I am sitting here with nostalgia, a good friend of mine. She comes around at Christmas time.
Christmas time in the Naija village is natural, undiluted magic, seen through the eyes of a child – a big child like me. I want to go home.
I am looking forward to hearing the songs of the village sparrows and seeing the webs of the spiders again; I want to see and feel the early morning dews and the tears of joy of old friends and relatives; I want to walk through the village winding roads and the fogs of dawn, and hear the welcome songs of the croaking frogs again; let me dance again under the sun until noon and soon dance under the moon; let the wave of the fresh air take me through the vine where nobody whines; at night let me sleep with peace, like the child I was, and think of nothing but peace. I want to go home.
If I had a choice between the presidency of the world, and spending the Christmas season in my hometown, my choice would be easy. Keep your presidency and leave me to re-live, once again, my childhood. Leave me to re-awaken priceless memories of childhood singing and dancing that have defined my existence and held me beautifully captive; leave me alone to breathe the clean village air that refreshes my nostrils; allow me to see, once again, the colorful and enchanting masquerades dancing at the village squares; excuse me while I scoff at your offer of the presidency because I have old people in my village whose elderly counsel, whose advice, whose words of wisdom and smiles at Christmas season I want to hear, see, and feel again. I want to go home.
It is the season in Naija when city dwellers go to their real homes in the villages; it is the season when the city boys and girls who have no villages wish they had one. I want to go home.
I close my eyes and imagine the incomparable finger-licking soup of Mother, the stew, the goat meat, the chicken meat, the rice, the beans and the other delicacies that taste uniquely delicious only because they are cooked with a tinge of family love, a dash of holiday spirit, and an abundance of village simplicity. Please, let me go home.
It is true that my village is no longer the same as the village of my childhood. But, in my village, we still say that when the foofoo is rough and the soup is tasteless, that is the time to know the man who truly loves foofoo, because he continues to eat. I want to see the village of my dreams again.
I want to sing like a sparrow at dawn
Clear the webs that spiders have spawn
Ask the morning to chase the dews
Away from eyes that drip with tears
I want to lift the dreary cloud that blinds
Clear the brush from the road that winds
Until the eyes see through the fogs
And see no harm in the croaks of the frogs
I want to dance ’till long after noon
Shake and twist ’till I see the moon
Then wave and ask the moon for a shine
And follow the shine ’till I reach the vine
I want to sleep until I dream of the skies
Dream of the clouds and never ask whys
But dream of nature the way it is
And accept the skies and clouds as bliss
I want to chase the clouds of the mind
Let me only dream of all that binds
That binds the heart the soul and spirit
And wake to praise the joys of my wits
I want to forget the things that upset
Let me sleep all night and never regret
I want to dwell on all that’s fine
And not regress to fear or whine
I want to know when again it’s dawn
I’ll rise and shine and wear my crown
Sing and dance like kings and queens
And face the day like sparrows at dawn
Please tell Mother that her boy is on his way home for Christmas.