An Ibadan Boy’s Baptism

For some of us that were born and raised in Ibadan, it is easy to take all the great things the city offer for granted, we are used to it, we expect it, it does not amuse us anymore. This situation continues until you move away from the city for a long time and you reminisce, like last night.

I had one of those moments when I remembered my baptism to the true spirit of Ibadan, the spirit that gives more than you bargain for. The Ibadan spirit gives you a hundred for 50, 80 for 40. And if you are fortunate to encounter someone who was raised around, Oje, Idi Arere, Mapo, you might just get 200 for your 20.

Mostly, I had the responsibility of following my mother to the market, the legendary Bodija market- if you do not know Bodija market, where then do you know?

I loved following her to the market for a reason, mummy would never let you suffer, going to the market was more of having someone to talk to, not because she wanted you to do any hard work. She had friends in the market, and most times, my job was to stay at one of those shops while she went about the market to buy things, then she would bring bought stuffs for me at the shop to watch while she went again, of course every-time she came back, she would bring something for me to munch, Pito, Buns, Puff Puff or Kulikuli were regulars

On one of those occasions, her friends were not around, so she was forced to take me around the market. We were at a point where we wanted to buy garri, my mum had bargained for nearly ten minutes, I was tired, but at a point the garri seller was distracted, and before long we knew why, another customer approached her- “Mama, o ni garri, elo ni congo garri yin” the new customer sked.

As she asked that question, she dipped her hands in the tray of garri and without permission, heaped a handful which went straight to her mouth. The garri trader did not even bother to respond, she just bent, brought out a sachet of pure water from under her tray, gave to the woman and said “e gba e mu omi si, I have been watching you since, this is the fifth stand where you will eat garri, just drink water ehn, if your objective is to have lunch in the market, you must be full already, start all over at 7pm, you will have dinner too, olosi onijekuje, iru yi o gbodo se eniyan lowo o”

My heart skipped, I was shocked, I watched the customer as she opened her mouth wide, but she could not say a word- she was caught! she probably wanted to say something but she just could not find it- well she collected the water and left. I looked at my mum and saw no surprise. I asked after we left the woman why she was not surprised, she said what is new in that- it is Bodija market, and it is Ibadan.

I have my dad’s height, mum has a relatively small stature, but still, I have not seen any other person that is more respectful, even if mum raised you, if you get married today, she will not call you by your first name anymore, she changes from ‘O’ to ‘E’, she addresses you with respect. So as we moved around the market, she saw one of the ladies she helped raise in the area where she grew up, of course she was married, and mehn, she had added weight, she looked like my mum’s big sister.

As usual, my did that respectful knee bending, perhaps I may not know how to describe it, but if you are a Yoruba/Ibadan woman, you will understand. My mum, was like “Ekasan, eku ojo meta, shey alaafia ni…..” the woman probably felt her new size meant something, or my mum was intimidated, so she called my mum by her first name “Taiye (my mum is Taiwo), bawo ni, awon omo re nko”. I saw the shock on my mum’s face, and I saw the instant recovery too,

Mummy responded “Daadaa ni o, Awon omo ti e naan ko. Mosun, o ma ti sanra, abi ojo wo naa ni yi, ti mo ma n fa e dani lo si school, omo o ki n pe dagba o, how your sister, your eldest sister, the one we were in class together” (I cannot translate abeg)

I saw a thunder like reaction on Aunty Mosun’s face, her legs shook, and trust the other ibadan women around, they knew what just happened, they had started laughing at aunty Mosun. An old woman who equally saw what happened she stepped in, looked at Mosun and said “you are disrespectful, who doesn’t know this madam is older than you, yet she respected you like that”, then she turned to my mum, “iya oko mi, e kare, olorun a ba mi wo omo yin”. At that moment I knew my mum was a star, never seen her true ‘ibadanness’ in motion till that day.

As they bade each other goodbye, I told my mum that was pretty fast, that how did she do that effective come back, she said “Oko mi, ibi ti were ba ti teni, la ti n te were naa, ojo ti oju ba ri ibi ni ibi n wo’le”

Throwback Thursday

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About Me

My life’s journey is that of many parts, every day I try to bring all the parts to an agreement, but I am yet to succeed at that, or maybe I shouldn’t even be trying to do it, I really don’t know yet- but while at it, I try to find how each part makes me better, and how each part can make the society better

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