Wednesday, 20 May 2009

The Whole Bloody Story

DISCLAIMER: This is a complete work of fiction, any incidents and/or characters resembling actual events and/or persons living and/or dead are purely coincidental…

The whole ‘bloody’ story

One of the few reasons why I love our Nollywood movies is the makers’ ability to make a ridiculously impossible thing seem possible and beautifully (???) turn it into a movie. Notice how I said movie twice in that one sentence, because it supposed to be make-believe. Imagine then my utter shock and disbelief when scenes from Nollywood play out ‘live’ before my very eyes.

Act 1, Scene 1;
We (host inclusive) wake up in the morning to find drops of blood on the balcony floor. Sister and I try to rationalise that it’s probably the blood of a hurt winged creature or a rat that escaped a trap. Host says it’s impossible and begins to imagine the worst.

Act 1, Scene 2;
Host begins making frantic calls, calling on family, friends and pastors alike to come over to witness this strange occurrence. “It has never happened before”, says host.

Act 1, scene 3;
Pastor 1 arrives, wielding a 25kg Holy book and ‘cabashing’ and repeating incantations right from the entrance. He employs the blood of Jesus and holy fire to deal severely with this few droplets of blood and its source. (At this point, I begin to feel sorry for the poor animal whose blood it actually might be). He then goes ahead to conduct a prayer session inviting all occupants of the house (which I attended) and damning everyone who refuses to attend, my sister included. The spirit also leads same pastor to pray for my marriage and even though I had informed him I was single, he went ahead regardless. Pastor 1 leaves.

Act 2, scene 1;
Host queries sister as to why she didn’t attend prayer session and is not convinced when sister responds that she doesn’t believe in all that hogwash. I mean, the blood could be from any source; from a tiny injured animal to the maid. (Who coincidentally started her period the night before?) But that’s just me and silly details.

Act 2, Scene 2;
Around breakfast time…

Host becomes hostile, refusing to help sister and me thereby implying that we were somehow involved in the goings on in her home. She doesn’t understand why we can not show some empathy. Are you effing kidding me? Sister and I decide to go for a stroll to clear heads and to stop ourselves from bitch-slapping someone for being…

Act 3, Scene 1;
Host returns with pastor 2 who refuses to acknowledge our greeting as he senses some evil from within. Pastor 2 begins a round of prayers, casting out and binding every source from within and outside the home. He further explained to host that these sources are sometimes difficult to detect and therefore needed ‘constant prayers and ministering’. “It is a spiritual warfare”. Pastor 2 leaves after reading from another Holy book (5kg)

Act 4, Scene 1;
Hostilities continue and host refuses to speak to us and continues to carry on with the day, sister and I do the same.

Act 4, Scene 2;
The maid begins to monitor and follow us around the house and into the kitchen, probably to make sure that we don’t sprinkle any evil dusts into the meals while they aren’t looking.
Sister and I are so angry at how ridiculous the whole thing is and while sister decides to go have a word with host about how the day went, I’m headed off to bed to forget this whole episode. However, I’m sleeping with one eye open in case either pastor 1 or 2 has informed host of someway to rid us of the evil within while we are asleep.

Curtain Calls

The End

Please don’t ask me the morale of the story, as with most make-believe Nollywood movies, it has none ;-)

Monday, 18 May 2009

Robbed in Douala


Robbed in Douala
We were robbed today. I’m still trying to get over it.
We had concluded our business in Douala and were heading to Limbe, a coastal town in the west of Cameroon for a weekend on the beach. From our hosts place in Bonapriso, we took a taxi to Round Point( pronounced Ron pon in french) to board another taxi to Limbe.

As we got to the taxi park, a group of about 10 young men swooped on us, pulling us in different angles, some selling bread, all pretending to be cab drivers trying to convince us to get into their own cab. In the confusion, I noticed that Oluchi’s bag had been opened and the compartment that held our passports was spilling its contents with some documents falling out. I quickly called her attention to it and I heard someone whispering to us to be careful that we could be robbed here.

Belatedly, I remembered my phone which I had hurriedly thrown into my handbag as we were leaving my hosts’ place. Too late, it had already been stolen. I couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t fucking believe it! This happened in less than 2 minutes! What the hell?! Me? A lagos babe? Robbed in Douala? Impossible! Travelling through my 14th country and I get robbed after all this time?

I confess, I totally lost my cool. My body was shaking as I broke into a cold sweat. As I looked around me, suddenly everyone looked like a thief. Naughty Cameroon, I don’t like you anymore!

Needless to say, we didn’t go to Limbe anymore as I had the numbers of the guys who would be hosting us on the phone. Kai! I cried o! Mind you, this was not just a phone, it was a PDA/ Pocket-PC/Phone/GPS/Camera, this was a ‘correct machine’ as we say in Naija. I don’t even know if the thief would be able to use it. Heck , it took me two weeks to figure out the basics.

