What makes a Food Porridge?

porridge:
por|ridge pronunciation: /ˈpɒrɪdʒ

noun
[mass noun]chiefly British A dish consisting of oatmeal or another meal or cereal boiled in water or milk.

 Why am I writing a post on porridge? Don’t ask me because I don’t know. Where did I get the super incredible idea for this post? I know the answer to this one. Well, here is what happened…
I was late for work that morning so I packed something which I would eat when I got to the office. When I got to the office, I started munching away as soon as I could. The earlier I eat it, the lesser the risk of my colleagues seeing me and asking to share. Yes I think like a child when it comes to food. Don’t blame me, blame my tongue, throat and that guy called stomach.
While I was eating this plate of sweet something, my boss walked in. He looked at me and smiled. Half way into his office he asks me, “are you eating kekefa?” I’m like, “sorry?” He rephrases and says, “are you eating porridge plantain?” I was like, “yes o!” He was like “can you cook?” I was like, “I can cook food that you’ll eat to survive, you know nothing too special.” You all know how office small talk is.
That was when it hit me, why did he call “kekefa” porridge plantian? Okay, yes I didn’t know that “kekefa” was the name Bayelsans call this kind of food but this was not in anyway a porridge [check definition above]. I remembered an episode of Barney and Friends where they re-enacted the story of the 3 bears and that little white girl who missed her way. You know the story right? Well, what they called porridge was oats, ugly looking white coloured oats.
So what makes a Nigerian dish Porridge?
For those of  you who don’t know. We have a few types of porridge that I can remember:
 * Plantain Porridge
* Yam Porridge
 * Beans Porridge
 * Cocoyam Porridge
If you have invented a new one, do let me know.
porridge plantain, yam and beans

I took the time to create a table of the similar ingredients used in making Nigerian porridges. Yes I am bored at work. Yes I TOOK TIME to create this horrible table.  All I’m saying is that these foods have almost the same type of ingredients. But it still doesn’t answer the question of why we call them porridge. Honestly I don’t know why, maybe its because we mash them up after they are done. Maybe it is just British influence and the need to have an English name for everything. I don’t know. What do you think?

Should we just say it is Nigerian English?

 p.s: I had to use the oxford online dictionary version because I wasn’t trained to use that woman’s dictionary. You know, that Marriam lady. Why should I use hers when I was punished in secondary school any day I forgot to carry my super heavy OXFORD ADVANCED LEARNERS DICTIONARY to school? Thank you British people.
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How to be a Nigerian Christian

E dey really difficult to be christian for Naija. As I don learn so far. The Naija christian na sub-specie of humans wey believe say whatever another human being wey stand for altar talk na truth and final and totally correct. I no dey against pastors o.

Before person go talk say e be christian, e mean say e ready to dey bound by some laws because we believe say these laws na e go guide us through this journey of life.

But the Naija christian no like these laws until them get no option left. The naija christian like to twist these laws to how e take sweet them.

So if you wan become naija christian wey dey very good at judging others, na wetin you go do be this –

1.) Start to go church seriously when you turn 30 and husband no gree come as a woman.

2.) Your husband na your head until you start to get money pass him. Then you fit wrap am around your fingers and give testimony for church saying ” Now my husband wey no dey listen to me before, don dey listen to me”.

3.) Make sure say you don try every other means of getting ego, I mean money. Try every way to make sure your pepper red. If e no gree red after all your covenants with mammy water spirits, then go to TB Joshua for deliverance and annointing water. You just have to endure the on-camera humiliation.

4.) T B Joshua na your last bus stop.

5.) Make sure you dey go church wey your pastor dey see vision. If not, e no be real pastor.

6.) If your pastor dey see vision and e tell you say you go die- you have 2 options: a) No believe wetin your pastor dey talk because for your mind of minds you know say you no go die. b) When you wake up in hell fire you no go get mind to think anything.

7.) If you do any bad thing to anybody especially your pastor, you go go hell fire.

8.) Make sure say you resemble granny when you dey go church. Church timing na 5 hours every week. I know say you go fit endure that 5 hours. After all, you go wear all the sexy gowns and short skirts you want for the remaining hours of the week. God dey look your heart abi?

