Thursday, 27 December 2007
Hold liver when Yahoozee guys hammer
No jealous dem
Laik Dongoyaro leaves for Harmattan
EFCC go blast dem complete
Put mind for Papa God
Live, dey enjoi for Obodo Planet Earth
Shake bodi for Papa God
Den im go give yu dat thing yu dey find
Give yua waka to Papa God
Like sun wey appear quick for morning
Na so yua land case go solve
Stop gra gra, relax
Make liver no fail when guys hammer
no share reach you,
when dem use wayo to take make am
no dey shake
Bad pipo dem, God don cut dia light
But pipo wey put mind for Papa God
Dem go inherit dis land
Smol time reach
bad pipo varnish
Like teeth for old man mouth
You find dem, you no see
Meek pipo nko
I say dem inherit plenti plots with no yawa added
Bad pipo plan bad for di righteous
God dey laff dem laik comedy show
As im don calculate bad pipo demise
Wicked pipo pull bulala
gun and machete, to finis poor man
To annihilate di righteous dem
But bulala tail go blind dia eyes
Dia gun go explode inside dia pocket
One pomon of righteous
Sweet pass bad pipo carviar
Di wicked dey claim champion, but Holy Ghost fire burn dem complete
I say Papa God helep carry di righteous shoulder up
Papa God sabi all di days of im pickins dem
dia inheritance na from lai lai to lai lai
Wen kasali burst, dem dey pa
Wen Owu dey blow, na life dem dey chop
Wick pipo yamutu;
Papa God enemies;
all laik beautiful flower wey acid fall on top’
dem all go varnish
Wicked pipo buy market no wan pay
Righteous dey tip borku
Pipo with good head go inherit acres
Dem wey God swear for, go chop sand
If Papa God laik yua waka
E go make yua leg strong kakaraka
Yu fit stumble o, but yu no go land yakata for ground
Papa God take hand wedge you
I suck breast as bomboi
And now everywhere na grey hair
Yet I no see Papa God fashie di righteous
I say I no see dia pickin dey beg garri for road
As good pipo do for pipo
Na so Papa God do for dia pickins
Coommot eye from bad, do good
Make yua leg strong for town
Papa God love good pipo
E no go forget im faithful pickins
E go protect dem from lai lai to lai lai
Bad pipo tori don wowo
Yet righteous inherit land
Dey live forever
Righteous open mouth,
we hear betta word
Im tongue yarn balanced tori
As Bible full im bele
im leg no trap for poto poto
Bad pipo set trap
Dem wan kill di righteous
God forbid dat plan to succeed
God forbid make wicked call righteous guilty
I say no do gra gra
Waka di one wey God direct
He go lift yua head make you inherit land,
wen bad pipo dey deported
Yu go take yua two eye see am
I see wicked man dey shine
Dey laik Iroko with deep roots
Fiam! Im yamutu commot
Like fifty Kobo note, I find am , I no see
Dey look righteous, dey look laik Lucozade
Dia future bright well well
Sinners dem go dey destroyed
Dia future don get Kobo-leg
Salvation of di righteous, na from Papa God
Im hide dem wen kata kata manifest
Papa God helep dem, deliver dem
I say im save dem from wicked pipo
Di righteous dey laik refugee for Papa God belle
God almighty, na you bico!!!
Dr Wilson Orhiunu
Friday, 2 November 2007
Saturday, 27 October 2007
Tuesday, 23 October 2007
Babawilly pray say….
Papa God, wund dem, wey wan wund mi !
Papa God, wear yua suit, carry yua brief case
Carry yua investment portfolio follow mi go meeting
Carry yua cheque book take finis all mai creditors.
Yarn mai soul say ‘I am yua Okada out of trouble’.
Baff dem wey wan kill mi.
Baff dem wit disgrace and shame.
Laik blom blow for wind, make angel pursue dem.
Make dem take dia white and white land yakata for poto poto
make yua angel pepper dem o!
I no beg for credit card, dem trap mi
I no ask for ‘buy now pay next year’.
But dem dig debt hole make I falli put.
Fiam! Yawa overtake dem
Fiam! Dia trap chop dia ankle
Fiam! Dia debt hole swallow dem.
Na dat time I go bubble in yua Holy Name.
Belle go dey sweet mi say you balance creditors all mai debt.
From bottom belle I throway salut.
Ta lo da bi re
Where you dey, who born monkey?
Na who but you go dash poor man?
Na who but you go protect poor tenant from wicked landlord?
Na who go protect suffer man from armed robbers?
Babawilly come pray say…….
Wicked people say make I pay for market I no buy
I give dem Eba chop dem take poison repay
I taya for mai life!
When dem no get, I lend dem moni.
I even fast and pray join
I sad for dem laik na mai Mama get di problem.
But now wey I owe, dem dey laugh
Dem join hand against me
People I no sabi, dem dey send me bill
with red ink everywhere
People yab! But moni yab pass!
Papa God, how long you go dey sidon look?
Ah ah! Rescue mi now!
Ah ah! Protect mi from di lions dem!
Na dat time I go come yua compound come praise you.
Even sef I go praise you on top AIT and CNN join.
No let dem do parti say I yamutu.
Make bad belle no laff mai tears
Dia mouth bad
Dia dagger dey find innocent Naija blood
Dem say I do di one I no do
Dem say na for dia kro-kro eye
Chineke se you dey see?
Talk put now. Bico no delay laik Dele.
Wake up o!
Transfer Kudi into mai account.
Yarn dem say I no owe moni
No do make dem fit talk for belle say
dem go suck mai blood finis
Take disgrace sew fine cloth for mai enemies
Take dishonour do dia cap
Papa God, bless dem wey helep mi get mai wealth
Make dia mouth do liak CD wey spoil
Just dey talk say ‘Great is di Lord, Great is di Lord wey dey enjoi
to dey bless im boi-boi dem’.
Na dat time I go do Amebo dey tell everi bodi tori
of di moni transfer wey you do for mi.
Papa God, I go hail you a thousand Gbosa all day long.
And I go hide inside the jeans wey you wear
As dem never born di tief wey go pick yua pocket.
Dr Wilson Orhiunu
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
(Millionaire’s Forum Anthem)
Before this year is over
I’m gonna be a ‘naire
Oh my God!
My Fortunes’ here
Can you see!
My wealth is near
I had a Honda
Now I’m chilling out
In my Zonda
Used to run late
Gazing at Timex
Now turning up first
In my Rolex
of the family car
The new Lear jet
Is taking me far
Oh my God!
I’m writing big cheques
The dog’s now two
And I bought him a Lex
The bank manager’s
too early for the meeting
he’s doing the lawn
While I am shaving
It’s all good
And I’m loving this life
Sunday at church
Securicor van for my tithes
I believe for increase
Angels will release
With a hammer
Babawill’s on the case
Crack that dam
Break through’s in the place
Oh my God!
My fortunes here
Can’t you see
My wealth is near
Dr Wilson Orhiunu
Sunday, 14 October 2007
I was warned as early as in nursery school about the perils of borrowing but I no gee learn.
I think it was between the Samco chocolate drinks and the sugar coated puff-puff that our teacher spoke of Cinderella. Yes the first credit card beauty. (Fairy God mother, Visa, American Express, same difference).
She got her groove on via credit and at 12 mid night it was pay back time. Has designer clothes turned to rags. Don’t be deceived by the banks who rigged the story and gave it a happy ending. Na lie. Prince charming found a glass shoe left behind and tried it on all the babes in town before finally settling on Cinderella’s feet and falling in love with her.
(Could it be this part of the story that poisoned my young mind with a girl’s shoe fetish?). I say na lie. Borrowing clothes can never lead to royalty via marriage.
If the above wasn’t enough, during my literature classes in secondary school, we read Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. Here again we read of the tortoise who did an R Kelly and went to a feast in the sky with the birds. How you ask? He took loans. Feathers from each bird. He winked at madam as he flapped his borrowed wings, screamed ‘I’m bringing sexy back’ and flew. His father didn’t teach him that all loans had a life span. To cut the story short, he adopted a nick name of ‘All of you’ and when the host set the table and announced that the food was for ‘all of you’, the tortoise eat the whole lot to the chagrin of his creditors.
Each bird took back their feathers and the stranded tortoise begged for someone to tell his wife to put all the soft mattresses in the garden to cushion his fall from the sky. (Those were the days before text messaging). The bad belle Parrot then and told the wife to bring out all the metal objects. The poor creature saw the activities from the skies and smiled. He couldn’t see clearly. (No satellite pictures sef). He landed and fractured his shell so badly his genes were affected and subsequently all tortoises born had cracked up shells (Origin of Species ko. Origin of Species ni).
The moral of the story is don’t borrow!
This whole line of thinking was triggered by the local Porshe dealership who invited me to try one of their cars for 24 hours.
‘Which one would you like sir?’ them ask.
I no kuku know the name of any. In the end I took a Boxster. Costs £46,000 no change. Omo., if them try am for Lagos, the car go dey Ghana is three minutes.
I had always felt a two seated car was selfish. People may need lifts and where pickin go siddon. My people na lie. Okada no be two seater car? (There are many definitions of the word car).
Another problem I had with sports cars is that though I live in the UK and drive on UK roads, the memory of Lagos port holes still dey my brain. Some of those pot holes fit swallow the whole Porshe car sef. That’s why if them hammer for Lagos, first dem go Hummer (Yahoozeee).
But I no dey live for Naija now?
Anyway, when I sat in the ‘cockpit’ of the car come put fire, for the first time I understood the meaning of horse power. That thing dey run. Come see how people dey look me. Small time I blast ‘wetin dey’ dey jolly. At one stage sef e bi laik say na me be James Bond sef.
My people, I say God forbid Okada o!. If only two persins wan ride, na side by side for sports car dem suppose dey.
Problem dey sha. The car low and my hips dey cramped. The boot for front and back no fit hold pass 2 small yams and quarter bag of garri. We never talk of rice. If pickins wan commot, how I go chose the one pickin wey go ride with me. You sabi say if you vex pickin, when you old come die, na Geisha sandine them go serve for yua funeral. I no send.
Like Cinderella, my time was up and I go return motor, but I knack picture with am sha.
