(...) “Yes sah! Tank sah!” They dash out of to run or go somewhere very quickly because you are in a hurry the compound, laughing loudly.
Kevin and Sunday unpacked the foodstuffs while Jaja and I unpacked the suitcases
from the Mercedes. Mama went to the backyard with Sisi to put away the cast iron
cooking tripods. Our food would be cooked on the gas cooker inside the kitchen, but the
metal tripods would balance the big pots that would cook rice and stews and soups for
visitors. Some of the pots were big enough to fit a whole goat. Mama and Sisi hardly did
any of that cooking; they simply stayed around and provided more salt, more Maggi
cubes, more utensils, because the wives of the members of our umunna came over to do
the cooking. They wanted Mama to rest, they said, after the stress of the city. And every
year they took the leftovers—the fat pieces of meat, the rice and beans, the bottles of soft
drink and maltina and beer—home with them afterward. We were always prepared to
feed the whole village at Christmas, always prepared so that none of the people who
came in would leave without eating and drinking to what Papa called a reasonable level
of satisfaction. Papa’s title was omelora, after all, The One Who Does for the
Community. But it was not only Papa who received visitors; the villagers trooped to
every big house with a big gate, and sometimes they took plastic bowls with firm
covers. It was Christmas.
Jaja and I were upstairs unpacking when Mama came in and said, “Ade Coker
came by with his family to wish us a merry Christmas. They are on their way to Lagos.
Come downstairs and greet them.” (...) HOVER THE HIGHLIGHTED WORD WITH THE MOUSE IF YOU NEED TO SEE ITS MEANING.