Lily Chronicles 3- Homes and Alleys

First, I really must apologise for going MIA on this blog practically all year long.

I’ve thought of this blog every single week and my heart yearns to post something but I somehow find that the months roll by and I still don’t.

Excuses won’t cut it, I OD’d on those already.

So, to every person who visited here and found the same old post(s) every time, I apologise for not coming through. Forgimme?{puppy eyes}. Thank you {bright smile}, I’ll try harder and do better, I promise.

Now, here’s an old story (purely fictional) about an unlikely beauty queen. Let’s just say Miss congeniality, is not an undercover cop, but a one-man rebel government this time around.

Catch up on and

And the day came, when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom -Anais Nin

The days keep counting, alternating between being exhilaratingly fast and frustratingly slow. The euphoria wears out, public attention wanes, there are new scandals, news piece and everybody is moving on but my life, my course is forever altered (or maybe I just got on course?).

Today, I got a call from Emayo, whom I fondly call ‘PG’. He is the Projects and Programmes director, so both letters P and G find a cozy home as acronyms of his job description. More accurately though, the acronym stands for ‘Parental Guidance’, my way of giving parents with little kids a heads up around him.
His language is vulgar and rated PG-13 at least, also, he is quite the lady’s man, and adult supervision (R-rating) is advised if your pretty, young daughter is going to be hanging out around him.
It drives him up the wall that I won’t quit my PG parade and as a way of payback, he calls me ‘Lil’. (Who on earth shortens the name ‘Lily’?!)

He calls and asks if I have gone through the slides he sent me and if I didn’t find the pictures too disturbing.

I almost let loose a guffaw.

Those pictures, to me, were like flipping through an album of my life, only they didn’t contain any picture of the past 12years that I’ve lived –outside of that kind of environment.

High definition pictures that depict the standard selling point of Africa- as many outside the continent know it. Poverty. Call me paranoid, but I think that is why PG chose this particular project for me, to make us look “good” to potential investors.

What an irony! We sell our worst stories to attract charity. The inspiring stories hardly gets a media once over, local innovations get booted to the curbs, SME’s sweat tears and blood, the political landscape is fraught with backward policies, violence and corruption but hey! who cares, right? So far we can attract international pity with our poignant stories of squalor and window dress our festering sores to look “good” for foreign investors.

I go over the slides again and smile sadly… there were shots of children playing on extensive fields of debris: If you look carefully enough, you will see the not so odd bodies of dead chickens, goats or dogs, at different stages of decay.
A child with an alarmingly distended tummy and a half eaten mango celebrating a swarm of flies paying homage to the bounty that she holds, stands on one part of the field.

There were pictures of Mothers – with teams of kids- in different states of undress, going about their daily chores with no self consciousness.

These particular photographs made me chuckle.

How these women would have their delicate sensibilities offended and talk haughtily about city girls and their trending barely-there dresses, when they practically would have on their undergarments and a shy piece of wrapper and go to the next street to fetch an errant child or pieces of firewood.

In this state, they would unabashedly greet male folks and smile warmly at strangers (this is a show of their hospitality and is not intended to be sensual).They watch the movies and see “modern” ladies with no social qualms as loose and a bad influence on their young daughters.

Slide after slide tells a story of domestic abuse, police brutality, environmental degradation, sad state of social infrastructure and dehumanization of epic proportions.

The town in consideration is not far from a mega city. It, infact produces a huge proportion of the food items supplied to the city, besides supplying it with cheap labour in form of teenagers and ambitious young adults.

Small towns like this one mostly has a distribution of the aging and the really young population- both dependents,as the work force migrates.

Everybody wants to go to the city and make something of their life. The drive is mostly from the stomach.

They operate a communal setting with likely tradition of jointly raising children. Your child could do something wrong three streets away and neighbors will already help you deal with him before you show up, you just thank the neighbors and promise the child additional hell when you get home. Vices such as lying, stealing et al are frowned upon. Hence,a rumbling tummy would more likely drive a youngster to child labour than to the neighbour’s (money jar) till.

To fix, to empower,to sensitize,to educate… this is to be my project. I smile. I am going home.

Home, not because I am from there, but because I can identify with their struggles and pains.

Home to me, is a distant but ruthless memory, which comes once for an annual visit… on the anniversary of my guardians’ demise.

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3 thoughts on “Lily Chronicles 3- Homes and Alleys

  1. “High definition pictures that depict the standard selling point of Africa- as many outside the continent know it. Poverty… I couldn’t agree more, those pictures annoy the ‘hell’ out of me.

    “What an irony! We sell our worst stories to attract charity.” … Ah, but, they do it too; they sell our worst stories to attract charity. It’s ‘win-win’ in the worst way possible.

    I enjoyed the intelligent way you wrote this, even though I got lost a little 🙂 . Your ending haunts me… home to me, is a distant ruthless memory…

    • Thank you livelytwist! You’re a gem. I’m sorry you ever got lost anywhere there. Anything I can do to help “find” you?
      Ambiguous statements have been retouched though, and I found that the links to previous episodes didn’t show…working on that.
      The continent and the singular poverty-picture thing eh? it is not funny at all.
      Fingers crossed on the meeeting point of her memory (lemons)and her future (life) 🙂
      Your comment and being here is really appreciated, I love love love your blog/writing style and like SeunOdukoya said, I’m sorry I haven’t dropped a comment or a like 🙂

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