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Cheta Mbajekwe: Have you experienced CHRISTMAS Holidays in your Home-Town???

I can’t exactly remember the age but all my life, we are used to the tradition of visiting home almost every Christmas Holiday.

Born and brought-up in an ‘Ibo traditional home-setting’, the entire extended family usually converges at home every Christmas in our home-town, Oraukwu. This period, we get to interact, relate and visit friends, family, grandparents, paternal and maternal families as well.

This is the season when we get to catch-up with all that’s happening in the village and beyond.

25th-27th is usually the ‘appropriate’ date ‘frame’ for visiting. We usually prepare ahead by purchasing foodstuffs in ‘bulk’ and organizing our clothes and wares in general. Then we choose a date convenient for everyone and start-out our journey.

The journey is usually a very interesting one by road despite the bad roads. We usually spend about about 8 hours on the road. The sight of people hawking bananas, assorted snacks and fruits is a ‘delight’. Just watching the ‘hustle’ people engage in to ‘make a living’ is simply ‘attractive’ and ‘deeply engaging’.

As a child, I have always wondered the ‘enormous’ effort the children hawkers put into ensuring they get to ‘sell-off’ all the foodstuffs they are given.

We are also privileged to witness the break-down of various vehicles by the side of the road as well. These cars usually get towed by ‘tow vehicles’.

Another ‘captivating’ sight is the ‘presence of lepers’ in a particular state (I am not too certain of the ‘exact’ state). They usually line up to beg endlessly for money from travelers. I remember as kids, we would beg my dad to give us ‘money’ to throw out to these lepers.

Obviously, we could not hand them the money in their hands as we had to avoid contamination by touching their barehand (which obviously has been inflicted by leprosy).

Once we arrived our village house, we immediately unpack, do a little clean-up of the house and set-out to our grandmother’s house. We set-out to eat the food prepared ahead for us in our grandmother’s house and greet our other relatives present in the house.

After eating, we go back home to undress and prepare for the next day. Usually, from the next day, we begin to receive a massive influx of guests who we serve tirelessly with refreshments and drinks.

This is one of the most exhausting features of this village experience for me. We are ALWAYS on the move when it’s comes to service…

After a week ‘at most’ of staying in the village, we visit a few relatives and head back to Lagos.

On the morning of departure, we usually visit our paternal grandmother who then accompanies us with foodstuffs as gifts as she mutters a word of prayers for us and we head back to Lagos.

Would love to hear your experiences as well…

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