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Tayo’s strategy

– the funloving, but hardworking single parent

By Treena Kwenta
Hi readers! I was amazed on my return from Ghana to hear the gals cooing over how handsome, cuddly, adorable and intelligent Tayo’s grandson is. Becky, Boma and Liz had come to welcome me back to the country. I was so touched by their kind gesture. Nanny, bless her dutiful heart, hurried down to our local market, then dived into the kitchen and in no time, we were at table feasting on amala, ewedu and okro. Later, when Seb joined us, I understood why she had served us that particular food. Apparently, he had rung her to tell her he would be coming that evening, and that he was hungry. She decided to make his favourite dish.

“Hey, ladies!” he said, when we finally left the table, “the meal was great. We shall not only call nanny in and clap for her, let’s have a whip round for the best female cook in our world.”

A little tipsy on the fresh and unadulterated palm wine he had brought along, we all agreed with him in a noisy way, as we reached for our purses. I called nanny in and Seb made a short speech praising her culinary ability, and he gave her the money. She curtsied in gratitude, grinning happily.

“Sebbie dear,” said Liz, “can you please introduce me to your palm-wine tapper? I’d like to become one of his customers, so that Uka can regularly enjoy this type of Grade One palmwine. I agree with you that the meal was first class, but what delighted me most is the palm wine. Now, I’m saying this with a very clear mind. I’m not getting tipsy. Treena is looking at me as if I’ve had too much to drink.”

“Have you had too much to drink, Liz dear?” I asked ‘innocently’.

“Of course not! Have you ever heard of any human being getting drunk on palm wine?”

“No,” chorused Boma and Becky, as they reached for their glasses again and filled them. “It’s medicinal.”

“Don’t be daft, gals,” I said, as I took a sip from my glass. “It contains alcohol, so, it can make you drunk if you take too much of it. Becky, as a born again deaconess, shouldn’t touch the stuff.”

“You’ll have to down several bottles of the stuff before you can achieve the status of being classified as drunk,” said Seb. “My source of supply is a tapper in the Omole area. Belinda discovered him recently.”

I began to cough uncontrollably, threatening to throw up all the palm wine I had drunk.

“Now, be a civilized lady, Treena dear,” said Seb smoothly, as he came to thumb me on the back, “and don’t throw up just because I said that it was Belinda who brought the palm wine tapper. She didn’t tap the stuff , nor handle it, so, it can’t poison you. You’ll live, my dear.”

I felt a little bit ashamed of myself because Seb was right. Anything connected with his madam is pure poison to me! I thanked him for coming to my rescue and sat subdued in my chair, allowing the conversation to flow around me. Eagerly, the gals all took down the palm wine tapper’s GSM nos. I smiled at the fact that telecommunication has been made so easy and affordable that palm wine tappers, butchers, market people and even my own malam now have one which they hold like a trophy.

“Uka takes palm wine regularly for his sight, but it’s hard to get the real stuff these days,” said Liz.

“Even the bottled one has been tampered with because of preservation,” added Boma. “Gordon has been taking it for years. He complains about the quality, but he can’t stop. It aids his digestion.”

“Actually, my doctor in Ikeja recommended it for me,” said Seb. “I’m told to abstain from regular intake of hot drinks, but to take palm wine for a more stable health. Mind you, but for the fact that Michel bought a special keg for the tapper and follows him around while tapping for me, I’m sure the guy would adulterate the wine. Michel drives down to do this every Friday.”

“Does Michel drive now?” I asked Seb.

“Oh yes! He subtly hinted sometime ago that giving him a car to drive around, would be of great benefit to me as he would be able to run errands for me more effectively. He then told me that Tayo had bought a car for her housekeeper. He said their towns people laugh at him that a woman he got his type of job for, zooms around in a car, and he who works for a ‘big’ man still treks, uses the bus and the bike.”

“Did Michel say that?” asked Boma. “See these domestics o! I’m glad my housekeeper doesn’t move in their circle. Otherwise, he too would be asking to be given a car. We can’t afford to buy him one.”

