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Africa culture/tradition opinion quotes thoughts

Quote: Life Is A Circle

Life is a circle, and stories take us all around it.

© Oke Iroegbu

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Africa culture/tradition education Igbo culture

Quote on Greatness

“You cannot plant greatness as you plant yams or maize. Whoever planted an Iroko tree — the greatest tree in the forest? You may collect all the Iroko seeds in the world, open the soil and put them there. It will be in vain. The great tree chooses where to grow and we find it there, so it is with the greatness in men.”

— from Chinua Achebe’s NO LONGER AT EASE (1960)

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Africa culture/tradition education

African Wonders 4: The Pharos of Alexandria

The Pharos of Alexandria was a lighthouse completed in about 280 BC and was used to warn ships of the rocks surrounding the port of Alexandria, Egypt. The building measured over 110 metres to the top. During the day polished bronzed mirrors reflected the sunlight, and at night a fire burned that could be seen up to 50 kilometres away. A spiral ramp led from the ground to the top.

The gigantic lighthouse was a real survivor – it stood for over 1,500 years and survived being buffeted by massive waves and countless earthquakes.

It was built by a man called Sostratus who, in order to get the credit for this Wonder of the World, sneakily carved his name into the stone, and plastered over it. On top of the plaster he carved a dedication to the ruler of Egypt. In time, the plaster wore away and his own dedication, ‘Sostratus of Cnidos, son of Dexiphanes, to the saviour god’s, for sailors’, was left permanently displayed.

In 1994, an archaeologist located huge masonry blocks believed to be from the lighthouse, which was toppled by an earthquake in the 1300s.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition love poems nature poems night poems Pastoral Poetry

A Shepherd’s Poem

Sun set slowly above the wood
Shadows appear, shepherd dreams;
Soft breeze upon evening tide,
Smell of sheep dung,
Slices of malted bread,
Songs from the wine inn,
Situated by the river bend,
Sober men drink their heart fill,
Silent hills, retreating birds,
Sally may sing her radio favourite,
Something to celebrate our countryside,
Scent of marigold and rose,
Sleepy sheep bleat gratefully,
Safe from roaming the land,
Some wish for morning already,
Sops and grapes grow wild,
Sheep love to nibble on those
Smiles bring back what are the shepherd’s;
Sweet darlings are his memories for the day

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Africa culture/tradition Igbo culture lullaby Pastoral

Folklore: The Hippo and His Seven Wives

I heard the Wind tell this story

Storyteller: Ifochakpii!

Audience: Waa!!!

Gather my friends. It’s time to tell a story. It’s time also to hear a tale. Gather by the fireside, warm yourselves. Bring the little ones to the centre. Keep them warmer, for night and her cold hands is nigh. Sit under the branches of the mango tree. From there everyone can see streaks of moon light on the grassland. As you watch the fire lick those dry wood pay attention to this short tale of mine. I’ve heard the wind and sky tell it in different tongues, styles and climes. Listen, because there may be a lesson or two. If not, it might just be another lullaby waiting to help a good night sleep! A good day ends with a good story. Will you like to tell me the lessons you picked? Ifochakpii!! Waaaa!!!

The Hippo and his seven wives

Long time ago when things were not as it was today, there lived a proud Hippo chief. He had seven wives as was the tradition for wealthy animals then. He had a secret name known only to his wives. They knew to keep it unknown to anyone.

One day the Hippo hosted a party and when he made his speech, he put out a challenge to his village people. “I’m afraid my people, if you can’t reveal my name you have to go home hungry. The dishes here will only be available to all when you reveal my name!” The whole congregation was left aghast. All those mouth watering dishes will be left unattended to. Ah! Well some tried to guess his name but got it all wrong.

The animals dispersed hungry. And they say a hungry person is an angry person. Many weeks passed and he hosted another feast. No one was able to reveal his name. Many animals guessed and was wrong. Then the Tortoise rose to speak. “Sir,” he started. “Since you have shamed us severally, can I ask what we stand to gain apart from the feast you have here?” The chief replied him, “Well, I’ll give you my land and retire to live in the river!” It was a tough challenge. He really believed that no one could get his name right. The crowd dispersed hungry again.

Now the Hippo and his wives had a favourite bathing stream, just by the foot of the great baobab. It was a luxurious and private bathing spot acquired by the Hippo for his household.

One day the hippos went down to the stream for a dip. The Tortoise well aware of their movement dug and hid on the soft sand with his hard shell stuck out but disguised as stone. He waited and waited. At last the hippos started back to the village. The chief led the way and was followed by the eldest wife. They went in a single file thereby leaving the youngest wife behind.

When the last wife came to the soft sands the Tortoise raised his shell a little, so that she struck her foot on the hard shell and yelled: “Nnayi ukwu dim oma my husband, come and help me. I struck my foot on a stone!” When the hippos finally left the scene, Tortoise ran back with joy.

A few weeks later the hippos hosted another feast. They had fun mocking other animals. When it was time for name revealing the Hippo marched majestically to the podium to allow animals guess his name. All the animals tried but none could get it. The Tortoise was the last to try.

“Your name is Nnayi ukwu dim oma!”

There was complete silence. Which was broken by a round of applause and sudden feasting when the Hippo’s face dropped. Without words the hippos marched to the river with their belongings. To this day my friends they lived in water. Never to return to land again!

Retold by Oke Iroegbu

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culture/tradition education lifestyle Nigeria opinion reflection thoughts

Opinion: Leadership Woes

Admitting imperfections are great ways to becoming a better person, people and leaders.

