Hungry in the midst of plenty
I don’t know if you have ever found yourself in the midst of too much food and yet you are hungry. There is food, yet hunger gnaws you. I am hungry for home-made food. The food that satisfies my soul. The food that I am used to. Not a hotel food.
The same food that becomes tasteless because your choice is limited. Nigerians are complaining of being hungry in the midst of plenty. We are told that Nigerians are everywhere in the world luckily we’ve discovered where to eat Nigerian meals. Ofe Nsala, Egusi with bitter-leaf, Ogbono, Okro, ewedu, Edikaikan with eba, pounded yam or amala.
It makes my mouth to water and my stomach to churn in excitement. But the distance to the place is another obstacle. Many have missed their way in the under-ground train, changing from blue light to red in the search for the elusive Nigerian dish.
It is located in far-away town described as Ojuelegba by Nigerians. It is the downtown of Sao Paulo and everything is available. They are many but Nwanyi Nnewi’s restaurant bubbles with long queues. It is difficult you get to her shop without seeing someone you know or hear one speaking your dialect.
If you decide to go with a taxi, you run the risk of getting angry with the numerous traffic lights and the annoying taxi drivers who deliberately choose the longer routes. How can you eat N500 plate of food and pay taxi fare of N1000?
Do you buy food in your hotel and end up not touching it? The choice is yours. I know that we live in a strange world where the poor walk miles to get food, and the rich walk miles to digest food. Our own Onochie Anibeze bought food that he could not eat. “I don’t know what they poured on it. It’s like chewing-gum on my plate”, he said. We are counting the days. For me now, I take solace in Mother Teresa’s saying ‘’the hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread
And a child is born!
The joy is indescribable when you have a new addition in your family. So much joy when your wife comes out from the labour room holding preciously to your child.
The joy knows no bound when there are no additional bills for surgery or prolonged stay in the hospital that piles up bills. She puts to bed like Hebrew women and heads home. So much joy and the glory belongs to God. I joyfully welcome my baby to the World while I am on duty in far away Brazil. I miss my responsibility of staying by my wife’s side in the labour room to welcome my baby. It is many men’s fear. Many dread it like a plague.
I have been in the labour room three times to witness the labour, pain, agony, abuse, swearing and the joy that finally envelopes all the kicking and pushing before a baby comes with a cry. Those who refuse to cry are pinched to cry. A cruel way of welcoming a baby to the harsh realities of the world especially if you are born in Nigeria.
Many would be surprised to this good news. Men complain of hardship and suffering and working late in the office only to go home to face the home front. Matrimonial work with so much bliss. It is this home work that made a man have seven children – all of them boys. He was in love with the work of God that he christened them Godfrey, God’s will, God’s power, God’s gift, Thank God, God’s time.
The seventh one was born at old age, when his bones were tired. The 7th one was remarkably ugly that the man agonized over it. And in keeping with the tradition of naming them after God, he christened him ‘’God forbid!”. Adekunle Salami has christened her ‘’Abidemi”, a baby born when the father is not around. What about a Bra-zilian name since I’m in Brazil?
Missing many things
With the World Cup gone half way, reality is setting in that we would soon come home. Come home to the land of my birth. Come home to the good and bad that I have missed. I know that we do not have light, no roads, erosion threatening many homes, and endless traffic logjams, robberies on the express ways especially in Mile 2.
The snail-speed construction that has kept many motorists sleep on the expressway. I miss everything but I dread the Mile 2 traffic.
Those of us who work in that axis have grown more grey hairs (ask our News Editor Kayode and Kenneth). I learnt our own Adesere, a man of God was chased by hoodlums in Mile 2 when Victor’s car developed faults. Imagine rascals, thieves chasing a man of God! I could imagine Adesere in his kingly robes running a race for his life.
A man who walks with candor and dignity being chased in the night! Many have lost their lives on that road while others have been beaten to stupor. I feel bad. Out here, the police are everywhere protecting all. The Police stand and watch men and women ogle, kiss for hours.
The police watch the drunken stumble on the road and at times, help them to find a comfortable place to stay. Those who sleep on the streets are watched by Police. The Police even protects animals like dogs. They value life.
They respect even criminals until they are found guilty. I miss work but I dread driving on that Mile 2 road. If these hoodlums could engage in a marathon with Adesere, they would make a meal of me. But, I must come back to my duty post praying that Angels encamp around me. Amen.
Club for the elderly
Oyibos really know how to take care of their people, old and young. Imagine paying able-bodied youths without jobs. Imagine catering for the elderly with all benefits. They are the ones truly called to service. There are so many old people’s homes in Brazil.
The states are responsible for them, giving them back what they gave to the growth of the country. It is in such homes you see many immigrants working and getting paid to look after the elderly.
Our youths are languishing without jobs after strike-prolonged education. Chai! There is God oo! Anyway, I decided to go to the club of the elderly the other day. There is club for men and women who have hit 50 and beyond.
They are still vibrant, agile and blood runs in their veins. They still remember their youths and re-play it in their old ages. Old school music rents the air. Shuffles on the dance floor, cigarette smoke everywhere and you wonder of the warning that says ‘cigarette is dangerous to health and smokers are liable to die young’.
A woman puffs smoke on my face and stretches her hand for a dance speaking Portuguese. I obliged and she became the heroine for getting a handsome black guy like me for dinner. An interpreter appears and asks me how much I can pay. Pay for what?”, I asked in amazement. ‘’They are old but loving.
They are good with so much passion and experience. But they are cheap”, the interpreter who gets paid by the club as an intermediary said. My brain was fast. I now remember why most young men who leave Nigeria end up with old and fat women who have divorced their husbands and living with cats and dogs. A friend in USA who is married to a 75-year-old rich woman once told me he is patient with her. The woman loves him because she said he makes her feel younger. But what about this one holding my hand with wrinkles inter-twined with expired tattoos?.