On Love for Difficult Country


So I’m out of the country, and apart from going down to eat breakfast, I’ve been in my room working all day today. Then I stop. Or, I am stopped. And the laughter is irrepressible.
The popup for the complimentary hotel internet (Aloft Starwood) came up and I see again there is a premium internet guests can pay for, and the free one I’m using. The hilarity lay in the free one—I have updated my iPad IOS, all the apps, all Android apps my phone runs and updated the Android OS, my laptop has been plugged in for the last forty eight hours along with the aforementioned devices and my IdeaPad (for the second novel I am supposed to be writing!). Skype and Chrome have been updated. The free internet is stronger than ALL of the six internet services I have used in Naija (Etisalat, GLO, MTN, there was something called Zoom that came to Jos some years ago, Visafone and Spectranet) put together. Na “free” be this o. If we use premium nko? It was the image of my devices levitating for sheer the-internet-of-everything joy that stopped me and crazed me a bit.
I love Nigeria. I always miss it. I always particularly miss the food. My palate is decidedly Nigerian and I’ve stayed in all stars of hotel catered by chefs who know their chemistry, but I have always shook my head at the food. I have often than not suffered. Even in African countries. So, despite the weight one feels as soon as the door of the airplane opens in Abuja and you step out, you still look forward to your return. For the food—the pounded yam and egusi soup, the kpomo, the tuwon rice and gbegiri soup, the spectrum of ways we make jollof rice, and rice and stew.
And you wish your country would get simple things right: like internet access. And electricity. And just creating a space so that your love for it has no caveats… So you do not have to stop working in realizing the sad irony of your life away from the present brief punctuation, life within the sentence of a Nigerian existence, and do not have to laugh like a fool at yourself and why you are in this dilemma of loving a country that refuses to give you the basic sustenance for you to aspire confidently, as you are born to.

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