City of Talents and Resilient people

I was born and raised in Ogbor hill, a suburb of Aba, a city in Southern Nigeria. Aba is known for its industry and export of labour to many Nigerian cities and overseas. The city is full of talents and all manner of craftsmen and women live in it. As a manufacturing town, traders and private businesses such as leather works, pottery, brick, electronics, food processing, plastics, metal, cosmetics, distilleries, and fabric call the city home. Most of these factories are owned by private residents. Many foreigners also trade in the city’s large markets and the enterprising spirit in Aba can be likened to none in Nigeria. The city itself is a big market. Aba youth is highly skilled. It’s common to see graduates turn to business as means of livelihood. This enterprising spirit led many to pick up different skills and develop talents to fit in with Aba’s resilient business environment.

Little is done to encourage the budding enterprise which has been in the city for decades. Yet Aba can contribute to Nigeria’s economic growth if her potentials are well harnessed.

Sadly I remember dead startups and factories and even more on their way to moribundity.

Leadership woes

Like most African cities, government neglect is common. Lack of proper economic planning and public infrastructure kept the city running in circles. With no visible economic plan on ground, Aba records low growth and decline in economic activities each year. In civilized economies, a city that shows promising private ventures involved in wealth creation and industrialization is aided by the government. When government steps in, it should be to create an enabling business environment. But this is not always so. There are key areas to focus on should the government decide to fix Aba’s unique economic landscape. First and foremost, good road network and stable electricity should be in place. Sadly, Aba’s road and drainage systems are in a state of limbo and contributes to road accidents recorded each year. In Aba electricity distribution is epileptic, or let me put it in milder words: not consistent. This push away investors and increases cost of production as businesses resort to generators for power.

The Way forward?

The two best ways to start government intervention is by bringing uninterrupted power supply and building good roads in Aba. This two can go a long way in encouraging businesses and startups. Providing clean water, markets, tax incentives and holidays, patronising local content will help too.

Not only will good road networks encourage inter state trading, it will enable access and more businesses to thrive in rural places where electricity is cheaper. If steady electricity is achieved, government can work to reduce the electricity rates paid by startups and businesses.

Despite years of government neglect, the city’s people had grown thick skin to negligence and the saying that life must find a way vividly applies to the city’s hustle and bustle. Aba will continue to live because it is a city made resilient and popular by her own people.

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love culture/tradition education lifestyle Love and Christianity opinion reflection

Mechanics of Savings: a Christian perspective

Mechanics of Savings and Financial Intermediation

Savings as described by financial analysts are the portion of income which are not used for consumption expenditures. They are referred to as investments, because huge portions of such savings in financial institutions constitute the capital extended to businesses, governments, individuals and other entities as loans. This is done through the process of financial intermediation. Financial intermediation involves three key parties, the Surplus Economic units, the Deficit Economic Units and the Financial Institutions. The SU’s are the economic units that their current income exceed their current consumption expenditure thereby leaving them with more funds. The DU’s are the economic units that their current consumption expenditure exceeds their current income thereby arousing their desire to borrow to supplement their income. The SU’s and the DU’s do not have direct contact, rather a medium or some kind of intercession is provided by financial institutions. Both SU’s and DU’s can be governments, private individuals, businesses or firms etc. Savings is an important factor in any economy and as such its role can not be overemphasized.

What the Bible says about Savings

The Bible teaches that saving money is a wise practice for many different reasons. God is our source and provider for everything we need.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). One of the main ways God provides for us is through money, and it is our job to steward that money well (Matthew 25:14– 27). We are accountable to God for how we use everything He gives us in this life, including money. Saving money demonstrates good stewardship of the resources God gives us. Saving money allows us to be prepared for the future, and being prepared for the future is good. Proverbs 6:6–8 shows us that this principle is lived out even in nature: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and its food at harvest.”

Planning ahead and saving money makes it easier to accomplish goals and allows us to be more effective in ministry (see 1 Corinthians 16:2). When we don’t plan ahead and save money, we are more prone to go into debt, which the Bible tells us is unwise (Proverbs 22:7). Of course, there are plenty of wrong motives for saving money. If we’re saving money out of
fear of the future, it shows we’re not really trusting God to provide (see Luke 12:7; 2 Timothy 1:7). Miserliness is sin, and it’s foolish and arrogant to make money our security. “The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it a wall too high to scale.” (Proverbs 18:11), yet riches “will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle” ( Proverbs 23:5). 1 Timothy 6:10 warns against greed, saying, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”

Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” To fully understand the value of saving money,
we must remember what the Bible says about giving. God desires His people to be cheerful givers (2 Corinthians 9:7). It’s impossible to out- give God! “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38). Sometimes when God gives us things, be it money or something else, it’s intended for us to give away. Other times, He gives us things that are meant for us to keep for ourselves and use in His service and for His glory. It’s wise to hold everything God gives us loosely so that we can give it away if He asks us to.

More Study Texts:

Proverbs 6:6-8
1st Corinthians 16:2
Proverbs 21:20
Proverbs 13:11
Proverbs 10:4-5
Proverbs 13:22

Categories
Africa culture/tradition folklore Igbo culture

Tradition: Storytelling

The African Storytelling Tradition

When I, the storyteller say: Ifochakpii! You the audience will reply: Waa!! (Pronounced as ‘War!’) This is Igbo people’s storytelling tradition. There are different ways of introducing a story to the audience. To the Igbo people it starts with a chant-like ranting that tries to capture the attention of all present. So the storyteller greets his audience in that manner as they reply him in excitement. The storytelling mood is a lively one and such introit may play a role in keeping the mood so.

Storytelling is a unique culture in Africa. Storytellers are revered across the land. We may compare them to the present day actors because they actually act. I can compare storytelling to the modern day stage drama. Storytelling is respected because it passes ancient knowledge and wisdom from one generation to another. It’s a time when everybody, young and old gather to listen and learn about the tradition of a place and life’s virtues through stories told by their ancestors. Though much of these stories have been lost or modified with time, the morals, which is the crux remain intact. Sometimes they act as bedtime stories meant to aid or lull people to sleep. All over the world storytelling precedes reading.

