By Madame Bukola Olieh
Days ago I was sitting in my living room watching television, then the thought of summer vacation trickled in. I wondered how one could enjoy summer vacation without having to travel abroad. We all know that travelling for some is not a flash in the pan nowadays, it takes some serious planning and even more seriously is savings.
So I asked myself how can I enjoy vacation without travelling out of the country, then I realised that a lot of us don’t really appreciate so many things around us. I realised that all the money we spend travelling abroad could be put to better use.
So I decided to embark on one and soon as I hit the road memories of the good old days came running back into my head. It was then I realised that kids are really deprived, even more than we think.
How many parents have taken their children to their parental homes, I mean our villages? To the farms that some us of grew up on, to the village were our grandparents lived, to the villages where we were often referred to as “Lagos Children’ and were the village kids looked at us like we were from the UK or US?
We complain that history was yanked off our curriculum when in the real sense, it us, who have yanked history off our memories. For some reasons, we try not to connect to our roots. Some claim spiritual while others claim witchcraft but whatever the reasons, we just might be using our left hand to describe our parents home.
We want our children to see other parts of the world but never encourage them to travel home to visit the streams, learn how our popular and award winning ‘Garri’ is been processed. We do not let them appreciate nature, like they should.
We do not let them see the moon light, smell the aroma of the stream or watch the sun rise. More frightening is the fact that we do not allow them listen to people speak our local language, talk less speak it.
Here’s a flash back to when we were growing up, my father been a military officer took us to the village to spend summer with my grandpa. I learnt from my grandpa that you can tell the time by looking into the sky. We enjoyed hearing stories and tales of village life.
There was no electricity and still that summer was the best summer I ever had. We were taught how to do so many things, my cousins were around during this holiday and today I flashback to that summer vacation and the first question I ask myself is, where are all my cousins? I wonder.
Do I even know anything about them? Do we ever get to meet like that again? We now only meet during family programs. Our children don’t even know each other. We were bonded during that summer vacation and my late grandpa was around to keep us together.
Dear, Parents I would encourage us to build a culture of togetherness among our loved ones. My view is that children who grow up hanging out with cousins and loved ones can never be influenced easily by friends or peer group.
Before they relate with strangers they would first talk to someone close to them and if that person is blood or family it would help. We have so many places we can visit in Nigeria, in West Africa and even Africa. Yes traveling abroad is good, it gives us exposure and helps us to achieve those daydreaming that ends with a slap on your face from your parents but there is an adage which says charity begins at HOME.
Let’s build love in the heart of our children, let’s tour our country Nigeria, let’s expose ourselves to the culture of other tribes, let’s embrace our roots and above all let’s bring our children back.
Let’s have a happy Nigerian summer.
Madame Buky Olieh is an educator, child psychologist and French tutor. She wrote from Southwest, Nigeria
You can reach her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org