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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 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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Categories
Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle Nature Pastoral

Back home

Well, the morning bus was fast enough. Now, I’m here again, Ovim my beautiful home!

I noticed new additions to the garden, date palms, groundnuts, turmeric, plantains, cane sugar, grapes, pawpaw, oranges, guava, coconut, sour sops, tomatoes, mangoes, yams, cocoyams and more. My aunt had turned this small garden to a demonstration farm.

My fluffy friend won’t recognize me or come any closer even though I raised him. I learned his companion was prepared for Easter. I pity his lonesomeness.

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I’ll settle to this welcome offering of mangoes while they prepare lunch. These mangoes can sale for a lot of money in town but it’s free here.It’s good to be home but I won’t stay long. Traveling may be restricted in coming days.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry Series

Memories

You remind me of home, far away,
Fine memories I cherish each day

Categories
Africa culture/tradition folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Homecoming

Mama is waiting
The hills too!
The road is slow
I hear her call…
I’m coming mother,
I’m coming home!

Categories
Africa culture/tradition folklore Nature Pastoral

Homesick rhyme

|.
I’m coming back, that’s my happiness
Tell the strong boys and beautiful girls,
Get the boys to gather much wood
And the girls to sweep the compound
I have got many stories for all, haha
So get ready, our nights will be longer!
Go on, run along now, and tell them

||.
Tell Mama that her smiles gives me joy
Tell Papa that town won’t corrupt his boy
That I sing my heart out whenever I remember home,
Tell my siblings to hold on fast,
For I’ll be home before they knew it
Tell them I hunger for palm wine beer
And that I miss my people and land so much

|||.
Tell the hunters to prepare their guns,
Tell the farmers to clear the farthest land,
That I’m ready to hunt the deep forests
And ready to sow a lot of cassava stems
Tell everyone to get ready for moonlight tales
For I’ll tell the tale of the tallest giraffe
And how he ate the sickly moon half!

Categories
Africa Nature Pastoral Poetry

Home

Home is where dance classes are unconventional, where meals are sumptuous and delicious no matter what. 😋

Home is cute smiles and beautiful memories and faces; green grasses and blue skies. 🙂

Home is happy hugs and pats, joyful and sometimes sad stories, when things change, we still end with it. 🤗

Home is a citadel of faith and hope and tears, joyful and sad; of flowers, handsome lilies and roses. 🌺

Home is in the heart. It’s family and friends, well wishers and all loved ones, here or abroad. 🏠

Categories
Africa Nature Pastoral

Welcome to Akara

When I was growing up I was fascinated each time we traveled to the countryside. It was fun as I could query the roads with my eyes and count palm trees as we went.

Welcome to Akara, the biggest town in Isuikwuato. The name may sound familiar to Nigerians as it shares same pronunciation with the local name for bean cakes.

Akara junction is a melting pot for travelers. People traveling to places like Uturu, Ovim, Abiriba, Ohafia, Igbere, Arochukwu, Bende and other parts of Abia pass through this route. Many people from all parts of Nigeria live and do business here. The junction is known for her egusi biscuits (tasty melon seeds, crushed and smoked with pepper, oil, and other ingredients). Yummy!

It is also known for its bush meat and palm wine restaurants. Sometimes hunters display Nchi (Grasscutter) and Ele (Antelope) for sale. The surrounding bush and forests makes hunting a lucrative business. I am not a fan of hunting. I think the government should protect the forests or regulate hunting and logging businesses. It is common to see all kinds of exotic wild animals trapped, killed and sold as meat or raw materials. Also, large expanses of forest land is cleared annually for settlements and farmlands.

There are super markets and hotels to serve travelers. Hospitals and small factories are also sited in the vicinity. There’s a bank and a thriving market. One thing you must know about Isuikwuato people is: they are friendly and welcoming.

The first image was taken last week, on my way back to Aba. Reflecting on the nostalgia traveling brought, I still feel like an excited kid each time I pass through this junction.

Have a great holiday everyone.

Categories
Africa Igbo culture Nature

In Ovim

I’m back to Ovim Isuikwuato, my hometown. It has been a long week for me, marking and grading students’ math exam. Coupled with the noisy neighbourhood, the stress nearly overwhelmed me. Thank God it’s Friday.

Now far away from work and town’s hustle bustle, I can feel myself heal. The surrounding hills – notably Ugwu Uwaoma, make this village cold at night and early morning. It’s hot sometimes but with the Harmattan wind there’s an unequal balance between cold and heat. The only problem here will be sunflies. Ach, little vampires and I, a fair skinned person attract them a lot. But I have learned some ways to keep them off: wearing long sleeves (not effective for they attack the face, neck and legs too), using insect repellent creams (these makes one sweaty) and a more traditional way – smearing scent leaf juice all over myself.

One reason I love this quiet countryside is that it inspires me a lot. Blue skies, wonderful sunset and sunrise, ancient rocks, magnificent waterfalls, exotic bird watching and observing manmade roads cockroach up breathtaking hills. I even imagine myself the sole monarch of numerous anthills and the wild forest. Aha, how lucky I would be! I’m grateful for all the beauty I see. I feel attached to the streams, rivers, waterfalls, hills, forests, wildlife and happy, peaceful people. I’m thrilled by simple things. There’s a full moon out here and a host of insect choir. It’s good to be home!

BTW, this image was taken during my last visit. As I arrived late this evening, it was too dark to take pictures. I’ll try to in the morning. Have a good night everyone.