9.) Make sure say you dey go one of the most popular churches in town. So that when people ask you “which church you dey go?” You go answer with all pride and efizzy then call your pastor name and which of the services you like to attend – 2nd or 4th service.

10.) Judge me for everything wey I don write then say something like “na people like her wey dey support gays”. Although, you dey comfortable with lesbians.

Your Dreams are Valid so long as…

(This post is for those Africans who do not posses a work permit in a white man’s country)

1. Your parents have political influence.

2. The said political influence is as a result of being wealthy through politics in an African nation.

3. You don’t need a loan to go to an Ivy League college.

4. You already speak a foreign language

5. You are African but have a Passport of a nation owned  by people who are not Africans.

6. You live in the United States of America, the United Kingdom or any other non African nation.

Your dreams will be forever locked up in your head until you get out of Africa!

I know Femi Kuti said he stays in Nigeria to prove that you make it in life even if you stay in Nigeria. If you like,  stay! Forget say e father na Fela and e dey travel out well well.

I’m not saying Naija  is that bad, all I’m saying is you need a place where you can get access to the things you want to become. Especially if it has to do with the Film industry. If you want to be known internationally, America is the place to be. That is just how things are. For now.

Chimamanda and Chika Unigwe and Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka and Omotola and D’banj and Genevieve and that other guy who wrote a book about Las Vegas… will tell you that what I’m saying is true.

Out of Africa is the way in.

And Lupita, I love you! You’re the revolution.

 

January 4th – Ogoni Day

Ogoni day is a day dedicated to mostly the remembrance of Ken Saro Wiwa and those who were murdered alongside during the MOSOP movement in 1995.

Prominent politicians give speeches and remind the youths on how Ken fought for Ogonis to enjoy from the oil money generated from their land and so on.

They also talk about the creation of an “Ogoni state”.

These speeches are made by prominent Ogonis, all of whom are men: Senator Magnus Abe, Ledum Mittee of MOSOP, Victor Giadom, etc…

They talk about so many things but it all boils down to – Ken Saro Wiwa, oil money and political power.

Nothing for the numerous educated Ogoni women.

Pictures from the event courtesy of Dornu Nwitua.

P.s: Ogonis, according to oral tradition immigrated from Ghana.

Masquerades

Masquerades

Speakers

Speakers

Ogoni People

Ogoni People

Dancers

Dancers

WAR – War Against Rats

I remember in the days of old, when my chest was still flat and I didn’t know how babies were made. Yes, those are the days I speak of. That was when I had my first experience of WAR.

I remember it so vividly because it is never easy to forget the first time a person experiences something as ravaging as a WAR.

I was in the kitchen, doing my duty – washing dishes with all honour and glandeur. Not knowing I would be called up to battle at any moment.

I heard screams,

“Where e dey?”

“Daddy, e dey under the chair.”

“No allow am run o, check that side! Check that side!” Those were the orders given to my brother by my father.

“Daddy, see am! See am eh! E don enter the kitchen!” Screamed brother.

After I heard brother say “kitchen”, I became alert. This was my territory. The ball was in my court. I had to prove my honour. I had to do something. I picked up a broom and took the posture of a woman ready for battle.

Father entered the kitchen and gave the following speech –

“Daughter, guard the main door. Son, guard the door to the store room and I shall guard the door to the backyard.

Remember, today is the day you prove how authentic of a Nigerian you are. You cannot be a good wife or husband if you don’t know how to kill a rat.”

And then he gave the final command, “Do not let the rat out of your sight.”

Now, the rat was under the freezer which was close to the main door which is the door I happened to be guarding. How convenient.

The rat hunt began. All three of us, sticking our brooms underneath the freezer, in every which way. Just to make this rat come out.

It was not an easy battle for me. If a man tells people he killed a rat, everybody would believe him. Whether it was true or not. If I told people I killed a rat, my statement would be followed by a series of “hahas”. I had to prove myself in front of these men so as to have allies. I had to prove that whatever a man could do, a woman could do it better.

As you can imagine, I had never been so alert in my life. Adrenaline pumping, soapy greasy hands holding my broom and then the rat came out.