This morning my neighbour appear.
‘Where’s your new car?’ im ask dey fear say armed robbers done get Visa from Naija come Birmingham
‘I had it only for 24 hours. A test drive’ I answer. The man squeeze face.
‘I thought you bought it. I was looking to going out on a spin in it with you’ im come talk.
See im face. So if I dey find person to ‘spin’ inside my £46,000 motor (abeg convert to Naira), na man I go carry? See im head like spin.
No yawa. For 24 hours at least Borrow borrow made me fine.
One thing dey about car sha. No matter how e fine reach, like horse ,when you reach house you go leave am outside as e no fit enta bed with you. Na make love dey inside the house persin need. But if you no get Porshe and you no get love. Chai. Na only Jesus can save you!
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
Monday, 17 September 2007
Thursday, 13 September 2007
Dear My Sister,
How bodi? Kasala don burst for mai street o! God forbid September 11.
But bifor I enta yawa tori make I nak you romantic yarns. I do spare key of mai Omoge flat wey she no know, den I go buy measures of red carpet from store. Meanwhile I take the day off o. Na so I construct red carpet from her drive way all the way to the side of her bed. Na so I dey sweat as I dey work. You sabi say I don become reformed Workaholic and an evolving Lepa-holic. Na Michael Jackson I sing sing as I dey work with the Stanley knife.
Uh mai Lepa
You gat mi working day and night.
COMING OUT AS A BOOK SOON. SORRY FOLKS!
Yours truly crazy in love
Dear My Sister,
Life is good. Summer time is beautiful. The leaves look green and the sky is adorned in a majestic blue garment. Mai Infiniti jeep dey kampe and I have got Will Smith’s Summer time blasting from my speakers. You see mai sister, mai Omoge loves Will Smith and so must I. I have watched I-robot about 8 times so far. You see, mai Omoge is very spiritual. She says seeing all those robots marching in unison takes her to the Valley of Dry Bones. You sabi now. Ezekiel 37. She come prophesy say as those robots dey waka, na so all the dry bones and dead dreams for mai life go stand up begin waka. I gat to open one eye as we dey pray to make sure say she dey alright.
COMING OUT AS A BOOK SOON. SORRY FOLKS!
Yours truly crazy in love
Dear My Sister,
Back in and back in trouble! I note your silly text; what is the state of my heart? How would I know? Ask my cardiologist. Na she tief my heart go and its locked in a bank vault somewhere in Switzerland beyond the claws of EFCC. I even hear say dem don loss di key and duplicate copy no dey.
COMING OUT AS A BOOK SOON. SORRY FOLKS!
Yours truly crazy in love
Monday, 3 September 2007
Dear My sister,
Sorry for the break up in communication. Hope mama is enjoying her time in Houston. It has been 2 months since my last letter.
Love is still in the air but so is money. Mai sister, I don hammer laik MC Hammer. I say I don hammer sotey awon boys for Jand dey call mi West Ham.
When God wan bless persin e dey bi laik joke. My Omoge tell mi say im dream say I dey plane dey go do deal. Few hours later mai friend, Nate, you sabi am now. Di one for Las Gidi. Im talk say make I follow am go China go buy cutlery.I come say we go fifty di investment costs and fifty di profit. Im gree. Wetin concern mi. Na so I enta plane commot.
We come join moni for di deal. You see, one hotel wan replace cutlery for all dia branches for Niaja and mai friend win di contract but im no sabi Knife and fork matter, na im take holla im longa throat friend; yours truly. (Abi no mi mi write Ukodo tonight?)
When we reach factory now, dem ask which brand name make dem put for cutlery. Mi I say Babawilly quick quick. Mai friend come talk say no man go gree im woman put spoon wey dem call babawilly for mouth. I come vex eh. See how we argue name of awa brand for one hour.
In di end, Chinese man settle us. Im say make we combine name. NateWill Cutlery na im we choose. Mai sister as soon as big people chop with awa cutlery dem begin beg hotel for awa details. Di rest as dem dey talk, na history.
Your brother crazy in love
Dear My Sister 6
Dear My sister,
I met my prospective fada in law for di first time last week. Despite intense preparations it was such an agonising experience. Ah-ah. E bi laik Dentist with dorti hand dey pull out 16 teeth from mai mouth without anaesthetic. Di man nearly vote mi out laik big brother, but I serve a God who never fails.
But before I give you that tori, make I digress. Which kain e- mail you send mi. Dey talk say you sef laik J the footballer. You no dey shame? A whole married woman. You even get di liver and the audacious venturesomeness to talk say if mai Omoge no laik di plenty flower wey J send, make we send am to you. My broad in law no fit buy you flower? Abi na vegetable soup you wan take am cook? Carry go ojare.
Ehen, di morning of di historic meeting , mai prospective moda in law don flash mi (di stingy woman), na im I return her call. Na she and im husband fly into London 2 nights ago. She yarn mi say her husband go gi mi tough time (as my Lepacious beauty na di Agbalumo of his eyes) but make I no worry. She promise mi complete immunity and protection. She even talk say if di man no gree mi marry dia daughter , she gaan go divorce di man.
Your brother crazy in love
Tuesday, 28 August 2007
Dear My Sister,
Panic not. Ah-ah. Can’t you take a joke? Just because I mentioned poison you then carry go mention to Mama. Now di woman dey mai haus. She arrive from Las Gidi yesterday. Now I no fit dey go on dates laik before. Mama say na 1 year Visa dem give am. My sister, Mama go come play with you smol o for Texas bicos mi, I no send o.Mai relationship dey sensitive stage and mi I need quality time with my love.
Na you and yua big mouth cause dis panic. Now mama say na mi muss to buy her ticket as na mi frighten di family into sending her down to look her son. Na you go pay mai sister. Na you cause panic. Anyway make we no argue.
Dem don sack mi from Sunday teacher work o. Na mai fault sha. Na Memory verse scandal some people dey call am. You see, Pastor talk make everybody learn James 1:13. You sabi am now..When tempted, no-one should say, God is tempting me for God cannot be tempted with evil…
Mai sister , when I dey type Sunday school programme on Saturday night , dey listen to Barry White, I no know the time I type Songs of Solomon 1:13. Dat one e strong well well.
..My lover is to me a sachet of myrrh resting between my breasts.
My sister, for the first time in the history of the children’s church, everyone learnt memory verse o. Even one 2 year old, im brothers teach am.
Dem summon mi before elders. My sister, I come dey laff. I hear the allegations but na mai Lepa face I dey see. Dem say na toilet I go dey clean. I come make mistake ask ‘Male or female toilet?’. Mi I ask for information but dem look mi with eye bad like say I get bad thing for mind. (No bi Idris Mohammed sing dat song…Oh Lord, Please don’t let me be misunderstood?) I know say for dia mind na ‘get thee behind me satan’ dem dey think. Dem demote mi to car park. Na there I dey 2 weeks till dem come sack mi pata pata. You see, I been dey direct traffic but I reserve space next to mai Infiniti jeep for my Lepa. Pastor wife come arrive late ask if space dey. I say no (Technically I was not lying as the only space next to my Infinity Jeep was reserved for my Lepacious darling). Na dat day Pastor wife carry plenty books come church, but I no know. She go pack 5 streets away. As she dey struggle to waka come with her plenty load and children she see me dey direct Lepa into the parking space with a smile on mai face.
My sister, as I dey type so, I no get role for church again o. Pastor say I must appear im haus for counselling. Even mama no happy with mi. I juss dey laff dem. Love don anaesthetise mai brain. All di parents for church dey look mi bad eye say I teach dia pickin wrong memory verse. Na wetin sef. Na mi write Bible? Dis thing fit affect mai wedding presents o.
I dey too absent minded when I dey in love sef. Remember dat time in 1983. I been dey make breakfast for Papa. I fry egg, do ogi plus slice bread, dey sing love songs. I come set table den tell Papa say food don readi.
Your bros Crazy in love
Monday, 20 August 2007
I have found love again! ‘Who is it this time?’, I hear you ask. Be patient. Shebi your name na Patience. First and foremost I must tell you I have been searching for a while now. You sabi say on the day a miner is employed to mine for diamonds, there is no assurance that he will ever see a precious stone, yet he signs on the dotted line and starts digging.
My sister, I have been digging for months. Through dirt , stones and assorted poto-poto but I kept on digging. My persistence has paid off and I am now deep deep deeply in love. My sister, you cannot remove me from the depths into which I have sunk. I doubt you have the length of ropes and engineering equipment required to salvage your brother. Me sef, I don’t want to be rescued.
‘Wetin she give you chop?’, I hear you ask. Why must every Naija think say dem give you chop eh?
Your's truly Crazy in love
Saturday, 18 August 2007
Wednesday, 1 August 2007
SAM TWENTI TIRI
The Lord is mai shepherd
I dey kampke
He make mi sidon for where betta dey flow
Come put me next to stream wey make mai bodi
He panel beat mai soul come spray am white,
Come dey lead me dey go ni, through express road of righteousness for His name’s sake
Walahi!, if I waka pass where arm robber, 419
And juju pipo borku come even join okada reach valley of the shadow of death sef, mai bodi dey inside cloth. Your rod and staff nko?
Na so-so comfort dem dey comfort me for belle
You don prepare Banga and starch make I chop
All mai enemies dey look anyaya
You anoint me for head wit oil
Mai cup na Ogunpa wey burst im banks
True true, betta life and mercy go gum mai back
Till I quench. And man go tanda for God house sotey sotey; from Lai lai to lai lai.
GOD ALMIGHTI, NA YOU BICO.
Dr Wilson Orhiunu
The August page of the UHS calender is devoted to Urhobo Doctors. I tought I shold toast my inclusion with my Urhobo-centric poem. Make una come chop o!
It’s Ukodo tonight
Finger lickin’ licking good
We are doing alright
You’re my woman
I’m your man
Been at work
Since 9 o’clock
But it’s now 5
That boss of mine
Works me to the bone
But it’s now 5
Tonight’s the night
We celebrate our love
You’ve been to Igbudu market
To buy choice yams
And dry fish
I am on my way home
For Ukodo tonight
It’s been 12 months
Since we both said "I do"
Oh, how sweet time flies.
