Africa Africa, Poetry and Love Nigeria reflection

Nostalgia: Hills I Call Home

I sit outside my granny’s house, clad in blankets and a pillow. It was a rainy day and a very cold one. The cold extended into the evening and early night. The village is surrounded by streams and hills and this must have contributed to the extreme weather. I left town a few hours ago but the rain caught up with me.

One good thing about this place is it’s hilly countryside – it’s nested in-between ancient hills and surrounded by forests. So morning is a beautiful sight to behold. I remember how scared I was to walk through the path blanketed by tree branches. Trees stuck out their branches, covering the roadside and sunlight. During night time, I mistake those branches as ghostly fingers waiting to grab their victim.

One time I missed falling millipedes as they lost their grip and fell from tree branches. I won’t forget the funny scenario displayed by a friend when a pair of millipedes fell into his shirt. I have witnessed a monitor lizard slain. I also have seen several rodents and snakes disturb the bush. I have seen an owl hunt in the moonlight and soldier ants visit frequently. The hills are their playground. Even now as a young man I feel indifferent towards the hills and her numerous inhabitants. I am suspicious of any movement near the bush path.

Back to my lonely reflection: I feel welcomed by insect zithering. They sing a disturbing lullaby. Sometimes I wish them away. There’s no frog in the vicinity, thankfully. A crazy frog choir would have been worse. Some insects stroll into my room. Crickets hide in cracks. Moths marry my torch-light, sun-flies drive me crazy during the day, wasps and bigger moths buzz about, investigating the lamps around the house and other light craving insects play out their hearts. Indeed, insects are a restless bunch. I know a lot of them but not their names. My favourite is the handsome lady bird.

The cold hands of night grip this tranquil village. It’s very dark out here safe for few stars, which are dots imposed upon the dark sky. I’m familiar with this hilly climate.

Now lightning take images of the clouds and grassland. I see tree skeletons with each flash but the hills are invincible without much illumination. It seems it will rain again. It’s good to be home

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.

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.

Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle Nature Pastoral

Information on Covid-19 in Local Languages

This is Umukwu, Amune Ovim in Isuikwuato. An uncle sent this video to me yesterday. I’m happy to see this happen. Now that information about the virus is spread through local languages, I expect to see some change in attitude and willingness to observe social distancing. The video is in Igbo language. I think the same should be done in other parts of Nigeria, especially the North and other African nations as well. This way our rural populace will know about the virus and how it can be avoided. There’s an English version here. Kudos to all that organized this. Stay safe everyone.

Learn Igbo language.

Africa culture/tradition lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry


I love you homeland

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Another visit to Ovim’s Hills

If you encounter tablelands and rocks, hills and valleys, waterfalls and streams, abundant trees and virgin forests, all set in one quiet countryside, you will agree that Ovim is really blessed. Ovim is situated on ancient hills, a beautiful place for camping and outdoor fun. Each time I visit I get healed by her beautiful ambience. Welcome again to my home, Ovim. I was on transit, so couldn’t captured images exactly. The grasses had turned brown and I noticed that some ponds had dried up. I saw school children play in the fields, near their school and heard birds sing from the cover of trees in the forest. Don’t take my word for it, visit Africa. Want a blog or website like this one? Then click here.

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Ide Stream

We took a walk through Ovim. I decided to show my friends around. Just after Ugwu Uwaoma, we saw the table mountain. From the distance, it looked magnificent.

Further ahead, we came across the stream Ide, with her tide gliding smoothly through the green forest. The stream is deep and some fish trapping go on. Looks can be deceptive, huh? The stream’s murky waters are not what it seem at closer look. We took several images and made a video.

An aunt informed me a python was killed yesterday, at a neighbour’s compound in Umukwu but I arrived late to investigate that.

Africa culture/tradition Igbo culture Lessons from Experiences

Umukwu’s Masquerades

I never knew today was Ekpo (masquerade) day in Umukwu, Ovim. I was having a little nap when the noisy drummers arrived with the masquerades.

When I was growing up I witnessed many masquerade carnivals and took particular interest in Ebuluogu – the biggest and stout masquerade. They are known to be merciless and stubborn. This is evident in their imposing looks. A masquerade’s size may signify that the wearer is either huge or small and could be strong or weak physically and spiritually, as the case may be. Masquerades have different nicknames and come in different shapes, colors and attires. They normally move in groups and it is rumored that lonely masquerades are most dangerous and are always on a revenge mission. So here’s a tip: if you ever come across a lonely masquerade, run away!

Masquerades gather in each village square with their drummers to dance and entertain people. Afterwards they are offered gifts, food and drinks. They usually don’t speak and are armed with sticks and machetes.