Tortoise: Main Villain & Hero
Growing up in West Africa I came to learn that Tortoise is the dominant character in most stories. He is called Mbo or Mbe in Igbo. Some clans gave him, his wife and children other names. His wife is called Alibo in Ovim. I can’t remember his son’s name but it may not matter for now. The Tortoise play funny and shrewd roles. He is generally perceived as a cheat who goes about causing mischief for others. Sometimes he gets to win, other times he is a loser and a lesson for the little ones. The Tortoise has been featured in many stories, few I can remember myself. He has duped the Boar in one story, deceived the host of birds that lent him a feather each, cursed the spider that saved him from the ghost town and dealt with spirits. In fact he is a star in the African folklore scenario.

Yet why he was chosen for these wonderful roles is what I have not been able to understand. We have bigger, faster, smarter and funnier animals but the Tortoise was picked to play lead roles in most of West Africa’s traditional folklore. Naturally the Tortoise is a slow, lazy and seemingly dumb animal but in tales he is a kingmaker, a genius or the wise one. Looks are truly deceptive in African folklore.

Why should we preserve stories?

Apart from the Tortoise that fell from the birds’ firmament party, no one in reality and fiction had the privilege of falling from the skies. What I mean is that nothing just happens. Every story serves a purpose, be it fact or fiction. And no society is complete without a history, a story. So stories are careful documentations, written or oral. We have histories and traditions to discuss today because people had kept accounts and details of them. I’ll write more on this topic in a separate blog post.

For now, can you tell me which African story is your favourite?

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love culture/tradition education folklore Nature nature poems Nigeria Pastoral Poetry

Poetale: The Nomad

When twilight came
I took a walk, for some air
And down the roadside I went.
There a young man stood
Bearded heavily unlike myself
Throwing corn seeds into his mouth
And grinding them with such relish
That his brown teeth showed off
He stood a little close to my fence
And I decided to go chat with him
He smiled when I came close
He doesn’t look like someone from here
Yes, I seen those tribal marks somewhere
He must be from the North,
Sannu!‘ I hailed
Sannuku!‘ he replied
Eying me carefully
‘Do you wanti some agwado?’
‘No thank you.’ I replied
I saw his garment flow up,
Sailing with the mild breeze
Like a kite on rampage
The dress leaned deep into his flesh
And his muscles exposed
Kai, do you speak Hausa?’ he asked
‘No, very poor in that regard,’ I answered
‘Okay oh,’ he turned to call his cattle
Then I realised he was a shepherd
I relaxed a bit, wearing a new smile
My new friend must have something
To tell me about his travels and animals
He saw my smile and grinned
‘Tell me about your best and worst times,
Of shepherding and your herd’
I started without thinking…
‘My best time is when my herd feed
On a valley full of healthy green grass’
He said in nearly perfect English
‘When the sun is high above the firmament
When cows give birth in the dead night
And when I hear my favourite calf moo,’
He closed his eyes to remember more
‘What about your worst moments?’
It seemed I shoved him back from his dream,
For he suddenly opened his red eyes
And shot a blazing stare at my mouth
‘Why are there wars in Africa?
Why men kill each other?
Why are streams dry
And oceans rising?’
He asked with a frown.
‘I was born into such society
That settle disputes with violence
There’s hate, tribalism and distrust
Tribe against tribe, people against people
And hate is substituted for love…’
He pulled a twig off the long grass
‘How can we live in a society without love,
Without faith and trust for one another?
Why fight and not dialogue to achieve peace?
Why bomb a land already stricken with drought?
And cause lack of food and drinking water?’
The air grew colder…
‘I tell you I have seen things. It is time to go home…’
He said painfully, holding his stick back
‘Well as for my worst moments
I see people suffer, Yes I have
For nothing sake, I hate to see children suffer
And people suffer for other people’s crimes and atrocities
It makes little sense to me but that is the world,
We love and live in. Injustice, inequality, intolerance, ignorance…’
I could see through his pain…
‘It is only love that can save us all,’
He said as his flock gathered together
Tssski-ing, he called them, making a clicking sound from his tongue,
Hanging his long stick and hat behind his back,
He waved heartily and marched off, leading his cattle away,
I realise that the world still have some beauty and good in it


Commentary.
Sannu… Hausa salute
Agwado… Corn in Hausa


The Hausa/Fulani is a tribe spread across West Africa and predominantly in present day Northern Nigeria. They are known for their unique culture, tradition, arts and food.

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Africa Africa, Poetry and Love culture/tradition education folklore Igbo culture lifestyle Nigeria opinion proverbs

Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart: Proverbs and Meaning

Onye aturu ilu kowaa ya, ego eji luo nne ya efuola ohia.

Before I start this post permit me to greet Igbo people; those who own the proverbs I’m about to explore; Ndi Igbo kwenu! Ekelem unu o. Ndewonu.


•Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe on Igbo traditional Isi-agu attire

INTRODUCTION: PROVERBS

There are many definitions for proverbs but as it is said that all routes lead to Rome, we won’t go far. Instead we’ll look at a definition that highlights the key points we seek. Proverb (Ilu in Igbo language) is a phrase expressing a basic truth which maybe applied to common situations. The Igbo defined it thus: Ilu bu mmanu eji eri okwu, (meaning that proverbs are oil with which we eat words). This explains literally that words are eaten and that proverbs helps to digest it. Proverbs are at the center of every African conversation. The traditional village council convene in proverbs, the trader and blacksmith converse in proverbs, and children even play with it. Parents speak to little ones in proverbs, so a visitor may expose himself if he is unable to follow the community trend. It is common to hear people speak in proverbs in Africa. This proves that proverbs are very important in African societies. Likening it to the saying that the “Leopard can’t shed its spots” – the average African won’t speak much without using proverbs to oil the conversation. African proverbs are rich sources of wit and wisdom. Now let us look at the proverbs we encounter in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

PROVERBS IN THINGS FALL APART AND THEIR EXPLANATION

In the book “Things Fall Apart” the people of Umuofia which represented the larger African society used proverbs extensively. As a book set in pre-colonial times it dwells on the effects of colonialism and imperialism on the African society. In this section I’ll be exploring the proverbs Achebe mentioned in his book. I’ll explain its general meaning in context of modern usage. I will also set all proverbs on bolded letters.

1. Proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten.

This means that proverbs makes conversations easier and understandable. It suggests that proverbs are words of wit which gives deeper insight to statements.

2. If a child washes his hands he can eat with kings.

In ancient Igbo culture children are not allowed to eat with elders from the same plate. This is a show of respect and honour. So this means that a child is allowed to dine with his elders or the king only if he achieves or did something exceptionally great.

3. When the moon is shining the cripple becomes hungry for walk.

This may read hilarious, the cripple is basically someone who has lost ability to walk. This proverb is talking about enticing opportunities that may strike up unrealistic hope.

4. A man who pays respect to the great, paves the way for his own greatness.

Is it not said that respect is reciprocal? Only that in this case we are more tilted to giving honour to whom it is due. The Igbo is a very proud people, they are known to disregard unfavorable royal order. It is believed that every man is king in his own house. Respect is earned and not just attributed in Igbo and other African societies.

5. Let the kite perch and let the eagle perch too. If one says no to the other let his wings break.

In Igbo land the general philosophy is live and let live. This proverb summarize this philosophy.

6. An old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned.

People tend to be uncomfortable when negative issues concerning them are discussed.

7. Eneke the bird says that since men have learned to shoot without missing, he has learned to fly without perching.

This talks about understanding strategies one can use to overcome issues. Life is dynamic, and people must learn to change with it.

8. Looking at the King’s mouth one would think he never sucked at his mother’s breasts.

If you consider how arrogant people talk or behave you may think they are invisible. We can also say that the king actually is representing the crown and thus say that he is too confident that one may think he is fearless. Which may not always be the case.

9. Those whose palm-kernels were cracked by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble.

Some people are just privileged in life, while many are not. Some inherit wealth and empires while others had to build from the scratch as the case of Okonkwo in the book. The proverb speaks of being humble when one is more privileged than others.

10. A proud heart can survive a general failure because such a failure does not prick its pride.

This suggest that proud people may never know when they fail because of their attitude.

11. When mother cow is chewing grass its young ones watch its mouth.

This suggests that we teach by our actions or deeds.

12. A baby on its mother’s back does not know the way is long.

It is left for the one who works hard to determine how much hard work he did. You can feed people with your earnings but not everyone knows how much time and effort you had to work.

13. If one finger brought oil it soils the others.

This explains that one persons action may affect everyone.

14. There is nothing to fear from someone who shouts.

In Igbo land it is always assumed that people who make noise are cowards. The English version is the empty drum makes the loudest noise.

15. A child can not pay for his mother’s milk.

This explains itself. One won’t pay for what rightly belongs to him.

16. Whenever you see a toad jumping in broad daylight, know that something is after its life.

People do not visit another for nothing. They might have come to ask for help. Something must be the reason for every action. Another version of this is the toad does not jump during the day if nothing is pursuing it.


The explanation for the Proverbs are my opinion. I’m available for discussion on African literature and Igbo culture/traditions. Drop a comment or query here or on the contact me page.

© Oke Iroegbu

Categories
culture/tradition lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry reflection rhyme tips

Imagining Love

Imagine riding a horse into sunset
Or sitting with kids to hear rare stories
Or listening to country late into the night
Or picking beautiful flowers & berries,

With the one you truly love…

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Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle Love and Christianity opinion Series

Quotes on Children

Seeing a child laugh or smile at me gives me exceptional joy. As a math teacher, I am privileged to work with them. I have collected some quotes on children to celebrate my love for them.
  • “Every child you encounter is a divine appointment.” – Wess Stafford
  • “Children are like wet cement: whatever falls on them makes an impression.” – Haim Ginott
  • “Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven.” – Henry Ward Beecher
  • “You have to love your children unselfishly. That is hard. But it is the only way.” – Barbara Bush
  • “Children make your life important.” – Erma Bombeck
  • “Hugs can do great amounts of good, especially for children.” – Diana, Princess of Wales
  • “The best inheritance a parent can give his children is a few minutes of his time each day.” – Orlando Aloysius Battista
  • “Always kiss your children goodnight, even if they’re already asleep.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
  • “Children are not casual guests in our home. They have been loaned to us temporarily for the purpose of loving them and instilling a foundation of values on which their future lives will be built.” – James Dobson
Let’s put smiles on those little faces. Have a happy day! 😊

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition education Nature

Beautiful Eswatini! (Images)

The Kingdom of Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland is a Southern African country bordered by South Africa and Mozambique. The kingdom is known for it’s unique culture and beautiful countryside.

If you ever visit this beautiful country make sure you taste the local beer. There’s a lot of animals and birds to see too. Immerse yourself in Africa’s beauty.