With a candle lit dinner
We are insured against Nepa
We have made it this far
Stir that boiling froth real slow
Yes my appetite is higher
Than any Warri T.V aerial
For Ukodo tonight
I am driving through
the streets of Wari reminiscing
Of how it was at the start
For Mama said
It wouldn’t work
It wouldn’t last
It wouldn’t work
It wouldn’t last
But here we are getting ready
For Ukodo tonight.
The smell fills the compound
Neighbours know what you are cooking
So pull out the phone
And lock the doors
Shut the windows
and draw the curtains
Even if the president comes knocking
We no dey house
For it’s Ukodo tonight
This love grows
Stronger every day
So fan the flames
Of a love
That just wouldn’t die
Soft music plays
As you turn the palm oil
On hot yams so soft
I’ll rather be no where else
For Ukodo tonight
Dr Wilson Orhiunu
My Time 2005
Sunday, 29 July 2007
I had been given the opportunity to do a comedy set prior to the screening of a movie titled The Successor starring Stephanie Okereke and Olu Jacobs amongst others. The film producer was Kene Mpkaru of Film Africa.
That day saw the worst traffic ever. I almost cried in the car. Blackwell tunnel was solid, turning the two hour drive from Birmingham to London into a 5 and a half hour ordeal.
I had a few frantic calls on my mobile phone, ‘where are you?’
I arrived towards the end of the movie and still managed to perform an abridged version of my set when the film finished. This was about 1.45am! I had to rush though as people were tired.
I think my version of sweet mother did alright. Its called BITTER FADA
I no go forget you
For di Bulala
Wey you bulala me for my nyarsh o!
My Fada go punish me
E go say my pickin
Make you no tief ye ye
Make you no tief again o!
My Fada go scold me
He go lie me well well for bed o
E serve me cane, say make I chop
Chop, chop , my pickin o!
My Fada go run up and down
He go find me guud cane wey go blast my nyarsh o!
Bitter Fada, I no go forget the cane wey I suffer for you hand oh, o!
My Fada go cry, cry, cry
E go say instead make I disgrace am, make I die o
E go beg God
God help me
God help me cane, my pickin o!
My Fada no go stop
If I no weep
My Fada no go chop
E no dey tire o
Bitter Fada, I no go forget the bulala wey you blast my nyarsh o o!
You fit get anoda Gism
You fit get anoda sim
But you fit get anoda Fada?
And if I forget you, I forget my life and the air that I breathe.
And then unto you all men, forget not your Fada
For if you forget your Fada, you’ve lost your life.
Friday, 27 July 2007
Take heart my brother
When things fall apart
when it rains just on you
And your dreams don’t come true
One day my sister
things will come together
The sun will smile on you
And your enemies will scatter
Your heart’s desires
are yours to take
And the walls before you
are yours to brake
So go forth in courage
Go forth in might
Take hold of darkness
And turn it to light
Dr Wilson Orhiunu
Thursday, 26 July 2007
Tuesday, 24 July 2007
As a young boy growing up in Lagos (70s) I first noticed the lampooning of ‘Calabar people’ through a character in the now defunct soap opera on NTA Lagos ‘The Village Headmaster’. There was a shop owner Bassey Okon played by Jab Adu. He was a somewhat volatile man, who always reached for his cutlass or wooden cane to ‘settle’ heated disputes. He had a daughter, Ikate, and a relative, Boniface, who worked as his shop assistant. Boniface was particularly dim (I write from memory) and I remember ‘Calabar people’ at school being called Boniface or Ete (Man in Efik).
Then in the 80s there was the popular Masquerade soap staring Zebrudaya as the main character. He had two house boys, Gringory Acabot of Ikot Epkeme, and Clarus Igbojikwe of the one eyed mama.
Gringory was particularly stupid, as was Clarus, and because the acting of Gringory was very good, a stereotype was born; that was of a stupid Calabar man. Like all stereotypes, the premise was wrong, as the actor playing Gringory was highly educated and articulate.
I also remember the late stand up comedian and DJ John Chukwu doing a routine during which he did perfect impressions of the Calabar accent in the late 70s.
The above shows could be said to be the fore runners of today’s stand up comedy routines. A recent explosion in Nigerian comedy can be attributed to the VCD series, ‘A Nite of a Thousand Laughs’ by Opa Williams. For the first time various stand comedians were introduced to Nigerian audiences through touring and VCD. Going through these VCDs is the easiest way to ascertain the level of tribal stereotypes as it exists today. I opted to study the Abuja-Benin 2004-2005 VCD, as I felt that this was the best of the whole series (A biased view, but I had to watch something I could tolerate to the end!).
Below is a brief review of Opa Williams Nite of a Thousand laughs. Abuja-Benin 2004-2005. Ahbu Ventures Ltd.
Note that the theme tune for this show is ‘Who let the dogs out’ by the Bahamen which is played between and during comedy performances.
I list the comedians in order of appearance and a brief description of their performance.
Okey Bakkassi. 5 comical stories covering marriage/infidelity/squints/robbery and a man and a monkey. The monkey handler offers a prize for getting his monkey to laugh, cry or go into the cage. A Calabar man performs this feat by first telling the monkey his work, his pay and lastly inviting the monkey to apply for a vacancy at the Nigerian Railway cooperation. This last joke was done in a Calabar accent, bringing down the house. There was no mention of any other tribal group in his routine.
I go Die- Dressed in a bright red suit gave, what I consider to be, his best performance ever. Told about 13 jokes. He made no mention of any particular tribe, although he did mention a Warri boy acting aggressively. Routinely mainly about breasts and mobile phones
Mike Ogbolosinger – told 8 jokes. Mentioned Akwa Ibom thrice. Once during his routine when the theme tune-‘who let the dogs out’ was played suddenly, he joked about eating dog meat. During a classroom story he inferred an Akwa Ibom pupil was stupid by for answering ‘the ten commandments’ when asked to name something breakable especially as the two previous pupils asked the same question had answered Eggs and Glass.
Lastly he joked about a stupid and violent Akwa Ibom man who refused to give him directions when he was lost; (done with accent). He briefly mentioned a stupid Aso Rock Photographer who he lampooned in a mock Hausa accent.
Clint the Drunk. Three tribal jokes about singers- Hausa: singers useless; Yoruba singers: loud; and Igbo music unscripted and composed on the spot to praise rich people in attendance. No mention of Calabar!
I go die- 3 jokes. No tribal insults
Okey Bakkassi – 4 jokes . No trial jokes
Un named comedian- described how different tribes prayed- Yorubas shout, Igbos give God their shop addresses, Benin people speak Good English (Note that the show was in Benin), Warri people yarn (discuss) with God like friends and Esan people shout excessively.
I go save- Mainly insulted the ex President of Nigeria by inferring he looked like a primate.
From the above it is obvious that a disproportionate amount of jokes are heaped on the ‘Calabar people’.
A particular comedian- Basket mouth (the singer, not Bright Opkocha of similar stage name) did not appear in the above show but his routine consists of singing in the style of old-skool reggae dance hall about Calabar, Edo and Yoruba girls. His act is the most derogatory comedy act against Calabar people that I have seen to date, and I have written below (printable) excerpts from his act on ‘A Nite of a Thousand Laughs’. Volume 2. Obaino Music
I too dey like their style
Because they really know how to take care of man
Dem go cook for you
Dem go wash your cloth
Dem go make your belle
Make e extra sweet
Na inside bedroom dem dey get their power
Bleep, bleep, bleep. (Offensive to Christians)
Dem get degree for sexology
Dem be professors for knackiology
E reach bedmatics dem no dey taya
Because Calabar girls they are ever ready
Maybe na the dog meat wey dem dey chop
Maybe na dat one dey give dem extra power
Etc etc etc
The audience at this time was falling over themselves with laughter. I would however doubt he would have gotten a good response to that song had it been performed at Tinapa (Calabar)!
If summary, Calabar is an iconic town with a huge reputation. It inspires creative people and deserves to be made the subject of films, plays and musicals, as has been demonstrated by Fred Amata’s Amazing Grace.
Creative people should try to concentrate on getting creative works out that can inspire rather than constantly insult a tribe. Insults are cheap and will definitely get the performer an easy laugh but merely dispensing insults represents a lazy approach to comedy writing.
While I am not a great fan of political correctness or censorship, I think the Calabar jokes have been pushed too far.
Perhaps I should start the ball rolling by deleting the Calabar comedy audio track I have on my web site!
Tribal stereotypes in Nigeria Comedy; the Calabar example. Part One
The comedy industry in Nigeria is experiencing steady growth. Tribal stereotyping features prominently in Nigerian comedy in instances ranging from stand up routines, to drama or film.
Comedians play to the gallery, so one might suggest that there is a demand for these sorts of jokes. The question however is why? Not an easy question to answer but I will try.
Gelotology is the study of laughter. Many researchers have undertaken to study laughter in formal situations and produced interesting findings. To date, I am unaware of any such studies being conducted in Nigeria thus I have relied heavily on anecdotal evidence in the writing of this article, and thus bias and inaccuracies might occur.
Eliciting laughter is the ultimate a goal in the performance of a comedy routine.
We laugh when we find a situation funny. In many instances a situation is perceived as funny when the end of a series of events results in a different outcome to what we had anticipated at the beginning. Hence the first job of the stand up comedian is usually to make his audience anticipate something. That is only possible by sharing a situation that is familiar to the audience. And since most comedy routines are basically stories about people, the easiest way to manipulate the audiences’ collective expectation is to use stereotypes.
In the Nigeria, all the major ethnic groups have their stereotypical characteristics, which is usually based on erroneous premises. The accent is the easiest one to do. An impression of a Hausa man speaking tends to get the audience laughing in anticipation of a stereotypical story such as security guard or Suya seller with low educational attainment involved in a common scenario for that audience.
Other examples of tribal stereotypes are the Igbos love for money, Edo girls in Italy involved in prostitution, and Yorubas who love to lavish huge monetary gifts while dancing at parties. The major tribes feature prominently in comedy routines, as these characters with their regional accents are easily recognisable by audiences.
