A DAY IN MY FAVORITE PLACE
Growing up in the ghetto, one never really had the luxury of visiting one's favorite place since one knew just one place; the ghetto. Nobody liked the ghetto. Even during the harmattan when poverty-kissed shoes were worn to church for the celebrations where jollof rice and fried meat would be served, one still didn't look forward to the parties with yearning eyes because one didn't always get Christmas clothes and shoes fitting for such occasions.
The ghetto stole our imaginations as we grew so even if one saw a picture of the Bahamas on TV, one would probably hiss at the thought of a vacation, away from the strife. I grew up in the ghetto too and even though most people around rarely talked about their favorite places, I knew that somewhere in their head they thought, "i wish uncle ikey from London would come and take me away with him" or at least I thought that and against all indications I knew we all had our favorite places, well, because I did. I admit we were occupied while growing, occupied with each other.
At age 3, we had groups. Every toddler belonged to a group. Lads of a 'particular' height stayed together then the tall lads stayed together too but with the lass it wasn't that simple. There was the queen bee who brought the most sweets to kindergarten and her friends, then there's her enemy; the smartest lass in the class and her own friends. From age 7 to age 15 we had cliques and gangs, at this time no one really knew what the point of the cliques and gangs were, it was something that just happened. When we became youths, it became serious with stories of clashing cults, thus, I became part of the loners - 'omo mommy' which translates to mommy's boy. During all this time I had been to my favorite place more times than was usual for a kid from the ghetto, because, unlike other kids my favorite place was easily accessible.
It has been three weeks since my last visit and it is loosely owed to the fact that my cousins came over for the holidays. I am the eldest child in the extended family so all my cousins are either toddlers or really young adolescents, so the noise has tormented my very soul.
My aunt came yesterday to drop of some foodstuffs and when she asked me if I wanted to come over to her house in Victoria Island for the weekend, I didn't hesitate to say yes because it meant a weekend with just my aunt since her husband was abroad. Unlike my family my aunt is rich, I mean maids with marching uniforms rich, and she often said that she brought my cousins over during the holidays to teach them that there were strong values even without affluence. I really don't know what values I've learnt or can be learnt from poverty but a little luxury and serenity won't hurt me and I get to have at least a day in my favorite place, in my mind.
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