In Igbo land, masquerades are perceived as messengers of spirits. It is believed that masquerades possess supernatural powers and when a man dress as one, becomes controlled by spirits.

Tip 2: It is taboo to unmask or beat a masquerade. It is a serious offense and may have grave consequences!

I remember how these masquerades turned me into a sprinter. They hit people with their sticks. Each time I encounter them, I had to outrun them or get beaten!

I will be back with poetry. See ya.

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Back Home

This morning I and Jindu traveled back to our village. Thanks to the holidays we have enough time to explore and enjoy the quiet countryside.

We took the 6.30AM bus and arrived 10.23AM. It wouldn’t take that long but for bad roads and many checkpoints. It is common for Governments to abandon capital projects here.

We arrived Umuahia by 9.36AM and took the bus to Akara. We completed our journey from Akara to Umukwu, my granny’s place on motorcycle. It is a pretty quiet place. There’s so many trees and hills.

Now it is a cold evening and I may write a poem before retiring. Have a good night everyone.

Africa Nature Pastoral

In Ovim 2

Good morning. I promised to take some shots during my morning walk. I’m not a good photographer though.There’s a thick fog this morning. These kind of buildings are common in the village. It hasn’t been long since the mud house went out of fashion. With high rate of poverty, it’s hard to afford good housing in rural areas.In Africa it’s custom to say greetings to people you meet on the way. In Ovim we say Ndewo and Iboola as greeting. If you won’t greet, people might think you’re uncultured. So this is a tip: whenever you’re in Africa make sure you say hi to people.I saw some soldier ants on their early morning drill. These little guys are notorious. I recall my experience when I was living with my late granny. Each night I had to pour insecticides around our poultry cage to keep them away. They are known to hijack food stored in the house. They even steal livestock too! I caught the sun rising. You can see the hill top on the background. As the village is located on a valley, it’s easy to capture the surrounding hills from any location. If you go closer then you can find out how big the hill is. I’m not passing through that route today. Maybe some other time. Ovim is characterized by hills and valleys. There are many trees too. Most common is the palm which grow wild and in clusters. As the dusty harmattan wind gradually appear, green shrubs dry and turn brown.By the roadside there’s a pool. In the past, I’ve seen people drink from it. Some streams, ponds and rivers in Ovim are designated ‘no fishing zone.’ Older folk believe Ovim is situated on a rock. Further up the road there is Orie market. As we can see the stalls are empty because today is not a major market day. People from all over the state buy and sell here. There are bars where people go to drink local palm wine, beer or soft drinks. They also sell pepper soup. This is the entrance to our Eze’s home. Eze is a traditional ruler in Igboland. Igbo people are republicans and believe in equal rights and privileges. Igbo customs do not regard kingship much as it’s believed that all male is king in their homes.I’m going back to town today. See you all later.

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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.

Africa culture/tradition Igbo culture Nature

Nature: Best Vacation

Nothing heals faster than Nature and this healing feeling is unexplainable. It’s something everyone should experience.

Most vacations should include moving away from hustle bustle and noisy streets of familiarity and town.

I can’t say what works for everyone but if you need inspiration or thinking space, I recommend travelling to the countryside, where serenity and Natural things abound.

I shot this video in hilly Ovim, my hometown. I’m so much in love with natural places and hope to spend more time in the countryside.

Have a beautiful weekend everyone.😊

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Why you should visit Africa 3

From Nature reserves to rivers/lakes and from beautiful valleys to exotic wildlife, Africa has a lot to offer. Welcome to this edition of Why You Should Visit Africa brought to you by

1. Adventure: If you really love nature and adventure, then you should visit Africa. There’s so much to do and participate in. You can join a hunting party. You can learn how to craft spears, arrows and bows and how to use them! You can hike on mountainous terrains and ride on the back of Ostriches and Camels. You can navigate streams and crawl through caves. You can learn to climb the Palm tree without ropes or even swim with harmless Pythons and huge cat fishes!

2. Culture/Tradition/People: Africa is blessed with diverse traditions. These cultures are something you are not familiar with unless you have already been to Africa. The mode of dressing, socializing, language, history and folklore are some things you won’t see elsewhere. There’s taboo, there’s voodoo. If you visit Africa, you will experience unique cultures.

3. African Food/Delicacies: African dishes can be mouth watering. Have you heard of kunu, burukutu, fura, mmai nkwu, ngwo, mqobothi? These drinks are local brew which will keep you wanting more. You can enjoy some Suya too, a delicacy you won’t forget in a hurry. If you love good food and happen to be in Africa, you will definitely get affordable treats.

