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A home away from home

My Travel Writing Scholarship 2011 entry - Journey in an Unknown Culture

TOGO | Monday, 28 February 2011 | Views [172] | Scholarship Entry

The sky was cloudy as a the dust soon settled down on the secluded town of Meriba. We had only come after we got the letter to attend the first birthday of our father. He wanted every member of his family to witness the panorama of eventful memories in retrospect of how he had started off as an employee at a Private hospital and ended up as the CEO of 'Hope Alive Institute'; located in a suburb of Lome,Togo,Africa. The last time we saw him was a New year eve, when he suprised us with a visit to Lagos to re-ignite the flame of the love that had always bonded our togetherness, even if it means not seeing one another for years. I was the only member of the family that cried on being told our father was about to spend the last two weeks then like it was his last days on earth. It was on the 1st day of September, 2005. I remember very vividly how he looked at us on the morning of the cross road that was to put some space of distance between a happy home and new the new home in Togo. He had received an offer to work with some international Medical teams to stop the scourge of HIV and Aids within the region of Sub-Sahara Africa. Accomodation, Transportation and Flight arrangements had been put in place by the United Nation Africa Development Funds Committee of Human Development and Resources Management. At 2:30pm, our Father was airborne and on the way to another assignment to the best of his ability in the capacity of a humble Medical Doctor. After boarding the bus to cut across on the Trans-National boarders of Benin Republic to Lome,Togo,Africa. After the Flight that which was earlier scheduled to go to our destination was cancelled due to some inexplicable circumstances.It was the first time I have been in another country. we saw the people,the culture and many facets of livelihood that had not been or might not have been incorporated into the Nigerian Society. The had to make a dash to the metropolitan restaurant in order to kill the hunger of the flesh. After, to take a Taxi to Meriba, a town closest to Lome. Our father had bombarded us with phone calls through out the journey which was a natural but hilarious matter whenever another phone ringed. He has the biggest heart and could hardlly be missed if comed across. The fact that no one knows it was his first birhday, and the efforts we had made to have had that special day before then were all made futile by his commitment and devotion to work.On getting to the district and alighting, We were welcome by town dwellers amidst praises and chanting of words we could not understand. The drums, the rhythm, the resounding victory, like a golden gold. Having experienced the hospitality and serenity of the people of Meriba, we stepped inside our family house. It was a replica of the one in Lagos,Nigeria. I saw grand ma,Uncle Johnson and also met some interesting international personalities that were once colleagues of my father at the United Nation innitiatives. It was a day of pure beauty and nostalgia. A day to more days of living happily ever after. For he would now have time to heartfully travel between his two destinations as he had always wanted.I spent three months in Meriba and saw the sights and sounds of the people. They Speak French, but some speak Pidgin english, while a few speak English. There were thousands of Nigerians residing in Lome, where they transact businesses to meet their daily needs. I became very elated overnight, away from the sad tastes I had had living away from my parents. I felt like a twelve year old. I was a new self. it was magic I would like to re-live if I'm given the opportunity to experienced a home away from home.

Tags: #2011writing, travel writing scholarship 2011

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