Visit Africa? #SafariAfrica

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Africa culture/tradition education folklore Nature Pastoral Poetry

Amuse: African Ostrich

1.
To you my feathery friend I write
In greying fields your fur I sight
Dangling by your sides are wings,
A tall neck, from which you may sing

2.
Caw caw, caw caw are your favourite words
The wind is your friend, the soil your playground,
The shrub is home, to it you rest when weary,
Your legs are strong, your claws even deadly

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3.
Evenings are for your quick runaways
You send stray rodents scampering away
I am not ashamed of your beautiful bald head
But you my fluffy friend, you are an amazing bird

4.
In the morning your scent fill the farmyard
You stand taller than scarecrows in our land

To have you here, beautiful and tall bird
Is a queer muse, but one of absolute good

Categories
Africa culture/tradition folklore Igbo culture Nature Nigeria

Home: Africa

High up above the hills of Africa, the dark winged clouds of night were still folded above the village and surrounding valley. Man and the domestic animals that were his, slept. But the antelope of the forest and the small fleet-footed gazelle, were wide awake.

In a short time, early morning dew descend from ancient hills. Darkness play with light. Dancing figures of thick fog conceal their fight and the good or bad that wait for strangers. Huge trees stand like knights armed with branches and shield-like barks, their huge roots like the fingers of a masquerade waiting to grab their victim. Farther away, creatures of the dark retreat back to their caves and hideouts. Light must not befall them. Hunters retrace their step home.

When the sun rise, she threw her golden blanket over the land. Hills rise with it waking the inhabitants of green forest and man. Down the valley, birds began a chorus, strong enough to wake the heaviest sleeper. Bees, wasps buzz, crickets, hoppers quiz, and reptiles hiss, every life has got a role to play. There is joy and peace. Joy that comes with a beautiful sunny day. Peace that brought harmony between man and nature which he call home.

From afar pretty images of green submerged in bowels of earthly grey decorate the hilly scene. Smell of flowing stream rent the air above. Hawks call to the sunrise welcoming daylight, bush rodents nibble at cassava roots. The forest turn to a circus where Nature play her own tricks. Tree leaves shade the streams, so when fruits fall into the water little fishes scatter in excitement or fear. Waterfalls and huge rocks watch the quiet green below. Shy crabs watch too, amused and drunk with water. It is quiet in the morning but for birds building big nests in the forest. Few people went to the stream and farm. Little girls swept their compounds, older girls weaved baskets, little boys sat with their fathers, older boys visited traps and mischievous pets ran about playing. Up the trees monkeys muse picking fruits from trees. Little babies yell while mothers gather materials for breakfast. Fathers chew their kola or take tobacco snuff, as they prepare to visit farms. Weekend was a holiday and the villagers knew best to keep it so.

When the sun heat become mild, the play stage is set. Children roll out their games; football, cricket, chase, wrestling, high jump, sand games and more. Women visit their friends or market to buy provisions. Some men go to the beer parlor. The morning brew was ready and they must attend to it. Palm wine was healthy and fresh ones taste better than water. Many youth wait for noon to bath at streams and waterfalls.

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Evening was the best time for reflection. Old men and women sat quiet, reflecting on the hills they call home. Sunset brought memories of the days stress. It brought home the market women, the farmer and fishermen. When the sun set, hills throw their warm shadow of comfort upon vales and the village. Birds fly home, greeting the evening as they go, lizards seek refuge on cracks and holes while owls prowl seeking a quick snack. Scent of cooking rent the air and children challenge each other over the hut with the best smell. Sweet vegetable soup adorned with periwinkle, snail, crabs and crawfish sit on dinner tables under the full glare and admiration of children and adults. Cold water from traditional pots or freshly fetched from the spring sit closer to the dishes. Providence knew many ways to appease the hard worker, good food was one of it. The night may have a folktale if the mood was right. Life could be simple and sophisticated still.

After evening came the cold night. Dew return, the path is lost in thick fog. Night was nobody’s friend. Quietly lights go out in the valley. Sleep was next play for children and adult, yet the ancient hills slept before everyone, forever. As the village sleep, creatures of the night walk. But man and day must retire back home, to start the cycle all over again tomorrow.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore Lessons from Experiences lifestyle Love and Christianity Nature Pastoral Poetry

Love knows no colour

Love knows no pink, no blue, no colour; it knows no creed, no silence, no mumblings, no religion or association. It will learn nothing that brings shame or pain or hurt to others and one’s environment.

Love preys on no one, it knows no greed and no self. Like fresh leaves falling quietly away from the mother tree, love spreads gifts of kindness and compassion wherever it goes.

Love someone genuinely today.

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Africa culture/tradition education Nigeria opinion reflection Series

Amnesty Int’l Letter: Children’s Day 2020

Dear Okechukwu,

I wish a happy Children’s Day to all the children in your life.

But as I write to you today, my heart goes out to all the children detained in Northeast Nigeria and caught up in endless violence at the hands of Boko Haram and the Nigerian military.

They were taken away from their families and had their childhood revoked – they were forced to become child soldiers and child wives, subjected to atrocious violence. They were detained unlawfully, often with adults, in grossly inhumane conditions. They were ill-treated and tortured.

And now, as they attempt to recover, hundreds of schools remain closed – 75% of children in Borno State are out of school.

We’re launching a report on the toll of Nigeria’s Northeast conflict on children today.

Nigeria must swiftly reverse its course and bring redress to children in the Northeast.

Kind wishes,
E. I.
Campaigner, Amnesty International Nigeria

***

I received this heart breaking email from Amnesty International Nigeria. As I read through, it dawned on me that there’s little or nothing to celebrate today. Bad leadership, political unrest, insurgency, religious crisis and poverty contributed to issues faced by children today. I always mention bad leadership because it is at the centre of it all.

It’s frightening when I look at reported cases of abuse (and what about unreported cases?) Children rights are abused on daily basis. Even as we celebrate their day, many will go to bed without food, many will never attend school in their lifetime, many may never have the chance to live (a normal life). What is really going on?

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Is it not awful that in today’s civilized world which had conquered diseases, deserts and drought, that children rights are taken lightly? They have become main victims of forced labour, teenage pregnancy, sexual/physical abuse, trafficking, child soldiers etc. I hope that things change for good.

