I went visiting home – Naija several days ago. It was a trip of mixed feelings. I was happy to see home and family but not too happy with the slow progression of things back home. The government just hasn’t served its people well.
Well, all is well that ends well. It was a good trip and I traveled back to base in Dubai, jumping right back into the bus(y)ness of life.
Lady Lee’s all set off to the Philippines – another country on my list. I know she’ll bring back loads to see 🙂
If you would like to show us your neighbourhood, the challenge is quite simple and you can find out more about it through this link.
Trying to blog on my phone is a trying affair, to say the least. I haven’t sat down for more than a few minutes since I got to Lagos because I’ve got a lot to cover in just a few days. Lots of family and friends to see, laughter and gossip to catch up on.
I can’t believe how the days are flying past. I just boarded the plane how many hours ago on Sunday and now it’s Wednesday with only two more days to spend here.
I feel happy that I came and yet sad at the same time. Lagos is still my Lasgidi, though it seems as if things have been at a stand still with the poor government that has done its’ best to keep its people in poverty.
The wonderful thing about this place is the resilience of its’ people. The larger than life attitude towards life that they possess.
I am thankful for this opportunity to visit home once again. For family and good friends. For an epileptic light and internet service, bumpy, dusty roads 😉 it’s all good.
It is said that no one knows what tomorrow will bring and according to my people, we say that ‘tomorrow is pregnant and also backing a baby.’
Therefore, be wholly thankful for today that you have with you. There’s always something to be thankful for.
If you wish to participate in a gratitude challenge, there are several gratitude/thankful platforms in the blogosphere that you can tune into and get your ithankful going on. I can’t express in words the enormity of Joy and fulfillment that comes from having a heart of gratitude. Please check out Maria’s blog, Colline’s blog and Bernadette’s for thankful/gratitude challenges.
You meet some people and the connection is so awesome that you are simply thankful you got to meet them. ‘
‘Nedu is one of such people that I’ve met in cyberspace and when I call her my home girl and sister, it’s for many reasons that goes beyond enjoying her entertaining posts.
We are both Nigerians and of the Igbo tribe. I am not sure she knows this, one of my native names is also Chinedu – short for ‘Nedu like her’s and lastly, we both love Lagos. She currently blogs from Lagos and even though I left many moons ago, I’m still a Lasgidi chic.
Whenever I get to go home again, this enterprising, fine chic owes me some pepper soup and small chops. 😉
Thank you, sis, for granting this interview.
Let’s know a bit about you.
My name is ‘Nedu Ahanonu, I work as an Investment Analyst by day, Blogger by night and DIY sewist at the weekend.
I enjoy well-crafted satires and clever puns. I like genuine acts of kindness and I dislike an unfounded sense of entitlement.
As I’ve gotten older and wiser, I’ve come to the realisation that life is as simple as we choose to make it. One must learn to take full responsibility for both their enthusiasm and happiness.
Why blog? What’s your blogging experience being like?
It all started as a blog where I’d showcase my completed personal sewing projects, then it gradually evolved into a fusion of both my musings and the sewing construction process.
My main motivation was to show readers that sewing wasn’t rocket science at all, it simply required practice and a can-do attitude.
Blogging has been a wonderful experience, it’s giving me a platform to share my thoughts. I’m particularly thankful for the opportunity to build a supportive network of virtual friends.
The post about Lagos I-live-here was a big hit with readers because they could relate with the many idiosyncrasies of a fast-paced city.
My favourite post has got to be this one- I’m-not-giving-up-on-you because the underlying message about having a positive perspective, inspires me.
What’s your typical day like?
My weekdays are pretty much routine, commuting to the office, working and commuting back home after conquering the monster that camouflages as Lagos traffic.
Weekends are far more interesting, there’s always something to do in Lagos! I go shopping for fabric and sewing accessories at least once a month, there’s something about fabric that excites me, I guess it’s the possibility of creating a beautiful garment.
So, what plans do you have in the offing?
