Originally posted December 2017.
Life is very uncertain and impartial and throws curve balls at you every now and then. I had planned to visit Nigeria with my brother in December to visit friends in Lagos and spend Christmas with my parents in Rivers. But life had different plans, as I unexpectedly had to return to Nigeria in November to bury my beloved grandfather.
It had been four years since I stepped foot in the country and even longer since I visited my mother’s village, the resting place for my grandfather. It was a surreal trip, an adventure filled with a roller coaster of feelings; sadness, excitement, jubilation, confusion, embarrassment etc. And that was all in one day.
I embraced each moment, a day at a time. And of course, I tried to document as much as I could, except the day of the actual funeral. That day I wanted to fully experience without missing a single moment behind a screen.
I visited the south-south region, Rivers State, to my hometown of Port-Harcourt, and my father’s village in Kono, then made my way east to my grandfather’s home in Owerri and finally my mother’s village in Umukabia to bury my grandfather. Throughout the journey, I documented the everyday life of the people.
As you guessed Rivers State got it’s name from the number of rivers surrounding it’s borders. It also happens to be a coastal state, facing the Atlantic ocean on it’s southern border. So it’s no surprise that a lot of the cuisine within that area contains a lot of seafood. Rivers State is also made up of tropical rain forests, producing some of the most delicious fruits in the country. In my biased opinion, I truly believe Rivers State has the best tasting bananas and plantains in the world!
Best thing about visiting home is getting to eat the best food on the planet. Going to the village is extra special because everything is extra fresh and made with extra love. I am a quarter Igbo through my grandfather who recently passed away. While in the village for his burial, of course I dined on some Igbo cuisine.
There’s something about being back home. I can’t really explain it. There’s just this energy in the air. Maybe it’s the nostalgia or maybe it’s the sense of belonging. I truly care about Nigeria and I wish things were better than they are, but home is still home.