4. Safari/Nature Reserves: This perhaps is the main reason people visit Africa. With beautiful landscapes, tourism/hospitality businesses are on the rise. There are countless numbers of game and nature reserves. Large expanses of forests and wildlife are protected by the government. This also translates to opportunities for researchers and academicians. Tourists can camp in the wild, travel with guides for Safari, have dinner while watching the sun set in Africa and enjoy the best of natural things.

5. Industry/Economic Opportunities: Africa has been tagged the land of hope. There are numerous opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs. With abundant raw materials, arable land and warm climate, cheap and young human resources, Africa is a growing hub for foreign investment. There are coal and Crude oil in Nigeria, gold and diamonds in South Africa, uranium in Niger republic, Timber and Iron ore in Congo Kinshasa and many more.

6. Warm climate/Tranquility: Rural Africa is a great place to live and heal. For holidays, rural campings are good escape from noisy towns and cities. There are many cities in Africa though but if you would like to make the most of your time in Africa, camp for a while in the countryside, socialize with locals and learn a thing or two from them. You will fall in love if you visit Africa.

7. Music/Dance: African music is enjoyed all over world. Most African songs are energetic in style and rhythm. Have you seen a live performance by natives? African songs are soul lifting and crave for dance. If you need to let out steam and have fun, witness a live performance by an African band.

This is all for now. I will write more on why you should visit Africa some other time. It’s a good night from Africa.

Africa culture/tradition Igbo culture Uncategorized

Sunset in Ovim

Yesterday I trekked to the market square. During my lonely trek I met old friends and distant relatives. As noted before, in Africa we place much value on family and friends.

My trek was short, because the market was just around the corner. I bought two pieces of dried meat from a vendor, one for myself and the other for a distant relative who I ran into. After several pleasantries were exchanged with people and observing the sudden change in evening breeze, I decided to leave. Night was on her way.

Nothing changed since I left. The sunflies still bother me and other fair skinned people. The flies disturb before and after sun rise. Sun light is their nemesis.

I’m laying down enjoying the quiet evening, listening to the crickets and bugs quiz themselves. From the background, I hear children play outside and smell of cooking in the community. My dinner will be Fufu and Egusi soup, haha! Fufu is uhm, we call it swallow. It’s made from Cassava.

There’s an image of sun set. Nothing compares to quiet places.

Africa culture/tradition Igbo culture Nature Pastoral

A poem for Ovim, Isuikwuato

Morning wakes with the sun
Windy clouds, happy yawns
Quiet town, down the hill
Misty paths, birds sing
With the forest’s inhabitantsTall palm trees stand guard
From their branches, birds tweet
Squirrels look down in fright or excitement
Dropping oily snacks on trespassers
Forest pathways are hijacked by monkeys
Protesting when a group of boys trod byHappily, mornings start with simplicity
For Ovim; void of stressful traffic,
Human or machine, blesses the humble
Now weekends supply fresh palm beer,
And restates vows of friendship, of family
And of those who love their homeland***Good morning everyone. Ovim, Isuikwuato is my hometown. I have been here for two days and I really admire the scenario. It’s a quiet and inspiring place, a special retreat for me when working on a major writing project.

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Muse: Homecoming

Nada o! O nada o! Nada o! I’m back o!
Kuje kusanar, go and tell them!
Bring my jug, bring me kola, bring a mat,
For justice will be done to Mama’s soup pot
I must lay under the mango tree tonight
To watch the stars glitter and hear the crickets sing
Ah… I’m glad! I’m happy! Ina murna!
Go and inform them, I’m back!
Tell me who slept on my bamboo bed in my absence?
Who won the Okpa village wrestling competition?

Did the hunters bring any quarry
Or some palm wine tapper’s brew?
I long to dip in the cold currents of Kpere
And swim with the shy fingerlings…
I missed the Waterfalls,
And her sound when her water fall!

I missed the Hawk’s call from the hills
When the sun shine in the hot noon
I missed you crazy masquerades
And faces that blessed my childhood

Where you deh Oyine Mama?
Where you deh Oyine Papa?
I’m happy to see you again!
When you look at me, Mama nawa
When you smile at me… Ina murna!
Come and hear my story
Come and dine with me
Celebrate with my joyful self
It’s good to be back home!

Nada o: I’m back in Hausa language of Nigeria.
Kuje kusanar: Go and inform them
Mama nawa: my mama
Ina murna: I’m happy
Where you deh Oyine Papa/Mama: where are you my father/mother


Musing: The Hills top

I stand at the top, savoring this freedom

Oh hear me, hear me sweet Freedom!

I see the happy white clouds sail away,

I see the black hawks circle above me,

I hear the sound of talking, of machines, of the wild, altogether!

