Saying Yes to Nigeria [3]

Our National Pastime

In his essay on exile in The Guardian, Ngugi wa Thiong’o writes:

Exile is more than separation: it is longing for home, exaggerating its virtues with every encounter with inconvenience.

I do not think I exaggerated the virtues of ‘home’ but I know people who did; people who began or ended sentences using two words, back home, nostalgia trailing their voice—ah the warmth of the sun back home, the friendliness of people back home, the sense of belonging back home, back home I used to …, and on and on.

I put up with whatever inconvenience being a minority in a foreign country brings, not forgetting that the country from which I came also has issues, in some respects, bigger issues. If the grass is greener on the side where you water it, then I did not want to waste my water. I watered my grass in The Netherlands and watered it some more.

Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s opening paragraph is instructive. He writes, “I never chose exile; it was forced on me.” But the heart plays tricks on even those who became ‘exiles’ by choice. When I arrived home, I discovered that I had managed to exaggerate some virtues and had forgotten about Our National Pastime

Read about it here.

©Timi Yeseibo 2016


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20 thoughts on “Saying Yes to Nigeria [3]

  1. What interesting thoughts. I’m not brave enough to leave America, live in another nation. I have a girlfriend who transitioned quite nicely, but I think I wouldn’t. Interesting read–thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know what to say…except I live in the prairies, where we have some huge parks…and no washrooms. And not enough trees.

    No wonder why I bike…at least I can get fast to a loo.

    In China, in certain areas, I believe the problem is spitting in public areas. And then the washrooms are holes in the ground.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. At least in Canada we have huge tracts of wilderness and lots of trees. But still…even in city /urban public parks it’s not encouraged. I’m certain there’s a bylaw since I work for the city. I suppose smoking in urban parks is allowed? It’s a no-no in summer when it gets dry and many wks. of no rain.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I can only speak for my grandparents, who both came across from Germany and Sweden. They spoke only English and although loved books about their country, they made a choice. America became their home. My home is where my Mom is but also where my children are which is 2 different places. Smiles, Robin

    Liked by 1 person

  4. An interesting and evocative post. Home is always a draw. But yes, there are drawbacks.
    I was driving past an apartment building when a kid headed out the front door and urinated on the sidewalk. I’m not sure if the toilet in his apartment was broken or not. But he let fly.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We lived abroad for about twenty years. During that time I tried not to exaggerate the virtues of home. We were lucky. We had home leave every year or two, so I was familiar with the reality. There was a time, however, when I longed for home, not for sentimental reasons, but because I wasn’t able to follow my career in a country where I couldn’t get a work permit. Even though I appreciated (and complained about) my experience living abroad, it wasn’t until I returned home for good that I treasured it fully.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Returning home frequently is a good move if you plan to relocate back home at some point in the future… the shock factor is less. Yes, you were lucky!
      @treasured it fully, I think I know what you mean. I hope you were able to pursue another career or develop other skills?

      Every place has its drawbacks. I guess some happiness is found in watering the grass.


  6. “Smart-looking men disembark tinted-glass Lexus jeeps mid-street to relieve themselves beside school-aged boys turned vendors.”

    I can relate with this Timi. I was walking by a road in UI one time and a “big man” came down from his big jeep to do the thing. I am aware there is a public toilet at the gate which he must have driven past. I also know there is a church ahead of him where he could have with permission, helped himself. But, I think it just does not seem wrong to most of us to heed a call of nature anywhere and anytime even in the public.

    Like you, I made a personal decision to never urinate in public but I have had extremely difficult situations in which I could not keep my promise. But I always try to exhaust my options. We will get there soon in Nigeria.

    BTW, have you seen such public notices prohibiting this menace with curses promising death or some other tragedies? I think it works more than the Order thingy.

    Great post Timi.


    1. I want to share your optimism about getting there, but so far haven’t see any indication. Maybe a massive public campaign- radio jingles in pidgin, bill boards, and penalties for offenders. This should work where public toilets are provided. I don’t know if public restrooms are available in most public areas.

      When one has a pressing need with no options in sight, then I guess one has to go ….

      Yes o @ curses et al. I’ve been told they are more effective at ensuring compliance!


      Liked by 1 person

  7. Someone on the island was arrested last week for public urination when he chose to pee off a public dock in front of a police officer. Public urination and defecation is frowned on here.

    Liked by 1 person

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