Egypt and the African continent. Visit Africa today.

Categories
Africa Nature Pastoral Poetry

Palm Trees

Like a tropical masquerade she stood
With hands as long and spiky fronds
And breasts as red fruits, ripe and
Fresh snacks for all who come to her feast
Long are her strong and tiny roots
For she stands as firm sentry and greets
All that journey through the quiet hamlet
She hides behind hills but towers as tallest
Tree, when she throws her shade over the rivulet
Sunlight is her dress so is the green forest
And she leads everyone with a blessed heart
For life gladly depends on her benevolence

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education Nature Pastoral

Reflection

Fast falls the evening tide in Ovim. At this time of the day thick fog descend from hills surrounding our village. Tens of thousand incessant voices converse in low tones. I’m confused on which to listen to. Evenings must be a time of reflection for every creature. It’s even more exciting to sit among them and to hear their distant calls, shrieking and buzzing.

I’m sitting outside. There’s a full moon. This night will be cold for sure. The fog is much. A big buzzing insect just came by to investigate my phone light and left peacefully. But small moths won’t leave, they always disturb my phone light. I wonder if these moths could read what I’m typing. Haha. Sometimes I wonder why moths disturb small light sources like phone lights and hand touches rather than big light sources like the moon.

I think we are stuck with these incessant voices and light craving insects. There’s a lot they say about us and how we treat the world we live in.

Good night everyone.

Categories
Africa folklore Nature Pastoral Poetry

Little Feather

Dreams are not for you little feather
For you must fly and soar above all,
Above those who may delay your sails
And across thick forests and arid lands
Which are nobody’s foe or friend
I am jealous of you but wish you well
So wave me a bye, spread your wings,
And let the wind be your compass!

You told me of stories of many lands
Where golden wheat are harvested
And brown bread made of them,
Where men ate the tasty ginger bread
And drink wine, brewed of fine almonds
Where horses on white beaches ride
And the cliffs prove where earth ends,
I heard of waterfalls and nature’s songs
And I wished for these all day long!
You sang of places where women dance
And when they turn and laugh, they waltz,
You talked of places on far away hilltops
Where white snow quietly melt and drop,
You spoke of fine deers, wild hops and birds
Where mountains touch the sky and eagles glide

Now I dream of these places in my sleep
But you, little feather have seen it all
For you and your accomplice, the wind sailed away
While I sat, yearning and dreaming all day

Categories
Series

Jorinda and Jorindel from Gutenberg Project

There was once an old castle, that stood in the middle of a deep gloomy wood, and in the castle lived an old fairy. Now this fairy could take any shape she pleased. All the day long she flew about in the form of an owl, or crept about the country like a cat; but at night she always became an old woman again. When any young man came within a hundred paces of her castle, he became quite fixed, and could not move a step till she came and set him free; which she would not do till he had given her his word never to come there again: but when any pretty maiden came within that space she was changed into a bird, and the fairy put her into a cage, and hung her up in a chamber in the castle. There were seven hundred of these cages hanging in the castle, and all with beautiful birds in them.

Now there was once a maiden whose name was Jorinda. She was prettier than all the pretty girls that ever were seen before, and a shepherd lad, whose name was Jorindel, was very fond of her, and they were soon to be married. One day they went to walk in the wood, that they might be alone; and Jorindel said, ‘We must take care that we don’t go too near to the fairy’s castle.’ It was a beautiful evening; the last rays of the setting sun shone bright through the long stems of the trees upon the green underwood beneath, and the turtle-doves sang from the tall birches.

Jorinda sat down to gaze upon the sun; Jorindel sat by her side; and both felt sad, they knew not why; but it seemed as if they were to be parted from one another for ever. They had wandered a long way; and when they looked to see which way they should go home, they found themselves at a loss to know what path to take.

The sun was setting fast, and already half of its circle had sunk behind the hill: Jorindel on a sudden looked behind him, and saw through the bushes that they had, without knowing it, sat down close under the old walls of the castle. Then he shrank for fear, turned pale, and trembled. Jorinda was just singing,

“The ring-dove sang from the willow spray,
Well-a-day! Well-a-day!
He mourn’d for the fate of his darling mate,
Well-a-day!” when her song stopped suddenly. Jorindel turned to see the reason, and beheld his Jorinda changed into a nightingale, so that her song ended with a mournful jug. An owl with fiery eyes flew three times round them, and three times screamed:
“Tu whu! Tu whu! Tu whu!”

Jorindel could not move; he stood fixed as a stone, and could neither weep, nor speak, nor stir hand or foot. And now the sun went quite down; the gloomy night came; the owl flew into a bush; and a moment after the old fairy came forth pale and meagre, with staring eyes, and a nose and chin that almost met one another.