I’m an avid muser and it’s my deepest wish to write a book someday once I convince myself that my past and present experiences plus my imagination are sufficient material for a best-selling novel.
With regards to the sewing aspect, I recently launched a Sewing Club, which is a nice transition from simply writing about my hobby to actually teaching a live class.
One of the side effects of moving around so much is that a lot of times you find your heart in different places and you get nostalgic. Some days I wake up with severe pangs to find myself in Houston, France, Abuja or anywhere my heart wanders to.
This weekend, I have pangs to be in Lagos, my Lasgidi. I would probably be attending a wedding or one social event. There’s always something to celebrate even against all economic odds. The two photos are from weddings attended during my last visit in 2015.
Lagos toughens you up! When I talk about Grace and Mercy watching out for me, it is with the deepest conviction of my heart.
I have been through so many scary moments, that some day’s when I look at myself with all my appendages intact, I know that it is not sheer luck.
‘‘That my life is a testimony.”
My guardian angel has been on full time duty!
If you have lived in Lagos and did not experience one or two hairy-scary moments in your life, then as a matter of compulsion, you have to do Thanksgiving.
It is a bustling, heavily populated, quirky and awesomely crazy city that busts at it seams with rich culture and entertainment.
The commercial nerve center of Nigeria.
As a Lasgidi babe; once a Lagos chic, always a Lagos chic, I love my Lagos to bits, but I also detest a good number of things about it.
To cut a long story short, back in the days when daylight robbery was almost a norm, I was mugged 3 different times at 3 different locations and in the same city by the one’s that are called ” Area boys.”
Secondly, I have faced the barrel of a shotgun of the ‘men of the underworld’ aka highway robbers, 3 consecutive times.
Once was during the wee hours of the morning when they came calling, the next time was on the high street in my car and yet again, shortly before Christmas just as I left a bank.
It scared the jeepers out of my life. My skin flew off my bones in fright and in the last incident for the first time, I was violently ill and experienced an unbelievable migraine. Nightmares ensued and I fled to Europe for several weeks to calm my nerves.
Several months following these incidents, when a stranger came too close, I would practically jump out of my skin, my knees would get all trembly and my pulse rate would simply get erratic.
Indeed, when I look back and think of the times that I stared death in the face, I marvel. One day, I shall write a comprehensive story of these moments.
The rampage in Lagos has gone down over the years.
The robberies are of a more sophisticated nature these days, but there was a season when the men of the underworld reigned supreme!
This glitzy city of Dubai is growing on me in its own way and I think that it could probably burrow its way much more into my heart if the inhabitants looked less like they sucked on sour grapes half of the time.
Whats with all the serious look, that to wangle a greeting or a smile is almost like a visit to the dentist, where you reluctantly have to open your mouth?
Hard forbidding looks, frowns and cold stares are offered as if you would steal their smile or as if the smiles are worth pots of gold.
With a little more observation, I have found that the warmer ones around here are the Filipinos, who are quick to offer a greeting with a smile as they try to cajole you to patronize them.
They are closely followed by the Russian and Ukrainian ladies, then the Indian and Chinese who all want to make quick sales and who know that these foreigners visiting or living here might have a little extra cash at hand.
The Pakistanis are a bit rough around the edges, though their sleek tongued sales men are usually dressed more dapper in tight tailored to fit suits and Mohawk shaped crops gelled into place with enough fritz that the spikes will not even waver under a windstorm.
The Pakistani drivers hurtle down the highway at aggressive speed, hardly allowing you space to inch in on the road. They duly remind me of my Lagos brothers whose method of ‘shan’t gree’/not allowing you to enter the road, is similar to theirs.
The blacks around are as black as they come. The Ethiopians who are half wishing they are Arabs, therefore not quite sure whether they should fraternize with other blacks or not and then the hustling Nigerians who are looking for goods to ship back to an ever demanding and increasing consumer Nation of over 173 million.
It is an incredible potpourri of Nationalities and I am discovering them as I go on.