Apart from absurd or incongruous ends to stories, there is the feeling of superiority, which good comedians evoke in their audiences when talking about the stupidity or undesirable qualities of other tribal groups or individuals.
That may explain the ready success comedians have enjoyed from telling jokes about poor or ‘wowo’ (ulgy) people. Everybody tends to laugh at these jokes; ironic in a country where poverty, real or relative, is rife.
Any that may explain why comedy shows staged in a town will tend to have comedians telling jokes at the expense of other towns or the minority groups within that town- a sort of bullying.
Comedy affords an opportunity to laugh at events and problems that are not funny in any way. The pent up frustrations are given a release through laughter, and this helps to reduce tension.
Of all the tribal stereotypes on offer in Nigerian comedy, the most politically incorrect and vicious lampooning seems to be reserved for the Calabar people. Why?
This widely used term in Nigeria - Calabar people is somewhat inaccurate. Calabar is the Capital of Cross River State, which was created in February 1976 out of the former South Eastern State (created May 27, 1967 out of the former Eastern region).
The three major language groups in Cross River State are; Efik, Bekwara and Ejagham.
Akwa Ibom State was created in September 23, 1987 and was craved out of the Old Cross River State. The major ethnic groups in Akwa Ibom are Ibibio, Anang and Oron.
To the average Nigerian the two states of Akwa Ibom and Cross River are simply called Calabar, partly due to ignorance and also due to the fact that till date many Nigerians have not gotten a hang of the current map of Nigeria!
The various languages in these two states are also loosely called Calabar or Efik.
History, Myths and Icons.
Like I have alluded to before, comedy requires the audience to ‘get’ the story as it starts so that the ‘punch line’, usually an unexpected outcome, achieves maximum impact.
The people of Akwa Ibom and Cross River have a distinctive accent known to most audiences in Nigeria. This lends itself to comedy very readily.
I also suspect that their rich history and culture which features strong iconoclastic characters makes them exotic or perhaps enigmatic, thus making stories about them appear much more interesting.
These people of the South Eastern part of Nigeria are not known for rioting, so perhaps the Nigerian comedians and script-writers feel confident that there will be no back lashes from the ‘polite and dignfied’ Calabar when they are mercilessly lampooned in the name of entertainment.
The most Dramatic things in Nigeria as a whole seem to happen to the ‘Calabar people’ and here I begin my list.
Mary Slessor (1848-1915), the Queen of Calabar, was a Scottish missionary who lived and worked with the people of Okoyong for many years. She learnt the Efik language and died in those parts. Her grave stands there till date. She is credited with stopping the killing of twins in these parts and stopping the trial of witches by the Calabar Ordeal Bean.
A Dr W F Daniel first reported the use of this bean; Physiostigma Venenosum, a woody vine and known to all students of Physiology world wide, in 1846.
People suspected of Witchcraft were forced to eat some of the beans, which contained Physiostigmine. There were three out comes possible.
Firstly, if the beans are vomited and the patient survives then they were acquitted. Secondly, if they had abdominal symptoms and survived they were sold into slavery. Finally, if they died, they were deemed guilty.
Missionaries at the time learnt to swallow the beans when captured by the ‘natives’ and put through the ordeal. They then regurgitated the beans up and survived. They had learnt that the deadly Physiostigmine was only released after chewing the bean (Na Beans!).
John Newton (1725 to 1807), the author of the world famous hymn Amazing Grace was said to have been inspired to write this hymn after hearing traditional songs in Old Calabar when he was a Captain on a Slave ship. This story has been the subject of numerous writings, documentaries and films, including Fred Amata’s Amazing Grace released in 2006. These three stories have given Calabar a place in world history and folklore.
Throughout Nigeria’s recent history, a subject of discussion among men for many years is the traditional fattening rooms of Calabar have been. These are rooms where young girls are feed to obese proportions for months and also taught how to satisfy a man ie sexually, through coking, home management skills, respect for in laws etc. This has given rise to the myth that Calabar girls know how to take care of a man. And since comedy is a male dominated profession, this image of beautiful girls with insatiable sexual appetites, the stuff male fantasy, gains expression during stand up routines.
Another myth is that Dog meat is eaten regularly in Calabar and its environs and this meat somehow confers a sexual stamina on the women who eat it.
Then there is the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star whose leader is Olumba Olumba Obu, who claims to be God. He is a well-known ‘Calaber man’.
In more recent times the dispute over the oil-rich Bakassi peninsular between Nigeria and Cameroun has brought the area into the limelight. The International Court of Justice in 2002 awarded the peninsular to the Cameroun to the consternation of many Nigerians. The word Bakkassi was used as a jocular slang for female buttocks and also serves as a name for the vigilante group, Bakkassi boys.
This South Eastern area is on its way to becoming a major tourist attraction with the opening of Tinapa; a business and leisure development. The Obudu cattle ranch is also a much talked about destination boasting of a cool climate due to its high altitude (1,542m) and affording visitors to embark on horse riding, hiking and the like.
In London, there is a well known restaurant called Mama Calabar.; a place where nutritional needs are meet.
Once knew a happy tailor
Whose shop was on his head
He played with his big scissors
As he sought his daily bread
I will patch up all your trousers
And stitch up all your shirts
And if your girl is growing tall
I will loosen up her skirts
Sat down by the big tree trunk
A busy man was he
Had piles of clothes on each side
Was as happy as can be
He sang of friends and soldiers
who died during the war.
And when the clothes were finished,
he eat some cold paw-paw
Dr W Orhiunu
My Time. 2005.
Thursday, 19 July 2007
Strange thing is my self published and internet published poems are better lknown than most of the works being published (Sebi I will blow my own mouth organ now).
Soon and very soon.....
Monday, 25 June 2007
The Bush Doctor was in a bad mood. He had just returned from a meeting with the new health commissioner who was brimful of heady ideas and ambitions. Eradicate Malaria in 10 years and Leprosy in 2 years.
‘Eradicate my nyarsh’ said the Bush Doctor on hearing this.
Though he hated Leprosy and was keen for its eradication, he wasn’t convinced of the commissioner’s credibility or sincerity.
The disease evoked horror and fear. You ran when you heard of Leprosy.
Many people had wives infected with HIV , Hepatitis and various other Viruses but no one wanted to kiss a leprous bride. The sixth year itch was who how the Bush Doctor referred to Leprosy. The Bacteria lives silently in the body for six years before manifesting as a numb pale rash.
The older Doctors were not bothered. They had seen many commissioners come and go.
‘Youthful exuberance’ whispered Dr Arugbo. He was the oldest practising Doctor around. To him everyone below 65 years was ‘youthful’.
The commissioner’s rhetoric was merely for the journalists present. Sound bites for the few people who read newspapers. He thanked the drug company from heaven as he called them,( Norvatis) for giving him the tools to do the job. They had provided trunk loads of MDT (Multiple Drug Therapy) to kill off leprosy (a task that must be done).
Suddenly, there was a presentation. The graphs showed that the highest density of Leprosy was in the Bush Doctor’s area. Everyone looked at him like it was his fault.
‘Twenty cases in that small Bush?’ asked the commissioner.
The speaker asked the Bush Doctor for a response.
‘I have only been in post two years. There were only twelve patients in the small leper colony we supervise when I started. Now we have twenty because eight joined after hearing about the excellent care we provide’.
‘You call having the highest prevalence of Leprosy in the area excellent care?’ asked the commissioner sarcastically.
It hurt. Here was a Doctor who three years his junior in Medical school lording it over him. And more so, this Doctor turned politician hadn’t practised clinical medicine of over 10 years now.
The Bush doctor almost screamed, why blame me for Leprosy? Is it my fault that after 4 years of taking Dapsone which proved ineffective, the patients have given up on western medicine all together?
‘Dapsone resistance has lead to poor compliance…’ the Bush Doctor began to mumble.
‘That is not good enough. You are failing in your duties. You should educate your patients about the new Dapsone, Clofazimine and Rifampicin therapy. Tell them I said Bang, bang, bang- Leprosy dey go’ said the commissioner beating his barrel shaped chest. They whole conference fell on each other laughing. As the Bush Doctor made his way back to his sit, he knew his heart had left the job. Given time his body would follow.
The Bush nurse walked into his office without knocking.
‘Why the face of thunder?’ she asked
‘Africa dies at the hands of Viruses yet they want to pursue Bacteria’.
‘Oh. This Leprosy thing. I saw the supplies you brought back’
‘Yes. Must be eradicated in two years. The jokers wouldn’t even take the medicine’.
The Bush Nurse walked across the tiny office and stood behind his chair. She massaged his neck.
‘Relax. I have an idea. We will get the Witch Doctor to dispense. Yes. Ground the tablets to powder, mix with palm wine and tell the Lepers the ancestors have decreed that they take this potent portion. They are mostly men so he can say their testicles will drop off in two weeks if they disobey the ancestral spirits. That should get their attention!’ said the Bush Nurse.
‘Ehen! Not only do you have magical fingers, you have a brain that works wonders. Mycobacterium Leprae; Bang, bang, bang, you don dey go’ said the Bush Doctor.
No such problem for the Bush Doctor in the City. None of his patients have Leprosy.
22-6-07. I.D. 50 year old female. Feeling low. Not going out. Anxiety. We discussed her thought patterns, moods and resulting actions.
I told her there was a relationship between Depression and a smaller than average Hippocampus (part of the brain that deals with Spatial recognisation). The significance is unclear though. Do you have a small Hippocampus because you are moody and sit indoors all day or do you get depressed because you were born with a small Hippocampus.
Incidentally, taxi drivers and migratory birds have large Hippocampi. (And we all know Taxi drivers are never depressed; they just keep on talking!).
Going out is an act of faith. An exercise in hope. A risk. A running attack into the future. The depressed have low hope and expectations for the future (short and long term) and so go out less.
If asked to go to another city for a party, the answer is No. They say No to everything and soon no one asks anymore.
Dressing up well is an act for the future. In the present there is the need for prophylaxis against nakedness and cold but in the future, there is the potential for the nice fitting clothes to get noticed and attract positive feed back.
Hope is needed to dress well and hope goes in depression. (Of course there are exceptions, so please don’t e-mail them).
