Tag Archives: money

Why you’re not married.

I usually find a lot of topics like these ridiculous, but this time, something’s different. I think it’s because I always get search terms like…hang on. Lets’s turn into a Hero Series shall we?

Where to meet Igbo men

Number of times searched – 2

Alternate searches: How to keep an Igbo guy (1), How to snag an Igbo husband (1), How to bag an Igbo man (1), How to keep my Igbo man (1).

I was first alerted to the presence of this post called ‘6 Reasons you’re not married‘ on Ginger’s blog and decided to let you know what mine are from the Igbo perspective. As you can see from the above search results, some people – I’m assuming women but it could be men too – would like to know.

Before you guys get big-headed over how sought-after you are, there is a twist.

Callistus, put down your holy water. Azubike, swallow that bit of nkwobi you have in your mouth. Ifeanyi, leave that woman alone until I finish what I have to say. Igbo boys, here are 6 reasons that you’re still not married even though you want to be.

Continue reading Why you’re not married.

“Antii gbaalu m Christmas!”

See eh, I’m not joking. This phrase can have even the meanest, baddest, biggest girl/boy to come back from Ala Bekee quaking in their boots. Why? I’ll tell you.

In Igboland, December is a time to make money without shame – yes, yes, I know you non-ndi igbo are scratching your heads in confusion and asking “But isn’t the whole year money-making galore in Igboland?” and largely you are right, but December has a special kind of frenzy attached to making money – spending it of course, but mostly making it, amassing huge quantities of it – that is absent throughout the whole year. None so much as among village children.

Village children are known for many things; iwa anya, literally translated as ‘to cut open the eye’ or in pidgin as ‘Tear eye’, ‘icha akwu’, which means ‘To ripen like a palmnut’ – this is harder to explain. It does not mean physical ripening or maturity. (Everyone knows you can never tell a village child’s age and that only a stupid person would try. Footballers have got nothing on these children). It’s more like being sharp. They have a lot of sense.

But the worst bit around Christmas is that village children – babies from six months and upwards included – can already tell a N50 note from a N500 one. (Actually that’s a bit unfair. All Igbo children can do that). And this brings me to the ‘quaking in boots ‘bit. On Christmas Day bands of children ‘terrorise’ households. They come in, all the same size if different ages and they greet you ‘Gi rafun’ (Good afternoon) and say “Anyi bialu ka i gbalu anyi Christmas”. Woe betide you if you don’t have any cash on hand when these children visit because they’ve got all day and they WILL get that money. They’ve got nothing but time and it doesn’t matter how many houses they have gone to before yours on Christmas Day, their stomachs are never full. Your best bet is to feed them, give them money and let them go or your family/visitors will have no food to eat that day (yes, people go round to other people’s on Christmas Day where I’m from). Sometimes they’ll refuse food outright. They’ll tell you they have eaten and all they want is for you to ‘dance Christmas’ for them. They may take a drink or two. They will tell you that they will come back if you don’t have any money now, but please heed my advice. Give them what you have got. When they come back, they come with inflation.

“Well, what happens when you give them nothing?” You ask. It’s similar to a halloween trick but much worse. For you see, in addition to ripening like a palmnut and cutting open their eyes, the village child is a library of insults passed down from grandparents; words that you never knew existed. Also they are possessed of the uncanny ability to zero in on your worst fear or insecurity. And so it was that yours truly, while neither a badass nor a big girl became the recipient of such hits as ‘Onye isi ya ka nke m o’. And I don’t even have a big head. It’s mostly hair. *Sniff Sniff*

To help you, here’s a drawing I have done of a typical village child leader at Christmas:

1) Dark eyebrows created by applying thick lines of black-black eye pencil. The kind that you never see in any form but ‘stubby’.

2) Plastic glasses with fluorescent colours.

3) Tummy-breast buds: Do not try to determine age by looking here, especially if you’re a man. It won’t help you.

