It was nearing 6 p.m this evening. I was sitting on the wooden plank bench sweating. It wasn’t even sunny- it was a grey, sticky, wet heat, the kind that makes you perspire even in idle moments. My friend Eniola and I just finished selecting our booli and we were gisting, waiting for the sweet plantains to roast on the coal fire. A group of men approached and started pointing to the plantains, claiming their own.“E ma gba booli temi oo (Don’t take my booli),” I exclaimed from the bench. The men just looked at me with wide eyes and open mouths. Did this Oyinbo just speak Yoruba? Obviously, these guys kò jasi . They don’t know about the Oyinbo’s who speak Yoruba inside UI. They burst out in laughter, asking themselves wetin? One of the men started asking me questions, the usual where did you learn Yoruba? how long have you been here? abbl. I answered them all in Yoruba. Finally he said in English, “Wait, I just saw a video posted to my friend’s Facebook of some Oyinbo speaking Yoruba, but I didn’t watch it.” He examined me with inquisitive eyes. “Emi ni (It’s me),” I said in anticipation of his next question. He and his friends erupted into applause, laughter and commotion about how weird it is to meet an Oyinbo speaking Yoruba like that and how exciting it is to actually meet me, in front of Idia Hall, a girl’s dorm at UI, waiting eagerly for booli.
Meeting people in person who know my face, my work and a little about me previously from YouTube is something I should get used to. It fills me with joy, inspiration and determination to hear about how far my voice is spreading around Nigerian-American-English circles. I am stunned, speechless and completely amazed at how many views my latest video and blog has received in the past 7 days. My video, Titi Speaks about Learning Yoruba has 28,739 views! I am in disbelief. I am so honored. I’m just glad I am following through with my goals to keep a blog in Nigeria, tell my stories to anyone who is interested to read them and let my Yoruba be heard. Thank you for listening 🙂