The question is, should I ask depressed people to jump in the car, drive to a city they do not know, without a map or satellite navigation system, and go watch a comedy film? All this in the hope that their hippocampus might swell up.
I think I talked too much to this patient.
22-6-07. 40 year old lady. ‘What is wrong?’ I asked. ‘Everything is wrong’ she replied.
Issues in all departments. Lost son 14 years ago aged only 4 days. 2 daughter’s being difficult, husband upped and left two years ago and set up home with lady and now has a baby. Cannot loose weight. Low mod. Anxious. Ill mother. No time to enjoy life.
Life is hard.
She looks at me expecting to hear something.
‘You see, our memories are like a well arranged CD collection. Different genres of music are arranged together. No matter how long ago the track was recorded, when the CD is played, it sounds as clear as the day it was originally recorded. And once you start playing one country and western, you keep on playing other country and westerns’. Same with moods. Think about how rotten it is now and you remember how rotten it alway was.
Think about how good it is now and you remember how good life has always been.
Without trivialising you pain, I would not agree with you that ‘everything is going wrong’. I think, may be you just might be dipping into that memory store, feeling the shapes with your fingers, and picking out only a certain kind of ball’.
She wasn’t interested in anti-depressants. Wasn’t interested in counselling. ‘I will fight this myself’ she said. ‘Oh, no you wouldn’t’ I said in my mind.
She agreed to see the Community psychiatric nurse for at least one session of Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT).
I think I have talked too much again.
Saturday, 23 June 2007
At 12 miles, it was time to cross Tower Bridge. I saw Colin Jackson interviewing a runner on the bridge. (The only celebrity I saw). I began to drink like a camel, but unfortunately didn’t have a bladder like one. We were peeing in the bushes. It was like everyone had a full bladder but marked their time to see who would go first. Once a chap made a detour for the bush, any bush, it gave everyone a licence to urinate. There was no shame. If the bush was high enough the women joined. Not so for the elite runners though. We heard they just did the business down their legs. With over £100,000 at stake I don’t blame them.
If no spectators come, there is no race. The noise from the crowd is like a petrol nozzle up your engine. It fires you on. There was a slight problem though. Babawilly doesn’t translate well into English.
One woman shouted ‘come on Babawilly, prove it!’.
Next year, I will have BABAWILL on my T- shirt.
Some spectators brought sweets, water, fruits and music. Some church bands sang along the way. For slow Virgins like us, the encouragement is vital. Large noise and cheering is like an adrenaline transfusion. I have seen with my own calf muscles that with the right encouragement, Impossible is really nothing.
Like a slow train
We run and perspire
Number on our chest
Our goal the finish line
For miles on a full bladder
Each tree looks inviting
The crowds cheer our
It is the story of life
not all finish
An ocean of heads
A meandering train
First class is up front
The lesser talent at the rear
A medal awaits
Each one from each carriage
On account of the speed
This is the slow Virgin
Dr W Orhiunu
(Virgin trains operate in the UK)
I hit the wall at Mile One! By Mile 20, I had hit a planet. I was so hot; I smelt like Suya on a grill. Then the hamstrings went into cramp. Next thing the muscles began to talk to me individually. Right Peroneus longus and Brevis said ‘Babawilly, Persin wey said Peroneus no go sleep, im sef no go sleep’.
Quadriceps Femoris, Semimembranosus, Latissimus Dorsi and Trapezuis, all started doing a national conference with me. Muscles I hadn’t thought about in ages.
I was glad to queue for the toilets and rest. Then there’s the friction burns. The thighs rubbing, the buttocks grating, the toes on the trainers, blisters on the heels, the nipples being sand papered by the T-shirt, the arms against the arm pits and the scrotum against the thighs. And once the skin gets raw, that salty sweat stings up the whole place. I guess that’s why we apply so much Vaseline for the moving parts and plasters over the static parts.
Running along the embankment, you know the end is nigh. My whole body became on massive lump of cramp and I had to walk to the finish line. From here on, no toilets. There are crowds everywhere, so no chance of Bush action. I just couldn’t pee on myself so I suffered. This must be the closest a man could get to labour pains. Cramped up body, six hours of Sun, full bladder and I couldn’t cross my legs. I was about ready for my Caesarean section!
All runners are happy to see Big Ben and at 26 Miles you are grateful to see Buckingham Palace. I suspect this race course has been designed to psychologically programme you into associating all good things with the British Parliament and the Royal family. Boy, was I glad to run past the Palace. When I finally went over the finish line I begged them for two medals as I felt that my efforts deserved two.
She smiled and gave me just one.
(One man, one medal. No rigging, no shaking!)
(For Pidgin English Dictionary and Kilimanjaro Travelogue)
D Day. Lazy in bed. Felt stiff from all that driving from Birmingham to London. Shower, and then adjusted my coral beads. (My latest fashion statement- the South-south look). The necklace had to be shortened and held down with safety pins to make running easier. (See photo). At this point, I thanked God that I didn’t have breasts.
Was getting late. Left by 7.10am with cousin who had now returned from night shift. He didn’t have a clue how to encourage someone about to undertake a big task (or perhaps was too tired to care).
At Sutton station there were no trains (Up British Rail!) and I was soon on a Coach to West Croydon to arrive 8.10am.
I was late and sweating. The race starts 9am for elite women, 9.25am for the Wheel Chair Marathon and 9.45am for elite men and the masses (me). And you sabi say the only African time that will be on display will be the victory times of the Black athletes. I began to calculate and pray at the same time. A skill all Nigerian have acquired while driving on Nigerian roads.
I had hurriedly put just £5 in my pocket and left my wallet and credit cards back in my cousin’s place. Train transport was free for all runners who display their running numbers so I thought I didn’t need money. I began to rehearse how I would convince the cab drivers to take me to my Blackheath starting point on credit. I began to blame myself. Why was I late? Why did British rail close Sutton station. It will be sad to go home without a medal.
As I came off the bus, a chap called me. He was looking lost. Was from Northampton and needed get to the Marathon starting point. I on the other hand had lived in Croydon before. Off to the cab office. £23 to Blackheath. His mum brought out the cash. Hallelu..Halleluyah.
God said I will go ahead of you….
I ran for ages and got very angry at the first sign. ONE MILE. Only?? With all this sweat and thirst? 25 miles to go. God help us. At 3 Miles I saw the Vittel water sign. The shock. The water had finished. Na lie. People started looking on the road at the empty plastic bottles for remnant water. Some spectators were tipping water into bottles to make up a good quantity for drinking. God alone knows what mouths had been on the bottles before they got thrown on the dirty road. Omo, I rush the bottle. Disease no dey kill African man; (only poverty and Aids).
Where are all those Lagos street hawkers selling ‘Pure water’ when you need them? Make dem give dem Visa now!
I even wrote a poem for them in my book- My Time and dem come let me down like this.
Pure water, pure water
The little boy said
Will quench all your thirst
And cool down your head
It is good for madam
Perfect for Olga
Pure water pure water
The little boy said
Dr W Orhiunu
Julie Andrews (Maria) sang in the Sound of Music; let us start from the very beginning, a very good place to start. And so I proceed to 490 BC.
There was war between the Greeks and the invading Persian armies. The Greeks won the battle of Marathon and Miltiades (Greek Army leader) sent word of the victory to the King via a runner Pheidippides. (You might wonder why he didn’t send a text message, or flash (Naija style)).
Poor (or patriotic) Pheiddippides ran the full 42.2Km at full speed to the Palace and promptly died after delivering his very important message.
If na Naija, e for climb Okada. E fit even branch Mamaput for pounded yam and pure water. Between ‘swallows’ he will surely mutter, ‘man pickin no go die for government work’.
If na mai village Pheidippides die, dem for ‘forbid’ running that distance. But Europe different. Na that 42.2 Km na im we dey all run till today; so God help us.
Back to the present. 21-4-07.3.30pm
I am driving down the M25 to the Excel Centre to register for the race. Paul Play’s Angel of My Life is playing and I cannot help wondering. Has Paul in all his playing considered that women like Angels can grow wings and then fly away? One has to call his babe Angel with some trepidation!
All my people are voting for our next Nigerian president back home.
At the Excel centre, I join a queue and hand over my letter bearing my running number 15900. I get handed a bag, which contains a computer Championchip, and running numbers for my bag and vest.
Everything went smoothly. Well, they wrote my surname incorrectly but hey, what’s new there?
For those who don’t know, the chip is what makes ‘rigging’ the race impossible. For starters you lace the chip to your trainers for the race and your progress can be tracked as you run across various sensors that have been placed across the road. If not sharp guys fit enter train, empty bucket of water on im self and appear at the finish line as winner.
Cousin’s House .7pm
(Not quite. Every family friend in Nigeria is a brother or cousin and every mansion, flat or rented room is a house)
Eat dinner with cousin. Was working a night shift so left me at home to sleep. But not before he wound me up. ‘Wilson, abeg on your way back from the race tomorrow buy Malt and canned drinks. You need to replace what we have drank’ he said.
I could believe my ears! After 26.2 Miles, make I go shopping?
I did some breathing exercises.
‘Look, you should get yourself to the finish line and help me home. Am I not your guest? I am buying nothing’ I said.
‘Abeg buy the drinks’ he said.
I was perplexed. We grew up together. Our fathers entertained each other in Lagos. Is this what living in England can do to a man? Too much night shifts and too little social interaction. Na wa!
The weather forecast was hot, hot, and hot. I begin fear.
Thursday, 21 June 2007
Her lip stick dey bright
Mai throat come enta
I kiss am sotey
Lip stick finis for im lips
She rub am again
I kiss am comot
She tell me say I go buy market
I reach haus refuse eba
You chop outside?
I say yes mama.
Wetin you chop?
Palm oil stew
E belleful you?
Yes o. I don get belle.
Will not look away
When for her Emeka is searching
She’ill quicken her strides
And soon be beside
Emeka, and start Imo kissing.
Imo kissing, Imo kissing
Philomena loves Imo kissing
The taste of his lips and
The warmth of his love
is what Philomena calls
Don’t ask how
That bird flies across an ocean
Don’t ask how
The baby knows its mother
Don’t ask how
The earth just keeps on spinning
Don’t ask how
My heart could love you so much
Like a gentle water fall
To my soul
She soothes me
I experience the impossible
She tells me I am her man
And I believe
Butterflies flutter in my spine
Molten love transcends
Is that a loin I see
waving at me?
