Thursday, December 18, 2008

When Xmas Trips were fun...

As a kid of Igbo extraction, December and Xmas meant one thing- Time to travel back home(to the Village).
It was something I and my siblings looked forward to every year. In fact the worst punishment Mumsy could give you this period was to say “You are not traveling this December!”
Everyone wanted to travel so that meant everyone had to be on their best behaviour. No fighting, no lying, no stealing meat from the soup pot,:)

What was the big deal about traveling, you wonder?
It was a mix of so many things.

It was the fun road trip where we would stop at intervals for refreshments, especially at ORE and UMUNEDE. Ah!! There was this restaurant at UMUNEDE where we usually stopped for rice and stew. As a kid, UMUNEDE rice was special!lol! The trip would never be complete without UMUNEDE rice.

And there was the usual banana and groundnuts.
Dad would buy those huge bananas at ORE and we would stuff ourselves up with the sweet fruit and groundnuts as we traveled along.

There was also the fact that we would be seeing so many of our friends, cousins, relations who we hadn’t seen in a whole year. Friendships formed the previous year would be rekindled.

Then there were the bush adventures where we would go hunting for rabbits and birds. OB, a cousin of mine who lived in the Village usually led the expeditions. He was also the hunter. His ammunition was his home-made catapult and stones. The rest of us kids were there to pick stones for OB and carry the day’s spoils home.

Some other days, we would go to the bush not to hunt but to pluck fruits. Sour sops, Oranges, pear, Guava, Mangoes, which ever was in season, we plucked! The boys climbed while the girls stayed down and picked the fruits.

We would arrive home with our baskets of fruits and the adults would praise us:
“Eeeeh…Umuazi a! Unu anwaka o!”( Eeeeh…this kids…una try o!)

These bush adventures were the highlights of our holiday. We all wanted to be with the team. We would bribe OB with biscuits and sweets just to let us tag along on the bush trips. Not even the frightening tales he told us about the old woman who ate kids in the bush or the spirit of the forest that made children disappear deterred us from going. However we made sure to stick together always. I would never be caught in front or at the back. The middle was my place. The sounds of the forest disturbed me and there was also this bird that usually made an eerie sound “Cookuu, Kuru Cookuu” Christ! That sound put the shivers in me! Then, I didn’t know it was a bird, I always thought it was the spirit of the forest,lol! It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized it was a bird.

There was also the night time story telling round the fire.
Whenever we heard the Chant: “CHAKPI!” we would shout “WOO!” as we took our spots by the fire knowing it meant only one thing-Time for storytelling! Grandma’s tales of Mr. tortoise’s adventures was always interesting and she knew how to mimic the characters in her stories.
OB also told us stories at times. His stories were usually naughty like the story of Nwagadigboro who after poooing in the bush went to clean his behind on the Ukwa tree and the Ukwa fruit fell on him and killed him. There was also the story of the lazy slave who refused to cook and after his master cooked, he had to nerve to taste the food. Of cos the master beat him with the spoon!

Another highlight of our trip would be was the Visiting relatives and friends part.
We always tagged along with Mum and Dad anytime they went out because we were sure there was definitely going to be lots of rice and chicken and coke wherever we visited. Was this not the festive season? :) :)

Fine, we had to endure, the patting on the head and exclamations of “Ahhh! See how big you have grown… very soon we will be drinking your palmwine!”

All that didn’t matter when the steaming plates of Jollof rice and bottles of Coke/Fanta were placed in front of you. Kids and food!lol!

I also remember the Moonlight dance. ‘Egwu Onwa’, we called it.
There were quite a number kids in my family- Me and my siblings, my cousins, my Grandfather’s second wife’s kids. We formed a dance group and during the day, we would practice different cultural dances. The home based kids usually did the teaching.

After days of practice, we would finally begin our ‘Egwu Onwa’. At night when the moon came up. We would go from house to house singing and dancing. The boys had the task of beating the empty tins of Bournvita with sticks to provide melody for our songs. After dancing the owners of the house would give us a little token to show appreciation. It wasn’t so much the money but the fun and excitement we got from the experience. I remember the highest amount we ever got from our Egwu Onwa was Eleven Naira (N11). Is anyone laughing? N11 wasn’t small money then in the late eighties o! At least we each got Eighty kobo each,Money for Akara and Okpa, he he he:)

So you see, there were many things that made traveling to the Villa during Xmas as a kid plenty fun. As I grew older and wiser, a lot of these things lost their appeal :(
Eating UMUNEDE rice, Bananas and groundnuts during the road trip weren’t such a big deal anymore. Bush hunting and Fruit picking lost their allure. Visiting relatives became a bore. Egwu Onwa nko? Kai! Big, fine, city girl like me? No way,lol!