I dedicate the poem below to children, all over the world. I echo what many may never have the chance to ask for:

Give me books and a pen,
Promise me nothing but education
Teach me words or to count one to three
And I’ll paint the world for you to see

Today being Children’s Day, I wish that every child has access to quality education, that every child live in a world free of economic, religious, political, or sociocultural discrimination and finally that we all put children’s rights first and contribute towards their happiness, peace and progress.

Good night.

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Africa culture/tradition folklore Nature Pastoral Series

Diaries of a Village Boy: The Leopard Spirit 9

Papa came back looking exhausted and defeated. He hung a tied piece of wrapper across his left shoulder and chewed slowly on bitter cola. He held a yellow palm frond in his left palm as he walked into our compound.

From my room I watched him march straight to his hut without speaking to anyone. He didn’t even answer Mama’s greeting. Something must be the problem and I was determined to find out sooner or later.

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Three nights ago I overheard Mama and Papa speak about the new priest that was sent by the Mission to our hamlet. Papa had intentions to speak to him to see if he could help liberate me from the spirit. They said the white man was stout with an iconic moustache. He was very tall and wore large eye glasses. Some children and indeed the villagers reasoned he had special powers for he talked back with authority and rude confidence at the Chief. Those who had met him thought he spoke through his nose and that he barely breath when he spoke. My friends who went with their fathers to welcome him said he spoke something like shuprishupri and they pitied their fathers who could only nod and gesticulate when he spoke to them. They swore he was a good actor full of humour. Sometimes some of the children will try to mimic his speaking style, ridicule his manners and then laugh away at their stupid selves.

Papa went to welcome him as the eldest in his clan. He should have taken me as his first son as others did but he felt I was not fully recovered. I thought Papa wouldn’t let us close to missionaries so that we won’t get corrupted by their ways. He had deliberately stopped us from attending church services too. But why would he seek help from those he abhorred? I shrugged. I knew one day I’ll meet the white man, and see if I can use his ways to free myself from this bondage.

***

One dibia suggested taking me to a forest for a week-long deliverance but my father refused saying that he won’t let me out of his sight. Mama has protested even before my father took the decision. I was indifferent, if no one wanted me to possess a Leopard spirit then why not do the needful to break the link?

The dibia had even adviced Papa to leave me this way, on grounds my powers may prove useful some day. I remember Papa shout, “Tufiakwa! Chukwu amamkwe!!

To be continued…

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Africa culture/tradition lifestyle

Ramadan Kareem

Ramadan Kareem my Muslim friends. Remember love is central to human co-existence.

Salam W’alaykum.

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Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle

Successful Vs Unsuccessful people (Images)

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Africa culture/tradition Pastoral

Africa Day 2020 (Images)

Happy Africa Day!

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culture/tradition education lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry Series

Quote: Pride & Humility

Pride is the father of shame
Humility is the father of fame

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Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Four Poems: Let’s Take A Walk

I. OUR TRYST

Breezes bring your memory; mild rosy fragrance,
The wind sing with you when you sang of the Nightingale
And now we wait to tryst, craving beautiful sunset

II. HAPPY MEETING

We must make haste, for night is a cold stranger,
For the great Baobab where our love blossomed,
Cold nights steal our warmth but time will keep memories
Of our merry evenings; me, you, beneath a pretty moon shine

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III. LET’S PLAY

Now let’s play hide and seek before the youth arrive for tonight’s tale
Let’s cuddle while we wait for happy girls and grumpy boys,
This night I shall surely bare my mind, I’ll have no timidity
And if my wit tries to escape from me I’ll take hold of it

IV. MY JEWEL

I’ve not come to hear stories nor see anyone but you:
My Jewel, I’m your Lion, the one who loves you in silence
And before this night tales are spent
We’ll live our Romeo and Juliet!

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Africa culture/tradition education folklore Love and Christianity Nature Pastoral

A Kind Story 2

I received this story from a friend and thought I should share with you.

Folake, a primary school teacher, was transferred to a different school and immediately appointed as a class teacher of a class five class.

On her first day in her class, she noticed that a boy named Kola was different from the rest of the pupils because he was always lonely, out of place, dirty and never used to do homework. Folake also realized that most pupils in the class had a negative attitude towards him.

Folake decided to investigate and find out the problem. She decided to review the file containing the records for Kola. She was very surprised by what she found out.

Kola’s class one teacher wrote and said “Kola is a good pupil with a ready laugh. He does his homework neatly and has many friends”.

The class two teacher wrote, Kola is a good pupil with a ready laugh. He does his homework neatly but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle”

The class three teacher wrote, “his mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn’t show much interest”.

The class four teacher wrote, “Kola is withdrawn.He doesn’t do his homework and has very few friends”.

By now teacher Folake had known where the problem was, and she was very ashamed of herself. And from that day onwards she decided to pay much attention on Kola and to assist him as much as possible.

Towards the end of the year, the pupils in the class decided to bring presents to teacher Folake. All the pupils in the class brought expensive presents which were wrapped in coloured paper except Kola. His present was wrapped clumsily in old pieces of newspaper. The rest of the pupils laughed at him when they saw what he brought.

Folake felt great pain as she opened the present that Kola had brought, she found an old bottle of perfume which was a quarter full and an old bracelet which had several beads missing. To stifle the laughter from the pupils, teacher Folake exclaimed “this bracelet is very beautiful” and wore it. She also took the bottle of perfume, tapped it on her wrist and put it on.

In the evening, when the rest of the pupils were going home, Kola deliberately remained behind, and when he was sure that all the pupils had left, he went to see teacher Folake. He entered her office, and summoning enough courage he said to her, “Teacher, today you smelled the way my mum used to”. When Kola left, Folake locked herself in the office and cried for more than an hour.