4) Bag for collecting money. Usually when the bag is full, the leader will lead her troupe back to their compound (they are usually all related) to empty their receptacles before they hit the road again. Their parents will count and hold the money. The mothers, not the fathers mind. (Side note: Have you ever seen what happens to a parent when they spend a VC’s Christmas money? See: Bakassi Boys)

5) New china blue-white socks, bought two sizes too big and rolled down. They will wear it to other special occasions throughout the year to which they have not been invited. See: The back of your wedding hall).

6) Belt. Tied as tightly as possible so that the skirt of the dress flares attractively. Any dress without a belt is not a dress.

7) Aka kpof-kpof AKA pouffy sleeves. Ditto.

8) Mother’s lipstick, scraped from its barrel with the cover of a Bic pen.

9) Shirley Temple curls. Made with extensions so plastic and shiny that if the sun is a little too hot it can spontaneously combust. The curls give the illusion of thick bouncy hair, and most importantly, cover up the short, natural hair that is the rule in most village school. Sometimes, VC can show up with the ‘Okuku Abuke’ look, which is where they relax the short hair for Christmas resulting in sparse spikes. (See: Wet chickens).

10) Weirdly couloured bit in hair. The extensions for this could be anything from white to fiery red to purple. It has to stand out).

11) Koi-koi shoes, so named for the sound they make.

And I forgot to add a nummber 12, so here it is: The eye-pencil beauty mark/third eye in the middle of forehead. You are not an asa until you have this. Whaaaaaat?

So, you’ve been warned. Don’t be afraid though, just respect yourself, go to the bank on time and all will be well. Make no mistake, Christmas is not Christmas without the village child.

HAPPY NEW YEAR PEOPLE. Sorry for the late/scattered post and thanks for your prayers for tot. See you soon!

If music be the food of love, baby I will dance like Bright Chimezie.

Every Igbo person is a writer.

I don’t know if there is something in the water, or if we’re just frustrated because the art of oral storytelling has died out all over Igboland or whether it’s the Chinua Achebe thing, but think about it: At least three out of any five new writers will be Igbo (entirely made-up statistic by the way, but it feels true). Ndi Igbo revere education and books so it should come as no surprise that one has had a fair share of toasting from Igbo intellectuals. But there is one kind in particular that keeps coming back.

You know the type. His parents are frustrated academics from the Biafra era when they lost everything, so his name is something grand and all-encompassing like ‘He who is mighty in the art of war’ or  ‘He who we shall use to cut down the White man’s tree of knowledge and sell him back its fruits’ or ‘He who we shall use to conquer many worlds and bring back precious cargo so that we can all sit together under the Ukpaka tree picking meat from our teeth with the bones of our enemies’ or simply, ‘Hahahahahaha! I laugh at you’. You get the picture.

Mine was called ‘Eziafakaego’ – A good name is better than money. Naturally he didn’t have any. His shoes were like hand puppets with the top part constantly sniffing heaven’s arse. Did he let that stop him from toasting girls? Did he heck.Typical scenario:

“Well met by moonlight, fairest lady. Your face is the East, your body, the sun.” Eziafa would shout at his latest toastee, going down on one knee and presenting her with a plastic rose from the market.

Mba o! Eziafa I hope it’s not me you remembered today? Better go back and tell whoever sent you that you didn’t see me. Mschew! Nonsense. Am I your level? Biko, go away.” His prey’s friends would shriek with laughter while the girl tried to evaporate Eziafa’s blood with her eyes. People would look on and shake their heads ‘ That Eziafa is just a character’, all the while praying not to be the recipient of his affections.

Maybe I should have prayed as well, but he didn’t repulse me. I thought he was eccentric. And so the Fates conveniently went on holiday on the day my overzealous cupid let an arrow fly into Eziafa’s eye.

“If music be the food of love, play on. Give me more of it…”

“Eziafa, no.”

“…And I will be your genie in a bottle. I will dance, like Bright Chimezie. Zzigima style.”