The rest of the crew are their usual lukewarm selves, neither cold nor hot, just pursed lips like people who have bad case of gas.
If I could spend my time equally divided between two places right now, I would choose my home’s in Houston, Texas and Lagos, Nigeria.
I miss both places, with severe doses of nostalgia sometimes, more so at this time of the year with the holidays floating in the air. I miss my friends in Houston, I miss the Texas Multicultural Women (a Non-Governmental Organization that I belong to), I miss my library runs, my parish – Christ The Redeemer, I miss school volunteer work, my quiet neighbourhood, the parks that were close to home and so much more.
There is no Christmas like that spent back in my native land in Nigeria. I miss the crazy hustle and bustle.
I miss the warmth of family, friends and even strangers alike. I miss the smiling faces and the loads of social events.
These pangs are not easy for me to capture in words.
Most Nigerians I know love to have a good party or what we Lasgidi people (I was once a Lagos babe, so I am always a Lagos babe) call Owambe, where you will wiggle your waist to vibrant music till the wee hours of the morning.
The social scenery is such a robust one with all manners of lavish events going on every weekend from child dedication, to birthday party, weddings (always tops the list) anniversaries, burial ceremonies and so on.
We do not do these things in half measures and even a man whose pockets are to let by society standards, will still manage to put something together that will bring his neighours gathering.
If I were to put an owambe together for my closest one, my husband or my mother, out of all the countries that I have visited, I would still choose to have my party in Naija. We know how to rock it well!
Our parties are never small, so we generously prepare for lots of guests (even uninvited ones who will tag along).
You need a large enough space to accommodate all and sundry that will gather to celebrate with you.
Our parties are most times preceded with a church thanksgiving depending on the occasion, before everybody convenes at the party venue.
Of course, the Dee-Jay would have the music on a spin with a good mix that will bring most people to their feet and in between dancing, small chops, drinks, party favours are handed out.
We also sew elaborate or buy very glamourous outfits to suit these occasions and the jolliness is usually infectious.
We never bother with RSVP because we always make sure that Rice and Stew is Very Plenty! (Just spoke it with my pidgin accent on my mind)
We are asked to use our maps as our muse. To tell you about where we’ve come from. About where we’ve been and the places that we have not been to but would like to be and how all these ‘where’s‘ have shaped who we are through our connections with them.
Now, this is a tough choice for me, because my roaming heart has roosted in many places. Some sojourns brief and some for extended periods of time and yet it hasn’t stopped roaming.
I have fallen in love with them all. You may question ”how can she fall in love with so many things?” I will tell you that I believe in going wherever I go or doing whatever I do with all my heart.
I will tell you that falling in love with many things, makes you see the beauty of these things/places/people beyond the peripheries. If you care to say; why would you invest so much emotions into this places? My question would be, Why not?
I choose to love the places that I have lived or been to because I go there, not seeking for things to criticize about their culture or place, but seeking to understand, to know more and to appreciate more.
Thus, all the places that my feet have rested on, have one way or the other decorated my heart.
Join me for a brief and quick jaunt with the GPS of my heart and see these places through my rose-spectacle vision.
I flit like a delicate butterfly;
Over expanses of space and through cycles of time;
I perch on many lovely petals;
Inhaling intoxicating fragrance;
Sensitized by lushness and soft feels;
It draws a sigh from me;
When they say hello!
University of Nigeria Nsukka: A peaceful, sleepy enclave situated in Nsukka, which is a small town and Local Government Area in South-East Nigeria in Enugu State.
The place of my birth and where I lost my milk teeth. A home to thousands of great academics who have passed through it’s corridors and are dispersed all over the diaspora doing great exploits. From The First President of Independent Nigeria – Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, to Nobel Laureate – Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie, my humble self and so many others.
Let us wander a bit down the red earth beaten path of this charming campus of academics which my parents were part of. I am doubtful if our GPS would work, but I can follow my nose because it knows.