The following year, Kola wrote a letter to teacher Folake. He told her that she was the best teacher that he ever had in his life.

Six years later, he wrote another letter, he told her that he had finished secondary school and he was the best in his class. He added that “she was still the best teacher he ever had in his life”.

Eight years later, he wrote another letter. He told her that he had completed his bachelor’s degree in medicine was now a doctor. He added that she was still “The best teacher he ever had in his life”.

The following year, he wrote another letter. He told her that he had found a girl and was going to get married. He explained that his father had died one year earlier, and was wondering whether Folake would accept to attend the wedding and sit in the place reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course Folake accepted and during the wedding, she was putting on the same bracelet with several beads missing and she was also putting on the same perfume that Kola remembered his mother was putting on the day she died.

Now l ask a question, have you ever helped someone you don’t like? Can you do good just to help someone get up even when they cannot pay you back when they are not there?

LESSON: Any kindness you do to someone lasts forever! Touch a life in your school, places of worship your immediate environment, community, or anywhere today!

Dedicated to all who have the special opportunity to touch lives.

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Africa culture/tradition education folklore Igbo culture lifestyle Nature Pastoral Series

Diaries of a Village Boy: The Leopard Spirit 8

That morning before the early hunters left their homes for the forest, Papa was already on his way to Ndi-Ikele to welcome the priest, newly arrived from Trinidad and Tobago. It was breezy and cloudy that morning, it seemed it would rain any moment. Trees, especially the palm took to joyful procession when I stepped out to look around. Heavy breeze shook the forest and the skies grew darker. Birds took flight, stray dogs barked. People took in laundry previously spread to dry. The wind blew dust and tree leaves about and I had to retreat back to my room. It was dark inside but I could hear Nene playing with her dog near the kitchen fire while Mama prepared breakfast. Mama knew well enough to get food ready before Papa’s return and while Papa may not bother about himself, he will definitely want to know if his first son has been fed. Men’s queer world, I shrugged.

I took a pen from my school box and started writing on an old wooden seat in my room:

I’m but a soul in a cold tumbler
I catch the wind with my palms, but my life is lived by another

I only wake to live another’s dream…

I was still scribbling and thinking of this strange rhyme when Nene walked into my room without knocking. She quickly scanned my room with her eyes and then delivered her message. I was wanted by Mama. Nene was the inspector in the house and always had something to report to our parents. She was talkative only when she wants something and had a bossy way of getting things done. She was the miniature version of my father.

“My son, your food is ready.” Mama recalled me back from my thought.

“Thank you, Mama.”

“Nene, take his bowl of water to his room.” Mama said to Nene. After a short protest and smirks she finally took the bowl to my room, mumbling and spilling some water on the way.

“Be careful Nene. Don’t spill water on my mats.” I said to her. She took a short look at me and disappeared from the door.

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***

Tinkom tinkom, tibaliba
Dadi nkem o, Dadi nkem o
I we hapu m oo, wee jewe Lagosi
Muna onye ga ebi…

Children sang and played outside our compound. The noise wouldn’t let me reason or rest. Nene and Kiri, our cousin from few compounds away were the leaders. The game was played by softly hitting the palms of your opponents in numerous styles to rhyme with the beat sang by members of the two teams. Both led a team of three followers. The game progressed peacefully for a while, and Nene’s team led in total score. Suddenly she mistakenly put out her left hand instead of the right one and lost a game. Kiri and her teammates shouted and rejoiced over their gain and Nene pained with the mistake bursted out angry.

“It seemed that you’re happy for nothing. I still lead the total score… See your tummy like that of a pregnant frog.” She yelled at Kiri, hands akimbo.

“See this one, she is angry that she lost a game. You’re a loser!” Kiri retorted when she learned her rival was bitter.

“If you don’t close your mouth, I’ll help you deliver that foetus in your tummy.” Nene shouted again. Their team members were enjoying the scenario when Mama walked in from the back.

“Who are those children that won’t let us drink water and rest in this compound. Ssshussh children, run away!” She shouted and clapped her hands. The fighting parties disengaged and ran away from the compound to regroup somewhere else and continue with their game.

To be continued…

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Africa culture/tradition education folklore lifestyle Nature

Boss Vs Leader (Images)

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Africa culture/tradition Nature Pastoral Poetry

Namaqualand, Beautiful Namibia

I see light fell from the sky
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Africa culture/tradition folklore lifestyle Love and Christianity Nature Pastoral Poetry

Grateful Christian

l feel Your warmth Jehovah
The peace and comfort You gave
Now sunshine through my curtain,
Strings of beautiful colours I see
Oh Jehovah, You’re Awesome
The skies blue cloud stand at ease
You stand out, You’re Handsome!

The love I feel, undescribable
The life I’ve, gracefully blessed
You loved me to love others
My voice, my warrior, my power
My strength, my icon, my Lord
My dream, my Saviour, my master
My Supreme, my Almighty God

For in You I see first beauty
And in all Your creations,
You’re my salvation
My inspiration, I’m Abraham’s seed
And I address You in my African way
For people call me The Lord’s blessed
Ara na azu nwa, Chukwu di ebube

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What if there was no colour in my eyes?
What if I had no feet for shoes?
But You wouldn’t let me suffer,
Your love made me perfect,
None can Your intentions mar
Your ways are mighty and astute

Good lands, valleys and hills
Rivers, skies and people
You cause my eyes to behold;
I’m forever grateful for Your love,
For beautiful flowers and the bee,
For morning dew and suave,
And for new blessed week

Commentary.
Ara na azu nwa: Igbo language for ‘the breast that feeds a child’
Chukwu di ebube: My God is Glorious

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Waterfall

Listen to Nature sing from waterfalls,
She thrash her garments upon rocks
And wash them with her soft palms
She sends soft waters crashing into the pool
Watching the blue skies as her fingers work
When the water descend they form
Fine curtains of white mist
As the water touch the pool below
It changes into bubbling green
Loose soil cling to Water lilies & Fern roots
Slowly falling water push crabs to their burrows
Echoing nature’s still song till evening

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Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle Nature Pastoral

Animal Planet’s Dave Salmoni New Show

It’s not everyday that you get this close to the fastest land animal on Earth!

