Telling my side of the story

WARNING: I'm not that deep.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The origin of the word pikin

DH and I were talking the other day and he wondered what the origin of the word pikin was. Without thinking, I said picaninny or is it pickaninny? Anyway, I think we get the word pikin from the word picaninny. If so, that's such a shame. Picaninny is such an offensive term for a black child. It was used way back when to describe slave children. In fact, I remember reading a book in my Literature class in college and the white woman in the story said something about picaninnies. How disparaging. My professor (a white man) had to apologize - he too hated the word. Anyway, if that's truly the origin of the word pikin - don't nobody ask me about my pikin again. Seriously, don't say: "How the pikins dem?" I won't say it either.

Speaking of disparaging words or terms. I seriously hate the word akata. On behalf of all black people, all African Americans, that term should not be used ever. It is such a disparaging term. It is so easy to be in the company of other Nigerians and use the word. It seems to flow easily for some people. Talking about akata this, akata that. Not always in a bad light, they might say "How is that your akata friend?" referring 'fondly' to a friend of mine. I just hate it for all that it represents. I especially hate it when you remind people of the origin of the word and they insist on using it. Can't we come up with another word for African American?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving I had no specific plans i.e. I wasn't invited anywhere and didn't plan on cooking up a spread either. I thought it would be nice to spend the day volunteering was glad when one of my sisters came up with specific plans for us to do so. I am glad we did because HFHH never disappoints. It is always a great experience and you get to do satisfying work that leaves you feeling great.

My favorite thing to do at these dinners is to serve the people. For me, that's where the fun's at - you get to interact with people coming through the lines, you work as a team with others, and get the satisfaction of actually feeding people which is what it's all about. HFHH is actually more than just feeding the hungry, they have a free clinic, a job recruitment center, a barber shop and beauty salon (saw a lady getting her brows done), and a place where people can pick up donated clothes. It is truly awesome the work Elizabeth Omilami and her family are doing. They are keeping their father's vision alive and that's fantastic.

Interestingly enough, a few other people had the same idea this Thanksgiving. As we were coming off the elevator, Reverend Al (Al Sharpton) was trying to make his way in. I was going to tell him that I am a big fan of his work and I love his radio show - I listen to him all the time - but he took a call on his cellphone right before he got into the elevator. Congressman John Lewis was also there to volunteer. He dished out stuffing for me when I was doing the rounds. I'm not to keen on him at the moment being that he's endorsed Hillary. I wish he'd endorsed Obama. I just feel like MLK would have endorsed Obama were he alive today. For the first time that we have a viable candidate, I feel like we should all rally behind him. I digress... Keshia Knight Pulliam (Rudy Huxtable from the Cosby Show) was also there to volunteer. My sister and I were dishing out veggies next to her and her brother on the line. She's really low key. A few people asked to take her picture but she insisted on finishing the work she was there for before taking photographs. Good for her.

Happy Thanksgiving. It was a great one.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Weird Food Combinations

We Africans have the weirdest food combos sha. The other day, I went to the African grocery store to buy some yams, salad cream, garri and illegal i.e. not-usually-allowed mede mede (junk food) like chin chin and plantain chips. Anyhow, as I was standing in line, I perceived this fantabulous aroma coming from right behind me. Seriously, it was this strong, deep inside Isale-Eko buka-like aroma. I turned around to look and it was this dude eating from one of those syrofoam to-go boxes with the different compartments. I looked closer (nosey rosie that I am) and saw that he was eating agoyin beans. I was about to turn around to pay for my stuff when I noticed something unusual or out of place - in one of the compartments, there was a steaming peeled boiled egg on top of a small serving of spaghetti. What???? Agoyin beans with spaghetti and a boiled egg. Who eats that? How unusual.

It totally reminds me of a time I was in the Law buttery in Lag. (I don't if that's how to spell it or why a cafeteria is called a buttery). Back then, the Law buttery was the place to go if you needed something to eat between classes. Anyhow, I had just ordered my usual 1 fried rice, no meat, no nothing (I was a vegetarian then) and this girl comes up after me and orders 1 amala, ewedu, and 1 egg. First of all, you had to say 1 or 2 to indicate how many helpings you wanted. Secondly, this girl was about to eat amala with a boiled egg??? Now that's serious.

I really shouldn't be one to call what people eat weird. For lunch I had yam, stew and broccoli. Gotta get something green in there. LOL.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Who's Your Daddy, Do You Have Money, and What Have You Done With It Award

Whew! That's quite a mouthful! I totally respect what the future awards are all about but when I saw the description of the Best Use of Goodwill award, I had to say, "Give me a break, people!" Isn't that classism at its best? When will we ever evolve from being an elitist who is your daddy type society. Come on y'all! This is supposed to be a forward thinking group yet they come up with this type of thing?

When you first read the words "Best Use of Goodwill", this is certainly not what you'd expect - at least not all of it. Here's the description of the category directly from their website:
"Best Use of Goodwill Whilst we intensely admire those who have been able to do well in spite of their disadvantaged backgrounds, we also appreciate those young people who have been able to use fame, acclaim, success, popularity, achievement, love etc to achieve something great either for themselves or for their society. Children of accomplished and/or famous Nigerians who have used their parents’ name wisely and effectively for positive ends are those we seek – so this award is for young people from a famous and/or wealthy parents/families but who have been able not only to work hard via an active engagement with the Nigerian environment, but who have also taken advantage of their family’s goodwill to make a positive impact on society."