Is that crocodile really
Kissing the Zebra goodnight?
Love is everywhere
I see stars and moon dancing
Dancing with the sun
Is it noon
So hard to tell
when you are in love
Good has come to me
Dressed in colourful apparel
Good has come
With long hair,
a big smile,
Good has danced with me
we moved as one
Like partners from another life
Good is a girl
I met today
A girl called…..Omoge
The Bush Doctor knew he was in a crisis. The whole Bush knew he was in a crisis. It was so bad that last night he referred 12 patients to the witch Doctor. The wards were overflowing.
Lassa fever had struck. Unmistakable rashes, sore throat, bloody diarrheoa, bleeding from the nostrils and lymph glands popping up ever where like Bush rats; Bush rats called Mastomys natalensis.
The Bush Doctor had warned them not to drink garri.
‘Make eba with hot boiling water. The rats have been feeling on the garri spread out in the sun. Their saliva carried the Lassa fever virus. Boiling hot water will kill the virus’ he had warned during his health education classes. No one listened.
‘We have been drinking garri long before you came here’ Mumu had said.
There was no need to say ‘I told you so’. The patients all said it. They should have listened.
The big city hospital had been informed of the outbreak and they were ‘looking into it’ from a distance. The courier brought two courses of Ribavirin tablets with a note to say more was on the way. ‘Tell them they should know I need intravenous stuff here!’ he screamed at the poor messenger.
The Bush Doctor put himself and the Bush nurse on the treatment.
‘Someone has to be alive to look after this lot’ was how he justified his actions to the Bush nurse. She took the course willingly.
No scarcity of Anti viral treatment for the Bush Doctor in the City. He has a Specialist for every Virus.
Have come for my weekly dose of continuing education. A special lecture this time. The David Perry Memorial lecture to be given by Dr David Mutimer. Liver specialist at the QE Hospital. Birmingham.
At sit in the quiet hall and do what all good Doctors do at such meetings; let the mind wander.
Chief Basorun Moshood Abiola was the acclaimed winner of the Nigerian Presidential elections held on the 12th of June 1993 which was subsequently annulled (eleven days later) by the then military head of state; General Ibrahim Babangida.
And right now as I sit in this lecture theatre, Nigerians are again crumbling about the recently conducted elections which many claim was flawed.
Democracy infection leads to a carrier state ie chronic democratitis. After a few years this leads to Democratic cirrhosis and that in turns leads to Democratic failure or Democratic cancer and eventual dermocratic death and that……..
My neighbour sneezes and I am back to reality. ‘Bless you Doctor’.
Now the topic is nasty Hepatitis B.
644,000 deaths a year. Prevalence in Nigeria >10%. Chineke! That means in any group photograph containing over 10 persons at an Owambe party, at least one person has Hepatitis B.
It is also the number one preventable disease (by way of a national immunization programme) that people die of. Next being Measles; 610,000 deaths a year.
The slides of the world map, where the highly prevalent areas were painted bright red, came on. Nigeria even looked redder than most. Chineke! Or perhaps I should cream, Oghene!
Then came the slides where countries with immunization programmes were coloured differently from the rest. Cameroun stood out next to Nigeria, for having a vaccination programme for neonates against Hepatitis B. (I thought we were richer than them).
The UK has no programme as endemicity was low. However all pregnant women were screened and if found to be positive are followed up after delivery. The babies were immunised at birth to prevent infection.
Dr Mutimer noted his patient numbers have been going up in the last few years due to immigration from India , Africa and parts of Europe. These are places with high prevalence but no immunisation policy against Hepatitis B. (I suppose in Africa they have more pressing issues like Aids & Egunje abi?).
For Nigeria , it will make good sense to jab all babies with the Hepatitis B vaccine. The risk of being a carrier is 100% when infected at birth, 50% when infected as a toddler and less than 5% when infected as an adult.
After 30 to 50 years of being a carrier, the disease (Chronic Hepatitis) progresses to Liver Cirhosis and then to Liver failure or Liver Cancer). Like HIV, the replication of the virus (how many pickin di virus dey born) with determine how fast the liver damage progresses.
Rather than say God forbid three times, you need a hepatologist and some very expensive medicine.
At the QE hospital they start with Lamivudine,(Cheap but with a 70% incidence of resistance in about four years) and add Adefovir, when the Viral load starts to rise again. Three monthly blood tests are essential to keep an eye on viral load.
My mind begins to wander again.
Enemies of democracy are viruses. What drug will work for Naija.
Did I hear someone sneeze, ‘coup-divudine?!’ . ‘Bless you Doctor’.
Special thanks to Dr David Mutimer for kindly e-mailing me a copy of his power point presentation- Heptitis B. Threats! & Promises?. The David Parry Memorial Lecture. Good Hope Hospital. June 12th 2007.
Reference-Anyabolu I Oliver.(2000). Classic Publishing Company Limited. Nigeria ,Past to the present.pp158
Monday, 11 June 2007
There’s a Judas in your pocket
Cheap plastic dressed in gold
A fancy snare in your wallet
That robs till you are skint and old
Coiled up cobra in your pocket
Will pounce at each bargain
Buy now, good friend, and slave later
Brick by brick build up your mountain
At the sales will be a saviour
But cometh the judge, cometh the traitor
Betrays the secret spending
With statements so revealing
Curse the day you meet your Judas
He has a master, who is not you
Behold sharp scissors, slit its bowels
Kill that Judas and start anew.
Dr Wilson Orhiunu
Tuesday, 5 June 2007
Nigeria is known for inventing a few things. Four one nine e-mails, Lassa Fever, Afro-beat and to that I must add, giving the world the tune to Amazing Grace.
Yes, I have just watched Jeta Amata’s film. ‘Where have you been?’ you ask. Same question I ask myself.
The film is a gem. You must see it. If you have, you must watch it again. It’s the best film out of Nigeria ever and there are non of the usual female leads (special thanks to the requirement of being able to speak Efik).
Now, the story is about John Newton’s experiences as a Slave trader in Old Calabar. He learns about the humanity of the ‘African savages’ and indeed concludes in the end that they are all one of God’s creatures.
John Newton (24-7-1725 to 21-12-1807) penned the hymn Amazing Grace to the tune of an Efik song he heard while in Calabar and also as a result of his conversion to evangelical Christianity.
I am no film critic but persin still fit tok wetin im eye see (abi I lie?).
Film starts with a peaceful scene of communal harmony then Maria Davies (Joke Silva) starts her narration (Lovely voice). ‘It’s Titanic all over again’ I moan to myself but soon get used to her voice.
The brutality of the slave trade is on display.
A particular character, a Mr Fix it for his Oyinbo oga is Orok (Itam Williamson). He seemed always at pains to show how tough he was. Even when lifting frail little girls he huffs and puffs. A real Uncle Tom he was.
Will not spoil it for you by going into the plot.
The music was good and writing very good. Although the film was written by Jeta Amata, the credits at the end of the film read – additional writing by Nick Moran and Scott Claverdon. It showed. The English use there language differently.
My favourite dialogues was between Newton (Nick Morran) and Oliver Platt (Scott Claverdon ).
Platt was about to shoot Etim (Fred Amata) who had been wrestled to the ground and Newton says to Platt ‘Don’t shoot, a creature of such spirit is worth three of them’
‘But he is dangerous’ said Platt still pointing his pistol at Etim.
‘A civilised man does not shot a thoroughbred for folly. Chain him’ said Newton. I found that very enjoyable.(I hope I am not the only one o).
The scenery was quite good although at times you felt the camera men were trying to out do each other in filming birds and sunsets.
About the 17th scene, the slaves walked down hill in a single line (like lamb to the slaughter) and end up in a big cage. Poignant.
Soon Ansa ( Mbong Odungide) is brought into the cage and she is surprised to find her cousin Etim there. Ansa steals the show. She has a commanding presence and is the centre of attraction in every scene she appears. (Na she win pata pata.).
Like I said before, you guys should all go and buy the film.
Now for some yabbis.
About fourteenth scene; 26.12 minutes on Disc One, the camera scans the carnage left behind by the slave raiders. The belly of the dead witch Doctor is shown. It is still. Etim then wakes up from deep unconsciousness and is as fit as a fiddle. Not even a drop of blood on his head.(Ah ah, a head injury that will send you into comma should leave some wounds now. And man no fit jump up from comma begin run like Ben Johnson, no matter the Viagra or steroids as the case may be).
He sees his wife dead on a bench nearby (how convenient) he laments and sees his child dead and screams. By now the dead witch Doctor can hold his breath no longer and his belly begins to move! 26.52 minutes.(Abi the guy man resurrect?)
Etim looks around and a spear is stuck in the ground, which he grabs and then goes in pursuit of the slave traders (but not before asking directions from a strategically placed crying woman).
2 minutes later a silhouette of Etim reveals his spare bearing a cloth towards the head end. (Bros, were you buy that handkerchief from?).
Fred Amata and Nick Morran did very well, but that Ansa eh…….
Over to second disc. 10.10 minutes. I think this can be classed as a love scene. Ansa and Newton are on the deck with the river in the background. They stand face to face smiling sheepishly and I am really digging this. (That Ansa, she fine o!).
I almost expect Celine Dion to start singing. (You sabi say, man and woman on top deck equals to Di Caprio and Kate Winslet now).
Apparently Simmons (James Hicks, Oyinbo slave raider who has been punished for his ‘sins’ by being shackled with the slaves) has been giving English literature master classes below deck (that hot , smelly, diarrhoea on each other hell hole; some class room!!) and Ansa learned quickly. So quickly she can have a conversation in English and even understand Newton’s complicated sentences. Wonderful!
And most astonishing of all, Ansa’s English gets steadily better as she talks with Newton. Here are excerpts from what she says (I am meant to be talking about the film o, but I am quoting Ansa. Come to think of it, which Nigerian singer had that hit, Baby don’t cry, please don’t cry… Ansa baby… Na Tony okoroji?)
