Month: April 2013

If You’re Suffering, Move to Ghana

London Underground; my lover, companion, friend and most bitter enemy, I miss you. I miss my Finchley Central Station. I miss my friend in the phone shop on the corner of Hervey Close. I miss the Nigerian guy at the station who made it his business to ask why I was running late for work, when I was running late for work. I miss battling the temptation to enter Tesco every time I walk past it. This is what marriage does to people; it makes them move…and miss things!

My new locale isn’t nearly as interesting as Finchley. I haven’t made any shopkeeper friends because there aren’t a lot of shops separating me from the train station. I haven’t made any commuter friends because they don’t look as friendly and the train ride isn’t as interesting because it’s full of married commuters who are by definition, boring. Unlike me, of course.

I only have the pleasure or journeying one stop on the Underground and yesterday, in the time it took for me to get from Moorgate to Bank, I struck gold.

ghana

Two young gentlemen were having a conversation that I couldn’t help over hearing.

“So what are you doing these days bruv?”

“I work in a call centre innit, customer services.”

“Cool cool, I’m still in retail but I’m like a supervisor now.”

“Yeah? Sweet!”

“It’s aight, pays the bills, you get me?”

“Yeah bruv, I know the feeling. I’m so sick of this life. You know, I’ve been thinking of moving to Ghana but I’m too westernised for that shit.”

”You think Ghana’s better than London?”

“You know Kwabena we went to school with yeah, he moved like two years ago and he’s living the life!”

“For real, what’s he doing out there?”

“I’m not sure you know, he’s making bare bucks though. I might just move out there man, I need the good life.”

“You been Ghana before?”

“Yeah yeah, went last year, first time and it was live. They treat you like royalty bruv. You have maids and shit that do everything for you.”

“Seriously?!”

“Trust me bruv, if you want to live the good life, pack your shit and move to Ghana. Africa’s the place to be man. I wanna do it man, I wanna do it bad but I think I’m too westernised for that shit.”

In those two minutes, I struck gold. I too am tired of the life I’m living. Waking up early, going to work, paying bills AND council tax (because you know council tax is not a bill, it is THE bill)…and not being able to afford ordinary Louboutin Pigalles. I don’t like pointy shoes but that’s besides the point. If I cannot buy myself a pair of Pigalles while living the London life, there is only one solution.

I am moving to Ghana… I’m not too westernised for that ‘shit’.

XxX

Waila

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Waila Reads: Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie

americanahA few years ago I heard Chimamanda Adichie speak and something about the way she came across didn’t appeal to me. Over the years I’ve watched interviews she has given and heard her speak at literary events. While I respected her success, there was something about her demeanour I wasn’t a fan of. I concluded we weren’t destined to be friends…until I watched her Channel 4 interview with Jon Snow. Chimamanda, we can now grab a coffee when you’ve got a minute. Now that’s we’re friends, I am of course allowed to call her Chimamanda, just Chimamanda. Experience, training or perhaps both have awarded her a degree of charm and grace that in my probably irrelevant opinion, she previously hadn’t mastered. I like her new aura and I like it a lot.

Her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, won the Orange Prize but despite several attempts, I haven’t managed to read the entire book. Hard though I’ve tried, I can’t connect with the writing and characters and that makes it a tedious read. I’m in a minority though because it’s a best seller and most people I know who have read the book, sing its praises. I much preferred her initial offering, Purple Hibiscus. It’s not a Waila favourite but it is worth a read.

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that my copy of her latest publication, Americanah, landed in my hands six days ago.

Americanah is without doubt, her best work yet. And I say that like I’ve read every word she’s ever written, which of course I haven’t but I quite like how it sound so I’ll say it again. Americanah is without doubt, her best work yet.

I was hooked from the first page and she had me reeled in till the very end. The central character Ifemelu is witty, sassy and charming in equal parts and on occasion, a little annoying. Obinze her love interest, sounds like a man I’d quite like to date. I know next to nothing about Chimamanda personally but I can’t help but think that Ifemelu’s character is a type and shadow of her creator. Americanah bravely attempts to tackle issues of race, identity, migration, prejudice, stereotypes, and love (and that’s not the half of it) and in my opinion, she did a brilliant job of it.

As always I won’t say too much because I’d quite like you to make up your own minds but what I will say is if you don’t own a copy, I suggest you get yourself one… it’s a Waila likes a lot. If you’d like to read a review before you commit your pennies, here’s a link to a brilliant one in The Guardian online.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/apr/15/americanah-chimamanda-ngozi-adichie-review

And no MrsOhgee, you can’t borrow mine.

xxx

Waila

A Memory Time Erased + Waila Reads: On Black Sisters’ Street

I was in Lagos a couple of weekends ago to marry off one of my lover girls, Shally of ForStyleSake. The detailing on her dress gave the analyst in me a lot to analyse. Goes without saying she looked stunning on her big day, what bride doesn’t?! Actually I take that back. I almost had a heart attack when I saw the wedding pictures of one the vendors my mother enlisted to plan my traditional wedding. To each their own but seeing her in her rather interesting bridal get up gave me reason to intensify my prayers. Thankfully, God is and was kind to me.