Ultimately traveling to the Villa became something I stopped looking forward to especially when I grew up to marriage age and was still single. The constant barrage of questions one faced from aunts and uncles were definitely not very pleasant.
“So when are you calling us?”
“When are we drinking your wine? Our throats are parched…blab la bla”

Give me a break y’all for God’s sakes!!!

It’s Xmas period again. Will I be traveling? Yes.
Am I looking forward to it? Not really.
Do I have to? No but I have to respect my parents wish. “You need to go home more so the young men will see you. You know as the Eze's daughter you have to marry from our place” Yeah right! *Eyes rolling*

So guys, this is likely to be my last post this year. I want to wish everyone of you, My Blog Family, my Blog enemies(lol) and my anon readers(yea I know all of you) a Glorious Xmas and wonderful new year 2009.

Santa princesa is in the house with plenty goodies for everyone who has been good this year. All those who have been celibate, raise your hands, Afrobabe…come on put that hand down!lol!


LG said...


miz-cynic said...

2nd.wu wil plan dis xmas at afrobabe put ur hand down

LG said...

Prisco u nor fit escape dis one o' send my hamper sharp sharp' even if na carton full am' i nor mind' :)

lollll@UMUNEDE rice,
omo e don teyyyyy, notin sweet me reach' passing river niger bridge' e go jus be like say we no dey 9ja again :)

*merry kiss'mas dear

princesa said...

@lg,lol! Madam first

AlooFar said...

It hurts... when should WE put down our hands?

That pix... looks like a photoshopped stunt. Correct me ;)

Season's Greetings Princesa.

Sting said...

You have a lot of nice childood memories. Go have fun at the villa and ignore the questions if u can.

Merry Christmas.

ShonaVixen said...

Awww, fond childhood memories and yup the things that used to appeal to us as kids tend to lose that appeal once older!!
My hand is up in the air, shouting me,me,me!!
Enjoy ur Xmas holidays boo

Jinta said...

my hand is raised

have a good one, P

Ms.O said...

Awwww that was a fun read. Have fun in the village and Merry Christmas to you too. I have been good ooo...where are my goodies?

Just...Toluwa said...

Have fun! let those men in the village see u very well o! lol!

fantasy queen said...

ewooo santa princessa, a number of male admirers wold love to seat on your

no wonder when u easterners grow old you cant break the habit of going to the villa.
i enjoyed xmases esp when it was spent with granma,she isnt in the village but a town close to her villa so there were no hunting trips or moonlight tales,what we enjoyed were those scary masquerades that danced round the town and all the family friends that came from everywhere.

i might be in the east briefly this year. who knows we might jam at some plamwine

happy holidays.

Writefreak said...

Oh babe you remind me of going to my village for xmas as a kid, used to be a lot of fun...tried it last year with husby, it was ok but i'm not going back this year...i was bombarded with questions as per baby...i noticed some curious i'm not going, i'm spending christmas in my own home!

exschoolnerd said...

tell me u weren't really wearing that santa

nice post...thats one thing we never did...we never went to the village for anything...xmas,new year...just visiting..nothing!!!

i wonder how it wud have been..


mizchif said...

Is that really u in a santa suit??

U really rocked christmas in villa in ur own time. I LMAO when i saw CHAKPI!!!! Passing thru ore...banana and groundnuts...sometimes getting stuck in the traffic was even fun cuz u'd get to meet friends u didn't even know were also on the road.

Have a safe journey and ignore all those thirsty ppl. If they really want palm wine they shd know where to buy it!

And yes my hand is raised as well, so deliver!

ablackjamesbond said...

lol...afrobabe please put that hand down.

kuesooM said...

Nice post! I'm kind of dreading going home as my mum sure has some men lined up already!!!!!

Have fun. Those kind of trips keep us grounded!

Mommy said...

Kai...afro has Umunede rice never change o lol! Enjoy your break.

Anonymous said...

Afrobabe put that hand down! very funny...

Try to have fun when you get to the villa...... Let the guys do their thing too. If you're not impressed you can fashi them.

I love the photo shop thing with the santa... wow!

The last time I went to my Villa i must have been about seven years old. It was fun. I remember the masquerades coming to dance for my old man at night..... and the palm wine...sweet!

These days I consider my village to be Benin though... the atreet where i grew up to be precise.... thats the villa I know and Love.

princesa said...