Lovely bungalows occupied by university staff, line the campus quarters streets, from the twining streets of Fulton Avenue to Margaret Cartwright, from Alvin Loving to Eze-Opi crescent, from Odim Street to Mbonu Ojike; just to name a few.
The bungalows are only separated by well kept Cashuarina hedges, Queen of the night flowers, Purple Hibiscus, Honeysuckle plants or Bougainvilleas. The whistle of the swaying whistling pines pierces through the air frequently. It is also a breezy and cool town.
A community where everybody knows everybody else and their business. Birthdays, marriages, deaths, successes and failures were shared alike. A place where you know that Mr. Francis the shoemakers daughter would be getting married next Saturday and a communal bus is obtained to convey neighbours for the event. A place where Mama Uju was sure to inform you when Uju has put to bed and she is off to stay for weeks of ”Omugwo” in her daughters house.
It is a town that reminds me of mango trees heavy laden with fat juicy fruits, of sweet sticky cashew fruits, of the best bananas this side of the planet, of lazy summers spent with friends, of the cold harmattan seasons when red dust curled up in the air painting us in light earthy dust and we glittered like happy urchins.
Nostalgic recollections of school days and bicycle races, of promenades and church bazaars, of picnics and the end of year parties, something was always going on and you could smell Christmas around the corner coupled with the pursuits from local masquerades.
All escapades were duly taken note of and oftentimes, an honorary auntie or uncle was willing to straighten you out even before your parents were privy to the embellished version of your hell-raising ways. Of course, this will be followed by more straightening from your parents and sufficient catechism to exorcise every rebellious spirit that might be festering in you 🙂
By the way, the Reverend is probably not just the towns priest but also a good friend of the family, so your confessions had better be sanctified enough not to make him suffer palpitations.
A brief detour through Enugu, the city of my undergraduate days where I discovered my nubile young self. Getting up to mischief that would definitely turn our Reverends hair white in an instant. The city where this young girls heart first knew what it meant to feel deflated. My first independent move away from daddy’s sharp eyes and mummy’s apron strings.
If you ask me, I will always tell you that I am first and foremost a Naija woman, secondly an Achi native (my homestead), thirdly, an Nsukka child fourthly a Lasgidi babe and lastly a citizen of the World.
Lagos my Lagos: One of the most fascinating metropolis that you will ever visit. You hardly have an idea of what to expect next minute. It is the largest city in Africa, teeming wall-to-wall with people, bumper-to-bumper with cars, noise and pollution beyond belief. Highways and flyovers are jammed with hold-ups and go-slows on top, and tin-and-cardboard shacks underneath.
It is the economic and cultural powerhouse of the country, with much thanks to an absurd wealth of oil money, it has an exploding arts and music scene that will keep your ”yansh” gyrating far past dawn at ”Owambes.”
Lagos holds a lot of good memories for me; from my working years at The French Embassy and British American Tobacco to the actual succumb to throes of love for my husband whom I met in Lagos, before he whisked me off on a whirlwind nomadic journey.
If you’re headed to Nigeria, you’ll have no choice but to jump right into the madness here.
One day, I shall talk about the stints in other places:
Of France and a romantic dalliance;
Of Switzerland and the quaint apartment on Rue de Geneve;
Of London and Liverpool and the tale of the accents mingled with near drowning episodes in Earl Grey Tea;
Of the West African States, the neighbours like brothers;
Of Amsterdam, Brussels, Strasbourg and the likes;
Of Johannesburg, Cape Town and my thoughts;
New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Baltimore, Houston, California, Austria, Venice, Kenya, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Sao Tome Principe, Istanbul……..the GPS of my heart is really busy.
Omugwo: The birth of a baby In Igboland and other eastern Nigerian ethnic groups means that the nursing mother and child has to be ministered unto by a very close and experienced female relation. In most cases, the person who takes care of her, is her mother. If the mother is not alive or around, her step-mother performs the functions.
Yansh: Your backside.
Lasgidi: Another name for the city of Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city.
Naija: Naija is another name for Nigeria, the patriotic name for Nigerians to show their strength and smartness.