I see mother Natures great painting tablet,

I see the town and her gay hustle bustle

Roof tops glittering, hundreds or more,

Across the plains, solitary roofs, grouped roofs,

Perfect mix of greeny hues beside them, patches of black,

And dots of silver, shining in the hot sun, riding fast away,

Cockcroaching through the cover of tree leaves below

Blowing smoke up the hill which fade off with the wind,

I see the smooth river, I reach out to touch it from the hill

It flowed in unison, running towards the hidden great rocks

Washing away falling tree logs and pulling lazy canoes along,

I see the tents of cattlemen generously sited at the forest lines

And sometimes, sometimes I thought I could smell their cooking

The hill top tells much of the world below,

But I am blessed with the feel of freedom it gave!


The Hills of Isuikwuato

See these monuments standing to salute, to greet the great and small, 
From the top, the tree branches wave their way through the wind
And down below, their roots, like men’s arms pop out of the ground
Across the skies, just above the hills, light blue clouds abound

Mushrooms are the landlords, they command the lands at the zenith, 
Squatting, they grow in different hues, covering the thick forest floor
The Palm trees gather in a parliament, eyes above, on birds that soar
Watching the happenings of the day and night from their outpost oars

Plummages, soft; grey, pink, orange, blue, yellow and dark green
Glide above the skies, enjoying the mornings ride across the wide horizon
They paint dots on the clouds, as the wind try to disturb their little fun
Calls rent the air, billions of individuals are awake in this hilly town

Bees, butterflies, flies, moth, beetles and hoppers are the major little wings
Also the dragonflies thrive, the Hornets buzz through the forest shrubs
And the numerous spiders spin much webs to catch bigger stray bugs
Wasps and the preying mantisses wait, hiding behind dead tree logs

Ants and termite hustle for territory, on tree leaves and on the soft soil
The snakes, most green and black skinned live in the cover of the green lush forest
Bats and some birds live in the hollow weathered by time on the barks of trees
And when they feel the evening aura gathering, they spread their wings and fly!

The streams cockroach through the thick covering of wild trees
Mahogany, Gmelina, Whistling Pines, even the greatest of trees, the Iroko
Surround the waters that give life to the hills, the wild live there today and tomorrow
The rodents are numerous, they play hides and seek, they dig the Earth and burrow

Now the hills in Isuikwuato are much, they decorate the land 
And give us funny names of people who come from the hill! 



One wakes to the call of Nature everyday, with the sun ushering the day
Huhuhu-lalala-kiki, all sort of songs welcome the sun’s golden streaks
Crickets quiz, wasps and bees buzz, snakes hiss away, the clock ticked
Familiar sounds echo, strong wind rushing through the high tree lines
Underneath the vegetation, silent waters flow, but we hear her soft current

On the hills of Ovim, where the butchers sell their quarry
Vultures and kites circle around the smoke which rose from a fire
Down the hills, pretty girls giggle and walk toward the stream
Disturbed lazy mambas drag through the dust to escape contact with them
Millipedes fall from the tree tops, the mud grabbing their oily bodies
Great winds surge through forests, shrubs twist in a native dance I knew
As the seeds of trees crack and fall into the cool and quiet waters of Kpere

Pots of wine rattle at the back of wagons, happily setting for the market
Smell of squashed fruit bless the blazing day, with smoked melon balls
Which tastes unique, the palm oil mills churn out fresh sweet smelling oil
And when you see the farmers yams, you will understand why they are happy

Now I have water- rain water, plenty of it, in the farms, at home
When the rains fall, the heavy clouds turn to our village drum;
Drumming beats of fulfilment and joy and hope and profound love
On the trees, birds build many nests, singing out their hearts
The partridge call from the forests, the sounds echo, 
The hawks circle the skies scouting for stray mice, 
The woodpeckers work on their tree, minding their business
And yet they all combine to one event; one I behold daily

Isuikwuato is the name of my local government area. Ovim is my hometown. This is a beautiful place, my source of inspiration. 


The Hamlets’ songs

Tonight I write of a beautiful countryside

Nested in the forests, at the foot of hills in the East,

A quiet place that taught me the songs of Nature

And fed me with fruits fresh from all blooming trees!


In the morning, fine birds gather to build nests

Their strong choral concert disturb the neighborhood

Yet from the morning till the time the sun traveled home

They sang of strange places and gave noisy vibes

All we did was listen to their individual soft calls, which together was strong


The noon is given to the shouts of the children back from schools,

Back from the farms and far mills where palm oil is processed 

The dogs and cats played with the little ones under the tree sheds

And when the sun heat went milder, they came out to the sand

The cries of children rent the air, heralding the coming evening


And when the evening finally came upon the hamlet

The songs became the pestle that pounded the beans in the mortar

With mothers yelling at stubborn children who went awol on their chores,

The clangy noise of pot lids and the smell of locust bean soup

Welcomed the travelers and the moon which showed the hamlets footpath


Now the night brought a mischievous song for the mosquitoes loved the night

Mosquitoes whisper in the ears of the heavy sleepers and woke the little ones

But before the coming of these vampires, the evening songs were folklores,

The lessons taught children the need to respect the elders and to work hard

And in the huts were we sleep, we prepare for another song: a heavy snorers rap!