@mizcynic,Reunion? YOu guys want to party sha,lol!
Anyway, i hand over the responsibilty to you dear;)

@LG, Ha! So u sef follow dey gbadun that rice wey we dey chop for Umunede?
Na only carton-filled hamper you want? You no want expired Zobo/EVa?lol!

@Aloofar, No it isn't Photo-shop and am not telling the secret,lol! Put that hand down kia kia,
see you and celibacy,lol!

@sting, yes i do. merry Xmas too dear.

@shona,even you raised up hands eh? Now you guys should start being truthful for once,lol!

@Jinta, i guess i have to start giving the gifts to those who have
not been celibate since u all are:)

@Ms.O, thanks babes. You have been good? How?!

@Just...Toluwa, lol! Abi o! I have already packed my fine fine dresses,lol!

@FT, Haaa!!! Which men? Abeg o! You are coming to the East? he from there? (wink wink)

@writefreak, i feel u dear. Its better to avoid the pressure/gossips. let them wonder.

@Exschool, No i wasn't. Eh ya, u guys really missed out altho
i dont know how much fun ur village would have been. Thanks boo.

@mizchif,yes thats me dear. I see u also have similar experiences.
Wont be surprised of you are Ibo too. My dear, na u fit them jare.
If they want palmwine, they should go tap some,lol!

@ablackjamesbond,yea lol!

@kuesoom, yes they do keep us grounded. Mothers!

@mommy, oh babes, i have missed u sorely. Did u also eat rice at Umunede?

@Incurable, so u came by. Thanks. Loved ur blog.
The santa thing isnt Photoshop, its another photo software.

Afrobabe said...

Kai,.....and I was good this year oh...haba babes...last christmas was spent dodging chicken frying in the kitchen in my sexy lingerie(how them dey spell am sef)..

hmmm if I write my own experiencs of xmas in the villa we wont leave was horrible...always horible...

poeticallytinted said...

lol. I enjoyed this post. Your powers of description are amazing. Try to have fun this xmas okay?

Afrobabe said...

BTW, absolutely love that pic....

Original Mgbeke said...

Chei, just made me terribly homesick with this post! Memories man...chei na my throat don dey long for soursop. :(

My dear, have a fantabulous holiday with the fam and no mind ya aunties jo. Fine girl like you, you no go get problem at all..they will soon drink plenty plenty wine.


StandTall-The Activist said...

LG! first everywhere. I will report you to ur boss o. Ah ah kilode

Hmmm Princessa, well said about the adventure. When I was growing up in my home town, we usually look forward to our folks coming home for Ileya. It used to be fantabulous! Then things changed, bad road, no money, more responsiblity etc

Merry Xmas and happy new yr in advance to you dear. make sure you catch one fine and purposeful chap for village o (lol)

Anonymous said...

Awwwww Happy Merry Christmas to you dear. Hope you have fun this year. I so wish I had such memories... My hands are all the way up o, when would I get my present?

Obi said...

Giiiiiirl..these stories brought back memories..!!!
I remember we had that "spirit bird" in my village too...never knew it was a bird till I was 13 yrs old. Nice one babes...

PS: Cute santa pic...the hand doesnt fit though...

Miss Definitely Maybe said...

i have good memories too from the time we used to go to the farm for holidays,
I loved the stops along the way for food and drinks

I have been good Santa (since February) i shut my knickers with an iron chain lol

rayo said...

awww come on princessa, i've been naughty but i've also been nice, so santa please!

classybabe said...

Wishing you a Merry Xmas and a wonderful new year in advance!My hands are raised oh and I have been really good this year:)

The Boob Sistas said...

Babes, this is a good friend of yours (tell you who later) introducing my blog to you. Please visit. Have a merry xmas and a happy new year. xoxo

joicee said...

Merry Christmas to you..Enjoy look really cute as santa

Ubong Da said...

No wonder you look s o familiar eh so you were one of those who came to dance Egwu Onwa in front of my grandfathers tached house back in the 80's eh. hmmm wonders shall never end.

doll said...

i hope u find a husband dis particular trip...LOL...merry xmas

princesa said...

