Chronicles of Papi - Papi in the Village
I got to the village feeling like I just got back from “the abroad”, I mean I even called my Dad to ask if he could send someone to come pick me up from the airport (so he’ll know I came by flight, if you dare laugh, I’ll deal with you), he said there was no one, I could have come out of the airport and used public transport, but no, I wanted them to know I had arrived, so I used the airport’s car hire service, and the cost was enough to take me back to Lagos by bus, but I was not bothered, I had to hit our house in grand style (una know as e dey go when onwa December don reach na).
The moment we left the airport, I had to ask to be certain I was in the right place, ‘cause everything had changed, the roads tarred, beautiful cars and buildings everywhere, it was a sharp contrast with what I left, then the road was red earth, there were no beautiful buildings, just trees, we had electric poles without wires, now there was power- real development.
We got to my Father’s house and we passed it twice before I called him to ask if they had moved to another location, because I really did not recognize the place, till my Mom stepped out of a gate, a beautiful ornamented gate, the joy on my Mom’s face when she saw me was priceless, and she almost threw me to the ground
“Lekwanu nwa m ooo (see my child), Papi, wetin chop? See as you big, you don turn man finish ooo” My Mom said. I got into the compound and couldn’t believe my eyes, some serious transformation had taken place, and there were beautiful cars too.
“Mama, is this our house?” I asked in Queen’s English
“E get another one wey you build for us?” She asked
“Are these cars Papa’s?” I asked, trying to sound like a psychedelic scholar
“Bia enyi a, wetin be all this supri supri you dey talk? That car there na ya Papa own, this one na my own, the three wey dey there na Cletus, Romanus, and Titus own” She added. I was shocked on several levels, shocked that so much had happened in my absence and I didn’t know
“But why una no tell me na?” I asked, switching to the pidgin of my Motherland.
“Leave that matter, come inside come chop better ofe owerri with better 6 to 6, nwa m a biala, come make we snap slefie sef, I wan show them my fine pikin for Wozzup” My Mom took out an iPhone from her wrapper to snap, my jaw dropped,
“Mama na iPhone be that?”
“Ehn na phone, na Cletus give me this one, you like am abi, the thing fine ehnn, I go use am pose for our ndi nne meeting, m’e jiri ya se slefie” My Mom was saying. I just couldn’t believe my Mom had upgraded to the point of using iPhones and taking selfies.
“Mama, na selfie, not slefie” I corrected
“Taa mechi onu gi, na slefie, come make I show you my slefie stick sef” She said, and I could not argue.
We got in and everyone was in a frenzy, my three cousins were all over the place, even my Dad seemed like he had undergone some operating system change, he had become a fit fam enthusiast and a jeans and sneakers wearing Dad. Wow! In order to feel important, I started talking about my flight and 95% of the things I said happened, did not actually happen, but they all took the gist, hence, I got so engrossed in it that I didn’t know when I started talking about my staying in Singapore (If you call me a liar, I will fight you)
“Ah Papi, you dey Singapore, you for call me na, make we hookup” Romanus said
“Which side for Singapore you dey sef?” Cletus asked
“The time wey I go, na around that Varandapoose side I dey” I lied. What in the name of places was ‘Varandapoose’? I don’t know where it came from, but I said what I said.
“Varanda where?” Titus asked with a raised brow.
“I don spend like 6 years for Singapore, and I know everywhere, but I never hear Vamanapoo abi wetin you call am” Romanus added. It was becoming awkward, but Mama came in and saved the day.
“My pikins them, unu bia rie nri, make una come chop better food” She said. Prior to leaving the village, mealtimes meant going to the kitchen and picking my food from the floor after Mama had served, and when my cousins were around, we always raced to the kitchen in order to pick the biggest portion. I forgot we were grown, and dashed for the kitchen, I saw a well arranged dining table with the food oo, but my mind just would not accept the fact that the dining was there, till I got to the kitchen, and didn’t even recognize the kitchen again, and there was no food on the floor as usual. I went back in and saw the family seated at the dining, I was awestruck!
“Papi m, Why you run enter kitchen like that, na so hunger hold you?” My Dad asked.
“I don miss Mama food” I said. Well it was true that I had missed my Mom’s food, but that was not why I ran into the kitchen, and I could not tell them the reason.
At the dining, my cousins kept talking about their businesses and their achievements, including how they wanted to fly my parents out for vacation- A normal human being would have asked to be included in the vacation plan, but Lagos had made me too proud, so I made my mind up that the moment I got back to Lagos, I would talk to Tolu about traveling out of the country.
The rest of the village vacation was tough for me, every second I felt oppressed, so oppressed that I couldn’t bring myself to give my parents the gifts and little phones I bought for them, seeing as they were using phones that cost much more than mine. Instead of spending 2 weeks at the village, after one week, I left, and this time I didn’t fly, I went by road and it was not a good experience at all.