The grayish black, 3kg weighing rat came out and I ran.

This was not your average white people mouse or mice. I repeat, it was not a white cute mouse with a pink pretty round nose and tail.

It was a rat. A black people’s rat. The kind of which you hear tales about. Tales of rats who conquered cats in their kingdoms. These are the kind of rats that made cat owners throw their cats away. It was this kind.

There was no where to run to. But boy did I run. I ran away from the freezer to my assigned post. But something weird was happening.

As I ran, it seemed as if the voices of father and brother kept following me. It was strange. If the rat was out, father and brother were supposed to chase after the rat and not me. Except, the rat was behind me and chasing me. Which would make father and brother come after it and that would make it seem like they were coming after me. Right?

Right. After I got to my post, I turned around and saw my soon to be allies running towards me. They kept hitting their brooms on the floor with strength and aim but it seemed like the more they hit the ground, the closer they got to me. What it seemed, was what it was.

I was starting to panic and then a command came from father, “daughter! Hit it! Hit it!” I lifted up my broom and it was the worst mistake of my life. Because just as I was about to do that, the enemy ran up my feet, went past my stomach and headed straight for my chest.

I’m Nigerian, if not, I would have fainted.

I threw the broom away. Struggled with the 3kg weighing enemy who was now tangled in my shirt buttons and I just decided to die.

I didn’t die.

There was no where to run to. Every door was shut. I know it was shut because while I was trying to de tangle myself from the enemy, I stepped back and tried to push the main door open. Now that I remember it, I should have just pulled the door. By this time, I was half naked and technically crazy.

Children, when I tell you that battles won in the kitchen are great battles, believe me.

I have told you stories of battles of how mother caught me stealing meat from the pot because it was too hot and not easy to chew. I blame sister for bringing it down from the stove too soon.

I have also told you the story of how mother caught me, again, stealing peak milk because she asked me to spell ‘crook’. But nothing compares to the War Against Rats.

In the Twinkle of an Eye

Wow! Life is truly amazing.

A few hours ago, I experienced the most surreal thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life. My dad said he had never seen such a thing in his 50 plus years on earth.

This is what happened…

My dad and I went to pick up my sisters who are in boarding school (we live in Port Harcourt but their school is in Owerri). When we got to the school, we were delayed unnecessarily by some bad beles.

Honestly, I felt very uneasy while at the school because I wanted us to be done and hit the road before night fall. Besides, my dad the driver wasn’t feeling too well. This uneasy feeling was very unlike me because I love travelling. Like a lot. Anything to make me go home later than expected is always welcomed. I just wasn’t feeling this trip.

When we finally left, we had a goal to reach the Rivers/Imo state boarder before it got dark. We achieved this goal, the trip back home was going smooth. We talked about things my sisters had been taught for the term. Like how dying your hair was a sin and so on. By now, it was dark.

We were journeying the journey quite well. A mitsubishi bus carrying passengers overtook us and my dad was about to start telling us tales of his younger days and his expert driving skills. “I no longer driver these days, I’ve chan….” and BAM! A saloon car just appeared in the middle of the road.

On the highway, at night, and a car appears in the middle of the road out of nowhere.

The bus driver, on high speed tried to dodge the car and swayed into the bush. We were next because we had been right behind the bus. My dad dodged this seemingly drunk guy without any stress. It was a little too easy. My sleeping sister woke up because I was screaming loud while everything was happening.

The bus guy who swayed into the bush, tried to get back on the coal tar and that was where the whole thing took a left turn. I think because he was too scared, he never remembered to take his feet off the throttle and brake slowly because the bus somersaulted like 3 times. It happened right in front of my eyes, like a movie.

After the bus came to a stop, it was upside down. My dad decided to park the car and see if we could help out. The driver rushed out of the bus, he survived. A woman and her 2 little beautiful daughters came out, other people managed to come out of the vehicle and everybody was in shock.

My dad rushed towards the upside down bus and found out a man was trapped under the vehicle. The whole weight of the bus was on this guy. He couldn’t speak. My dad screamed and called for help. People soon came together and we raised the bus.

The guy was dead.

Right in front of my eyes.