“Ok, first of all, you are murdering Shakespeare. Secondly, that quote has no bearing on this situation like it did in the play. There is no music playing anywhere near here to warrant…”

“The rhythm is my heart and the globules of your posterior are its drums. Now take my hand and together we shall to a place, where I can feed you nectar…”

“I am not a bee…”

“…And I can lay my weary head on your bosom…”

“…You mean on my sternum…” I crossed my hands over my chest, aware of my B-cups.

“And you can show your hairy diadem…”

“That’s enough!” Somehow I knew he meant the other meaning of that phrase in John Donne’s famous poem. After all my hair was not covered. “Look, Eziafa I’m going to be late.”

“Yes, but we’re in the same class.”

“Like I could forget. But while you’re going on, I need to be moving on.”

“Ah such wit, by Jove!”

“Don’t you get tired? Hia.” This went on for about a week and where at first Eziafa was just a quirky guy, I found myself going to sleep and dreaming of killing him in the most horrendous of ways. Poison in ear seemed the most fitting for obvious reasons. But how to get close enough?

“Look Nwunye,” he said after one of my harsher put-downs “Do you really think I don’t know how I look? At least I am putting myself out there. I have so much love to give and if I don’t try, how will I ever find the woman who will love me back? And there has got to be someone, otherwise what is the point of life? There has got to be someone, even for me. Why make fun of me for that?”

“I know, Eziafa, but you don’t take no for an answer. It gets annoying quickly.” I sighed. “I’m not rejecting you because you look…you don’t look…I don’t know how to say this…”

“Ugly?”

“I didn’t say that. You’re not ugly.”

“Great. So you will go out on a date with me. I knew you were different. Oh, I have been in Hades, but you my dearest Persephone…”

“I didn’t say I’d go out with you either. You’re doing it again. You’re being annoying.”

“Then speak ,my love, your command. I remain your slave.”

“I’m not your love. Any other person who was as presumptuous and as…insistent at you, I would have put down the same way. Why should I give you special treatment just because you’re…er…ah..”

“Poor. Ugly.”

“Different. And in any case, I don’t find you attractive. You’re too earnest for me. And don’t even think of making a pun out of…”

“…The importance of being earnest is that it gets you where you need to go in life, my dear Nwunye.”

“Oh, God. You didn’t just do that.” Eziafa grinned. His smile disappeared just as quickly as it came.

” You people think I don’t have feelings. I am your jester and will play my part with relish, but I ask you, to be true to yourself. Look into my eyes and tell me you don’t feel the same way and I will never…”

“I don’t feel the same way.”

“Ah-ahn! I didn’t even finish. OK then. I shall never darken your doors again.” He started to walk away but turned back. “Last chance or forever hold your peace?”

“Thanks, Eziafa. I’m sure I’ll survive.”

The rest of the semester came and went but somehow Eziafa was never the same to me. Or to anyone, now that I think about it. He still smiled and still talked and joked, but something was different. It was almost like he didn’t care so much about the people around him.  We took our final exams;  I finished with second class upper, Eziafa a lower second class degree. He came up to me and shook my hand, but he didn’t recite Shakespeare or Byron. He spoke Eziafa. “You’re a brilliant writer. I look forward to reading your first book. I’m sure it will be magnificent. I shall buy it for all my friends. I’m sure it will be out next year.”

“From your mouth to God’s ears,” I said and thought no more of it.

Ten years later, I open the Guardian Review in the UK to see an interview with a new writer who has just won an award worth £10,000 and a book deal of a further £500,000. Something about his image looks familiar. I scroll down:

Hot on the heels of the prestigious Preston award, Eziafakaego Nnoo chats to Simon Hattenstone about why being weird is not always a bad thing. Plus, the women whose love played a big part in his success.

I flipped through the two-page interview at break-neck speed. He didn’t mention me.

Bastard.

I looked at the picture again.

‘You know,’ I thought to myself. ‘He’s not that ugly.’