Posted by Sugarking
But you know I think I've had this gift coming up sef. Aunty Uloma from my mother's side always forced morning devotion on us whenever she came over. It was at these ridiculously early morning devotions that Aunty Uloma when praying, would meticulously and mercilessly dish out family members gist. By devotion's end, you learnt that your cousin from your other other uncle failed jamb one more time, that one of your female cousins was now bringing boys home, that an older nephew had been caught smoking weed, and numerous other things.
I don't know how to pray loud mehn. I don't think I want people to hear about my struggles and pity me instead of praying for me. The only time I do that is when I'm appointed to pray say before a journey or something. Even then, it's a few words and an "Amen". In church when everyone starts praying at once and doing all that speaking in tongues, I just take my seat and proceed to watch people. God forgive me but that's one of the most fun things to do trust me.
No disrespect to my prayer warriors o abeg. I know say one person go enter me now. Loool
Posted by Sugarking
Posted by Sugarking
Back in London, I never had any problems smoking. My Landlord was a smoker at the first house I moved into from Uni. A white guy, Gary, he used to come knock on my door and ask me to join him outside for a smoke. The second house I moved into was even better. My flatmates were bad ass. It was myself, Chidi and his Jamo girlfriend Moniqua, and Charley, the white girl, and we all smoked. We were regularly contributing money to buy weed. Fun times.
Posted by Sugarking
So I just buried my Dad, my brothers and I, on the 6th of January last month. He died on the 29th, November the 29th, two weeks before I was due back home. I had even bought my flight ticket. Most people don’t know, because I hadn’t intended to put it out there like that, because I felt that would be asking for pity. I dunno, I just didn’t want “strangers” feeling they had to say sorry. Anyways, that’s that and my family and I are doing very well I must admit, thank you very much. Mom’s only just started going back to work, so I should be heading to the big city anytime now. My twin has gone back to Lagos you see, he had music videos to shoot, junior bro’s back to work in PH, and my sister returned to Law school. I’m not in a hurry to anywhere and don’t have any pressing things to attend to and thought it fell on me to keep the woman company for a bit. Na only she remain now o. Even though she was on my neck 24/7 to come and leave “I’m not sick and I’m not bedridden, what are you babysitting me for? Please come and go and start your life abeg” she kept hammering. Lol
Anyways, the topic of today’s gist is you guessed it, Customs and Traditions, and I had never been so aware of it as I am now, but for this burial. Some of them were funny and most absolutely ridiculous. My family’s not loud, so by default, the decision was unanimous in giving Dad a burial that was decent without any need whatsoever to be lavish. Even he would have turned in his grave to learn we planned to blow all his money burying him. LOL
So I shall go into the Customs and Traditions we ran into in this whole thing.
THE FAMILY LIST
I was still over in London when my twin brother rang me like;
Him: Bros they brought list for us o
Me: Who? What list?
Him: (Chuckling) Some village group. Things we are to provide them.
Me: Things like what?
Him: They said you should bring 1 crate of Malta Guinness, 1 crate of Star, 1 large cock and a goat.
Me: They said I should bring???
Him: Yes na, You have your list, I have my own, Uche has his own, Ulo has her own.
Me: Oh wait, so they gave the four of us individual lists???
Him: LOOOL. Dey there
So yes o, I can’t remember my brother’s own list exactly but I swear he had a white faced she-goat or something. We couldn’t stop laughing. But I was half pissed honestly. We had just lost our father and you’re bringing us your party list??? Ahhhh!!!! That was where the jokes got serious o. On what grounds was I required to fulfil their demands? I hadn’t been to the village in a decade. I hadn’t been to any age group meetings or whatever, I didn’t even know what age groups existed in that village, the list was signed “Treasurer” I neither new President, Vice, nor the blasted treasurer. Why where they sending us this??? What happens if I renege on this list??? How did these hungry bloody villagers think they were going to play a player?? Me that just finished my masters???? I go come drag goat with rope go give these people??? Loooool. Na to go borrow money give my sponsor back na. “Here Sir, sorry for wasting your money” Lol. I sha raked and raked. Mumsy tire for me sef. She explained that as ridiculous as it sounds, it had to be done in some extent, way or degree. “It is what it is, Customs and Traditions” she said. I dunno what happened to the list or how it was sorted out till this day. Lol
THE AMBULANCE DRIVER
So December 28th arrived and we all took Dad home from a morgue in Benin City, to another one 30 minutes from our village, from where we would get him on his burial day. We had paid the mortician his fees and arranged to bring him Dad’s clothes and casket at a later date (Ehen, why do morticians always look so ghostly abeg? The one in Benin looked like he had jumped straight out of a horror movie)
Back to our gist. So the mortician then called the resident ambulance driver to bargain with us, what his own fees would be for his services that day. He said the ambulance would cost 9000 naira per day’s hire, he would charge 2000 per day’s hire and it was when he added “and a Bottle of ‘hot’ and one Cock” that my brothers and I lost it. Loool. In short my junior brother immediately broke into this laughter that just happened to upset the man. My twin asked the man “Oga you mean say I go pay you 9000 for ambulance, 2000 for the work , them come still give you ‘Hot’ and Fowl on top???” Looool!!! “Yes, na my right” The driver returned. Lol. Customs and Traditions.
