What does it take to be a father

Gender inequality of all forms may well be global challenge but Nigeria one is slightly different, in the sense that there is almost no ending to how women are made to bend over for just about anything.

The story goes that a lady had a child with her boyfriend while at university, she wrote an open letter to the father. According to her, their relationship ended after the birth of the child. Child now seven years old and at school. The father had only paid for one term of school fees and he doesn’t see his child, he has moved on to re-marry.

It was a bit emotional plea, ex  almost begging the man to do the needful.

After reading that blogpost, I can see why a nation like Nigeria fails on all levels. There are so many laws in the land but the enforcement of them is another case entirely.

In the case of a relationship break up, if the child is old enough and the father is keen, he could take the child with him. But for those who wanted to move on with new partner, they don’t look back unless they are sensible – all that we rely on is peer pressure to get people to think straight but this strategy seldom work for everyone.

There is a saying that Iyawo ta n fe l’omo e n wu ni (children are loved if the father  still in love with the mother). Lazy thinking fathers use this saying to their advantage, hence many walk away from the relationship with no thoughts to the welfare of the child.

An uncle of mine is like one of these fathers. At one point his wife left him due to health reasons, she left their 10 and 8 year old sons with the father. She would have gone with the boys but my uncle insisted he was going to look after them given the woman wasn’t mentally stable to care for them.

Few months down the line uncle decided to travel out of town looking for job. He left the two boys with my father to look after – let’s just say to my mother to look after.

He was only about a year away from home but ended up fathering another son by another woman. As it is his manner, he returned home without the new woman, but told his brother (my father) to expect addition to the family soon.

After settling back in the village, the first wife got better, they successfully settle their misunderstanding and family was back together, the boys with my family went to their parents – everyone was happy.

One day after church service, we came home to see the little boy and his maternal grandmother waiting for my father in the verandah – she was a pleasant woman. She chose to see my father rather than the father of her grandson. Her daughter, my uncle’s girl friend had reunited with her husband too, hence the grandmother’s visit.

Yea, both woman and man’s friend are match from heaven.

Surprisingly, my father was getting a bit tired too, he definitely could not afford to keep the new boy in school at that point in his life.

The boy’s grandmother was a very smart woman, she was happy to leave the boy with my father just as the tradition states, however, if he is going to end up with a father who cannot be bothered to look back and check on the product of his seeds for five years, she’d rather take the boy back with her to town.

In the end, the grandmother left with the boy. As for the uncle, I doubt he has seeing the boy since that day.

My cousin is a grown man now in his early thirties, heaven knows what he thinks of his father, probably don’t even think of him at all. And why should he?

But I wonder, for how long do we make women the sole provider for children especially in a country where welfare support is non existence? This goes of the post I read.

Shelling maize made easy

This is an amazing device for shelling maize. I love the fact that design is simple to replicate and needed no power to operate. What’s more that local welder can even make it.

Most people who grew up in rural Nigeria south are familiar with the task of shelling maize. My family rarely sell their maize on cob as returns isn’t very good. One get better price if sold after shelling.

Five times faster, the inventor says – leaving plenty of time to do other things or just relax.

Thanks to Mr Bernard Kiwia for sharing his wisdom. African solutions for African problems.

Gift of experience

Christmas is a big celebration that transcends religious boundaries – that was how I grew up. It was mainly about cooking and sharing meals with neighbours and for children, gift of new cloths.

Rather than sitting round a big table as a family, in my childhood each Christian family cooks meals according to their purse and share with everyone in the neighbourhood. By late evening, everyone would have had plenty to eat even those who are too poor to share food.

Over the years, my mother realises that people loved her gbegiri (bean stew) that goes well with ẹ̀ko (corn meal) with goat meat or fish stew.

The best way to enjoy ẹ̀ko and gbegiri is to make sure ẹ̀ko is still warm, kind of jelly like state, but unlike jelly, lukewarm.

This is what she’s known to do well in the village so for Christmas meal, Mọ́ọ̀mi makes her ẹ̀ko in the wee hour of the morning and gbegiri to follow. By 8am our food is ready to share with neighbours, then off to church at 10am.

Thinking about it now, my mother is competitive in a very weird way – making sure people eat her food first before the law of diminishing returns sets in.

My childhood Christmas gift usually is a new outfit to wear on Christmas Day – that used to be really fun. Regardless of what economy says, wearing a brand new outfit is a dream for many rural families.

I remember one year we got Omolokun (that was the name of the fabric) so cheap that it fades away just by staring at it, well we got new cloths, all good.

The first time I saw a perfectly wrapped Christmas present, I didn’t even want to open it as it was just too perfect. That’s true what they say – you can take a girl from the village… It was a gift from my Ajebutter boss. He said that was very common in his circle in Lagos. Really? why did God dropped me here where no one wraps present was my thought. Oh well.

Being an aunty means I have nephews and nieces asking for nkan odun (Christmas gifts). I dutifully obliged, then it quickly got repetitive over the years. I don’t want to be the Aunty who gives gifts that ended up under the sofa a day later.

A few years a go I read about giving Gifts of Experience somewhere – that spoke to me. I know that if I were to be teenager again and have an Aunty who’s happy to give christmas gift, one thing I’d ask would be to pay for trips to anywhere in Nigeria, just so I get to know my environment.

This is the fourth year that my nephews and nieces get a gift of experience. They travel from Lagos, Oyo and Osun to mainly historical places – the places that have been conveniently removed from school curriculum.

The first year I did most of the work searching for worthy places to visit, since then it was their job and it has received lots of admiration within the family over the years. This year we’ve grown from 5 to ten cousins.

Can I be any cooler than that?

One of my nephews on their day visit to my dad’s farm last year was so impressed seeing a cocoa pod that he insisted on plucking one, brought it to town and took it back to his home in Ibadan. He has seen cocoa pods in books, in passing but not too surprising he has never touched one before and he is 15 years old living in Yoruba land where cocoa is one of our major cash crops.

This wasn’t part of their trips but it turned out to be one of the fine memories he had last year – sometimes, it need not cost a lot of money.