Ina murna (I’m excited) 

The snaky road twisted, here and there

Passing pockets of forests tucked away,

And when it ended at the foot of Ugwu Uwaoma

I saw the palm trees lead a welcome song

At the foot of the hill a banner hung

Bearing Mama’s poster and details…


Now I stand before thee, oh great hill

The land of my grandfathers and my fathers’

For it gives great joy to see you always, beloved land

I taste of your warm waters in the streams that flow

I sing with the birds when they make their fine nests

Oh, the plum and mango fall in the evening

I hear the little happy children hustle for them

I stay awake to watch the stars that grace your nights

The children tell me of the day and moon light tales

When the days end, we gather to enjoy the cool evening breeze

To recall the events, old and fresh, good and sad

And to riddle on jokes and remember the joy of homecoming


Now I sit with the elders who tell how things changed

“Nna, you see in those days we eat raw grasses and fruits,

Now you amaze us with all these food that grow in can bellies”

“The pants we wore had much space for adjustments on the waist

I wonder why the new generation keep theirs below the loins!”

They smile, they love, and appreciate all that happen around them

Oh great land! Now granny will be laid to rest in you forever

I am confused, I am not sure I will find a better tale teller!

But I will try to put all she has said and taught to paper

My face is gloomy and delighted; I have come to you my land,

But I have come because I must my granny bury in you, my land!


For my granny, Late Uluocha Chinyere Duruoha. I must say that this beautiful soul has impacts in me much than I can imagine. Her confidence, her peace, her strive for excellence and intelligence. Most important of all she has taught me the act of tale telling. I will miss her much. I have been motivated by the tales she told, even the ones she told of her husband who fought in World War 2 in Tripoli and the Middle East and about the Biafran war. She has a warm place for culture and tradition and enjoys others company. Adieu mama.

Rest in peace mama! Good night, my tale teller.

Ina murna: Hausa language for I am happy, excited or delighted. Normally used to express happiness or joy.

Ugwu Uwaoma: A hilly land located in Ovim, my hometown.


At the countryside

The scent of travelling delights me
To lands I have been or haven’t seen
But it is more desiring to go somewhere,
Quiet, natural and homely-
Nothing compares to this ideology

The smell of gasoline and burnt tires
Is now my friendly companion
For the road has been a customer
And places my joyful partner
The cities pass by, the jungles too
The trees swoop by, waving a hearty bye
Same with the clouds, wearing sad faces
And the people who stand by the roadside
The city is probably cruel to all
But the journey, my journey continues
Through palm forests and swamplands
And the farmlands with scarecrows
I arrive at the countryside
To regain some pure air,
Safe from the noises of the township
Safer from the crowd that I loath
And the smoke from cars and cigars

I am free atleast…
Free from the city’s hustle


My humble land

Now the morning has come finally
After the stress of yesterdays rain
This hilly land wakes warily
Our pots are full of Heavens blessings

Sweet musings and fine sights are all about me
The bees, the green hills, the swans that fly away
The vast fields of flowers which crops the Lilies
And the blue skies where the pretty birds stray

There is mixed brown and ash dusts of the Earth
Where happy green plants and trees thrives joyfully
And the look of mother Nature which makes my heart melt,
I’m filled with abundant joy which Gods creatures give me

The undulating hills of my homeland
The clean, flowing streams of Ovim
The caves, the Palm and Cassava land
Always to me it comes to overwhelm

The rocks that stay in the bamboo forest
Overlooking a peaceful flowing stream
Once in a while a fruit plunges into the current
And little fishes scatter in queer confusion

The red mud all about makes all boring
The birds twitter and trade up the palm tree
The dews are thick in the early morning
The happy children swim on the small stream

There is silver fish in the ponds
And very brave children who hunt them
There is the grasscutter and edible toads
And green weeds on the little streams

When the hunters come home, all is alive
The hamlet comes to hear their strange tales
The dogs, the kids, the other men and their wives
Everyone has an ear for the stories they have to tell

The palmwine is healthy and very sweet
The trees on the farms swerve joyfully,
When the tapper comes cycling to the market
The flies follow his trail, as his wine drip slowly

The people are very awesome
Hardworkers, doing every little job
Women are pretty, men are handsome
They till the land and graze the sheep

Now the memories of my humble land
The fears, the faith; the stress, the strengths
A fine land dreamingly made from a wand
Such that it comes alive in my minds eyes

Ovim is my homeland. Located in Abia state of Nigeria, it is a quiet place but full of life. The natives are known for their exploits in both business Entreprise, academia, agriculture and military. Ovim harbors forests, hills, streams and ponds, vast farmlands of cassava and yams (staple food common in the area). It is a fine place. The wildlife here are mostly reptiles (boas, pythons, lizards, monitors, other snakes), wild pigs, rodents, monkeys and birds. But some wild animals like the Alligators, the Hyena and Civets have been reportedly sighted.