I don't know but if I were a child of Chief, Doctor, Honorable, Your Highness so and so and I were actively involved in making a positive impact on society, I would be totally offended by this award. I mean, if I worked hard and did my part to make things better for others, I would hate to be short-listed for this award simply because I was the child of Chief, Doctor, Honorable, Your Highness so and so and I did something good for my society. Those two things are mutually exclusive. I would want my achievements to be noted just for what they are and not because of my family's background. We need to stop putting people on a pedestal just because they come from a well-known family and/or have money. So many people who don't come from those backgrounds still give back. Where's their award category? Okay, don't go setting up an award category for the Your Daddy Ain't Got No Name or No Money But You Have Done Great Things In Our Society award. That would just be as offensive.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

What's for Dinner? 11/16/07

Because I am rather jobless, we are having three cheese (cheddar, asiago, parmesan) au gratin potatoes, roasted chicken marinated in lemon (like for yassa) and caesar salad with store-bought croutons. I was going to make ewa (beans) but ewa just takes too long to cook.

Lil sis - Don't you wish you were in town? Ha ha!!!


Totally Uninspired

I'm at this stage in my life where I need to take concrete steps to make my life more meaningful. That sounds so cliche but I need to do something MORE with my life. I have tons of ideas but I haven't been inspired to take the next step. My mind's been working overtime and there's been pressure from DH to do SOMETHING already but yet nothing. Maybe I need to take a trip to home country to get some motivation. It always helps spur me into action or at least gets my creative juices flowing.

Here's one idea I have floating around - I think I may have even blogged about my experience visiting the Motherless Babies Home in Lekki and seeing a little boy dressed in little girl clothing. I want to organize a clothing drive specifically for kids. I have tried to talk to my friends about this but somehow the conversation turns back to them/us: Em, what if I have another baby? It's been five years but you never know? So when next are we taking a trip? We need to take a vacation! Huh? I just told you about these kids needing clothes and that's what you have to say?

I can't really blame anyone for not seeing my vision. It's my deal not theirs. Also, I have been a total slacker. It has been a while since I took that trip but haven't done too much since then. I need to investigate this further - Is it okay to give little kids used clothes? I could always ask for new clothing but don't know that I can go far with that. It might be best to start with what people don't want and gradually move up. What about the jazz issue? I have heard that some Naija people don't like to give away their used clothes for fear that those that receive them will harm them with black magic. Also, how do I get the clothes there if I do a drive here? It can get expensive mailing these things - I know from experience. I can only pay for so much shipping. I think about all these issues and hit the brakes.

Well, if it doesn't work out in Nigeria, what about Rwanda? Maybe I need to concentrate on Rwanda. I know for a fact that they appreciate the clothes. I've given away new and used items from Blu's layette and have been told how appreciative the new mothers over there are. I feel I should do more than just that but I'm stuck - totally uninspired. Maybe I need to find someone who shares this passion and take this one step further.

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Nanny's First Day

After going through a series of interviews, reference checks, nanny cams, etc, etc, we have hired Blu's new nanny. Her name funnily enough is Fannie. I don't know why that always makes me smile. "Hey Blu, there's your nanny, Fannie." Anyways, I had her come in a little later on her first day and was with her the entire day to get her settled in. As it stands, I think we (rather I) made a good choice. She's all that I was looking for in a nanny. Most importantly, she is good with Blu and loves on him. She spent a lot of time playing with him. Even getting on the floor with him and everythang. I'm his mama and I ain't ever been on the floor with him. It really feels good to be working (from home) and knowing that someone is taking care of my bebe. Taking good care of my bebe - talking to him and singing to him. It's awesome. God please let this last.

A nanny is not a house girl. A nanny is not a house girl. A nanny is not a house girl. I have to repeat that to myself. I hate the whole house girl concept but being Naija, I do have some tendencies. For instance, I hate folding laundry. I hate hate hate this chore. I can do the laundry (when it's up to my neck) but I hate to fold it. So naturally, since Blu sleeps half the time that Fannie's here, I asked if she wouldn't mind folding the laundry. I know, I know. She did an excellent job though. When DH came home, I had to show him this miracle that was perfectly folded clothes that resembled a shelf at the Gap. But I made up for it by making her a smoked salmon caesar salad when I made one for myself at lunchtime and then I offered her tea and cupcakes (yeah, I shouldn't be baking those) for afternoon tea. I also had her leave early just because. Actually, I think I just wanted to hold my baby. Anyhow, Blu's nanny has started and we are happy people.

Friday, November 09, 2007

What Do Nigerians Excel In?

I've been thinking a lot lately about what it is that Nigerians do very well. What is it that we excel in? What one thing or maybe two, three or four things can we say that Nigerians are really good at? I don't know if I am not thinking through this really well but I really am not sure. We are definitely good at many things but as far as excelling in certain areas, I don't know. You know how the Swiss are known for their watches, the Belgians for their chocolates, waffles, beer, the Germans for their cars, the French for their food, fashion, strikes (LOL).... What is it that Nigerians do really well? Someone said 419 but just like an Italian would reject the notion that they are known for their association with mafias, I reject that notion also. I probably would come up with an answer to this myself but was wondering out loud.