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Observations of a Young Nigerian Female . Powered by Blogger.

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I am young, "normal" and I like to write. People say I eat too much, people don't know what they are saying.

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Douglas Road (Series): Nnamdi .G. Nwaigwe - Part 3


It took six weeks before I completed the registration process as a new student and moved into the hostel. What should have been a simple process was made annoyingly complicated by irritable non-academic staff who made students queue up for days just to get a document signed or stamped, or a bank draft confirmed and changed to the school receipt.
Before I sorted my hostel accommodation, I lived with my cousin, Uzoma.His parents were rich, so he could afford to stay, without a room-mate, in a nice one-room self-contained apartment off campus. In his room, there was a plasma TV,a PlayStation, a home theatre system and a refrigerator. He was relatively well-off as a student. He was also anabaliagba aka. He hardly spent a night without a girl. His girlfriends were students from other higher institutions in Owerri. It was from one of them, Nenye, that stories of Douglas road first trickled into my ears.
Of all Uzoma’s girlfriends, Nenye was the most jovial, the only one who didn’t consider me an inconvenience. At night, she took him in quietly, unlike the others who made all sorts of hormones-enraging sounds that threatened the calmness of my penis and prolonged my stay in the bathroom the next morning. Sadly, she was one of Uzoma’s expendables. He would leave her with me at home and stay out for hours on weekends, watching football and hanging out with his friends.
On such days, I sat alone with her and watched TV in silence. When there was no light, we busied ourselves with our phones and made small talk.
Initially, the talk centred on nothing. Then one Saturday, it turned personal. She talked about her family, about growing up, and about her experience with men. Then she talked about Owerri, the city in which she was born and raised.
“Does it not bother you?” I asked, when she said she hadn’t been outside Owerri, remembering how spending my formative years without leaving Aba made me feel caged and isolated. “Don’t you ever long to visit other places? To experience a different life?”
“Well, I’d love to, but I like it here too.” There was a warm, nostalgic glint in her eyes as she said it.
“Hmm.” I ruminated on what she had said. What was it about Owerri – or anyplace – that would make someone unwilling to visit other places?
“Owerri is fun o,” she said, reading my mind. “There are many places to visit and have fun.”
She talked on excitedly, counting the fun places in Owerri off her fingers. They were mainly hotels, bars and night clubs: IbariOgwa, Cubana, NV Lounge, D’Angels, Mbari Kitchen, KelvicSuites. While her face glowed in nostalgic excitement, I wondered how she wasn’t ashamed of herself. What was a young girl her age doing jumping from one hotel to the other? In Aba, that would have earned her the akwuna title and have the street boys buzzing around her for their own share of her cake. But Owerri was different, as I would later realize. There were just so many hotels and bars and night clubs that there couldn’t be anywhere else to go. Except to church, maybe.

“But Owerri can be dangerous too.” She paused as though to let me prepare for the bad part. “There are parts of Owerri you don’t go to anyhow. You have to be careful, even in daytime.
My head shot up from my phone. I had been checking live scores, monitoring the games I played on bet9ja. “Even in daytime?”
“Yes. Even in daytime.” Her face lit up. She seemed amused by my question, by the incredulity of my tone.
“On Douglas road, for example, you could have your phone snatched from you in broad daylight with everyone looking.”
“Haba!” I exclaimed.“Looking and doing nothing to help you?”
“What can anyone do, kwanu?” she asked, laughing at my unfamiliarity with the situation.
“I don’t understand,” I said. “How can you rob someone in daylight and no one does anything to help? This would never happen in Aba…”
“That’s Aba for you,” she cut in. “Here is Owerri. And don’t even try to intervene when you meet anything like that here.”
She stood and walked across the room to the toilet. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you o!”
She disappeared into the toilet. There was the sound of running water, or running urine, then the door closed, muffling it.

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