My dad called me immediately, trying to protect me from what we just saw. We got into our car and left.

This is Nigeria, there is no ambulance to take you to a hospital. There’s no 911 to call.

As we drove off, the whole thing began to play in my mind over and over and over. It started to sink in.

We would have been the ones in front of the bus. We escaped the accident so easily. It was like God carried us as eggs and placed us in a safe position on the road.

The man who died was dressed in business casual so you would know he was someone who looked like he had a future.

My dad kept thinking about the family aspect of the man’s life. What would they tell his wife? What if he had 4 young children? How would the wife take the news? What will she do? This is Christmas!

I kept thinking about the non-family aspect of his life. Maybe he had an appointment for millions of Naira tomorrow. Maybe everything he had spent his entire life doing was going to materialise tomorrow morning, all his dreams, aspirations, wealth…

EVERYTHING was gone in a somersault that took seconds!

I feel awful.

Not sure I can sleep tonight.

I’m Christian and every time I wake up, I pray. When I woke up this morning, I couldn’t pray, I just said Thank you Lord for today, thank you Lord for waking up, thank you Lord… and that was all.

When we got home, I started watching a live broadcast of christmas carols on TV. Smiling faces, happy people, celebrating christmas.

Somewhere else, a mother is crying for the loss of her son, a wife is weeping for the loss of her husband and children are mourning the death of their father.

I feel like I wasn’t better than that hard working man who was just trying to make ends meet. Here I am, a lazy, lazy, lazy bum. Alive.

We should appreciate life more.

Read NaijaRookie’s version of thispost. Its shorter.

Being Black in a Black man’s Land

If you have read a few of my posts, you would notice how I always talked about being dark skinned while living in India and the stigma that came with it.

So why bring up the topic again? Well, I noticed a few things about the Nigerian society which I wish to blab about. I created this blog to publish my rants on the internet. Today, that purpose shall be accomplished.

Since I came back, I noticed that whenever I would be ‘out and about’ I would always be called ‘blacky’. Which I did find annoying at first because, well, duh, we are all black here in Nigeria.

Usually, if you go out somewhere, anywhere, let’s say to the market, if you interact with the women selling, they’ll call you aunty or uncle. But I seem to be the only one who is being called ‘blacky’.

Sometimes, I would sit and ponder on this issue.

If I’m called ‘blacky’ in a nation located close to the equator, I can only imagine what went through the heads of those Indians who would call me kali.

They would have probably thought I was the modern version of kali or better still, the sexier version.

After doing further research and investigations as to why I am being called ‘blacky’, I found out from the guys that I was black but a different kind of black. Literally. That’s why they had to point it out?

How different? I asked.

These are the answers they gave and its going to sound very weird.

Guy No 1: You’re black but your black shines.
What?! What does that even mean?

Guy No 2: Your black is like real black.
Excuse me?!

Guy No 3: You have a pointed, triangular nose. You look different from many of us.
ooook. What does that have to do with my skin colour?

Gal No 1: Are you Ghanian or Fulani?
Emmmm, I’m from the Niger Delta.

Gal No 2: What soap do you use? I like your kind of black. I want to be your kind of black but every soap I use has caused my skin to bleach.
I use any soap I find in the bathroom. I’m tough like that.

As you can see, being called ‘blacky’ is not such a bad thing. I’m still not comfortable with it but atleast I know they mean no harm when they(Nigerians) say it.

Madiba: Another Black man who proved to the Non-Black world that Africans are not animals

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

On Friday morning, I opened my twitter app and there was just a continuous stream on my timeline about how a great man had passed away.

My dad had gone to drop my siblings off at school. When he came back, he told me he had heard on the radio that Nelson Mandela had passed away. I nodded in agreement. Then he said, “No be yesterday that man die o, e go don die since but them just dey wait for the right time to tell everybody.”

I asked him why he thought so, and then he said, “How is it that just the day before yesterday, his daughters were telling us that ‘Mandela is teaching them discipline, patience, blah, blah, blah.’” My dad was referring to a radio broadcast that happened on Wednesday evening where the newsreader said something about Mandela’s daughters saying their father, Madiba, was a man who was still teaching them values even while on his death bed.

