Sunday, May 9, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

They Say The Darndest Things

I live with my cousin and her family. Her kids are nine, seven and six years old(boy, girl, boy) and most times, when I need a laugh, I simply listen to them talk.
They are hilarious.

"Mummy, when are we going to go to Nigeria?" Seven asked my cousin once.
"One day", her mom assured her.
"What?!" Seven complained, "Just for one day? Aww men!"

On another occassion, my cousin took Six and I to her office and introduced us to her colleagues. When we were about to leave, one of them said bye to Six.
"Bye!" Six replied, "See you when I'm old!"

This is an example of a conversation I have with Six almost everyday:
"Aunty, can I- can I ask you something?"
"You know know when, like, you know...Aunty, can I ask you something?"
"This is my playstation game".

I hear things like these on a daily basis. I'm used to it now. But sometimes, kids can surprise you.

Last Wednesday was my cousin's birthday, so the kids and I cleaned up the house and made dinner to surprise her. We bought a card, baked macaroons (there was no margarine or butter to bake a cake, macaroons were the only thing in the cookbook that didn't need butter) and arranged the dining table all fancy like. By now, Six was fretting about how hungry he was. Usually they ate before their mum came home. But he waited.

When she came home, she was happy (the house was clean, of course she was happy).
After all the greetings and picture taking, we finally settled down around the table. Six reached out to grab a spoon.

"Can we pray first?", my cousin asked. Six groaned and sat back. "Come on, Six pray for us".
He groaned again, "Aww men! Why can't Nine do it?"
"I'm asking you, Six", she replied.
"Okay", he said. He closed his eyes, clapped his hands together and bowed his head. I waited for the usual 'Bless this food, Oh Lord' that they normally said.

But, in the calmest, most innocent, most solemn voice and in a surprisingly adult manner, he said,

"Jesus taught us to pray
Jesus taught us to love one another
Jesus taught us to help each other...every day
Jesus taught us to [always be together]
Jesus taught us to ()
Thank you Jesus for my mommy
Thank you Jesus for our food
Jesus is our only father and
God is our only father and- and
Mary and Joseph are our only Mum and Dad.
Thank you Jesus for this meal. Amen".

"Amen", we chorused and opened our eyes. For about five seconds, no one said anything. We just stared at him.
It wasn't just what he said, it was the way he said it. He wasn't reciting something he was taught, he was actually talking to God. Yes, some parts of it are funny but mostly, it was genuine.
"Six, that was so good!" his mum said.
"I know!" I said.
"Yeah, where did you learn to pray like that?" Nine asked, looking at his brother like he didn't know who he was. If you knew Six, you'd understand why we were so surprised.

As we praised him, he just sat, uncharacteristically quiet, looking at his plate.
"Six, where did you learn that?" his mom asked.
A small frown formed on his face as he looked up.
"Can we eat now?" he asked, returning to the six year old we knew.
So we ate.

When I was writing this post, I asked him to say the prayer for me again.
"I can't remember", he said. I urged him to try and remember.
"I can't", he said, "I don't know, I just said it".
In adult lingo, "It was straight from his heart".

Maybe it's not such a big deal.
Maybe it's normal for six year olds to pray like that without being taught.
But for me, that was a first. It was the most honest prayer I'd ever heard from...anyone really, not just a child.

True, kids say the darndest things. But they can also say the sweetest things.

**** Permission was taken from their mother to write this.
****The () and [] mean I can't remember what he said.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Something to Look Out For

With all the nonsense that we are known for nowadays - yahoo, 419, silly underwear boy...Jos - it feels good to find something positive coming from Nigeria.

I love mythology and legends and fairytales and all that kind of stuff. Greek and Norse mythology are great obviously and everyone knows that. From 'Percy Jackson' and Thor' to 'Clash of the Titans' and even 'Lord of the Rings', their stories have been used in all kinds of ways and they never get old.
Still, nothing beats a good Nigerian folktale. I miss 'Stories my mother told me' and 'Tales by Moonlight'
The tortoise was always cunning, the lion was always hungry and the forests were always filled with evil spirits (and maybe one who took the form of an old woman who changed her mind about eating you because you were nice and helped her carry her heavy water pot to her hut, and so she gave you riches and showed you the way home - remember that story?)
But in recent times, the popularity of folktales has died down and there is no home grown story that the new generation of Nigerian kids can get excited about.
Until now.

I was invited to this group on Facebook called Chicken Core and I'm so glad I checked it out. It is amazing!!!

Basically, its a folktale/fantasy cartoon series about the animal kingdom (because you know Nigerian stories are not complete if the characters are not animals, lol) and how the smaller animals are treated as inferior by the larger carnivorous animals. Nature wants to rewrite this and a prophecy about a Chicken warrior called Kiki, that will rise against the oppressors to rule the animal kingdom is about to come to pass, so the chicken race is being killed off (of course, Kiki survives and...the battle begins).

Chicken Core is the name of the group of surviving chickens that join Kiki in the war against the higher animals.

You have to admit, it sounds good. It's creative and modern without sacrificing the main elements of Nigerian storytelling. And with characters with names like 'Ngozi One Connect' (pictured above), 'Ojekiri' and 'Pius Ogadinma', you know it cannot be dry, lol.
The character whose storyline interested me the most was 'Skinned Yellow Monday' and I thought I'd put it here, just to give you an idea:

According to Chicken Core's facebook page, "Monday is the enigma of 'The Core'. Although little is known about his origin, rumors say he is the only surviving member of the Iragule Clan, a highly specialized rebel unit; whose luck ran thin when they were ambushed, chained in their hideout and set ablaze. Monday's feathers were torched, burning holes into his pores. Hearing the anguish of his comrades, he broke free from his shackles shattering his beak in the process. His captors noticed his escape and hunted him to the edge of a cliff. He was rescued by Kiki who was training nearby. Monday swore his allegiance to Kiki for saving his life.

