Because I slept quite earlier than I usually do, I woke up early the next morning feeling really tired (of sleeping). I could feel slight pains in my waist as I just kept rolling on the bed. It was still raining and I wasn’t in a hurry to leave the bed. Time check 4:45am
I checked my mail box to see some mails from some of the company’s clients whose projects I was handling and two from my personal clients. Turning on my laptop, I started by replying those that needed just replies before attending to those that involved me addressing certain issues.
Not until 6:45am did I exit the room to see mom preparing to leave the house for church. Calling out to Favour who was in the kitchen, she asked her to take two of those yams from the kitchen to the car for her.
I asked Fay why she was taking the yams along with her. She replied saying it was customary to take two yams to the church on new yam day, then bring back one after they had been blessed by the priest so the one brought back home would extend its blessings to the ones yet to be harvested in the farm.
I went back to do my morning hygiene and take my bath. I returned to the living room around 9am, just about the same time mom returned from church. Sitting across from dad who was on a couch, I began to ask him questions about the new yam celebration, what Fay had told me about the rain and its significance and just about anything.
Breakfast was boiled yam and eggs sauce, with only dad and I on the table arguing about politics as we ate. Save for different people calling in with prepared food (pounded yam and soup), melon cakes, and some with yam tubers, the rest of the day went uneventful, during which time I slept and also did some work with my PC. Food exchange is a norm in such celebrations in this part.
By 4:45pm, we were on our way to the residence of the family that had invited my host family for the new yam celebrations. Dad drove, mom in front while Fay and I sat behind. Good a thing, Favour had warned me to prepare to eat pounded yam all through that day.
We drove for about 15 minutes before we got to one huge gate. Dad honked and seconds later the gate was thrown open as we drove into the very big compound. A number of cars were parked inside, just as music was playing from loud speakers outside the main building. Tables were arranged outside and most were occupied by other guests.
We made our way into the building, with dad and mom saying hI and laughing with different guests at their tables before finally going in. Favour and I just tagged behind sheepishly. Minutes later, we met with chief and his wife (the host) with the four of them laughing as we sat in the vast living room. Two other guests were present inside with two pre-teen girls. Obviously their kids.
The wife went into the kitchen and came back to join us. Minutes later, I noticed three girls began to move in and out of the kitchen, to and from the dining table. While the hosts talked and laughed with dad, mom and the other couple, Favour and I sat next to each other silently watching the giant TV screen same way the little girls did.
After a few minutes, the wifey got up and went back into the kitchen, came back out and announced to us it was time to hit the table. Chief led everyone present in the living room to the dining table.
An open food flask containing pounded yam wrapped in transparent nylons, a closed flask obviously containing the soup, an open bowl containing fried chicken while another contained boiled goat meat. Four wine bottles at different points, bottled water and flat plates by the 10 dining seats, hand wash bowls, wine and water glasses. Boy! This was the first time I was gonna partake in such expensive dining setting.
As we took our seats, the wife kept looking at Favour and I opposite her and mom like perhaps I was Fay’s fiance or something. In a bid to quell her curiosity, I noticed her bend towards mom and whisper into her ears, to which mom smiled shaking her head. It was at that point she introduced me to chief and his wife as son to their friend in Lagos and classmate with Frank who had come for the new yam celebration. Unfortunately, Frank left town yesterday for PH for an aptitude test.
Mom, Mrs and the other lady all stood up after a brief prayer before meal led by one of the little girls and began dishing out the food. Soup was afang and as I later found out, contained lots of stock fish and kpomo.
Chief opened the wine closer to him and poured for himself and his wife, dad and the other man did same for themselves and their wives. When I wouldn’t touch the one closer to me, chief specifically called out to me, “Young man, that wine is supposed to be open.”
“Yes sir,” I said as I grabbed and opened it. Fortunately it was non alcoholic, so I stood up and poured a glass for Fay, the two girls and finally myself.
Mrs at some point in a bid to bring us into the discussion asked Fay how work was going and me where exactly I stay in lagos, state of origin, my course of study in Unical, what I was doing for work, etc.
I corrected her about the school with her saying but she thought Frank attended Unical. “Yes,” I said, “We were classmates at FGCV”. Then one of the little girl spilled her wine, to which Mrs called out, “Who’s there, Rosemary…bring me a towel quickly.”
Seconds later, Rose emerged from the kitchen with a towel to which she directed her to clean the girl’s dress and then the table. Not until she was about living did she realize I was the one seated there. But on a second thought, with the way she looked away like she had just seen me for the first time, I began to feel she must have seen me before then having realized that Frank’s parents were the guests when we entered the living room.
The rest of the meal went uneventful till we returned to the living room. A few other guests had arrived with chief going out to receive them. I had to ask Fay why we had to get the honor of dining with chief, to which she responded by saying chief and dad had been friends right from their days in the university, while the other couple were their godchildren.
To be continued…