“Ah, we gave Michel a panel van from the pool, and there’s a ceiling for the fuel it can consume in a month. He took driving lessons while I was away and persuaded Coco to let him run errands for the company. Treena, didn’t you notice that when you were there?”

“No. I think Tayo spoils her staff. What’s she giving her housekeeper a car for?”

“By the way, where’s she?” asked Seb. “She told me that the gals would be here this evening to welcome you back, and that I should bring her a keg of my special palm wine. I had clean forgotten about her. That’s the power of nanny’s food. Here, I must ring her to find out where she is.”

That was when Becky mentioned Tayo’s grandson.

“She was going to bring Dupe’s son along with her. It isn’t easy getting a one year old baby ready for an outing. They must be on their way here.”

“Come again!” I said, astonished. “She’s bringing her grandson here? How nice! Are his parents in the country? No-one told me they were around. I know I’ve been away, but Tayo rang me several times, but never mentioned anything about Dupe and Bayo being here.”

“Oh dear!” moaned Becky. “My big mouth ran away with me! You weren’t supposed to know until you see the kid with Tayo here. It was meant to be a surprise. Tayo will be disappointed that I had told you.”

“Don’t distress yourself, Becky dear. I’ll ride along and pretend that it is a surprise to see the baby. Are the parents coming here too? I hope I have enough of the right drinks in the house.”

“Dupe and Bayo are not in the country,” said Boma. “Tayo went down there to bring the baby home.”

“Are you kidding? Is that wise?”

“Well, her reason for separating the kid from the parents is sound. Both of them are working full time, and also doing their Phd part time. That can be tough. Tayo didn’t want them to use foster parents or even a child minder. Her house in Ikeja is full of various types of domestic help and they don’t have enough work to do.”

“That’s true,” concurred Liz. “Tayo has a cook, a steward, a housekeeper, a maid, a washer man, and two security guards.”

“Why does she need so many domestic helps?” I asked.

“You know your Tayo,” said Seb, coming into the conversation. “She employs people in order to help them earn a living. That’s part of the way she gives back to the society. She’s helping the society.”

“You’re doing the same, Seb dear,” Liz told him. “When I was your consultant, we used to squabble over your decision to keep on employing people who weren’t of any relevance to your company. You said you hate seeing people suffer from unemployment. We thank God for your life, Seb dear.”

Seb mumbled something. I asked the gals how Bayo’s people feel about their grandson living with the maternal grandmother.

“They don’t like it, but I’ll have my way,” said Tayo, who had come into the room unnoticed.

“Tayo!” I screamed delightedly. “It’s good to see you, gal! You look great!”

“You look greater! Accra seems good for you. Seb told me a guy there’s after you hotly.”

I stared wide-eyed at Seb, who was chuckling to himself quietly. I decided to ignore that and I asked Tayo why she needed to bring the kid home with her.

“What’s the kid’s name and where is he?”

“He has a stash of names given by almost everybody in his dad’s family and in my family and Dotun’s family, but we call him Bayo Junior, or just junior. I wanted to sneak in on you all here so I told his two nannies to sit with him in the garden.”

“He has two nannies? Why?”

“I want him well-looked after. I don’t want his other grandmother saying that he’s better off in England. “

“Was that what she wanted?”

“Yes o! Can you imagine! She returned here to renew her visa and I was told she got two years this time around, and was planning to make her home with Bayo and Dupe. I don’t want that for my daughter. That was why I rushed down there to bring the kid home.”

“You’ll now have the woman camping on your doorstep on the excuse that she’s come to see her grandson.”

“I can cope with that. I just want my daughter to live with her husband in peace. The woman was always criticizing everything Dupe did, creating tension in the home. Bayo couldn’t check her. He and Dupe thanked me profusely for my decision. It will ensure that they come home regularly too; a thing they’ve been reluctant to do.

Hm! I hope the strategy works.



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