Dear Arik Air,
I hate you.
You are a nightmare for anyone who likes to plan things in advance, like I am.
I hate the fact that as ‘Nigeria’s biggest commercial airline’, you’re meant to be on par with the rest of the world, but you allegedly cancelled a route because you were not given a landing slot for free at Heathrow.
Nobody gets free landing slots, stupid.
Why would you re-route me to Lagos without telling me? Are you mad? Just so you will not give me my money back, okw’ya?
I hate that it’s people like me that have to pay for your squabbles.
I had to pay £300+ extra; I am a poor writer-cum-full-time mother. I do not have £300+
I had to get a reduced luggage allowance from 30kg to 23kg; I have a young child. I need that allowance.
To add salt to the wound, I can no longer carry my beloved beetles because these ndi ocha will surely not let me.
I can feel grey hairs of lividity growing in my armpits.
Now I look like Aji buusu from scratching my head and body all morning. Yes, being poor makes you itch.
I hope you’re happy.
P.S: You suck.
Now that’s over…
I was just talking with a friend in Nigeria about my general broke- ness when I remembered I had a small amount of money sitting in my Nigerian bank account. He offered to send me GBP if I transferred the Naira equivalent to him.
“No,” I said. I felt a shiver crawl up my spine.
“No?” I could tell he was perplexed.
“It’s…it’s my ‘Fleeing Money’.” Over sounds of incredulousness, I had to explain.
Igbo people do a lot of things ‘Maka mgbe osuolu’, ‘Maka mgbe oso ga ata’, ‘Asi anyi gbaba oso’. What all this translates to is: ‘For when we have to flee’.
Igbos people love to travel; it is said in jest that if you go anywhere in the world and cannot find one Igbo person there then the place is uninhabitable. We will literally live ANYWHERE and for as long as we possibly can, most times all our lives. But, an Igbo man must build a house in the village. And an Igbo person must save up ‘Fleeing money’ no matter where they are.
The way I see it I might have to leave the UK all of a sudden, with nothing but the shirt on my back. No I am not illegal, but it’s part of being Igbo not to trust in anywhere but your hometown, even if you know nobody there. You will always find a home in your town. Who’s to say that tomorrow the government here doesn’t just decide to send every foreigner packing? Yes, Yes, I know about democracy. But I also know that it is a man-made construct and anything can happen.
(If you cannot suspend disbelief because you have faith in the UN and the Law and so forth, just think about films like 2012. There was a reason why the African continent was untouched. I might need to run there in end-of-the-world scenarios. Or alien attacks. Or something.)
I think it’s a leftover attitude from Biafra. It may not apply to situations these days but I hate to be the one left with my finger between my teeth in a sign of regret.
And so, my Fleeing Money remains untouched.
We can eat yam and palm oil again tonight.
* * *
Speaking of which, if you’re Igbo and you don’t have land you need to acquire some by hook or crook; buy it, marry into it, sleep with someone who has it, inherit it; just do it.
Think of all those people we could charge rent when the world implodes and people get on giant arks to sail to Africa. I’m only thinking of our progress.