Every first day of the month in my church is an early praise service, to thank God for the privilege of seeing another month and seek his guidance and direction. Today wasn’t any different. Naturally because I was to travel today I couldn’t sleep, finally shut my eyes about midnight, woke up about 5am, and finished packing (goes without saying that I forgot quite a lot of things).

So we went to church, there was a lot of singing and dancing and praise to God and then I had to leave for the office enroute the airport.

Fast forward to after I had boarded, the guy beside me (won’t say where he’s from for the sake of national unity) didn’t know how to use his seatbelt, so I helped him (as a good citizen). Then, he slept off and I started reading. He woke up when the hostess was handing me a chicken sandwich and a bottle of water. Now we all know that Aero’s refreshments are now for ‘independent men and women’ (thank you Destiny’s Child) but I think that this Son of God beside me didn’t know because in his sleepy state, he stretched out his hand too. The hostess smiled at him and then gave him exactly what she had given me. ‘No give me Panta’, he said so she gave him a can, and then she said, ‘that’s N600 Sir’. The shock on his face left me laughing for a very long time (after I got off the plane of course). ‘Is it not por pree’? Ha ha ha!

Ok, so we landed in Port Harcourt (safely), and I helped my neighbor unfasten his seatbelt (it’s a good thing we didn’t quarrel or anything, I would have just left him there)!

Fast forward to when my friends picked me up in Yenagoa (especially since I don’t want to tell you about the horrible roads, scary looking mobile policemen every 5metres (almost felt like I was in Darfur), and worse still, the guy who slept and wanted to keep ‘leaning on me’…as if I have even the remotest ties to Kirk Franklin!

Anyways, Bayelsans are very welcoming, that’s a fact. They are warm, friendly, etc, as long you’re not an employee/associate/boyfriend/relation or an affiliate in anyway to any oil company, foreign or local. Every interview I conducted re-affirmed what I was told when I first got there though: there’s a yearning gap between the rich and the poor (regardless of what we think of Bayelsa being a land flowing with milk and honey). Their problems are compounded by swampy land, adding an enormous cost of intense sand filling for anyone who wants to build, and even for road construction too. Like every other state in the country, Bayelsa is besieged by corruption, and the effects are obvious. The tension is so thick it is palpable, making me fear that we might just see/hear of violence (like we have never experienced before) if care is not taken.

Its common knowledge that Warri (of Delta state), and Benin (Edo), are the places for pidgin English. I believed that, till I went to Bayelsa, pidgin English there sounds like a dialect! I think also that Bayelsans are very practical people, for example, I was doing an interview and because the person I was talking with was so pessimistic and despondent so I said, ‘God will help us’.
He said – I don’t believe in God, I dey serve my juju.
I said – ok, that’s good (noticing for the first time the strange looking ornament he wore round his neck…was that a tooth for the pendant)?
He said – na true na, who wan serve juju if all of us dey serve God?
Naturally, I ended that interview real quick (and that’s all I’ll say about that)!

I couldn’t resist the temptation to go near water, and it’s beautiful. Once upon a time I was told you could sit there, relax and have young boys (and girls) catch and then roast fish for you for a small fee. These days, you can still sit and chill, the water’s not just producing that much fish anymore (for obvious reasons abi)?

Away from the gloomy, I went around at night (to complete the Bayelsan experience); visited places like De Jakes, V10, etc. let me put it like this, if Shank’s ‘Julie’ is the number 1 song on the charts in a club or lounge in 2010, ‘Houston we definitely have a problem’!

I won’t talk about the dances I saw so I don’t spoil your day. I’ll however be fair and say that there were some pretty good dancers too. Ok?

Ok…what else? Hmm…. Yes! So I went to a fast-food joint, seemed like a pretty normal, everyday kind of spot. When I placed my order, paid and picked my bags to go, the lady said, have a nice day, we love you’. Seriously? I had a good laugh but I bet you I went back there for dinner. (PLAY, Abuja take note).

