Friday, 16 November 2012

Ije Oma (Safe Journey)

After 4 days of ‘eastern’ trotting the eastern part of Nigeria, it’s good to be back home and back to my computer, doing what I love doing, ‘blogging’. My trip was super successful (Grateful to God that I got what I wanted) and thank you so much for your kind words on face book and twitter.

Though the trip was short, I think I grew up in some ways. Please travel with me as I take you on what my sister calls ‘Round the east in 4 days’.

Dearest Owerri,
Even though 5 years with you was filled with school and books, coming back to you after 2 years (or is it 3?), all grown and matured, was really a home coming. I loved arguing with Amarachi’s husband, I loved going through the bush and hugging little cousins at home, I loved the healing I got from forgiveness (wish there was time to visit dad's plantation) and most importantly, I loved hearing grandma say ‘Nwa mo, bia bie mo ma’ (My child, come and hug me)...It felt good hugging and kissing her. It felt good eating Ofe Nsala with her and cleaning her home. I loved praying with her and I felt at peace as I went to Obinze knowing Mama Kuku told me ‘Ije Oma’ (safe journey!!!).

Falling in love with you, Owerri and promise to be back soon, perhaps for Ezinne’s traditional marriage.

Dearest Portharcourt,
I will never forget my first welcome greeting, ‘Ah, fine girl, I like your hair ooo, se e no be Brazilian, be careful ooo, so dey no go kidnap you’...
Ah!!! Thank you so much for not kidnapping me (No money sef). 

Thank you for the wonderful weather (Lagos is so hot. Please share some of your rain.). I had fun going round Woji, and Artillery and Nkpolu and Tank Road and Choba.  Will I love to live in Ph? (Uhmmm!!!). 
But I loved the town and would visit soon. I love the warm welcome at ‘Chi’s’ home. Super grateful for my amazing friends, jenny, my lil muna and Chi . 
Me and the best friends in the world

Our lil homework chair.

Dearest Benin-Ore Road
You were my major headache and fear when I was travelling. I wondered about the popular Benin Bypass and Okada road that is known for housing high way robbers, I hated the trucks, which in my opinion shouldn't be travelling during the day time (100 at a time). I hated the ‘standstill’ on Ore road and had a new found love for the policemen and soldiers risking their lives on the road. I loved the beautiful scenery, tall trees and rocks, filled with cool air and never ending water (ok, some were murky).
I loved the Banana too but still think about what one hawker said when we complained about the traffic we were on (for one hour), she said ‘Ah!! If they fix the road, how are we supposed to eat? don’t you know we make money from the traffic?’ (And they do. Warm water was sold for 50 naira and cold water for 100 naira. Man must survive).

Dear Onitsha Bridge,
You are no ‘london bridge’ but I loved the architecture and funny advert of Nigerian films on you. Been reading a lot about the Biafra and wondered what role you played during the civil war? I heard you were blocked by Nigerian soldiers to prevent food supplies to Biafra. I don’t know. But I’m interested in knowing your history my new favourite bridge.
I wonder how often you are maintained and marvel at your strength to hold a 100 cars climbing your back every day and every night. I also loved looking at the River Niger.

To my amazing Seat mates
I had an amazing time with you. You kept talking to me even though my eyes were on the bushes we passed, praying and hoping, big guys with guns don’t disrupt our trip or our bus don’t break down. We argued, laughed together and screamed when the driver was on 160km/hr (really scary). Learnt a lot about the east from you than what I've learned from books. Learnt about truck drivers and their joy of being on the road for 2 or 3 days. The toilet at Umenede stop over was bad like you said (Yuck!!!). Learnt that sensitive and loving people still exists in the world. Thank you for teaching me how to calculate my trip and showing me the major landmarks we have.

Dear Life
Everyday is a gift and I’m grateful that I’m still part of this thing called ‘Life’. The various accidents on the road taught me the importance of being safe when driving (Trucks and cars in ditches and bushes. Some people, never to be found again). Looking at granny’s grey hair taught me that ‘old age is really a blessing’. I want to be old too and cherish my grand children. I cultivated some great friendships on my trip, learnt about history and places (passed through Bayelsa and Warri and Benin), saw some old huts in the open and people living happily there. I don’t know if I could manage there but it made me appreciate my home. 

The roadblocks in Warri made me wonder if there was an invisible war there and I thought Effurun looked beautiful from behind. 
Thank you so much for the education. Thank you so much for letting me see the school in Bayelsa that was turned to a relief camp. Would never forget the faces of those trooping in and out of the camp even if it was for a few minutes. It makes me want to do more in life.
Warri and their roadblock!!!!
And thank you for making me meet Miss Americana, the ‘funny lady’ who did not allow our driver pick a random stranger on the road. Uhmm, even though the driver eventually did and the man brought in some ‘Shit’ with him (apparently, he stepped on something awful) and we spent another 20 minutes cleaning up the car, Americana kept on saying 'I told you so' and that we had allowed the devil's agent in the bus. Can you imagine? I loved Americana’s outspokenness and wittiness (she made us laugh a lot) but I learnt about sensitivity and keeping your tongue in check. Yup. Think before you speak.
When I got to Lag, I laughed at the Irony of how beautifully carved Lagos is on the outskirt but on the inside ‘I saw this mountain heap of dirt that decorated Ojota bus park. Shaking my head.
Image source: Mountain heap of dirt :(

I’m happy to be back home in lagos and back to reality. Grateful for ‘Ije Oma’.
fire-y lagos. #Shalom :)

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. 

I think more need to be done in terms of our road transport (Not many people can afford an air ticket, you know?). We need more law enforcement personnel's as well as better roads.

What's up?

Thanks a billion for reading. Grateful for ‘Ije Oma’ (Safe Journey) and wishing you same as we go through the journey of life. :)