I’m trying very hard to love thief and pray for him to have a better life and stop stealing. I realise I owe the motor-park touts in Lagos an apology for all the times I’d been mean to them because I’m proud to say this would never have happened at a taxi park in Lagos. You can take that to the bank!

Anyway whatever happens, I’m still celebrating, still keeping it rocking. You can’t stop the shining, I still love Africa.

The Pope is the world president

The Pope is the world president…
One of the thrills of public transportation is the opportunity to meet different people, jostle for seats with them, share a drink, tell your life story and borrow their phone charger… No? Well then I guess it’s just me or you’ve not been travelling on a ferry to Cameroon recently.

Anyway among all these thrills, you also get the added bonus of overhearing or being forced to listen to snippets of different conversations which can be highly amusing. As usual, me being the nice person that I am, I’m bringing some of those snippets to you. You can thank me later, a donation to Celebrate Africa will do.

‘The pope is the president of the world, he should get full security and his own private jet’ said the young man to his friends sitting outside on the upper deck of the ferry. ‘Yes’ his friend replied ‘but T.B Joshua is also very powerful and deserves a private jet too!’ ‘Who is T.B Joshua?’ interjected another one loudly, How can you compare him to the pope?’

Meanwhile on the other side of the deck, there’s another heated conversation. ‘Look the Nigerian government has failed us, can you imagine? No road, no lights, that’s why I live in Cameroon’

‘I have built 3 houses in Cameroon now’

After a while I couldn’t keep up with the loud conversations as they all became too much and the amebo* in me wanted to hear everything. My head felt like what must have been the tower of Babel

‘My brother offended me and I will never go to church again because of him’

‘The bible says that we MUST to believe in God’. ‘What do you mean we MUST believe in God? Do you know the meaning of must?’

‘Look, the pope is stronger than all the world leaders combined, the Catholics are very strong’

‘Who be police? I have been in this country for six years, they can’t try me’

‘I can afford to fly o, I just decided to take this ferry because I wanted to get there on time’ At this statement, I wondered how an 8-hour boat ride can be faster than a 2-hour flight.

‘How can you say that? Who be pope?’ Finally as a parting shot, ‘ let me tell you, pope is in Africa, right now, infact e come Cameroon e no gree come Nigeria because of too much trouble’. Well you’ve been told.

Thinking about all this later, I realised that I had learnt a valuable lesson. The pope is the president of the world and if only the rest of the world knew it, the world would be such a great place… or maybe not.



It’s great to be back on the road again or should say I say on the sea? We almost missed the Ferry to Tiko, a small town on the coast of Cameroon. When we called ‘Achouka’ the ferry company, the day before, they had told us that the ferry usually leaves Wednesday mornings by 6am. Well we got there by 6 and the ship was almost leaving.

As we drove into the port, the pandemonium hit us. The ship’s horn was tooting loudly, the crew were running around and screaming loudly while hurling giant bags of luggage on deck. Passengers rushing unto the boat, dragging their luggage. Just being there was tiring. A massive contrast to the peaceful, serene atmosphere of 6am, Calabar.

Realising that we were late, we rushed to the ticket office where the sales guy tried to convince us to pay for a first class ticket for 9000 naira. I refused thinking that the guy just wanted to sell his VIP tickets and wondered how bad a 2nd class seat that cost 6000 naira must be.

Well I needn’t have wondered too long because a few minutes after going through immigrations, paying 500 naira to have my passport stamped with the immigration officer loudly scolding us for coming late, a mad dash onto the ferry with our heavy bags in tow, we got on the second class deck.

One word: utter chaos. Ok, that’s two words but who’s counting? Anyway, that’s the only word that comes to mind trying to describe what greeted us as we got on the deck. Bodies lying on the floor, corridor, seats, gangway; bodies everywhere. No standing space not to talk of sitting space. On top of all this was an oppressive heat and disgusting smell of unwashed bodies cooped up together for a while.

Did you say ‘hell no’? Well, that’s exactly what we said as we did an about turn back down the stairs towards the ticket office to change to first class tickets. Alas we couldn’t be left off the boat as it was already leaving the shore. Not to be deterred, we marched to the VIP lounge and took our seats. As we sat down, I turned to Oluchi and said, ‘the only way anyone is getting me out of this deck is buy using a forklift and even with that I’d be kicking and screaming!’

The VIP deck was as different from the second class as pounded yam is different boiled yam. They were worlds apart. For one, the air conditioning worked. Secondly, there were no bodies lying on the floor and lastly there were many unoccupied seats! SOLD!

Afterwards, I asked myself what lessons I had learned. Lesson number 1: Never believe Achouka when they tell you the ferry leaves by 6am because you may miss it.

Lesson number 2: Always believe the guy who is trying to sell you a first class ticket otherwise you may end up standing all the way on an 8-hour boat ride and paying more money than you would have paid on the shore because the ferry has already left.