He uses a scarf to hide his broken beak and his choice of weapon is a pot cover branded 'Made in Aba' ".
Honestly, I think it sounds so brilliant and if you can, please support How Now Studios by joining their facebook page or watch their sneak peak videos on Youtube or watch the series when it comes on TV in Nigeria.

Good job, by the way, to the creators of Chicken Core.
Good job and Good luck.

This is a goat called Nnkpime. I don't know what his storyline is, this picture just makes me laugh. I hope he is the clown of the show, lol.
Do you remember your favourite folktale? What was it?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Want You to Know His Name

Please remember, remember well,

This thing you are going to sell,

You'll probably get ten grand, maybe more.

You'll probably blow it on booze and whores.

Remember, when you delete his pictures,

Those smiling faces are now empty fixtures.

Drowning in tears for what they lost.

Trying to move on because they must.

Remember, when you delete his files,

He was a young man travelling for miles,

On his way to work, to make a living,

In a country that always took, never giving.

Remember, before you make your excuse,

He was a young boy just like you.

Yet he was doing a nine to five,

Not killing and stealing with a gun or knife.

You could have shot him on the leg

Instead, you aimed it at his head

And what did you take, what was your prize?

For a laptop, you took a life.

And while you go home and you rest

His broken old man beats his chest

Shouting incoherence to the above

That God, I promise, will take note of.

Please remember, armed robber man.

When you stand where we all must stand

And the heads of Cerberus greet you with snarls

Just so you know, his name was Charles.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dream On

Thugs and bad men

Punks and lifers

Fucked up interns

Pigs and snitches

Rest your weary heads, all is well

You won't be strip-searched, torn up tonight

You won't be cut up, bleeding tonight

You won't be strung out, cold, shaking to your bones

Wishing you were anywhere else but right here

So dream on

Thieves and muggers

Tricks and hustlers

Cheats and traitors

Scum and low-lives

Rest you weary heads, all is well

You won't be sad or broken tonight

You won't be squealed on, ripped up tonight

You won't be back-stabbed, double crossed, face down

Teeth knocked out, lying in a gutter somewhere

So dream on

Freaks and junkies

Fakes and phonies

Drunks and cowards

Manic preachers

Rest your weary heads, all is well

You won't be pushed or messed with tonight

You won't be lied to, ruffed up tonight

You won't be insane, paranoid, obsessed

Aimlessly wandering through the dark night

So dream on


Saturday, February 13, 2010

It's A Beautiful Thing

The scent of love is in the air

Valentine's day is finally here.


I love Love.

Yes, I understand when people say that such holidays are just business propaganda, meant for commercial use so that businesses can make money off of love sprung couples.

Yes, I understand that you don't need a day to tell your partner you love them, when you can do that everyday.


What does it hurt?

If you look past the roses and cards and perfumes and teddy bears and chick flicks...Valentine's day is truly and simply beautiful.

It's like Mother's day. Of course, we love our mothers all year round. Still, if you think you don't have to tell your mother you love her on that day because you already said it yesterday and the day before...are you crazy?

I think we can spare a day to celebrate couple's love.

A certain someone I know :) will be celebrating her first Valentine's day in her current (and last :) ) relationship.

It's amazing, I've known her most of my life but I think this is the first time that I have ever seen her truly and completely happy.

Love can do that.

It's a beautiful thing to see, even more beautiful to feel.

So, in the spirit of Saint Valentine and for anyone who's in love, here are a few of my favorite love quotes, just in case you need help in telling that special person how you feel tomorrow. Beautiful, *swoon*-worthy words from people who have felt love and know what a magical thing it can be:

"I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine" - Songs of Solomon 6:3

"There are sixty queens and eighty concubines and virgins without number. But my dove, my perfect one, is the only one..." - Songs of Solomon 6:8-9

"In my dreams, you were perfect. When I woke up, you were perfect" - Vanessa Amorosi

"Robin is not the girl of my dreams...Robin is better than the girl of my dreams. She's real" - Paul in '500 Days of Summer'

"Stop talking about love. Every asshole in the world says he loves somebody. It means nothing. It still doesn't mean anything. What you feel only matters to you. It's what you do to the people you say you love, that's what matters. It's the only thing that counts" - Stephen in 'The Last Kiss'

"When you're in love, there is no way on earth to hide it. When you're in love, really in love, you simply let your heart decide it" - Millie in 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers'

"How can you tell what's in its spell? How can you tell unless you've tried it? Wait for that kiss you're certain of. And let your heart decide when you're in love" - Adam in 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers'

"Never could imagine there were only ten million ways to love somebody" - Shakira, 'Whenever, Wherever'

"You own the place where all my thoughts go hiding...Because of you, I'm running out of reasons to cry" - Shakira, 'Underneath your clothes'

"Two souls with but a single thought, two hearts that beat as one" - John Keats

"You are what I never knew I always wanted" - Alex in 'Fools Rush In'

"Other men said they have seen angels, but I have seen thee and thou art enough" ~ G. Moore

"I'd like to run away from you, but if you didn't come and find me ... I would die. ~ Shirley Bassey

"Don't get it twisted, love is a beautiful thing...See, I never thought that I would find someone like you, that could capture my heart and there's nothing I can do" - Dbanj, Fall in Love

"You must be true to your heart, that's when the heavens will part, and shower you with my love. Open your eyes. Your heart can tell you no lies. And when you're true to your heart, I know it's gonna lead you straight to me" - Mulan soundtrack

Yes, there are just as many quotes for the broken heart...but we can do that some other time.

Happy Valentine's day.