Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Akwa Ibom Witch Children


This was sent to me today by a friend. It disturbed me and brought tears to my eyes; I could not even view parts 2 to 6.

Is this Nigeria? Are we worse off or better off in our country where people tie down children accused of mental illness as if they were goats? Is this a sign of the lawlessness that pervades our country? Do we need English men to come in to save us from ourselves, and our children from us? Is this our own 'Spanish Inquisition'? If the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile could get it out of their system in 1478, why is Nigeria like this in 2008? Is it a failure of leadership?

Sunday, 23 November 2008

The Best of Harri

I’m passing through Laspapi’s living room a couple of weeks ago when I accidentally knock down some paperwork, newspapers and several CDs. On picking up, I notice the CDs were similar promotional copies of the same song titled ‘No more Yahooze’, a title that grabs my attention. So I take one of the CDs with the intention of telling him and… well, now you know ‘Papi, if you ever get to read this post.

As soon as I collect my car at the airport I slot it in and the song strikes an immediate melodious resonance with me. I play it over and over, making private fun of the intro:

Phone rings.
Girl: Hey Baby, how about that Gushi you promised me?
Boy: Oh no! Things are a bit tigh' right now, can you call me back next week?
Girl: Nest week? No more Yahooze?

Now, I’m one of those unrefined ones who mostly listen to the rhythm and beats in music, with the songs and lyrics complementing the experience if they were lucky, however, "> it strikes me with it’s intelligence and style. For some reason, it reminds me of Gladys Knight’s Midnight train to Georgia, in which the refrain sometimes takes the lead and then everything ties together like one of Einstein’s theorems. I remember also blogville idol winner, Abbie and her voice.

I recognise my limitations (yes, even I have one or two) and I know I am no song critic, so I decided to share the song with my friends because I still listen to it everyday, doing an Internet search so I could get a link. I got his MySpace page where Harri Best shows his photo, well cut ‘pecs and all. (The link I use is You Tube but a Google search for Harri Best reveals a lot). I was in the process of making fun of myself, sharing that the only reason he looked like that was because he had not had pizza for lunch and Chinese for dinner like I did that day. Then I took a closer look…

This is Harry! Laspapi’s Harry. They were best friends at Baptist Academy and he was so small-framed then. Once I saw him in London and he remained his pleasant self. He sings? And so well?

Good luck Harri. May you get to the top and then become my claim to fame.">

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Confessions of a Weary Traveller

I find it difficult to believe that I have not blogged for almost 3 months. A myriad of reasons but the prevailing one is laziness. I was always going to post something ‘today’ or ‘tomorrow’ until it all gradually became remote. Even my one-year anniversary in October went unheralded. Ok, I do believe I’ve now beaten myself up sufficiently.

So I’m in an airplane last week on the way to Lagos awaiting take-off. The woman next to me is reading a newspaper and then makes a phone call to her friend to proclaim ‘Jesus is alive’. She obviously sees Obama’s election as a celestial event. I was initially fearful because I had been unfortunate enough to have sat next to another bible-reading, fervent-praying, wildly-gesticulating woman on a trip in June, who ended up having an argument with two other passengers and three crew at different times, leaving me wondering about what I might have done to deserve the torture of my allocated seat. Why do I always end up with these people? In truth, the Jesus-is-alive-cos-Obama-won woman turned out to be really nice if you could ignore the ‘praise Jesus’ and ‘God lives’ that she interposed with every sentence and we chatted for most of the trip.

Still on divine intervention, I had my iPhone with me and realised I did not have the pin with which to remove the sim card, so I could change to my Nigerian sim. I was loath to ask the crew for a sharp object for fear of being labelled ‘Taliban’ and simply wished I had a toothpick. I looked down and right by my foot was one of those individually wrapped toothpicks. Now, you’ve got to bear in mind that this was a freshly cleaned plane and we were yet to take off. I spent the entire flight vainly looking to see if I’d find another. My own miracle!

I will not even talk about the two spoilt kids who screamed and cried for four hours right from before take-off. It was all I could do not to get up and slap them upside the head, and then their parents too if they deigned to complain.

And the stupid girl who spent 15 minutes complaining to the Stewardess as she could not get a space in the overhead compartment right over her seat. Does it take a Stewardess to explain to a Nigerian that the lockers are not allocated?

Lagos was fine as usual. I was distressed about the Uzoma girl’s story as it was just breaking when I got in. On Wednesday I visited the Trade Fair, which reminded me of how much deterioration has taken place, six hours for a return journey that should have taken one, on arrival running a gauntlet of mainly aggressive Igbo traders who were selling clothing and footwear seconds all over the Fair grounds.