When Nigerians Say This…

I laughed hard, really hard when it dawned on me.

My two year old son had just given me a typical Naija response, something you need to know if relating with Nigerians or visiting Nigeria. Or, do I say Africa? Well, I speak for my country.

I had called out to him and in his light slightly high pitched voice, he answered “I’m coming“.

I waited. Nothing.

I’m coming Mummy…

He answered, “I’m coming Mummy” but continued with what he was doing. It was then it hit me.

It’s typical of Nigerians to say ‘I’m coming’ in response to being beckoned but still take a little time to finish up a task at hand or even go in an opposite direction, with the intention to return later.

Or someone could stand up to leave a room and say ‘I’m coming’ while they actually meant ‘I’ll be back’.

I remember on another occasion, he kept walking away, stopping intermittently to say ‘I’m coming Mummy’. Something I’ve done to them on quite some occasions.

I’ve tried to check myself sometimes, and I’ve agreed that I would use the right terms like ‘give me a minute‘ or ‘I’d be back‘ or ‘give me some time‘ but then it seems that ‘greater is the I’m coming in my programming than my efforts at a change’.

I’ll let it pass for the kids as an additional Naija flavour. No need fighting to change what I’m guilty of.

#shrugs

The Storytela

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A Suicide Room For Kings

Right in the 19th century expansive palace of King Toffa, in Porto Novo, Bénin Republic lies a room which nobody enters till date.

The many chambers of the palace

We had just arrived Bénin, our first stop was at Porto Novo, Le Musée du Palais Honmé.

The tour guide was quite detailed and we had an interpreter from GOTA tours who translated into English.

King Toffa who built this palace had about 120 wives and was quite instrumental in allowing the both Christianity and Islam co-exist with the traditional Voudou religion.

The Palace court where important meetings are held

Now, one of the rooms the Tour guide showed us was the ‘dark room’ marked with signs saying ‘do not enter’. We asked why it was called the ‘dark room’ and he told us that Kings would usually go in there to commit suicide. This was quite alarming.

He explained that different poisons and objects for suicide were kept there and a King who probably lost a war and didn’t want to be captured would go in there, drink the poison and then step out of the room and die.

Statue in the courtyard

The King needed to die outside as nobody was permitted to enter that room even if it was to bring out a corpse. Interesting, isn’t it?

The feeling of despair that makes one commit suicide. Choosing to end it all instead of spending one more day in confronting the situation.

Bringing it forward to the 21st Century, one question to ask is, is suicide really worth it?

Considering that there’s a life after this world. Whether we believe in this life or not doesn’t mean we would not experience it because there’s more to a man than the body we see or the mind we think with. There’s a spirit inside the body that would continue to exist in the spirit realm after the body dies.

So if suicide just kills the body, what becomes of the spirit? The real you?

Suicide starts from a thought, that lie that says ‘just escape, end it all and it would be over’.

The truth is ‘would it?’

Don’t wait to die to find out. Get help.

The fact is, no matter how dark or bad things look, they can still change for the better. Keep your hope alive.

And if you don’t know what else to do, close your eyes and say ‘Jesus, help me’. It might sound ridiculous at first but keep saying it and help will come in ways you can’t even imagine.

And like the sign outside the dark room says, do not enter the Suicide room please.

Need help overcoming those suicidal thoughts?

Email us at info@thestorytela.com

Interested in visiting Bénin Republic?

Indicate in the comment section and I’ll link you up with a tour operator.

Warm Thoughts,

The Storytela

Wait!!

Just one minute please…

Something just hit me right now. Like a mind-shift.

How do I really see myself?

Beyond what I’ve been taught or told about me by others.

What thoughts do I think about me?

Do I think I’m organised? Or disorganised? And trying to get organised?

For years I’ve been trying to change somethings about me but I always started from the outside which is deciding to do those stuffs like adopt a beauty routine, be more this or that but in reality I never saw myself as someone who would actually maintain a beauty routine!

No wonder I’ve been finding it challenging making some lasting changes in this area.

Change should always start from the inside, first of all see myself as being, then I can!

So, I’m immediately changing my thought patterns about myself…

I’m organised. I’m a fashionista (this got me giggling). I care about my looks. I can maintain a beauty routine. I can run this business. I’m strengthened. I’m not overwhelmed. I have a solution. I’m a great Mom. I’m a great wife. I’m great.

I am. I can. I will. I do.

It would take a while to get used to these thoughts but I’ll meditate on them and say them to myself until they automatically become my thoughts steadily and then I blossom from the inside.

As a man thinks… So is he!

Life With My Boy: Naija ‘Faith’ things

‘Mummy, let’s pray for NEPA to bring light’.

He looked into my face, half smiling eyes willing me to agree.

Oya, pray.’ I said.

He shut his eyes and called on God to get ‘NEPA’ to restore the power that had failed moments earlier.

This is Naija.

As a child, you learn to pray about everything. My son was learning fast.

NEPA, was the old acronym for the Electricity board, the new one is PHCN.

The change in name happened even before I got married. But why bother with the new name? When the old problem persists…

It’s been raining intermittently for 2 days now in Lagos.

The laundry of course has refused to dry. I’ve had to alternate between bringing them in when the rain starts and taking them out when it stops.

I would need some of them for my boys to wear to school this week.

One question rings in my mind though,

‘Should I apply the Naija principle and pray for the rain to stop?’

Or do I let nature take its course?

Anybody willing to join their faith with mine?

Anybody with wet laundry that it is…

Ikem riding a bike at his school’s family fun fair. The rain stopped long enough for the event to hold

Life With My Boys: A Room for Daughter-in-Law

We are in my room, Ikem and I.

I’m chatting with my Sister on IG about an upcoming family friend’s wedding. We are helping out with some stuff and exchanging ideas and pictures. Ikem sees the picture.

Ikem: Mummy, is Aunty K getting married?

Me: Yes.

Ikem: Who is she getting married to?

Me: You already know

He mentions the name of the person, observes that they are usually together and then wonders why everybody wants him on their train (this will be just the second time). Then…

Ikem: So where will they live?

Me: In Uncle E’s house

Pause. Okem enters. We had left him in the bathroom to continue with water play after his evening bath. We move over to their room. I’m dressing Okem up. The discussion continues.

Ikem: I want my wife to move to my house after we get married.

Me: Yes she will

Ikem: So she can stay here?

Me: No. You will move to your own house, then you get married and she’ll move in.

Ikem: But I want to stay close to Shoprite, Mummy please let her come here.

Me: But Shoprite is in a lot of places. You can always go there.

Ikem: Please will you let me get that Spider Man costume from Shoprite when I become an adult?

Me: You can buy whatever you want with your money as an adult

Ikem: So when I get married, my wife will move here and then I will go and get that Spider Man costume.

I try to put it together and then it dawns on me. I had told him marriage was for adults so he believed that once he became an adult, he would get married and of course buy that costume he saw at Party Perfect.

Ikem: Please Mummy can my wife stay here, I want her to stay here.

I decided to agree. No need explaining further. By the time he becomes an adult, he would have figured it out.

Me: Yes she can.

Ikem: Thank you Mummy. Please don’t forget. Mummy will you forget when I become an adult?

Me: No I won’t.

Lol

The End.