‘We go back’ Ansa says. I will not include Newton’s responses (make una go buy una own copy)
‘But you serve they eat’
‘Tell me what they do’ Etc, etc. With effortless charm she warms her way into Newton’s heart.
Now for the best part of the movie.
John asks her name to which she replies ‘Ansa’. Then she asks his name. He replies like 007. ‘It’s James, James Bond’, but in this case, ‘John. John Newton’.
‘Ha! John John Newton. Good man!!!!’ she says.
From that time till the end of the film she calls him, John John Newton, so naturally. None of that obvious, garish slap stick comedy Nollywood is known for.
Hearing and thinking about John John Newton is still bringing a smile to my face.
Last scene has an English choir sing Amazing Grace followed by a rendition of the same by Maria Davies’ daughter (Chika Chukwu). She (Chika) sang with all the trimmings. It was like Ogbono with Shaki, Cow leg, bokoto, show boy, panla, efritin dey. Black women can sing sha.
At the end of the film Sammie Okposo (Una sabi say Sammie will always deliver) and Abayowa Ojuyah sang Amazing Grace while the credits rolled.
By then I had finished my Guguru and groundnuts totally satisfied.
THANK GOD THE FILM ENDED WITH MARIA DAVIES (JOKE SILVA) AND DAUGHTER (CHIKA CHUKWU) AT JOHN JOHN NEWTON’S TOMB STONE. THE MAN DON DIE. FILM DON FINIS.
AMAZING GRACE 2?
JETA AMATA, DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT.
Babawilly. (Apprentice film amebo). http://babawillyentertainment.com. Myspace.com/babawilly
Thursday, 31 May 2007
I am currently reading a book entitled – The Call for a performing generation by Paul Adefarasin of House on the Rock church Lagos. I guess I am the first person to take this book up Kilimanjaro.
An interesting fact - the Logo of Rock Publishing (Publisher) looks like a book hewn out of one face of Kilimanjaro. This book seems written for me.
On day 2 of our climb I was in my tent reading a House on the Rock book while listening to Hillsong on my MP3 player (on top Kili the big volcanic rock); how ironic.
Chapter 2 of the book – What’s in a name – talks about how our names and .the names of given us by our fathers hunts us down. Joseph the dreamer was used throughout the book as the prime example.
I identified with the book because my father’s name was Jacob and that name got mentioned a few many times in the book. Jacob’s name was changed to Isreal and the rest is history.
My mother’s name is Charity and I find myself doing charity work.
Enough perambulation. Now,to the gist.
Was watching God TV when an old man said ‘its like climbing Mount Everest, not many people do that’. I cannot remember what he was even talking about but the words stuck like glue on my brain.
As Everest is too much wahala, I decided to practice with Kilimanjaro.
I didn’t know where to start. I read an article on a Doctor who was planning the journey to Kilimanjaro and noticed in the article that he was going with – Discover Adventure (DA) and so I gave them a ring.
Fitness- A good level of fitness is advised. DA send out an exercice programme of daily walks etc. I didn’t use their programme as I was on my own fitness regime. I was later to find out that altitude is no respected of fitness.
Clothing- A full list of clothing materials is provided (akin to the boarding house list used in Naija). List includes sleeping bag, sleeping mat, waterproofs, jackets, thermals, trekking trousers, warm hat and gloves, cap, Sun block (I been think say black man no need am; (see pictures), whistle, water bottle, torch light, head etc. All expensive. A good walking boot is a must. Underwear and socks must be changed daily. The maxim to bear in mind is - you look after your feet and your nyarsh at all times (excuse my French).
Swahili is the main language although a lot of Tanzanians speak English.
Shahili words to know are-
Jambo- Hello or Goodbye
Asante Sana- Thank you
Pole pole – Sowly slowly
I actually bought a CD with songs with these titles which I can e-mail to anyone who wants it on MP3 format
Charity- I did it for Sense and my target was £5000 although they expect a minimum of £2,5000. I intend to pass any surplus to the Deaf school in Lagos.
Risk limitation- First to bear in mind is you only die once. Next is to ensure life insurance is in order (in case of incacity!).
Then there are the immunisations. I chop needle sotey my hand bend. I took Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B (not required for trip but mine had ran out), Typhoid, Tetanus and Diptheria, Yellow fever and Meningitis C. On top of that I come nak Malaria tablets- Lariam (fit make person craze) and Diamox for altitude sickness prophylaxis ( I no sure say the thing work).
History in the making.
No one in my village has climbed Kilimanjaro before although rumour has it that some witches did a symposium there in 2003.
One cannot authenticate their claims so to all intends and purposes na Babawilly first reach Kilimanjaro from Ukuagbe Village. E ! Eyeeee! Or should I say Halelu ! haleluyahh!
Outbound Friday, 7 October 2005
Drove from Birmingham to Q-Park long stay, Bath Rd, Yaba. Heathrow and left my car there for 10 days. Took shuttle to Heathrow Terminal 3 and boarded 21.50 hrs flight to Addis Ababa via Rome.
The flight arrived 9.05hrs next day. E bi laik saw Ethiopian Air no like Naija man. The pilot put serious heater on or perhaps Nepa take light for where their aircon dey. Na heat dem take finis us all. Headache plus vomiting – all join. In the heat I had to make corrections on my poetry collection – My time as I needed to e-mail corrections back to Birmingham from Addis Ababa. I will not forget that flight. When mai moni come una no go ever find Babawilly for economy lai lai!
Saturday 8-10-05 12.40hrs depart Addis to Kilimanjaro via Nairobi (na so we dey pick up passenger laik say na Molue we dey). Finally arrived by 16.40Hrs.
Airpoort in Arusha and we travel 1 hoour to Ameg Lodge in Moshi. Nice fenced compound with 2 gate men. E bi laik na Warri we dey only say Nepa and armed robbers no dey here.
The drive from the airport to the Lodge went through various shanty towns. It felt odd driving past African proverty as me sef black laik dem. I see my people dey suffer. Suffer dey Africa paparapa… so the song goes.
Meet my room mate for the night- Steve A teacher from Leeds. We would be sharing a tent for the whole trip. I introduced myself and informed him I snored for England. We switched on the television and it was Angola versus Rwanda. Fifteen minutes later Nigeria was not going to the world cup in Germany. Was a way to start! Persin wan cry but shame no gree me.
We arranged our stuff into 3 parts. One to be left behind at Lodge – including spare clothes, passport and wallet. The second was the rack sac to be carried daily containing water , toilet roll, medicines etc and finally the night bag- a second rack sac with is carried by the porters. PORTERS! PORTERS! I say suffer dey Africa paparapa…..
Must stop to yarn about the porters. 2face talk say ‘me I get plenty things to yarn about eyee’. Well, he is not the only one. This trip is impossible without the porters. Naija man lacking in political correctness will call them ‘Agbero’.
For the 30 of us on the trip there were about 60 porters in all. They go before us in the morning to set up lunch. After the meal dem go wak chop remain, pack up and race to the night camp. Once there they set up the tents for sleeping and the 2 main dining tents.
Then they assist the cook with preparation and serving of supper. After meals they provide water for our bottles and clear up. Next morning they wake us up by bringing hot drinks – a choice of Milo, coffee or tea. Then they help with breakfast before dismantling the tents. Everyone then piles their second bag in a central point for the porters to carry. During the day they make detours to streams to keep up the water supply. 90 people drinking 4 litres a day plus cooking and washing requirements is a lot of water fetching!
On about day three up the mountain some poor guy is sent back down to get fresh fruits and vegetables. He then returns to the next camp with his load.
Suffice to say at the end of the trip we ll contributed $ 70 each to be shared amonst the tour guides and porters. As lvels dey , na he one wey tour guide chop remain e go give porter , abi no bi Naija talk say wetin concern Agbero with over load?
Walahi I go wake Bobby Benson make e come re-record im hit. Na so we go dey sing am-
If you marry Kili Porter
I don’t care
If you marry Kili Porter
I don’t care
If you marry Babawilly
God bless you
If you marry Babawilly
God bless you.
Still 8-10-05. After dinner Ray, our Oga pata pata, ex- soldier and now a Paramedic gave us the ‘rules’. A bit like Brad Pitt in the ‘The Fight Club’ or should I say like RMD in em, em, em- me I no too dey watch Nollywood sef, OK like RMD in Violated 1 ,2 or 3. Na wa.
Rules are you don’t overtake the lead guide, if you wan piss for bush tell persin before you disappear make dem wait, if you must, (how do I say this without causing offence) do No 1+1 then you can leave the deposit behind the rock but the tissue paper must return with you.Simple reason is that above the tree line toilet paper and any other litter will remain for many years to come. E bi laik make you put yua dorti tissue paper for fridge, Tuffia!. Everyone was given a ‘black bag’ to store their used tissue paper. Na tht time persin come talk say we dey lucky. Im friend tell am say for some trip wey dem go, both tissue paper and deposit had to be kept till they came dowm. Chenike! As everything for rack sack dey plastic bag what if persin mistake toothpaste bag for…… Abeg e don do.
Other rules were drink 4 litres a day, look out for each other and eat as much as possible.
Doctor come brief us- anybody wey dey take melesin make e hands up or forever hold im piss (excuse the pun). E talk say if anyone collapse for top of mountain, no bi dat time you go come talk say you be Hypertensive. Small small everybody begin talk wetin dem been no declare for medical form.
Car ride to Machame Gate. We walked up for 5 hours through forest and camped at Machame Camp at 3100m. Una sabi say I be London and Niger delta pickin. All na sea level. 3,100m high o! Na yam?!
First mistake- felt sorry for porters and carried almost 13kg in my rack sack. Persn wan die! Tomorrow will carry as little as possible.
Night was cold. Shared tight tent with Steve. Both of us long pass the tent. See suffer as persin bend knee as space no dey to extend leg.
My first birthday on a mountain! This very time in 1964 my mama was still pregnant.
Sweet mountain, I mean sweet mother
I no forget you
For the suffer I dey suffer, I mean suffer wey you suffer for me o!
The group sing the happy birthday song to me at breakfast. How kind of them. No cake though.
We climb onto Shira plateau walking for 5 hours.
