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Fear Of Going Home

By Cajetan Nwachukwu
20 December 2009   |   10:49 am
When I was on postgraduate study at the University of Ibadan in 1991, in line with my tradition, in the evening, I would go to The Seat of Wisdom Chapel to pray to close the day which began with morning Mass. Often, after praying, I would hang around the Church premises to savour the campus greenish scenery and the up and down movement of students.

On one occasion, I stood close to two kids under ten years, whose parents were senior staff of the institution. They were enjoying their childhood with sketchings on the ground and chatting away, touching on both realities and fabulous dreams. I was not with them until one stole all my attention with this outburst, "Home people are bad ". "If I am going home" he continued," I will go with all my food and drink. I will not buy anything there. When I reach home, I will lock myself up in the house. I will not go anywhere." I was restless. Who sold this evil to this innocent mind? Instead of," Home sweet home"; "East and West, home is the best" which his counterparts elsewhere were singing, he was there dining with poisonous prejudice.


I returned to Nigeria the previous year. I must say that I left Europe from my village. In my boarding school, I learnt one poem regarding how to spend my holidays. It harps on the necessity of going home especially at Christmas. "At Easter, be anywhere. At Christmas, be at home." This couplet which has European background is highly related to the celebration of Boxing Day, on the 26th of December. On this day family members gather to pick their Christmas gifts which include those Santa Claus would have brought on Christmas Eve. All the gifts were usually hidden under a decorated Christmas tree that was royally installed in one corner of the parlour. No family member would deliberately be absent, and anyone forced by any circumstances, would be sad for a long time. In my village, we were always very eager to welcome our kith and kin when they visited home.