I came here to work yes; I still took time to sample some local delicacies. Suffice to say that almost every meal is eaten with fried fish, boiled fish, roasted fish, fish pepper soup, I can almost bet they eat raw fish too (joke o)! Example, yam and palm oil and fish pepper soup, unripe plantain pottage and fish pepper soup, rice and stew and fish pepper soup, I bet you could get a burger with fish pepper soup. Any wonder they’re running out of fish? On the other hand, makes me wonder why the Federal government engages the boys the boys from these parts in fights, and then go on air to say they ‘didn’t find the militants’! How do you expect to find them? For heavens sakes these people were probably born under water! Anyways, I digress.

Back to food, remember Steve Irwin, the guy on National Geographic who was killed by a fish called Stingray? Ok, so for breakfast one morning at a traditional ruler’s house I was told we would be having boiled yam and fish pepper soup. When the food came, everything but the fish looked normal. I asked and was told that the fish was the famous Stingray. ‘Jeez’, I said, and immediately lost my appetite; I would later eat bread and a coke. How can I eat something that killed a whole human being? Same way I won’t/can’t eat lion/tiger/snake/wolf/fox or crocodile meat (Fairy or no Fairy)!

Let me end this post with a big thank you to the Crown Prince of Opume kingdom, Dawuta, Austen, and the other people who made my stay in Bayelsa state complete.

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Comments
  1. NkeDiNaIruKa says:

    Not that it matters but not All sting rays are poisonous. But I don’t blame you for not eating it. I wouldn’t either.

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  2. tayo says:

    nice write up..

    Like

  3. ugochi Ekenta says:

    I dorf my hat for d writter of dis ” Bayelsan Legend of d Seeker”… D story waz quite interesting n also kept me spell-bound. Kudos I mst say!!!

    Like

  4. Abiola says:

    wow i love your write up.

    Like

  5. Michael says:

    FG…great blog.
    I once ate snake & ai’m still alive, t’was a Cobra sef! LOL
    Am currently, seriously, thinking of eating Dog….
    It all happened on one of my frequent visits to PH, i saw the advert ‘404 is Ready’ and asked my friend who lives there. He proudly said its Dog meat prepared in various style…so am curious and am doing in on my next visit (dont even try telling me not o)!!!

    Cheers Babe

    Like

  6. Devaan says:

    Kai babe! This is funny. A fish called Sting Ray! My dear thats how i read it. You made it sound like the fish get First name and Surname. Me Sef i still dey vex for Sting that thing wey im do Steve! Well, nuff said. Great article. I loved reading it!

    Like

  7. Fidel says:

    Nice read … you’re a bunch of talent.
    I’ve read lots from you and each time I do, I either laugh hard or it gets me thinking hard.
    Jisi ike…

    The aircraft ‘scene’ was my best part ….no be pree? LOL

    Like

  8. ini says:

    c’est interessant

    Like

  9. didijykes says:

    great piece!almost wished it didnt end.keep it coming!!!

    Like

  10. Nelly says:

    Nice Write up girl…… Am I not proud to be ur friend. I really enjoyed the flight scene as well. Walahi Talahi me ma I peel say na por pree….haha

    Like

  11. Zubby says:

    Lol sounds like u had loads of fun!!!! Lucky u ddnt stay long cuz BYC fish is fattening as evidenced by d way i luk diz days. . . Lovely piece & yep i remember u always loved to write!!!

    Like

    • Yes Zubby, I’ve always loved writing… I’m thankful I have this platform to express now, and for all my darling readers who keep coming back!

      As for adding weight, I thought fish was a lean protein, and therefore alright to splurge on?

      Like

  12. anonymous says:

    Darling, why did u end it like that? Was looking forward to your escapades…and your experiences. Unfortunately whilst reading this I hadn’t eaten. So you can imagine how hungry it made me, reading about fish peppersoup and boiled yam etc
    For Gods sake I’m in far away obodo england. To make matters worse I’m in a village in cornwall. No naija food. Hunger wan kill me o! Please give us more. Write more.
    Xx

    Like

    • Dear anonymous, all chronicles come to an end…. *sob sob* I know about living abroad and craving Nigerian foods; you need to see the way I rush local delicacies whenever I’m back home…

      Ndo o!

      Like

  13. […] Before I veer off point, on the 1st of February 2010 I was in Abuja, working for the BBC World Service trust and I remember attending a praise service at Winners’ Chapel Durunmi before rushing to catch my flight en route Bayelsa State on assignment. […]

    Like

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