Don’t miss a new episode of #AnimalBites with Dave Salmoni, Fridays at 12PM ET.

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Africa culture/tradition folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry Series

Life’s pretty hue

I speak without much words
For all I say is but a fraction of my thoughts
I find no perfect word(s)
In there, in my mind where all are soft

So when I sit without my human friends
I watch Nature turn to pretty painting,
As I fed stray ants my soft bread
And consider tree roots kingly thrones

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The birds sing a tune I know
Down hill, on the stream I hear children play
They swim and throw water blows
I smile at the shy Ladybird that won’t stay

When I hear this evening wind roar
I must return home, away from this view,
That I long for, cherish and love,
Life is little without Nature’s pretty hue

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Africa culture/tradition education folklore Lessons from Experiences lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Since I met you

Many times I told myself that love is but a lie
It comes into a life and leaves without a trace
But since I met you, I feel more ambience;
The way you make me do things I do,
The way you smile and cherish life so

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Africa culture/tradition Lessons from Experiences lifestyle Love and Christianity Nature Pastoral

Humility Vs Pride

Humility and pride are two brothers that see the world from different perspectives. In this blog post, I’ll compare them to see how they differ.

Humility apologizes first even when he is not wrong but pride is the longest distance between two people.

Pride is concerned with who is right, humility is concerned with what is right.

Pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall. Proverbs 16.18. In James 4.6, God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

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Proud people seldom learn, it takes a humble character to be submissive to instructors.

Indeed pride is the mother of arrogance and it could turn angels to demons and humility can change sinners to saints.

Let’s end with this Vietnamese proverb, ‘The higher you climb, the heavier you fall.’

Good morning and have a beautiful day!

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Africa culture/tradition education folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

If I do love you

If I do love you
I would make me a green hut at your gates
Drum and call upon your name
I would of your virtues write long poems
Sing them in the dead of the night
So it sounds among the ancient hills
With Echo, the talkative spirit of the air

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Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Quotes on Kindness

‘Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.’ St Augustine.

‘If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart.’ Arabian Proverb.

‘To fold the hands in prayer is well, to open them in charity is better.’ French Proverb.

Plant flowers in other people’s gardens and your life becomes a bouquet. It’s not that successful people are givers; it is that givers are successful people.

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‘Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.’ Mother Theresa

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Africa culture/tradition folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry Series

Poetry from Skies

There was poetry before we learned to write
Awesome rhythm rendered as a strong wind might
lyrics penned down by clouds, as such
And when singing, green vegetation bows
There was poetry before we learned to hear
Drums that tender soft beats, far but near
Brief gaiety across the heavens
Heard passion when it stills the night
There is poetry down this African hill
Perhaps Hyena’s laughing near the mill
A flying stone sings from its hearty swing
While infants draw lines in Arcadian minds.
Oh poet! Listen to the sky!

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Africa culture/tradition folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Wattle by Robin Bliss

Wattle blossom, Wattle yellow
Makes me feel kinda mellow
With your flowers, brilliant bright
Fills my soul with much delight
Saffron, citron and festive gold
Buttercup and colours bold
And so I loiter on my way
In your presence I would stay
Yes your sweet scent laden breeze
Sets my soul and mind at ease

9/5/15

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Africa culture/tradition lifestyle Love and Christianity Nature Pastoral Poetry Series

Love’s Silhouette

wpid-gb.jpg
We have our silhouette against sun rise,
When we stand, staring in our grey eyes,
Yet the sun may bear witness to this tryst

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Africa culture/tradition education folklore Igbo culture Lessons from Experiences lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry Series

African childhood Memories

I long for my childhood days in rural Africa,
To fill my lungs with morning air descending from hills
And to till farmland that stretch into sunset

Golden sunrise always kept everyone speechless
And when birds welcome the day with choruses
Sweet breezes gather to battle the sun warmth
Infants may resume their wailing culture
And somewhere up, away from the hamlet
Hawks and Eagles surf the blue wild skies
Little birds build their nests on Palm Trees
Filling quiet neighbourhood with joyful cries
Down by the riverside a school of silver fish swim
Scattering when a breadfruit plunge into the stream

After the morning chores
The boys move on to the green field
Sheltered and surrounded by big trees
From the pitch we pick team mates
And set up goal posts with bamboo
Now our football was unripe oranges or grapes
And when the game start our little legs race off,
Up and down the field, while monkeys watch from trees
I gladly remember the taste of Egusi biscuits,
The numerous fruits that grow on trees near home
And tasty Oha vegetable soup prepared by granny
Now the ancient hills and green trees are my brothers
I climb the guava and mango trees with bare hands
And race up those hills upon the evening tide
Waterfalls are my hideout when in mischief,
The streams my pool where I still my soul
The night is full of dreams, full of starry nights,
I retire with other kids to eat my warm soup
Listening as fire lick the wood outside, slowly
Dinner brings the day close to an end but not yet
As a generous story may be told
My favourite being a tale of the Giraffe
And how he ate the sickly moon half

I long for my childhood days in rural Africa still
To watch the sunset behind hills I call home

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Africa culture/tradition folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry Series

Sing with me

Sing with me
Let’s talk lyrics only known to poetry,
Dance with me
Let’s swirl upon night’s quiet rhythm.

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