She mumbled something to herself, seized the nightingale, and went away with it in her hand. Poor Jorindel saw the nightingale was gone but what could he do? He could not speak, he could not move from the spot where he stood. At last the fairy came back and sang with a hoarse voice:
“Till the prisoner is fast,
And her doom is cast,
There stay! Oh, stay!
When the charm is around her,
And the spell has bound her,
Hie away! away!”

On a sudden Jorindel found himself free. Then he fell on his knees before the fairy, and prayed her to give him back his dear Jorinda: but she laughed at him, and said he should never see her again; then she went her way.
He prayed, he wept, he sorrowed, but all in vain. ‘Alas!’ he said, ‘what will become of me?’ He could not go back to his own home, so he went to a strange village, and employed himself in keeping sheep. Many a time did he walk round and round as near to the hated castle as he dared go, but all in vain; he heard or saw nothing of Jorinda.

At last he dreamt one night that he found a beautiful purple flower, and that in the middle of it lay a costly pearl; and he dreamt that he plucked the flower, and went with it in his hand into the castle, and that everything he touched with it was disenchanted, and that there he found his Jorinda again.

In the morning when he awoke, he began to search over hill and dale for this pretty flower; and eight long days he sought for it in vain: but on the ninth day, early in the morning, he found the beautiful purple flower; and in the middle of it was a large dewdrop, as big as a costly pearl. Then he plucked the flower, and set out and travelled day and night, till he came again to the castle.

He walked nearer than a hundred paces to it, and yet he did not become fixed as before, but found that he could go quite close up to the door. Jorindel was very glad indeed to see this. Then he touched the door with the flower, and it sprang open; so that he went in through the court, and listened when he heard so many birds singing. At last he came to the chamber where the fairy sat, with the seven hundred birds singing in the seven hundred cages. When she saw Jorindel she was very angry, and screamed with rage; but she could not come within two yards of him, for the flower he held in his hand was his safeguard. He looked around at the birds, but alas! there were many, many nightingales, and how then should he find out which was his Jorinda? While he was thinking what to do, he saw the fairy had taken down one of the cages, and was making the best of her way off through the door. He ran or flew after her, touched the cage with the flower, and Jorinda stood before him, and threw her arms round his neck looking as beautiful as ever, as beautiful as when they walked together in the wood.

Then he touched all the other birds with the flower, so that they all took their old forms again; and he took Jorinda home, where they were married, and lived happily together many years: and so did a good many other lads, whose maidens had been forced to sing in the old fairy’s cages by themselves, much longer than they liked.

Categories
Africa Nature Pastoral Poetry

Morning sun

Shine forth morning sun
Make dew drop and disappear
Paint the world gold
And take all gloom away,
From fields let farmers behold,
From forgeries let smiths smile
And from hamlets let our joy flow
With every fine memory you bring

Categories
Africa Nature Pastoral Poetry

Morning view of Uwaoma Hill

Exotic view of Ugwu Uwaoma! The pathway leads to Umukwu, my granny’s place.

This morning I was privileged to pass through this ancient hill. Around the hill are ponds and streams. There are Catfish and other species in them. I will visit the farm later to collect some wood. I heard there’s a stream before it. If I am chanced I will get more images.

Great day ahead everyone ❤

Categories
Africa Nature Pastoral Poetry

Haiku of the Harmattan

Green things are brown
Harmattan made them so
Even trees turn mad dancers

Categories
Africa Nature Pastoral Poetry

Dust of Locust with Steven M Ross

Okechukwu Iroegbu:

A dark patch I saw from afar
On a day the doors were left ajar
A falling mist upon earth
Greysome; a sight I loath
The sun had seen much
For I, never seen such

Steven M Ross:

Sunlight still prevail
Every emotion that you feel
Like poetry is a bust
So does the wind
Blow the dust
Nature’s beauty is still unchanged
Like the fresh smell
Of a perfumed flower fragrance
Love put you in a trance
With every thought
You will dance
As if its autumn
And leaf fall in circles
From a branch
So much is your eye-sight advanced

***

Commentary: I had written this poem with a friend, Steven Ross (Cape Town, South Africa) earlier this year; January 1 & 2… The first part was mine while he wrote the second stanza.

Categories
Africa Nature

Happy New Year

Morning of 31 December: I helped process cassava harvested from our farm. You might notice I haven’t been regular since new year’s eve. It’s part of my duty to work in the farm when I travel home. Processing cassava is a hectic task and I tend to sleep off each night without writing or reading. It might take few more days to regain my writing/reading strength.

Ovim sits on arable land. Some of the tubers in the image are as big as fully grown yams! We noticed that most of the cassava tubers were eaten by rodents and white termites.

While work was in progress we found a brown skinned snake which hid in a set of old furniture kept outside the house. To get the snake out I poured some kerosene on the furniture and killed it with a machete. Wild snakes can be poisonous and in Ovim, owing to the hilly terrain, snake bites are common.

Happy new year everyone. Let’s have a great year ahead! See you much later ❤