A son of the hamlet

I was born and bred in a big city
But nought interests me
More than a quiet life
Which the serene hamlets give

I was the king of the jungle
With maidservants and menservants
And a great sand house
Filled with sand-made yams
Commanding the mango fruit
To fall for my noon delight
And the skies turn dark blue
So that it would rain heavily

The moonlit nights are firecrackers
I sent them into the sky on a mission
To excite me with their noise and bangs
The streams flow as I dip my foot to stop her
She mocks my sovereignty, laughing heartily
The green forest full of trees are silent
I thought I did tell them to keep quiet!
I have eaten the Murringas’ seedlings
I have chopped up the Pumpkin skin
I even has slain snakes
Which infiltrated my farmland
I have climbed the Guava
And the mango and Cashew
I slayed a chipmunk
Which ate the fabrics in the house
Oh, I was a warrior!
Yes I was
I Swam the shallow rivers
And caught a big crab

Now here again I happen,
I happen upon these cities again
But the only true place I ever loved
Was this life which I desire when I am
A thousand miles away from township
And her strange faces of hustle bustle

The poet vividly paints a picture of his past times and experiences in the village and rural areas. The piece suggests just one thing: he truly adores a quiet and pastoral countryside lifestyle.


Africa’s poetale

Africa is a budding cocoon
A shy, fragile and cute butterfly
With shaky wings meant to fly
Living, in a desperate world

Africa is the gigantic tree
That grows by the side of the river
Shielding the lengths of the forests
And feeding the lifes around it

Africa is a mountain highly peaked
With white snows melting gracefully
And herds of Wildebeest grazing
Quietly down the grassy green plains

Africa is a mild song
That plays when the sunshine
At the beach down, down the road
With brown and white sand mixed

Africa is a dream
Waiting to happen
Hope of the generation
A scenic beauty of land and nature

Africa is my home
The hills of serene Ovim*
And the wild catfishes
That move about kingly and fearless

Africa is love
Community and family
Desires and joyful times
And the moonlight tales of the town

The Victoria Waterfalls is Africa
…The Veldt, the Savannah
…The Lake Chad and the River Niger
…The Lions and the Cheetah
…The Crocodiles and the Hippo
…The Elephants and the Rhino
…The Baobab and the Iroko
…The Zulu tribe and Igbo
…The Guinea and the Sahara
…The Oil Palm and the Shea
…The Orange and Nile River
…The Ashante and the Boer
…The Yankari reserve and the Serengeti
…The bushmens’ home and the Kalahari
…The amazing wine called mqobothi
…The Zebra and the Ostrich

Africa plays my fancy
And in such sweetness
I love my motherland

Ovim is in Nigeria and the poet hails from there.


The rivulet, Oko’pia

You stay far away
And you beckon to us

From the quiet hamlets we hear you call
Messages passing thro the forests rumbling stomach
To the white clouds garnished by the sunshine
And the tree pathways, leading to you
We sit on your banks, telling stories of the wild
You let the trees surrounding us blow us kisses
The children pick palm nuts and small rocks
And they try to crack the nuts to have the seeds
The sands on your banks provide our feet
With warmth and resounding comfort
And when we step into you; sweet and cold
But all this while, your waters flow in haste
To other lands they rush to feed!
Now and then a stray fish shows up
Throwing up bubbles to the surface
And avoiding the currents surge in moves defined
As leaves fall each time the trees are kissed
By the cool breezes sent only by the wind

The trees cover the pathways leading to you
The sun shine try to break through
But to no avail. only sun streaks could
And from up there Hawks whine as they fly
The pathways are lonely, save from rodents
And stray reptiles which seek the suns heat
Now and then, a fruit falls ‘plum!’
Into the quietness of your current
And the little fishes scatter in confusion
But the crabs stay careless and unperturbed

Now, you call unto me dear stream
And when we walk through the pathways to you
It all comes to us, your comfort and taste-quenching waters
And how much we miss your warmness
When we all live the hamlet to settle in towns

I beckon to you now as you do always to me
Tell me what I have missed all this while
Let your waters wash me, let me be free
And let once more, your waters flow thro my sight



