|Grandpa, Grandma, and the grandchildren|
(That's me, back row, in the blue dress and jheri curl)
|Adorable. So worth the 15-hour layover.|
|My friend and I in Nairobi.|
|Reminiscing, as I visit the apartment I stayed in last summer.|
After a short stay in Lagos - Nigeria's former capital, and upon my parents arrival, we traveled to Ibadan - another south-west city known for its massive size (one of the largest cities in Africa) and "town-like" feel. I spent quality time with an entertaining cousin and enjoyed some of my favorite things: shopping for fabric and designing new clothes (though bartering at the market is an art I've yet to cultivate), suya - delectable meat slices covered in chilli and other spices roasted right in front of you, and, of course, all the fried plantain I could eat!
|Traffic in Ibadan. (This is a good day...)|
|Stands off the side of the road where we bought fresh fruit.|
|Development at its finest.|
|Ankara! Time to design some new clothes.|
|Preparing the suya.|
|The road leading into Ede.|
|Possibly the best fruit ever.|
|Organizing the personalized souvenir flashlights that were|
given to guests at the reception.
|Bush meat. (aka: "birthday meat" for me, two years in a row).|
|Enjoying a glass of palm wine with my mama!|
|Preparing for the event at the house. A cow is being cooked (left)|
while the yard is being cleaned.
|Preparing the front of the house for the wake.|
|The performers sing and dance, followed by the body and family.|
|Mixing the dough...|
|Frying the dough...|
|Me following the chef, ready to eat the dough...|
|Yum! A hundred buns just for me!|
|My dear Grandma.|
May her soul rest in peace.
|The dancers dance with the coffin on the way to the church.|
|The grandchildren now after an afternoon of dancing.|
We've come a long way...
|Ibadan Medical School.|
|Suya stand: where good things come from!|
My stay ended in Lagos, where one cousin took me to Victoria Island for a day of fun. I watched a newly-released film (something I can't do in Lilongwe, since there's no movie theatre^), road an okada (motor bike), and was so surprised to see development on the island: required helmets for the okada passengers, people actually waiting in line at proper bus stops...These things may seem trivial, but anyone who's traveled to the African continent can attest that they are positive signs.
|The Galleria. Am I still in Nigeria?|
|The okada drivers and passengers are wearing helmets!|
(For some reason, they didn't give me one when I rode...)
|My cuz and me on the bus back to mainland.|
|Notice: people are waiting patiently in line to board the bus.|
Though I was sad to leave, I ended my trip in true Diva fashion, amusing myself during a missed connection in Nairobi.
|Me at a hotel in Nairobi, compliments of Kenya Air.|
|Well, I tried...|
|I think I improved by the end of the night.|
And so I returned to Malawi, missing the vibrancy of Nigerian life and confident that I want to test it out for a year or so, should the opportunity arise. Of course it was only fitting that in my first week back in Malawi, I would meet a Nigerian at the vegetable market who would invite me to a soiree with at least 200 Nigerians present (who knew Malawi had so many??).
|Don't be tardy for the|
I really miss my beautiful grandmother and her voice, my insightful grandfather (whose "life celebration" was exactly 1-year earlier) and his stories, and being back in Nigeria makes me feel connected to them. I loved interacting with almost all of my family for the first time in ages and seeing that we can all relate to one another despite differences in age, upbringing, and geographic location. I loved experiencing the richness of Yoruba culture - the Ankara fabrics and bold fashions, the music and dancing whether at church or hanging out in the kitchen, the religious conviction whether through the five-times-a-day Islamic prayers blaring over megaphones or nightly family prayer sessions, preceded by the phrase "Oluwaseun" ("We thank God") at least 20 times in a day. I loved talking and listening to intelligent conversations on Nigeria - on politics, challenges, and the way forward. I loved looking at the success that some people have been able to achieve through hard work and opportunity, in spite of other challenges: my uncle's architecture business and my adopted grandfather's international school (soon to be expanding to the university level). In spite of its blemishes, I really love Nigeria.
^I stand corrected. There is, in fact, a movie theatre in Blantyre, Malawi that is operational as of June 2012. It's actually nicer than the theatre in my hometown...