Tag Archives: Igboland

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO RESPONDED

I know the figures do not show on the survey itself but I am getting all your responses in a widget called ‘Feedback’ so thank you all who responded. And if you haven’t got round to it, you’d be doing me a massive favour, so please help. I need as many people as I can get.
If you would like the email version of this to pass along to your friends just let me know and I will email it to you. Thank you.

An Igbo woman writes from the grave: A story of domestic violence.

First of all – as a disclaimer – let me just say that I hate stories that are designed to tug at the heart especially if they are true stories. Just give me the facts and let me make my own judgement. I find those stories are more powerful that way, stripped of artifice. This is obviously a device of the writer and not a fault of the ‘victim’.

So I did have to filter out a fair bit of the maudlinism to get  to the nub of the matter:

1) The woman is dead.

2) She suffered emotional and physical cruelty at the hands of someone sworn to love and protect her until she died.

3) She left behind two children whose future now looks uncertain – one is a boy with developmental problems. The other is a girl. In this story, it seems their father would simply want them not to exist.

But there are other questions which simply refuse to go away:

1) Why, why, WHY did she stay a whole 12 years while the man stripped away her humanity? A lot of women think that a man has only broken his vows when he cheats. In my view, a man who beats you after he vows to cherish you has broken his vows. The signs were there from the beginning. A person that loves you will not allow you to be exposed to ridicule of ANYONE no matter if it’s their mother, sister-in-law or extended family. (Speaking of which, the sister-in-law was married into the family as well so she has just as many rights as the dead woman.)

2) Dead woman is the last of nine children. WHY could she not go to anyone in her family (obviously the writer of her story knew. What did he/she do to help?)  if things were so bad? She died like a fly with no kinsmen. Sad.

Biko nu, Igbo men if you are not ready to get married, simply stay single. A man is not mature by age. If after you marry you still hold your mother in higher esteem than your wife then marriage is NOT for you. Same goes for woman and their fathers. You’re better off staying with them rather than carrying your wahala to someone else’s house.

Seriously. Forgetting to buy anara for your mother is no reason to let your wife die alone.

See the dead Ogochukwu’s story here

I’m still interested in the man’s point of view – not excusing that the woman is dead and all – so if you’re he or you are privy to the info, please share.

Nostalgia: Why I can’t go ‘home’ again.

I remember going to our hometown from Awka.

My father, bless him, was always excited on these trips. He would enchant us with stories of walking long distances in bare feet to fetch water and swimming in rivers, the games they played along the way, the palm kernels he collected, shelled and sold for pocket money. Sometimes there was a new story and at other times it was simply a rehash of ones we had heard many times before. His voice pitched in the juiciest parts of the story, he swivelled his head to ensure we were listening to every word. My mother would cut him off with a reminder to keep his eyes on the road.

These days I know the journey took all of 45 mins to an hour tops, but it seemed much longer then, especially when we got stuck in Onitsha traffic.

I passed the time watching for shapes in the clouds; here a rabbit, there an elephant’s head, and God’s hand waving. Sometimes, they just reminded me of pounded yam made from the newest, whitest tubers, the kind we ate during New Yam festivals. My stomach would grumble and I would focus on hawkers tapping on the windows of our car and take the deep breath needed to interrupt my father.

My mother always bought sensible things like loaves of bread and bunches of bananas with their accompanying groundnut parcels for people in the village. If the traffic jam was particularly bad, we could have some Gala to stave off hunger. There were always sweating bottles of water in the car which had started out the journey a little more than cylinders of ice. We weren’t allowed to have the ‘omiyo-omiyo!’ sweets that their sellers announced with piercing whistles.

Soon, we would leave the bottleneck behind, my father speeding to make up for lost time. We were allowed a respite from trapped air behind windows wound up to dissuade theft, my mother resting her fingers from clicking the air conditioner on and off.

The breeze would lift the hairs on my arms and make me smile. There was always a thick liquid sliding down my arm from having whichever sister was near me at the time resting on my shoulder; I never slept in cars. I didn’t mind the saliva by then. My mind was on the one thing which my dad never failed to get us: a local snack from his childhood. The hawkers sold it straight from the fire in front of the failed airport leading to the Igwe’s palace in our hometown.

He called it ‘Ie-iee’. They were the larvae of palm tree beetles roasted over a wood fire.

Continue reading Nostalgia: Why I can’t go ‘home’ again.