Tonight, reminds me of thee motherland
Thee land of great forests and men!
Of streams and vast farmlands!
The home of the Cashew and the Palm
The scenery of Mother Natures beauty
A painted work, done only by Nature herself
Great hills and vales surround thee
Oh how love flows when you are remembered
All day, the people are full of smiles
The cold nights are made warm with your memories
A land of the Pheasant and the Hyena
In the hot sun, you shine forth
And the little sun insects scamper about
Let me behold thy beautiful presence
More and more, for thee land
Is my tale and inspiration


Umukwu: In Cold Mornings

It is a very cold morning
As dew descend upon this land
From those ancient hills
Standing like medieval knights
Protecting, shielding and guiding the hamlet
Quiet, queer and strange
But full of amazing life

When you feel the cold
Touched by the tip of a grass leave
On your way to the stream
Or on your way to the farm
Tucked away somewhere
Through windy pathways
Hidden in the green forest
The trick of Nature comes to you
The streams are very cold
Icing cold, it takes a huge heart
To plunge a fist in the waters

The shivering cold feasts on the flesh
Turning the skin to white colorings
Driving dry airs through the nose
And up the hills, one could hear sounds;
The cutting of palm fronds
The call of the wild
The wind brings sweet scents
Of wild sunflowers and marigold
And the cooking of my people
Though the cold be so a tyrant
It revives memories never to be lost
To a wild and country-loving boy

Umukwu is a hamlet located in Ovim, Isuikwuato in Nigeria. My mother is from here and I have spent some time living here. It is a very quiet place, save from the birds twittering and the buzzing of insects in the mornings. The hamlets is almost cut off by breath taking hills surrounding it, cold streams with big catfishes and crabs which are not to be killed; very fanciful tradition you might say. The people are homely, welcoming and very friendly; a typical feature of the Igbo ethnic group.


The Stream, Kpere

Then I heard your drift,
Flowing through the forest
Washing men’s nakedness…

When there was love
When on the stream side I sit
Trying to peer thru the tall shrubs
I saw the white clouds
Clear as the sweet spring water
Leaping in joyful haste,
In boundless ecstasy
Washing the little rocks
Pulling pebbles along
Giving a taste to the hungry soil
Pushing the brown crab about
Carrying all, even a stray serpent
The clannish green ferns
Nodding towards one another
Wave always with the streams tide
Enjoying the serene acre
Of all green abundance
Further ahead, the swift current
Pours off the rocky waterfalls
A tamed forest of some sort
The birds call from the treetops
Partridges, passing pigeons and Hawks
Howling from the vast bush
All admiring the sight, perhaps
Which can not be accustomed to
Each day the stream side
Look renewed and the greens fresher
The tendrils of the bamboo soft
And the heap of huge rocks
Standing, a giant monument
The fishes in the stream
Swim about like mock kings,
Sometimes turtles come around
Sluggish, looking tired, even
When nothing they must have done
But the waters flow on
In joyful haste and ecstasy

The Kpere stream is in Umudinja, Ovim in Nigeria. Umudinja itself is a growing town and has several communities. The stream area harbors big rocks and exotic species of flora and reptiles. It is a fine distance from human dwelling.
Childhood memories include seeing dangerous reptiles of different sizes on the stream side, mostly snakes. The fishes are not eaten, and some are as big as a mans two hands combined! The stream serves many communities as water source, but with the coming of the pipe borne water it has been abandoned and wild animals like hyena, wild dogs and pythons are said to have been sighted in the vicinity and the near forests.

Oiroegbu Halls


Ovim, my homeland

To Thee My homeland
My mothers birthplace
The land of the brave
Ovim- land of strength

What baffles me most,
Through this bewildered mind
The uncertainty of what
Must be thought and said
Is the serenity about thee
I speak of you with pride
With love, with joy
Thee Ovim, my Father land
A beauty to behold
The land of the rising sun
With all enchanted forests
And always a proud cloud
And some wonderful trees
The Cashew, the mighty Iroko
Thy children are wonderful
They are strong, they till the land
And the women are nice
Everywhere there are smiles
Trees, hills, streams and wildlife
The blue skies stay above thee
And all birds love to play on them
From the hamlets in Obilohia
Comes the laugh of the hyena
On Nights ferocious character
The hunters prowl about in search
Of straying rodents and wild cattle
And when home, bring along quarries
Some alive, others ready for the pot
But then, the mornings are never boring
Goats bleat, the kids yell greetings
And the leaves of the bushes
Wave and hustle about in the wind
The heights of the hills, ranges
And the people of the hills
The vegetation, all scenic, beautiful
Indeed you are one lovely land
The rocks by the streamside
Sit majestically, unperturbed
And the mark of the fallen fish
Which stands on the rock today
Beats witness of thy blessedness
The bamboos are all about thee
Many reptiles call you home
Oh the masquerades of the spirits
Learning to run after a prey
On the arenas of excitement
Tell me, why are the Cat fishes
Sacred and never to be killed
Traditions, culture, my precious homeland!
The elders tell tales on moon nights
The Tortoise, his clan and his tricks
The children dance under the tree
And a game is played on the sand
If the palm wine tapper leaves home
Oh surely, let there be some wine!
And when I sneak in to listen
To the wisdom of the elderly,
Breaking the kola, speaking into life
And blessing the hands that gives
With prayers of the land
I see how I have loved thee

