I remember my first attempt at hunting. I was a little boy then and just arrived my hometown for holidays. It was fun and I was glad I went home. As a town boy I had little experience in hunting and general country life. Traveling home was a great way to get in touch with my culture and loved ones. My granny lived in the countryside. I was always excited to see her, she was the reason I went home then. She was kind, generous and thoughtful of others. She always spared me some fish from her food basket. I was her boy and always sit looking at her pretty face each time she made dinner. The memories of her soup still make me salivate. How I miss those days. I wish I could pen down the exact feelings but it can’t be expressed in that manner. It can only be felt. True happiness grow from simple and funny things.
School holidays was an opportunity for traveling. I enjoyed every bit of it. The excitement to pack, to watch the clouds ride past, to eat my hometown’s egusi biscuits, to play with many kids and dream of killing a lion in the forest was enough to drive me home. I always fantasized, I always imagined. I dreamed too. This must be the origin of my love for traveling. Most times we traveled through rail and other times by road. The roads then were much better and I love the feel of fresh wind against my face. I really loved traveling with my aunt to stay with granny (God rest their beautiful souls).
I remember hunting with my playmates. We could hunt, swim, fish, dance, play games, farm and climb trees. We even played in the rain. We hunted anything available, lizards, rats, flies, bugs, grasshoppers and ants. I as a person, had a soft spot for living things. I could collect and study them. As a kid I couldn’t keep my captive pets alive because they won’t eat the food I offered them. Well, I cried each time I lost an insect. My parents thought I would become a medical doctor, but I wasn’t destined for that. My curiosity was something else. I wasn’t good in fixing inanimate objects (fans and TeeVee sets) like my elder brothers but I was more interested in life itself.
There were stories told by my aunt and granny. I also learned of Biafra from old veterans. Most of my friends were the elderly. While I loved hanging out with them I learned a lot from their stories. I imagined life in the time of no civilization. My aunt was my favourite story teller. She acquainted me with tricks of Nnabe, the cunny Tortoise. She even told me I was the reincarnation of her father and wished I met him and I wish I did too. He was a great man indeed. He farmed great expanses of land and had big yam barns, diji, he was also a great hunter, dinta, he was stubborn and courageous. I learned he fought in Hitler’s War in Libya and modern day Israel. My mom still retells her favourite story of how he beat up a racist who always intimidated black soldiers. It’s a good laugh. Maybe I will tell it some day.
I remember with joy, how fast things go by, how I miss those good nomad days and how life has changed. But beautiful memories still flood my mind. I’m grateful to have them.