Enough with my dad’s conspiracy theory, let me tell you why I think Madiba’s main achievement was to prove to white people that Africans are not animals.

We should ask ourselves, what makes Madiba different? Yes he was in prison for a time long enough for a woman to be born, grow boobs and have seven children. Other people went to prison for the fight of the freedom of their people from one form of oppression or the other. I can’t think of any names right now, but there should be others in the history of the world. He read Achebe’s books in prison, so what? Black people love to read in prison. If you didn’t know, watch 60% of Hollywood crime thrillers that have Blacks as the culprits. I just came up with that figure

He was a lawyer who wanted black people to be treated as equal to whites, all black people are still fighting the battle of racism.

He was a true African, he married more than one wife, although he could not keep them all at home at the same time, it is almost the same thing.

So what made him different?

IT WAS HIS FORGIVING HEART.

God knows, if it was Idi Amin Dada, who came out of prison after 27 years and was made the president of his country, there would be not a single white person in South Africa today. It would have been the African version of what Hitler did. And you know when black people do bad things it is often referred to as being animalistic.

I don’t know how he knew it, maybe he visited a juju priest or priestess, I mean he is African after all, but somehow he saw a South Africa where the whites, blacks and those in between, could work together for a better tomorrow.

Today, in the whole of Africa, there isn’t a place as diversified as South Africa in terms of ethnicity. That is why they are a continental power.

Like I’ve always said, if you want to grow, as a person, a community or a nation, you must always have inputs from the outside. You cannot do it alone.

p.s: wherever there are white people things always seem to be managed better. For now.

Nigeria at 53

Last year, when Nigeria celebrated her Independence. I did a sweet post about how we should be considered as a country blessed with good things and good people. I tried to paint a picture of something different unlike what Africa is portrayed as in the media – starving children, famine and poverty.

This time around, I’m going to be more realistic of what is happening in this blessed country of mine.

Nigeria got her independence from Britain in 1960 and since then, every thing has gone downhill. It has been so bad that even the reputation of each individual in the country is questionable by non-Nigerians.

Corruption is one of the basic problems of this nation. The mind set of corruption is not going to change in my generation because it has already been instilled in us that for us to succeed, we have to cheat. We have to lie. We have to eat alone and also reserve some for our great grand children who are unborn.

If you ask us to change, we will ask you, “Why do I have to be the one to change something our fathers have been doing even before the foundations of a Nigeria were laid?”

In other words, our tradition of corruption should remain as it is and one day CHANGE will fall from heaven and make a difference in the lives of our people.

What a mindset!

Corruption is everywhere.

In religious houses, where you have to pay money for you to be prayed for by your pastor.

In the educational system, where lecturers demand for sex as a criteria for students to excel in exams or extort money from students through the selling of their authored books. Books which they [the lecturers] copy everything from google and just send to a printing press.

The fact that Nigerian students have been sitting at home for more than 90 days due to an ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is a shame.

Nigeria, my beloved country, I tell you today with all sincerity in my heart that the ongoing ASUU strike is a very big shame to our nation. These people who are also organising strikes and making students spend more time than necessary in university, God is watching all of you. Amen.

Corruption is there in the banking sector, in the market place. It is everywhere.

For those people in Abuja, riding big cars, travelling for holidays all over the world while undergraduates are bus drivers struggling under the Nigerian sun, don’t think I forgot you. God is watching you in 3D. Make ona try o. Try well well.

As always, corruption goes hand in hand with bribery.

Nigerian government officials believe that they cannot SURVIVE without accepting bribes. My people, we need to change.

Police officers, please stop the bribery. Stop the extortion. We are barely surviving with what we have, why collect it from us by force?

Do your job of protecting the lives and properties of your citizens.

Government, please pay them well and and also pay them on time so that they don’t need bribes.

Bribery and Corruption is the basic problem I have with this country.

Lack of Basic amenities such as electricity, good roads, hospitals, clean water and good governance are of so much importance, we shouldn’t even tell you (government) that you need to provide them.

Let’s try to tackle these issues one after the other.

God Bless our country! God Bless Nigeria at 53!