Much as I profess to be anti-weddings, I love watching my friends get married and I’d trek to the moon to see it happen. I’m amazed at how far we’ve all come in our lives, with or without men, and I’m pretty excited to see what the future has in store for us.

I digress.

Yes, Lagos. The city never ceases to amaze me. It’s a pretty cool place to live if you have enough money in the bank to create your own world but it can be scorchingly unkind to the poor and struggling. That said, it’s such a vibrant city, it’s easy to get caught up in its vibe.

I was in Lagos for all of 52 hours but it was long enough for me to run into a reality I had assumed was long dead. We were driving along the streets of Ikeja late Friday night hunting for food when I noticed a voluptuous girl in a miniscule white Lycra mini skirt striking a pose on the sidewalk. Her ample breasts were spilling out of her umpteen sizes too small top and her makeup was like something out of a how-not-to tutorial. It took a few minutes for my brain to register that she was a prostitute. I was stunned.

Growing up in Lagos and living pretty close to Bar Beach, spotting prostitutes was part of everyday life. I grew up knowing too well that they existed and on occasion, watched them get picked up by punters. Somehow, my brain had deluded itself into thinking such things didn’t happen in 2013.

In the age we live in, there are many sophisticated forms of prostitution but like my grandma says, “Pikin wey resemble goat no be goat, na pikin.” In other words, you are what you are regardless of how you choose to portray yourself. It’s no less heartbreaking to meet a girl who dates a man purely for financial gain but to see a woman standing on the street corner, body parts hanging out, desperately trying to attract the attention of every passing male, stripped it back to its most basic form. I really had forgotten that standing on the streets is still a viable option for some.

As I watched them sashay from car to car trying to reel in dinner, I couldn’t help but fear for their physical safety among other things. Absolutely anything could happen to those girls and the soles of their feet would be none the wiser. I slept uneasily that night.

Prostitutes exist because there is a demand for them.  If no one was willing to pay for sex, no one would be selling it. It’s that simple. Much as I worry about the women who sell their wares, I also worry about the punters who part with their cash. I call it the meeting of troubled souls.

People prostitute themselves for all sorts of reasons and contrary to popular belief not all prostitutes are women struggling to put food on their tables or a roof over their heads. Sometimes, it’s an act born of pure unadulterated greed. I’ve met a few. That said, I am weary of condemning such women because personally, I am yet to encounter circumstances, financial, mental, emotional or otherwise, that would make selling my body a viable option.

I earnestly pray that someday, somehow, these women find a way out.

Seeing those girls reminded me of a book I read a while back and leads me on to a Waila Reads recommendation.

black sister

On Black Sisters’ Street by Chika Unigwe isn’t a Waila favourite but it’s definitely worth a read. It tells the story of four young and rather naive women who make their way from Lagos to Belgium in the hope of raking in serious cash. It’s a story full of clichés but sadly, these clichés are born out of an embarrassingly stark reality.

I won’t say too much, I’ll let you read and make up your own minds. For the curious, I’ve included a link to a review by The Independent below.

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/on-black-sisters-street-by-chika-unigwe-1728899.html

I hope you enjoy reading but more than that, I hope that the next time you get on your knees to pray, if you pray, you remember to say a prayer for these women.

Love & so much more,

Waila

Mrs Waila Calling!!!

Hello People!

I know, I know, I disappeared on you. Forgive and forget? *puppy eyes*

The last six months of my life have been manic but thankfully things are winding down. You’ll be pleased (I hope) to know that I am now married and can reclaim my life from the clutches of wedding planning and the many darts…emotional, physical, spiritual, financial….it sends flying one’s way. Do I miss wedding planning? Heck no!

For the curious, I have a couple of pictures up on my Instagram account (WailaCaan) and will be sticking a few more up over the coming days (seeing as I have hundreds of them) so feel free to nosey on down there. For the non Instagramers, two pic stitches  for you right here. Photos are the work of our super photographer Iain Gomes who you’ll hear more about soon.

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So many stories to tell and some will be revealed in due course.

Those of you who blog will understand how hard it is to keep up with it. It really is a struggle to juggle blogging with my job and other things I’ve got going on in my life but I will keep trying and I will overcome the writer’s block that has been plaguing me…so help me God.

In other news, I deserve a handwritten note of gratitude from the CEO of IKEA, no jokes. I have spent so much of my humble earnings in that store my account is flat packed. On the plus side, I am now a dab hand at hammering and screwing so if any of you need a handyman, please see me in my workshop. I’d have volunteered the hubby but what he offers in physical strength, I more than make up for with my can-do-must-do-who-cares-what-time-it-is-will-do attitude.

On the day we moved house, I was working so the poor guy was left to haul all of our belongings without my help. By the time I got home, he’d done half a day at his day job, another half day carting bags and boxes and was in the middle of putting together a bed. By the time the bed was up, it was pretty late and he looked ready to keel over. Caring wife that I am, I fed him and then swiftly handed him a hammer to begin knocking together one of my wardrobes. You should have seen his face. He who marries a wife finds a good thing…what does he have to complain about?!

Lest I ramble on, I’ll stop now. This is just a quick note to say I’m still in the business of blogging and I am now certified by law to do married people things. Pure minds people, pure minds!

Stay tuned!

xxx

Waila