Tales From The Underground: My Igbo Sister

Hey guys!

You guessed it, life’s been very busy and it’s going to get busier and stay so till the end of June. Forgive me in advance for my few and far between posts to come. I will try and keep up with blogosphere in that period but I can’t make any promises.

I love capturing moments, but seeing as I’m hopeless with a camera, I use words instead.

Yesterday on my way into work a woman with the loudest and highest pitched voice I’ve ever heard was having a heated conversation on her phone…in igbo. The entire carriage was staring at her in disapproval. At 7.30am my fellow commuters do not like noise. The dialogue was one sided and I felt sorry for the person receiving the tongue lashing on the other end of the phone. The woman was too busy ranting to notice when the train went underground at East Finchley. The train was well into the tunnel and she was still going full throttle. It was the funniest thing. Eventually another passenger who had had enough tapped her on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, are you sure the other person is still on the phone? You’re in a tunnel so there’s no signal. You’ll have to carry on your conversation later.” In other words, “my friend shut up and stop making noise!”

The sarcasm was lost on my Igbo sister. She just laughed and said in her deliciously Igbo accent, “Oh okay!  Taink you my sister, I deedint knew!” She was clearly oblivious to the offence she was causing on the train.

My initial irritation disappeared and I fell in instant like with her. Her oblivion and innocence endeared her to me in a way that our shared Nationality failed to. She carried on entertaining me till I got off the train.

A pregnant woman boarded the train at Camden and my sister was sat in a priority seat.

“Excuse me, I’m pregnant and I need a seat. Do you mind?”

“Yes o, I mind. No be only you carry belle, me sef I’m pregnant.”

She moved her bag to fully reveal her slightly rounded stomach.

“Oh, I’m sorry! I saw it but I wasn’t sure. I thought it might be…”

I almost died trying to swallow my laughter. You thought it might be what?! Fortunately for her, the insult went right over my sister’s head.  My sister proceeded to tap the woman sitting next to her and said, “I beg you please stand up for this woman to sit. To carry belle no easy!”

I stopped trying to pretend I wasn’t laughing. My sister looked at me and grinned excitedly.

“You be Naija?!”

I smiled at her and nodded.

“Ehen! The way you just dey laugh, I know say you are understanding me.”

The woman was still belting out every word at ear drum bursting volumes and lightening speed.  Before I got a chance to respond to her earlier comment she began reporting her friend who she’d been shouting at earlier.

“No mind one my useless friend! She…”

From what I could decipher from her million words per second report, she sent the friend to buy her stuff from America and the friend returned with no goods and no money.

“Is it good what she has done?”

I shook my head.

“No be so person suppose behave. Is a bad tin that she do me and na God go punish am!”

I laughed, shook my head and nodded at intervals. The only word I managed to get in was ‘goodbye’ as I was stepping off the train.

You’ve got to love my people!




  1. Did she actually say that to the pregnant lady? me sef i get belle lol! haba! how did she get through immigration @ heathrow???


  2. That woman in your picture does not look like the woman you have just described oh… ***no rude comments pls thank you very much*** lol


  3. lmao!..I luvs me naija pple!
    loool!..why do I never have interesting journeys to work like you do tho!
    P.S ur blog has sincerely been a most interesting read on what would have otherwise been a boring day on the 9-5!


  4. LMAO. Always had someone speaking Yoruba Loudly but never Igbo. I could hear her voice through the story ‘I didn’t knew’ LOL!


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