We camp at Shira caves; 3,840m. During the day while walking one switches to automatic pilot. You just keep on walking, hour after hour with eyes fixed on the path. The tour guides encourage with ‘pole pole’. On the small track we keep left when porters approach. They walk with the strength and agility of mountain goats. Some dey even smoke join.
Tonight it rained all night. I shivered to nonsense. By 2am I when out to wee. When I turned round all the tents looked the same. Chineke! Who send me this Kilimanjaro wahala? If you climb wrong tent, woman scream you, don become rapist be that. Na so I dey shiver for darkness with head torch for head laik South African miner till I find my tent come zip am open. See smell of boots wey greet me. Chai!
Another birthday, this time Kim. We sang at the breakfast table. All my body ached and there was no appetite. Ray the oga encouraged us to eat for fuel. Me wey I no dey chop breakfast for house. Dem come sef one kain Oats eh. The thing be like a hybrid of Ogi and Popo garri (tapioca). Man chop but nausea follow. For some reason I assumed mobiles and transitor radios will not pick up signals. Na lie. People were texting and receiving calls. You could even listen to the news in Swahili, (Understanding am na different thing).
As we come dey waka forest finis we enter moorland. All the A3 in geography wey I take shine for St Finbarr’s Akoka begin return to my Okuta Oblongata (Na real grade, no expo). African rift valley system, collision of the African and Eurasian continental plates. E bi laik I don take all the knowledge drink garri. Na the Bible knowledge one sweet me pass ojare. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, case closed.
We walked pass moorland into a lunar desert. Rocks, dust and more rocks. There was a strange looking plant, Like Palm tree were gather Kwashiokor. Shunts trunk with leaves at the top – Senecio Kilimanjari.
Reminded me of all those cowboy films. When I was young I wondered why cowboys woke and climbed their horse begin go. No baff. Shebi none of us don baff. Nobody dey baff onto mountain o! No wonder Moses vex when im reach down dey hear hip hop music. Forty days of suffer. No be say im get porter to dey carry im load. Na commandment e dey write , no chop. Chai!. If na Babawilly I for homicide Aaron one time, break all the tablet of stone on im cranium make e see as e sweet. Golden calf ko golden delicious ni.
Anyway, we walked up to the ‘lava tower’ at 4,800m (for acclimatisation) and walked back down to Barranco Hut at 3,900m). Talk about the grand old duke of York! Which kind yawa be this? Going down I lost co-ordination and gave my bag to a porter called Freddy who looked sixty. He had to carry a rucksack on his back and one his chest. E dey smile as e sabi say I go do something for am.
That evening I was extremely tired. The group doctor came over for a quit word. He felt I was struggling and may have to send me down if things didn’t improve tomorrow. I was disappointed but wetin man go do?
I slept well that night and was reciting a song to myself through the night
those who wait on the lord, shall renew their strength.
They shall mount up with wings as Eagles. They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Lord I wait, Lord I wait one you.
That night I dreamt I was in a battle with a vampire like creature. Suffice to say I brutally stabbed it through the heart. (God punish wicked people dem/ Holy Ghost fire burn dem!).
Today na today. Before us was Barranco wall! A huge climb. First we descend into a ravine then started the rocky tiresome climb. I had fire in my belly today. Scree formed the terrain. Now when I sneezed onto my white tissue paper it was full of dusty catarrh. The temperature slowly stated to drop as we gained height. The views were fantastic. Today I got really scared. It was at kiss the rock time. Here the path came to a point were a big bolder stuck out. You held a rock with your left hand then swing your hand hand and foot across to the other side then get pulled up. If you fell backward at the point, its all over. We all kissed the rock successfully. It was interesting to come to a stream to stock up on water. The Glaciers at the top melt and provide a constant stream. Without the streams climbing the mountain will prove difficult. We put Puritab tablets in the water 30 minutes before drinking. It taste like drinking out of Federal palace hotel’s swimming pool.
We walked for about 8 hours to Barafu camp at 4,600m. Na here trouble start.
The plan was to have supper and sleep for 3 hours then wake up at midnight for the all night walk towards the summit. Dressing for the summit meant layers and layers of clothing which we all slept in.
By the time we were woken up at 12.10am I never even enta gear one of sleep. Bodi no bi fayawood!
Thursday 13-10-05; 12.30am
With head torch in place we started the walk towards the summit in darkness. One had to fix one’s yes on the path as a wrong step could mean injury. By about 5am I began to wane. By 6.30am the journey was over for me. I was going so ‘pole pole’ I had to stop. Ray our oga their his best to urge me on but I was just to nauseous and exhausted. I porter was found to take me down. The sun was rising over mount Meru and it began to warm up my frozen toes. I told the porter whose name was Whitey to give a chance to rest. He advised we go back down due to the –10C temperature. Inactivity will make us hypothermic. Na lie. Man nak rack sac as pillow begin dose. Next minute I was vomiting profusely. Better out than in as they say. I dosed and froze for 1 hour then began the climb down stopping to catch my breath every 10 minutes. I tried my water bottle and it was half frozen. After a drink my temperature dropped and I started to shiver.
Whitey offered to hold my hand and I refused. E neva bad reach so.
We walk down for a few hours and it soon became obvious I couldn’t make simple decisions such as where best to place my foot when faced with different stones.
Whitey took my hand and lead me like a child. We got to Mweka camp at 3,000m and I promptly fell into deep sleep. I soon woke up and began to cry. I have too many problems in this life. How can I get so close and have to turn back? Is that not like walking over to success and taking a photograph with it but not actually achieving it? At least my pickins will know the direction of success (what ever success means) as their Papa don should dem, I thought to myself in consolation. But to be lead down like a child. Nobody has held my hand and lead me anywhere for years. Not since that riot broke out when I won MR Uniben in 1983 (or was it 1984?) and had to be smuggled out of the main auditorium at Ugbowo campus to escape flying bottles. I still remember lying on the floor of Chinaku’s car. (Me sef, I be coward sometimes o!). Then there was my late father who lost his sight and had to be lead like a child. I cried for all my problems then dosed.
The rest of the group came back and we were all too ill for super. There was so much leftovers tonight.
I slept very well at Mweka camp tonight.
I will lift up my hands in praise
For I know
You are always there for me
You are my all in all
No matter what I face
When trouble comes my way
I will praise you Lord.
This Wale Adenuga wey write this song. May God bless am well well.
In good spirits today. Having breakfast when a scream rent through the air. We saw a group of porters running down hill with a strecher held up high. On it was a White lady in her early fifties screaming. Suddenly it went silent.
I wondered if she had broken a leg. Our two group doctors ran off to see what was going on. Next minute there was a frantic rush for the medical bag. I left the table with another nurse.
It looked bad. A cardiac arrest at 3,000m. Work start. All the camp watched from afar as we battled for almost half an hour or so to bring back this woman to life. I have seen many deaths during my medical career but this one was painful. I have my sun glasses on so I could cry some more in peace. I was absolutely drained. Just who send me message? All my problems seemed so far away (as Beatles talk). I just dreaded to think that someone will ring her relatives with this news. It was too much for me. I just put on my headphones and listened to Micheal W Smith. That one sef wan make person cry more.
Ray our oga gathered the group and explained what had happened. It was time to go down. The mountain operates a one way system You go up an ascent route which differs from the descent route. This makes sense as some of the paths are quite narrow.
Going down hill was not easy. My toes were squashed at the front of my boots and painful blistered ensued. The thought of Ameg Lodge spurred me on. It was down through beautiful forests to Mweka Gate where lunch awaited. Most didn’t eat as we all wanted to get back.
It was nice to be back in the real world again. In the Lodge we had a welcomed shower. My neck was well burnt. That night was the celebration dinner and award of certificates.
When I see the certificates of those wey reach Uhuru peak wey say- congratulations for reaching Africa’s highest peak then come look my own wey say - this is to certify that Dr W Orhiunu attempted the highest peak in Africa- my eye come red. Attempted ko attempted ni.
Me I dey go back next year! (And I need a big Naija sponsor like Glo or MTN or or or … )
That night I stayed in and read The call to a performing generation till 2am. The passion of the Christ came on. The beating scene fear me. I know say na acting but make comot face after a while. I learnt a lot tonight.
Off to Moshi town for gifts but first we had to change money. When with Ruth, Carol and Douglas from Glasgow. We looked like JJCs in town. Found a bureau de change and changed at $1 to 1000 Tanzania Shillings. Local guys no gree us rest. Everyone had something to sell. I got gifts and music and then it was back to the hotel. Packed as we get up 3am for flight back. Goodbyes to those staying behind for Safaris and extended holidays. A few staying back for charity work.
Up at 3am. In the coach at 3.30am. Got to airport and had to sit around after checking in. Then its take off at 6.20am to Daressalam (like Molue to pick up passengers) which is south. We then come back pass Kilimanjaro to Nairobi. Then it is off to Addis Ababa. We arrived at 10.45am. Hung around the internet café at the airport till take off by 12.50 pm . Off we go to London via Rome. We wasted about 40 minutes in Rome before heading to London. Touched down by 9pm.
Got to Q Park and was sitting in my car by 10.30pm. Walahi, I had forgotten how to drive but ‘pole pole’ I made it home.
Dr Wilson Orhiunu
View Pictures of trip on http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/2040682
Dr W Orhiunu. PO Box 12835. Sutton Coldfield. Birmingham. B73 9ED.
home Page - http://babawillyentertainment.com
Quoted Music from
Bobby Benson- Taxi Driver
Fela Anikulapo- Army Arrangement
Prince Nico Mbarga- Sweet Mother
2Face Idibia- Nfana Ibaga (No problem)
Wale Adenuga (Fountain of Life)- Today O.
Thanks to all who made my trip possible. God bless my children who constantly inspire me to be the best that I can be.
Thanks Eddy Arouture for the Tanzania Visa forms, all my patients for their love and concern, (dem fear say I fit no return), Shelagh for the extra bag, Sutton Coldfield News, Sutton Coldfield Observer, Doctor Magazine, Resurection Life Assembly Birmingham for love and prayers and God almighty for saving my bacon up that mountain.
God almighty na you bico!
Edited version of this article Published in The Guardian Nigeria; Saturday 19th August 2006 9In Funke Treasure's column)