Tuesday, October 14, 2008


The Nigerian independence anniversary came and went ‘as usual’. This year I promised myself to add more dose to my ‘patriotism pack’, so I made sure I wasn’t at any Refugee identification camp therefore I travelled up Rome to stay near home and feast with my Muslim friends at Ramadan as we wait for the independence, a day after. I was also to attend the ‘STOP RAZZISMO’ demonstration in Rome city on the 4th October, so you can see I had all good reasons to pray not to be called up for any job far from the Eternal city - SPQR- for a week, not minding I needed the money than ever.

The independence was very much on my mind because of the increase dose of patriotism which I am trying out once more, therefore we planned to meet with some of the Nigerian kids that spent two weeks holiday with us in August; I continued with this mini project while some of my colleagues waited for the ‘usual’ annual invitation from the Embassy, ( I know how KINGDOMS function) so I cared less, however, I won the bet with my theories on Kingdoms. They got no invitations this year!!!; Some felt bad because they do not know how Kingdoms function. In my next post I will say more of what I have learnt from the italo_naija lots of this old but new KINGDOM in Rome.

As I drove to a shopping complex on the 30th September ,my new dose of patriotism was somehow pricked by some scene that I never imagined in Italy. Italy where I have seen more that 15.000 Nigerian prostitutes (hustlers they call themselves),where all known and unknown deviant cults in Nigeria are having growing proselytes, Italy with more Nigerian Pentecostal churches than in Nigeria herself, Italy that ever male Nigerian is regarded as a liar, ‘pusher’, trickster or a potential ‘underground junior Mafioso’; Italy also where the Nigeria community is regarded as the most schooled ; a paradox.

We may be everything and can be expected to be getting to other levels but I never had the bad sensation I had when I saw a group of Nigerians (young, handsome, healthy) boys calling on cars at the parking lot of that mall the way some “ALAYE BOYS” do in Lagos. They beckoned on me with the typical vulgar Nigerian hiss you only hear in Lagos, (the sort some old Fulanis use to recall errant cattle to the flock) with fake accompanying bowings and genuflections still typical of what you see among Eko ruffians and in some other regions of Nigeria. All these for an exchange of some coins or to return your trolley for the coin inside it. This was not a bad thing per se compared to other comportments of Nigerians here , I just couldn’t contain the exportation of this way of life which I suppose we can do without here. I was particularly angered because they were very nice looking youths …Nigerian future and hope…?

They woke me up from my sleep, infringed my dream and the little dose of patriotism I was administering to my ‘patriotism pack’ throughout this period.

They rushed on me and the following conversation ensued :
Boy Ciao
Me . how no?
Boy. You speak English?
Boy. You be Naija?
Me . before nko?
Boy . haaa omo naija miiii
Me you?
Boy. I be Yoruba
Boy I be igbo
Boy I be edo
Boy I be urobo
Boy I be edo
Me, OK ,me I be igbo.. Enugu state ..wawa man.
Boys laughs…. hahaha
Boy . I think don see you before . You be police ?
Me. Nooooo.
Boy. But I saw you working with the immigration police at the station?
Boy. Even me I remember I don see you the time they rescue us from water from Libya come Italy for Sicilian sea side You enter military vehicle that day.
Me. Yes na me . Every person wey dey work with police no be police. Police dey under ministry of Internal affair and no be only them dey there, and other international agencies handle refugee matters.
Boys. Ok bros we for say oooo!! Haa police people no be good people oo.
Me. But na them rescue you guys .
Boys. That one be true sha

A lot of their problems were discussed before I went to do my shopping. They were seven but two never cared to come close , they were busy hawking or begging for money which they exchanged with stockings, napkins etc.
When I came out two gently came to help me with my bags. One of them saw in the bag some cavolfiori ..(cauliflower). And this sparked another discussion on cross-cultural nutrition /food .
Boy. Ahh Oga you dey chop this thing?
Me . yes my brother you no like am?
Boy. Noooo. God no gree. That thing sabi smell oo. I no go even enter house wey them cook am.
Me. Na the same story. I had the same story when I came newly., now I even pay to eat it in the restaurant .
Boy. You mean you use your sweated money to order and eat this?
Me . yes. no be the same as to come buy am here and cook.
Boy. Bros na him be se you don stay too much for this oyinbo country , you don become one of them oo, no go home remain youooo.

Sincerely I couldn’t contain my laughter. I gave them my card and some addresses for assistance and left.
Meeting these 5 Nigerian (Libyan boys- name for those entering through the desert and sea) really deflected and altered my dreams of Nigeria and that my new dose of patriotism, but I must admit it was fun talking with them. Nigerians can be fun and sincere in telling you their mind if you are able to relax them quick in a communication.
Lets continue the dream.


Anonymous said...

Very lovely

Anonymous said...

I don't eat that thing also.
It is not in Nigeria and smells like fermented cassava.



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