American Winter Nigerian Harmattan
Before I proceed with my sermon I want to make it clear that this is Harmattan, not Winter. Don’t try to tush it for your white friends. This is Harmattan, the poor man’s version of Winter.
Winter brings snow, harmattan brings dust. You wear winter jackets and hoodies for winter and you wear “sweater and Cardigans” for harmattan.
Harmattan in Nigeria are of different types of course. Depending on what part of Nigeria you are.
1. Almost-harmattan: For those of us in southern Nigeria, what you have is not the authentic Harmattan. Where rain still falls in December, is that one Harmattan?
2. Harmattan: You know, the normal one. Mostly those in North Central and some parts of the West feel this
3. Very-harmattan: The angry version of harmattan. Those in the core North can relate. I once stayed there. When it starts, ladies no longer need to wear foundations under their make-up. The whiteness of their skins provided the foundations. Here, the cold of the morning gets you frozen and the midday sun melts you back. The weather plays back and fourt with your skin.
Once again, happy harmattan. I understand how this must be for you, especially those of you who have to wake up so early to go to school especially now that almost all our courses now start from 8a.m everyday. Diplomats, My thoughts are with you. I imagine how hard bathing is. I get the picture perfectly. You wake up three times before you finally get up. At around 6am you finally get up. You can feel some part of your blood clothing from getting frozen. You look at the time and realize that you are running late. You start asking yourself: “What’s the essence of life? After all these waking up and rushing to school, won’t I still die afterall? Isn’t it all vanity? What if I just quit attending class today and sleep some more? “But then you realize all the good education will do to you. You remember if u keep sleeping that your kitchen won’t replenish itself. You remember that your subscription won’t do itself, so you drag yourself out of bed and head for the bathroom.
You see, for a number of reasons, hot water could be a far option at such times. Because we are in Nigeria, it is abomination for NEPA to bring light when you need it. Your mind tells you to boil water on the stove and then you remember that kerosene has become 200 naira per litre. Moreover, ‘hot water is for only weak people.’ There are three things a Nigerian man doesn’t admit to.- Giving the head.- Being heartbroken and- Bathing hot water.
Hot water is an insult to your testosterone. So you are left with no choice that to bath cold water. You get into the bathroom and fill the bucket with water (Shower? In this coldweather?
I rebuke it in the name of the new gods and the old gods). You are ready to bath. You are naked now. You are staring into the bucket and the cold, evil water. The water stares back at you, almost grinning. That’s when the real mid-life crises hits you. You bend over to touch the water again. It seems like it’s getting colder the more you delay. You scoop a bit out of it, you say a prayer or two. You pour some of it on your leg and it lands on it, almost tearing out your skin. You stand there wondering if it’s necessary to bath every morning. ‘Who even made that rule? Must we bath everyday?’ After a while, you decide that you are a man. Your father’s first son. The one expected to take over the affairs of your family when Papa is gone. A whole new surge of adrenaline rushes through you. You bravely scoop off a bowlful of cold water, hold your breathe and pour it over your head. It usually takes a fraction of a second for the water to land on your body, but it’s long enough for your life to flash before your eyes. Water mid-air.You think about all the horrible things you’ve done. You remember Nkechi, how you broke her heart way back in secondary school. You remember Adanna, the fair girl that ate all your money and ran away. You remember how you’ve not been a good child to mama after all her sufferings to make you what you are today. You remember Papa, and how he used to tell you stori-The water lands on your bare body. The world freezes for a moment. Silence. A long gasp. You are alive. You made it through the first pour. The hardest part. You rush the bath. It doesn’t matter if you used soap or not. You just know you’ve bathed. You thank the Lord for the strength to push through this. You go to work, come back, sleep, wake up tomorrow morning, repeat process.
Once again, happy harmattan.
Written By: Ehigiamusoe Marvis