E ma binu. Please don’t be mad. I apologize for the small hiatus from posting. Not posting for a week after Christmas was not intentional, I have not had Internet, water, or light for that matter for the past week. My brother said this is the longest they have gone without water in the pipes since living in UI.We are all much more conscious about how we use water these days. So I have focused my attention on chores like fetching water, sweeping, hand-washing dishes and general tidying rather than writing posts. I have some experiences to catch up on in this post then.
Christmas morning passed just like any other morning. The weather was hazy that morning, a serene fog descended on UI so the vivid green of my surroundings had a grayish tint. Not exactly a white Christmas. I entered the parlor to find my younger brother, sister and their three little boy cousins in the same place I said goodnight the night before: transfixed in front of the T.V. playing Grand Theft Auto 4.The artificial Christmas tree against the wall looked forlorn, no presents neatly wrapped underneath to complete the picturesque Christmas scene I had in my mind. Some Nigerian families do presents under the tree but it is not the norm. I followed my nose to the smell of thyme emanating from the kitchen to find my mom and aunty cooking the largest kitchen pot of jollof rice I have ever seen and a cauldron full of turkey. Christmas dinner. Between the three little boys up to no good, the constant stream of visitors and all the photographs, excitement and a certain laid back feeling that permeates Nigerian culture marked the holiday. We were all very thankful that NEPA supplied light for most of the day.
Water is another story. Something happened and someone somewhere is not pumping water so everyone in UI is experiencing a drought. Our big water tank in the back of the house is totally dry. I use sachet water to wash my hands and teeth. I am learning to wash a full sink of dishes with one bucket of water, a worthy skill.
I have taken up a new hobby in the past week: beading. My mom runs an organization that teaches women and youth vocational skills such as beading, tie and dye, cooking, baking etc. She wants to put a catalog together of jewelry and has commissioned me to help her bead.So I am now a beading machine, stringing necklace after necklace. It’s a lot of fun, it brings me back to the days when all I did was arts and crafts. I will hopefully make a few nice things for myself and my friends/family at home too.
So today is New Years Eve, usually an extremely anticipated event for people in the U.S. Without all the party planning, outfit arranging and new year’s decorations, I don’t feel as much pressure to celebrate the new year. Don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to 2011, but the way I enter 12:01 a.m. on January 1 doesn’t concern me as much this time. This year, I have decided to spend the cross over into the new decade like everyone else in Nigeria, praying. Nigerians go to church or mosque on New Year’s Eve and pray their way into the new year. I had the option of partying with our students and a few new Canadian friends we met but I figure I can get drunk with friends or strangers any day of the year at home. It is not every year I have the chance to see what New Years Eve church is like in Nigeria. Last year I welcomed 2010 at a raging Benny Benassi concert. The year before that I was walking the streets of Jerusalem. So tonight, the last day of year 2010, I am going to church. See you on the other side. May all of you have joyful beginnings to 2011.