Two days to the burial, we received 3 groups; Dad’s Mom’s village people, we bought 3 cows and 10 goats. This group “Owned” one Cow leg, No questions. Customs and Traditions. There was the Village ruling group, they owned the rest of that cow with one leg gone to the first group, again No questions. This second group irritated the life out of me. The hunger was crested on the faces. They were drinking and eating with all their heart. Oh, I forgot to mention, we had to greet these groups you know? My useless uncle in the village, Popsi’s eldest brother (half brother sef) who is the head of the family presided over these things. He didn’t drop one kobo tho. Na only to show authority the guy sabi. Lol
Anyways, I had been passing by their canopy going about my business when this my uncle called me and whispered to me who the group was and that he would send for me, my brothers and sister to come and “kwela ekele” i.e. to greet them. I said ok and had started to leave when he called me back and said to me in Ibo “You people shouldn’t come out like this o, tell your mummy to find ‘George’ (you know, the wrapper. I hope that’s how it’s spelled?) for you people that you’ll tie on your waist when you come to greet them”. I couldn’t believe him. A frown appeared on my face immediately. “what???” I asked him. He thought I hadn’t heard him and repeated himself this time in English. I looked at the man, said ok and left. I went back inside, changed the long sleeved shirt I had on to a tee, changed the trousers I had on, to ¾ shorts, and slipped into a pair of bathroom slippers, whistling as I changed, then went and told my brothers that our uncle had summoned us to come and greet them. My twin had a tee and ¾ shorts himself, and a pair of leather slippers, junior bro had on a shirt and trousers, with bathroom slippers, Sis had a short sleeved top and a skirt. We looked the perfect sight. In my opinion that is. Lol. So we had to dress to impress???? Impress who???? These same drunks in front of me??? These people who are almost happy my Dad died, because this feast would not have been possible otherwise???
The last group was the “Umu-Ada” This is supposedly made up of all the women that have been married out from our village. Get it? These rickety old women, left their husbands at home to come and feast over Dad’s passing. They were notorious for their cunning. They have been reported to send their members in two’s ahead of when the main group landed to go and pretend to be representing the whole group, collect their own demands and disappear, only for the main group to arrive much later, claim they didn’t know about the first group and refuse to leave if their own demands were not met. In short I knew this group was to be treated with kid gloves from the intensity of Mom’s prayers during that day’s morning devotion. Lol. Well, my aunty, Dad’s only surviving younger sister handled them sha. Poor woman, they almost drove her crazy. She would later tell us that what really did it for her was when they shouted at her “Go and bring the rest of our things, you think we don’t know your brother had a lot of money?”
All this happened on Tuesday. Wednesday, my brothers and I went, with two of our uncles to my Mom’s village to officially inform them of Dad and to request they stand beside us that day as we lay him to rest. We didn’t want to go empty handed, so mum handed us a bottle of Schnapps and 1000 naira to present to them. We got there, and assembled with the village heads in my grandfather’s sitting room and told them why we had come. The eldest of my uncles was delegated as spokes person for our camp. He finished his speech, and laid the drink and money on the table before them. The oldest person in their group thanked us for coming, sympathised with us and asked one of them to check the gifts. Then they excused themselves and all filed out to discuss in private. I thought they had gone to decide what roles they would play in the burial, but was shocked when they returned to reject the gifts we had brought. One cow leg belonged to them they explained. My jaw hit the ground. My uncles even tried to correct them that the cow head belonged (by tradition) to them not the leg and they argued otherwise. At the end, we told them we would have to return to them on the matter and took our leave. I don’t know how they settled that matter sef. Lol
So we are down to the last group, and I really did save this for last, THE CHURCH GROUP. Oh yes, you heard right, THE CHURCH!!! Let me download their gist for you. Go get your popcorn i’ll wait. Lol. So we had gone to see the church priest, my mom, my twin and I that same evening we arrived at the village to kick-start arrangements immediately. Mom wanted the bishop to officiate and wanted to find out from him how to go about it. We finally met the bishop who had promised to be there on that day. I dunno what it was that made mom fall in love with this group so much, but it was how she was bowing to their every demand that started to rub me and my twin the wrong way (we’re the first).
Mom wanted to entertain them separately that day and had asked the priest what was best to offer them, the priest was starting to be “useful” and not demand for much by saying they would have anything. Mom then asked him to take his time and bring us a proper list. He expressed gratitude and left. I saw the list he sent the next day and was shocked.