@afrobabe, lol! Oh you were good? Hmmm...who we go ask now?
@poetically, will try dear. Thanks.
@afro, thanks dearie.
@original mgbeke, eh ya sorry. can i FEDEX you some soursop?:)
Amen o! Am so tired of the questions.
@standtall, no mind LG. Merry Xmas dearie.
@Temite, thanks. Put your hands down dear. I don hear ur story,lol!
@Obi, nostalgic huh? The hand doesnt fit cos it isnt mine:)
@MissDM, lol! You shut ur knickers with an iron chain? babes you deserve a very big pressie!
@rayo, lol! You get a present for being a honest babe.
@classybabe, wish u same dear.
@Boob sista, Hmmm...being at urs already darling. Good work.
@joicee, thanks babes.
@ubong, ha are u still in blogville dude?? Silly! You want me to open ur arse now abi?
Okay were u not one of the boys that beat the bournvita tins?
@doll, lol!

La Reine said...

Have a good time :D

-Merry Christmas

Naughty Eyes said...

*with both hands firmly pointed upwards* At least I'm sure of being good this year!
BDW, seeing how "blessed" you are, I don't think the villa people will bother asking those questions this year. Instead they'll be saying: "Why didn't you tell us to bring larger kegs for all this palmwine?!"
Grew up in PH so Xmas in the village for me meant crossing the Niger too but in the opposite direction. The experiences were the same, trust me except for the rice. My place is just before Umunede!

Uzezi said...

Santa, I woke and didnt find my package under the christmas tree.

merry christmas

Uzezi said...

Santa, I woke and didnt find my package under the christmas tree.

merry christmas

Jarrai said...

Seasons greetings and happy new year in advance xx

deola said...

Wow! what a beautiful Santa

Buttercup said...

awwwww sounds like lots of visits to my village werent near exciting at all..

love the pic..happy holidays!!

femme said...

you are just a real igbo i remember Ore banana and ground nuts too. i have almost the same experiences except instead of going into the bush we would beg to be allowed to go to the stream to swim, wash clothes and fetch water.
it was a lot of fun. we danced from house to house too and were given money especially since we sang mostof the igbo songs all wrong. the villagers thought we were hilarious.
village is not the same anymore jare. hope you have fun. happy new year!!!!

Omosewa said...

Happy New Year Princesa. Me, i never liked going to the village, but the food part was always fun for sure. Have a fun year, mwahhh

omoh said...

happy new year the santa outfit.still cant believe its photoshop stuff cuz it looks so real.xmas 4 me was always in the villa.never looked forward to it.and my hands are up too!

'Yar Mama said...

Happy New Year!!!


happy new year, my sista! That pic is too much!

OluwaDee said...

Happy new year princesa.

I gbadun this your picture.

Queen of My Castle said...

I swear you are such a great story teller! LOL.

I took the boys to see that Beverly Hills chihuahua movie, and they kept calling the cute white one Princesa. I thought about you. She was really cute.

Hope your holidays were peaceful and joy-filled!

princesa said...

@la reine, hope you had a good one dear.
@naughty eyes, ha ha ha ha, thanks for calling me blessed.
@uzezi,did u look very well?
@jarrai, thanks babes. Same to you too.
@deola, *blushing* thanks babes.
@buttercup, thanks girl.
@femme, lol! See an ogbonge ibo gal like you,lol! Are you sure we didnt do that house to house dance together?lol!
@omosewa, u can like food!:)
@omoh,its not photoshop, just another photo software.
@yarmama, happy new year to u too.
@soloD, thanks darl.
@oluwadee,he he he, thanks dear.
@castle queen, thanks boo. Hope u had fun too.

tobenna said...

Princesa! Princesa! Princesa!
Ugboro gini k'am kporo gi?
You brought back fond memories.
As a kid of Igbo extraction (lol) I went through the same stuff. Mad fun, I tell you.
I wonder..... will we do the same for our kids?

LG said...

nnwanem nwanyi hapinuye'
ke ma'ka mma?

Dammy said...

@LG which one be all this speaking in tongue. Una wan turn dis place to Igbo youth community centre? Lol!

@Princessa,so did you find him?

Wishing you a quick recovery.

doll said...

happy new yr

Writefreak said...

Happy new year darling!may 2009 be your best year ever!
Will u not come and update?

princesa said...

@tobenna, yea i always wonder the same. Things have changed tremendously.

@LG, nwannem, ha pi nu year too. Mma di mma.

@Dammy, jealousy,lol! Find who? Thanks dear.

@doll,same to you dear.

@writefreak,lol! Amen darling!

JideSalu's Diary said...

Hello Princesa,

My first time here through a link on discovery for women blog.

I quite enjoyed the story and the way you came across. My guess will be that you will make a success out of writing a novel and I will be surprised if that does not happen soon.

I will surely add your blog to my list of favourite blogs I follow.

You can also catch my family and I at

Bye for now