As a growing child, I have always fantasized travelling to as many places as possible in the world. I derive a great deal of pleasure from embarking on vacation trips; I haven’t really gone on vacations like I would love to, but in this booklet [I am still writing it] I will be sharing with you memories from my most visited holiday destination – my maternal hometown – Bakana.
Mum made it a routine for my younger brother, Oswin and I to go spend most of our holidays at Bakana because she felt it would help us learn our local language, get to know our rural-based relatives as well as our maternal Grandma and Great Grandpa. Interestingly, our paternal Grandma also hailed from Bakana. Being a holidaymaker at Bakana isn’t anything like going somewhere really far away like to another continent or country entirely, but then, it had its own unique experiences, lessons, and memories. I am currently working on a collection of stories about my holiday experiences at Bakana, and here is one of my stories. I hope you enjoy reading!
She’s one of the most amazing folks I encountered every holiday. Her peers called her by her real name but her children, grandchildren, and other kids like me called her ‘Mama’. She’s one of the folks I made sure I pay a visit to whenever I arrive. The show of excitement she displays by the fact that I always remember to come greet her was one that made me grin so much. It was fun watching this elderly woman go about her daily routine with so much vigor that makes you think she’s way younger than she looks. Mama has always been very enterprising; she sold soft drinks both in retail and wholesale, she made and sold baskets and other craftwork, and she reared goats which she sells mainly during festive seasons and special occasions.
Even as age is beginning to tell on her, she won’t relent from being enterprising and active. She’s been a happy soul who radiates so much grace that those around her felt the waves of happiness – she couldn’t keep the light of her sunshine from reaching others, she didn’t intend to, she couldn’t, she just can’t! So life was with Mama Life until tragedy struck. First, she lost a grandchild from her second daughter whom we called ‘Sister Bee’ and who happened to be my brother’s Godmother. The loss of this child who was one out of the twin-set of boys which Sister Bee had, left Mama broken and sad. Just as she was getting back up on her feet to life as usual, she received another hard blow, her first daughter ‘Aunty Dee’ was involved in a ghastly motor and died on the spot. The news was initially hidden from her but when she was eventually told, strong Mama couldn’t withstand the hard knock; her knees wobbled, her husky dulcet became frail, and it looked like her body frame could no longer carry her body even as her old age now became so glaring. The grief was so intense that arrangements were made and Mama was taken to Lagos to be with her first son until her condition improved, but it didn’t. After just a week in Lagos, Mama became homesick and refused eating; no amount of trick, pampering, and pleading could dissuade her from going back to her beloved home town – Bakana.
Back to the serenity of life in the village and in the company of kinsmen and relatives, she started feeling better. Though very slowly, Mama was recuperating and the sun was beginning to shine on her again. I went to visit her during the last Christmas which made it a year and some months since the funeral of ‘Aunty Dee’. As usual, she was so fun to be with. She won’t take a ‘no’ from you when she offers you a drink, even when it isn’t chilled at all but rather hot. As she went on telling me lots of stories and bringing back memories of her experiences in life while also thanking God for his grace, my mind drifted to how this amazing soul will cope when she is eventually [if she will ever be] told that less than three months after the demise of her first daughter, her second daughter ‘Sister Bee’ who had been severely ill also journeyed to the great beyond.
This an excerpt from my book ‘Bakana Island: Memoirs of a Holidaymaker!’ which I am still working, at a very slow pace actually**covers face**