Home is where the heart is, they say. I tend to agree, especially the older l get. I just got back from a trip to my country of birth, Nigeria. It was a 3 week visit with Mummy, and the rest of my siblings. It was absolutely wonderful. As l said previously, I am one of eight children by my mom. It was the first time in a while that all of us (except for my late sister) were in the same place at the same time. We tend to travel a lot. You will find that true about most Nigerians. They will travel far and wide to provide for their family. I was impressed as to how the whole Ebola thing was being handled. Upon arrival, you are asked to fill out a form detailing your flight itinerary, and contact details. Your temperature is taken at the passport control, and if it’s high or they have cause to investigate further, you are taken out of line for further questioning etc. Billboards, radio and television ads reminded people constantly what to watch for, do and where to report.
My mom had suffered a stroke about 4 years back, and her short term memory is still not very good. Usually, it takes her about 2-3 days after my arrival for her to fully recognize me. Imagine my delight when she knew who l was, right from the get go. She more alert than the last time l saw her. Not bad for an 89 year old widow! My days consisted of hanging around with my mum, siblings and extended family, of which there is a lot! A whole lot.. :-) .
I also indulged myself with massages, body scrubs, facials. The exchange rate is so favorable ($1 to 175n) , that a massage for instance costs $9 for 1 hour, and that’s with them coming to your house, so of course l had one a week :-) . It was also a mere $6.50 for a manicure/pedicure, home visit. My sisters and l indulged quite a bit. I also needed a new pair of glasses. My sister made one phone call, and the optometrist sent over a whole bunch of frames that he thought would fit my face from a picture l sent him. I chose a pair, he took my glasses with him to duplicate the prescription and brought them back the next day along with my new pair. Total cost? – roughly $30. I made sure to tip generously. Life is hard for over 90% of the population, who exist on way less than $100 a month salary. Yes, l could have fought traffic and gone to the salons etc..but why? to save and extra dollar or so? .. Mmmmm… no!
I got to crash a party with my sister-in-law, so l can cross that off my bucket list. She had an invite to a 60th birthday party, and asked me to come along. Despite what it said on the invitation, l wasn’t even questioned by the guards. I was wearing the color theme. Not only was the table front and center, the food absolutely delicious, the entertainment fabulous, l even got a swag bag.
My siblings and l got to check up on a health center that we had taken upon ourselves to improve. It is located in the little village that my dad grew up in. To say it was in desperate condition would be putting it mildly, the birthing room especially, and the ancient equipment. It has improved vastly already, new roof, better equipment, paint etc. It was quite busy when we visited, and would have been inappropriate to take pictures. I refuse to show you the before pictures.
A Traditional Nigerian Wedding Celebration:
One of my favorite nieces got married. She recently moved back home after college in Dallas. That was a fun weekend. My outfits were tailored at the last minute, based on the measurements l sent home via email. I should have added a couple of inches, so as to allow myself to eat and sit comfortably. It was only after the first day that l mentioned how tight fitting it was, that l was told you had to pull the skirt up, then sit. What a relief the second day!!! :-) :-) :-) . It was a traditional wedding. There were 750 invited, l estimate at least another 300 “mo gbo, mo ya” which translates to “I heard, l came”. My sister tried to be fancy by handing out this credit card invites, which you had to turn in to be seated…hah hah hah!!!.. didn’t work…it did provide quite the laugh for us though!!! This is Naija after all! :-) . You add it in to your costs. Just as I crashed that party, so did many at this wedding.
Marriage in Nigeria is a booming business and one that keep thriving. Nigeria is a very populous country and they love celebrating unions more than anything. Your Nigerian wedding pictures can be taken by the most talented photographers. The Nigerian traditional wear is scouted at markets throughout the country to find the best colors and price. The Nigerian bridesmaid dresses are also either hand sewn or bought at retail and then embellished if needed. Nigerian traditional weddings are a lot of work, both for the bride and groom, but also for the parents. They also cost an amazing amount of money because the Nigerian culture is a very competitive one. There is the constant need to outdo each other. I think that probably holds true for any African wedding.
Since most Nigerian traditional wear are sewn by hand, it is very rare to see 2 of the same design, unless it’s co-ordinated. People are influenced by Nigerian traditional wedding style design magazines that are plentiful, and then put their own unique stamp on it. Since they are hand sewn and custom made, the sky is the limit as to what you can do with your outfit, for example adding rhinestones to the material, gold, dipping it to make a unique colour. The same thing goes for the shoes and jewellery, and yes..the shoes.
Pin: Nigeria Traditional Wedding
l find myself embracing the simple things in life..like home, family… and laziness! :-) , How about you? any plans to be with family soon? holidays are coming up! Are you headed home?