1 bag of rice
A half bag of garri
2 crates of Malta Guinness
A small bag of salt
A bucket of tomatoes
The maddest thing was that my Mom intended to honour this list to the last letter!!!
Ahhhh!!! She didn’t hear the last of it na. She then proceeded to hide all the lists from me. New groups were springing up with their own list sef. The women’s brigade we hired sef had their own list. It was an endless tirade of lists it was just maddening. Anyway back to our useless priest. So we had the Service of Songs on Thursday (burial was for Friday) and it was after that, that we presented their own demands to them. My twin and I had finished bringing out their things and where just leaving when the priest asked us to hold on a bit and called to his wife “Bia nne, come and see if these things are complete”. She came over, looked them over and said “em, the chicken is missing, and the groundnut oil, and the salt and maggi”, my brother and I stared at ourselves in disbelief. It’s not that we had decided to keep the chicken and the rest to ourselves, we had simply forgotten. But it was shocking how a list that was initially trivial, was now binding. And this was the church??? Let me also remind you that one of the 3 Cow’s went to the church too. They had requested a goat, but my “overdoing” Mom said we should give them a cow o, and still???
My brother would later tell me that Mom had handed him a pack of envelopes instructing him to put 2000 naira in each to be given to each priest that would officiate on the burial day. Trust him, he said ok and went and purposely lost the envelopes. He told me he ripped them. Lol.
No, I’m not done with them yet. The burial day arrived, we went, my brothers and I, very early that morning to get Dad. We brought him home for a 2 hour Lying-In-State. Do you know that we were watching over dad in the sitting room there, and my useless uncle, the authority crazed one called my twin out to tell him to get him a bottle of Schnapps for some “important man” like he put it? I lost it mehn. Lol. Who was this man??? Was my uncle ok??? We hadn’t even been to church and you want to start entertaining your friends?? And you didn’t contribute kobo to this burial? My twin said even the stare he shot my uncle was enough to inform how stupid he was being. “are you going to get it?” he called after my brother who had started to walk away. “No” he replied without looking back. Lol
We finished from the church and came back to the compound for the interment (ehen, have I said how I almost slapped this woman who wanted me to get her the burial programme as she wouldn’t be able to go with us to the church? An able bodied woman o! I just about managed the will power to stay calm as I quickly moved away from her. Lol)
But it was the church that would finally break the camel’s back as oyinbo people like to put it. The grave side prayers had been said and the diggers were just covering Dad up, and I had intended to be there till it had been filled, when the church priest walked up to me and whispered in my ear “em, you guy’s will have to augment it with 26000 naira”. “Come again?” I said in complete disbelief. He repeated himself and I told him I wasn’t moving an inch from watching the grave till they were done. I half heard him say he was leaving a priest with me to collect it. I was too enraged to find a reply, he saw my face and hurried away. I had been standing there another 3 minutes when I felt a tug on my shirt, turned around and it was the one he had left urging me to go get the 26000 as he was in a hurry. “What 26000??!!!” I screamed at him. It certainly shocked him because the only thing he could mutter was “speak to your mummy about it” as he hurried away himself. And I returned to my post.
My brother and I where frothing at the mouth in anger as we talked about the priests that night it wasn’t even funny. Lol . We decided to keep it from Mom, afraid that she’d succumb to them and make us give them the money. So our plan was to not say anything to her so the priest comes to ask her about his 26k, then she comes to us to ask why we didn’t mention it to her, then all parties involved would sit at a round table and the priest would explain to us what exactly we needed to “augment” (that was his grammar) with 26000. We waited about a week, the priest didn’t turn up and we told Mom about it and guess what? she had no knowledge of any augmented 26k.
It is these things and more that make burials so expensive in this country, how do you spend so much in burying a person? Are these traditions really necessary? Families are thrown into serious debt just because they have to do a burial. Families sell lands, pledge properties just to bury their person. All because they “must” satisfy these hunger masked as “Customs and Traditions“ You’d think the church would at least try to put a stop to this but No, they have their own lists that are binding. And where the church has its own list, who are you to say these other groups can’t? Dad’s burial showed us in ways clear as crystal, who our true sympathisers were and which people were simply there to feast. And it was a terrible ratio I must say.
All in all, it was a very successful burial and we are just glad it's behind us now. It was a very tasking experience. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
Posted by Sugarking
It didn't start today. A lot of us guys can be desperate when it comes to kpekus. Some of us go after our friend's girlfriends, wives and whatever, as long as its a lady. But its the extent some guys go to, just to get some sex that's starting to be really worrying.
Posted by Sugarking
I did a ten week interactive course in "People Skills" , there were about 13 of us that signed up and that's that's where I met Clarissa. Her sister, Cleo, just one year older than her had signed up for the program too. Our tutor was a 52 year old lady, who broke it down for us, the basic communication skills used in relating with people either as counsellors, interviewers and even in normal daily life.
- ► 2010 (27)