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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Our House, The Hotel.

'You have to sleep in the other room' these were familiar words we grew up with. Most times, the 'other room'  was the living room. There was a hardly a time, where we lived in our house, as a nuclear family, alone. For as long as I can remember there were always people, relatives, helps, uncles, cousins..and so on, living with us.and the random..well not totally random stranger who my parents..usually one of them at a time, decided to help.

The First Hotel was a three bedroom 'government' apartment in V.I, which had two floors, a living room and a 'make-shift' lobby/childrens room on the top floor. For the period we lived here, I can't remember us being asked to sleep elsewhere but we had auntys and 'helps' with us. I still have pictures from my 1st year brtday which i vaguely remember.(Believe it or not! lol) Some vivid memories like when one of our mums younger sister. punished me for something I really can't remember. She asked me to drink about 10 bottles of water, the bottles were glass and had different colours. One of my chores then as a Nursery school student was to fill the bottles and put in the fridge. When I was asked to kneel and drink the water, I thought it was a piece of cake, But on the second bottle, my tummy had swollen, it was like I had kwashiokor. I begged for mercy.

The Second  Hotel, tucked away in an 'Estate' on the Mainland, what comes to mind is the Nigerian remix of the song 'Umbrella' It was a four bedroom flat with just a little living room, I remember spending some nights sprawled on the couch here. In the 3-year period we lived there, We had our Grandma who had one room solely to herself, she also took care of my little sister, My aunt was there too. A male relative ('Uncle') who constantly had some issues with my older sisters shared a room with my brother who was at Uni then and usually came every now and then. Life here was dogged by NEPA-less nights, mosquitos, Borehole issues and what not. It was a great time though my 'coming-of-age'

The Third Hotel, All the way in the capital city of Abuja. This was by far the most spacious house, and is basically GRAND compared to all the others. I honestly cannot even give a number of the people who have passed through this hotel. It was in this house, my sisters and I thought about it and said Honestly, this is *insert surname* Hotel. The house has Five bedrooms and a 'Boys-quarter' But i have spent a lot of time in the sitting room (Luckily there were two of them). There have been diffrent kinds of people here (The good, the bad, the witch, Beauty and the Ugly), but the only time I remember my mum complain was when she said of a relative who had spent about two years and was working 'Common toothpaste, he cannot even buy!' and she spoke of a female 'Who does she expect to wash her plates??' Other than that, Its been a free for all. as long as you weren't lazy, lying, stealing or being a 'principality'

As kids, to us it was just fun and games, As teenagers we didnt find it funny a lot of times. But as we began to grow older. Certain things began to click..Well for me, it did. I have had to spend time in other people's homes, over the course of my education. While we lived in Abuja, I was still at boarding school in Lagos. But during Mid-term breaks, There was no way I was going to Abuja for the three to four days it was, so I had to put up with Family-Friends and Relatives...I have experienced good and very bad times, but not as bad as my friend in the same plight who got molested by a relative who was even a Pastor...

Even right now, I have been staying with my 'Aunt' and 'Uncle' who are the nicest people ever, for the past one month. My Uncle once said 'Staying with people is probably one of the most difficult things to do' My friends have really bad narrations of their ordeals staying with people and it is just a sad cycle. It always pays to treat people with decency and dignity, respect others as Human beings. You don't know where you or yours would end up tomorrow. Treat people the way, you would like to be treated. These are some of the things I have learnt from these episodes of my life.