BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME

Come inside my dear for the clouds are dark. The rain will soon start and you do not want to get wet and sick.

It is terrible to travel when you are unwell. You will leave this house in good health and arrive healthy.

Where you are going to is a faraway land.

Yes, the people are very different. Their customs are not ours and their skin color may be pale, but they are still people.

What will you say when they start to ask you questions?

This is why I must speak to you my dear before you leave home.

All your life you have lived here without paying attention to the what, why, how, and where.

Now, you must think like a visitor.

If they ask you what do people look like in your home?

Do not reply with, “just like you” or “beautiful” or “don’t you watch TV?”

Remember, your eyes have been transformed to that of a visitor’s.

Tell them of the cocoa butter breasts that fed you as a child.

Describe the sturdy back you were pressed against with a wrapper when you cried.

Do not forget the teeth so white during smile, and laughter so full of life that came out from this house.
You must be prepared to show them home.

When they ask you how come you speak English so well, resist the urge to laugh at them or ignore the question.They too will explain many things about their home, so why shouldn’t you?

Teach them five different greetings in our local languages. Let them bounce the vibrations from the words against their tongues and teeth. Even when they mispronounce the simplest of phrases, prove to them they can do better as you speak slowly to be understood by them.

What did you say?

No, my dear I did not call you slow.

I, your mother know more than any other human on this earth that you are intelligent.

I also know that even though an accent is not a measure of one’s intelligence, they will mock you if they do not understand your words clearly.

You will see, touch, and breathe snow. In the wonder of the moment, they may ask what the weather is like at home.

This is when you can laugh at them.

Listen carefully to the rain falling hard against our roof and replay for them the sound effects. Bullets fired non-stop against an iron surface taking a break only when the soldier needs to replace a new round of ammunition. That is the power of the rain at home. A season so fearsome that God gave it 7 months out of the calendar to showcase its strength.

At home, we have rainy season.They are smart and will understand that the remaining 5 months must be dry season. Commend them for their effort before you open their minds to the driest of winds; Harmattan.

Paint the image of chapped lips and buttocks that render the work of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly useless. Pour out the thick fog before their eyes and let them inhale the sharp freshness released in the air. Only then will they begin to understand why their simple snow is laughable when compared to home.

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2 thoughts on “BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME

  • August 20, 2016 at 11:57 pm
    Permalink

    Well written a history well told!

    Reply
    • August 22, 2016 at 1:45 pm
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      Thank you!

      Reply

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