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Oh land of the brave
The temperate, the strong
The oneness of Nature
The beauty all desire
Oh dear humble African land
The green forests of Amaeke
With those daring masquerades
Prowling about town
On hot sleepy days
Cloudy days; rain and sun
Hills, ancient and fresh
Streams running thru them
Giving them some life
Shielding the game around
In abundant green and brown
Keeping all life, boas, and hogs
Antelopes and the wild dogs
A valley of vast cassava fields
All are throwing their arms up
Singing at the winds command
And the sights of the oil palm
Standing majestically, a king of the brushes
But all and all, by and by
All understanding of some sort stays
Watch the lights go out
Sit at the inn
On the hills below
Amauzu and her seeds
The joys of sweet motherhood
My father’s perfect grin
Heartwarming, hug deserving
The love of all-natural things
Painted in these towns
The ever blue skies
Seen above Umukwu
My home, my story, my joy
All a simple desire,
Of smiling faces and hearts
Beautiful, the sun smiles on all
The children love the adults,
The adults love the infants,
When the moon shines happily,
All sit about waiting for folktales,
Counting the glittering stars
Up, up the dark skies
Freedom for all, of thought
There are palm trees; there is kola
There are yams, with knives to cut them
There are palm beer and the exotic egusi balls
Ovim sleeps, when the night plays her a lullaby
The aged, youth, and infants
Enjoy an earned rest
Happy to love this land,
In the morrow, a town will be awake

Amauzu, Amaeke, Umudinja, and other towns are towns in Ovim. Ovim itself is a city in Isuikwuato in Nigeria. This is my hometown, my father’s place, and an inspiration to my writing.

Egusi balls: delicious snacks prepared from crushed melon seeds in pepper and other condiments.

Nature’s abundance are found here, hills, blue skies, rocks, caves, mountains, streams, rivers, cultural identity, valleys, unique foods and fruits, farms, other green life, and wildlife. Isuikwuato has produced some prominent political and intellectual figures in Nigeria. Some of these people include Senator Ike Nwachukwu, Gen Ihejirika Onyeabor, Ndubuisi Kanu, Lambert Ndukwe, and many others. The list of high flying Isuikwuato indigenes is much. Agriculture sustains the region, and it is an educational center.


Let Them Hear

Let them hear…
From the hills of Isuikwuato
My sleepy hilly land
From my new’est bride Uyo
To the ancient muds of Enugu
From Makurdi’s Benue river beach
To those peaked crags of Jos
Let them hear…
As I dream of the undying
Lights of the Lagoon city
The snake lanes of Abuja
Cockcroachin’ thru undergrounds
From the deserts of Damaturu
And the grasslands of Jalingo
Let them hear…
That I am a citizen of Owerri town
That my Calabar is very pretty
That Ibadan I adore so much
That Minna is a scenic beauty
That Kano makes much of the Suya I love so much
That Port Harcourt is really a city of liberty

Let them hear…
That I love you my Nigeria

Learn Igbo language here.

Line 2. Isuikwuato: A local government area in the present state of Abia. A land of hills and streams and great men known over the whole of Igbo land. The home of the poet.

Uyo. The capital of present Akwa Ibom state known for their hospitality.

Enugu. The capital of the old Eastern Nigeria and the present capital of Enugu state.

Line 6. Makurdi: The capital of Benue state of Nigeria. A farming region renowned as the food basket of the nation. The city is perched on the banks of the Benue river.

Jos: A quiet clean and hilly city. The capital of present day Plateau state.

Line 10. Lagoon city; Lagos
Abuja. The capital city of Nigeria

Line 13. Damaturu and Jalingo: Cities of the North east of Nigeria.

Line 16. Owerri, Calabar and Ibadan cities of the south

Minna and Kano: Cities of importance in the Northern part of Nigeria.

Port Harcourt: A city nested on the coast of the Atlantic. Its importance is linked to the production of crude oil

Suya. Skewered meat meshed in onions pepper and oil.

Study Question.
1. What unique features do the poem possess?