Personally, meeting the family meant a lot.
It was like adding the missing pieces to a jigsaw. I’ve learned in my little time on earth that not everyone fits into a family. However, I encourage everyone to cherish their family. I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying ” you don’t know what you have until you lose it!’
Every family has its own issues, there is no such thing as a perfect family. I have not met all my families. In fact, some family members only found out about us when we visited Nigeria. I didn’t meet all the family members because it would have caused drama and ruined the holiday. To the ones we met, I appreciate and will never underestimate. It was definitely worth it.
Ok, so enough emotional talk, let’s get into the post.
In Ireland on an ordinary non-school day. In my family, everybody would wake up at their own times and do his/her chore in the house. We made a roaster and stuck it onto the fridge now do we stick to this rota? that’s another story # Family secrets.
Normally, on a school day, we are awake as early as 6:00 am. We’d get a shower, breakfast then I’d get the younger sibling ready, you know big sister duties. We leave the house at different times.Upon return after a long day, we spend time with each other we shout, play, fight, watch TV. It’s always one of CSI Miami, Being Mary Jane, Power, Hawaii 05, and Master Chef. After we go to bed and start the next day with pretty much the same routine and a few changes.
Families in Nigeria may not have routines as such. Reasons could be inconsistent electricity, family size, financial disadvantages and or many other factors. For example, if a family weren’t stable, or worse if the parents were illiterate. This could affect a child’s school attendance as some would miss a lot of schools. There are also young children who had no choice but to sell food or work after school to earn money.
I asked so many questions when I’d see young children with big baskets on their head. I got answers like – that’s life Itunu; that’s their world; if you don’t hustle in Nigeria and find something to do you’ll suffer. It was almost like this type of life was normal!
I mean, it’s sad really.
Speaking of lack of constant electricity. Everyone depends on Generators or Inverters. Some families use both. The Inverter is more expensive, but it’s rechargeable. So if a family could afford an inverter, they opt for it. The Nigerian Electrical Organization only give so much just to keep businesses running which was clearly what mattered. I could write an entire blog on how vulnerable people were to lack of light especially on the streets in the night.We are lucky in European countries with the provision of electricity.
During my trip, on the day’s where we had no light, we made an extra effort to have fun. We played games in the dark. We went on long night walks.
I just couldn’t get over how dangerous it was for cars in the night with no street light.
Since there was a big number of us in Nigeria. The typical routine of my Aunt and her family changed to suit the number. When we woke up, someone would heat up the water. The oldest girls were the ones to usually be in the kitchen making breakfast. By the time everyone got their shower, breakfast was ready. Can I just use this moment to say my Mom’s sister was just amazing! She fed us WELL, even too much if you ask me. She spent so many hours in the kitchen every day.
However, I observed that chores or jobs if you like, was gender-based. For example, the girls would cook while the boys would wash the car. I guess it’s still culture and society playing its role.
Since we hadn’t been to Nigeria in more than 15 years. We met a LOT of Family, from extended to immediate, you name it. I heard there was, even more, we couldn’t meet. We stayed at Command Ipaja, in Lagos mainland. Relatives came from Abuja, Ibadan which was like five to six hours away by car. There were days we changed plans just to make sure they’d meet us. I was like ‘ ah common!’, cause you know while it’s all beautiful. There were moments where it all seemed draining…
Meeting extended family members helped me understand who I was even more. It’s more than ‘ oh, my name is Florence or Itunu and I’m from Nigeria’. I learned deeper than things about myself.
Guys! I can finally accept my ‘baby hair’ struggles. I would pray and fast for my ‘ baby hair’ game to be strong, but nope, it just couldn’t happen. After meeting a few of the women from my mom’s side who had thin edges. I can now accept the reality.
Meeting Family makes Nigeria a safer place for me to visit.
Overall, I enjoyed my trip to Nigeria. Thank you so much for staying with me through these series. I hope you enjoyed reading my experience as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you.
Big thanks to everyone who let me put their pictures up.
See you soon,
Photographer: Faith Anthony, Instagram: faith_anny