We have been in the village for the past few days. The air is quieter, not so much noise transmitted in it. No constant honking and echoes of road jams. No busy street with hawkers darting in between every vehicles, yes there are busy markets but not quite as busy as in the cities.
Pulling up to my in-laws beautiful compound… I knew it was on! 2 story 10 bedroom – 6 bathroom with 2 kitchens, 2 dinings, and 2 large parlors. Every room was incredibly dusty but well equipped with a bed, ceiling fan and chargeable standing fan. The first night we cleaned like fiends all the dust that had settled in the time they were away. We sat that night in the living room chopping on roasted peanuts and exchanging laughs. Tomorrow the villagers would come to welcome me, the new bride.
Anxiety was in my bones, smiling from ear to ear, apologizing several times for not being able to fluently speak my native tongue all the while assuring that I could hear nearly one hundred percent. It was more of a warning, I could hear what you didn’t think I could, lol. Abacha was rolling out in heaps and my husband was cracking open beer and wine for the Umu-nna. Money was given to us and we were prayed for. The generosity was appreciated. That nighty husband prepared for a night meeting with the villagers and I stayed in the room twisting my hair hoping for more success, in Jesus name, hair success!
Then the news. The water has finished. The water… has finished. As in, there is no more water. None to bathe, brush teeth, shower, flush… There was plenty to drink, just not enough to convert to the aforementioned activities. I sat with my MIL as she griped, the reservoir was cleaned and not refilled, such a nagging problems but nonetheless we would suffer. Thrown back into my remote past of boiling water and bathing over a bucket. I was using pure water to brush anyhow. When my husband returned from his night meeting, early because he was snoring and embarrassing his father, he was excited to learn he would be given the opportunity to defecate outside without judgement. Men. (In fact, as I write this he is floating about the circle of life, taking from the trees and giving back to the trees. My husband, chai!) I dealt well, at least we had light. As I said, no water was a minor setback for me, because I tend to lean on pure water for most my activities and I just had to worry how to properly ease myself however. The light was steady… from the generator. I was informed a while back a transformer had blown, maintenance that should have commenced was stalled because someone has to chop money and full his stomach. Corruption is alive and thriving.
My nights sleep was interrupted by my need to pump at 4 hours intervals; not heat, thankfully.
We visited my husbands family. His uncle had an Udala tree with ripe Udala that my husband plucked some for me and his sisters, his neice cried for one but when she received it she was disappointed and unimpressed so resorted to crying some more. Mosquitoes were feasting on me as I sat outside reading his uncles medical reports and giving consultation, probably the stick Udala juice running down my hand and leaving a map that drew them in. Prophylaxis was on board, no worries, right?
The night before our departure I begged my husband to take me on a stroll to the market. He was the protective type, always watching over my shoulder. I’m sure he thinks I would be dead without him. He even watches me take my anti-malarial, I’m a full blown doctor for crying out loud. We walked in the night sky, I was jubliating, watching my step and attempting to know my way. My husband haggle banana and pineapple but we were still ripped off, so said his mother. Oh well, it isn’t like we didn’t have the money, let them enjoy their Christmas, lol. Pineapples so sweet, bananas so sweet. Food and fruit is one reason I love to come home. Food and fruit. You have not tasted any fruit or veggie until you enter the motherland, mark that somewhere! It isn’t that chemicalized, adulterated crap the deed you in the States. Strawberries the size of mangoes, and apples bigger than your head. Here: the gooseberries taste like gooseberries! (Disclaimer, there are no gooseberries in the Not-so United States of Nigeria).
[pause to breast pump, scroll below for continued programming]
All in all, I had a great time. We visited family, met many of the locals and I became a part of a big family. I wasn’t tormented by insects so I am happy as that is usually my only condition. My only qualm was the bread, there was no bread that I tasted that has an ounce of quality and no amount of butter that could rectify it. But we are headed to Port soon, sha!