Jos city is the state capital of Plateau state where I was born, raised and lived my whole life – until 2 years ago. Since I relocated visits have been far and in-between, usually no more than a week (the most being 10 working days) and with a cousin or friend’s wedding tailored around it, which doesn’t leave much time for bonding or rest.
I haven’t been home since my sister’s wedding which was in May last year. That’s 535 days! Yep I counted – not with my fingers, silly – I used a “days calculator” which I randomly searched for on Google… awesome site, haha!
Anyways, It so happens that on the 549th day I will be landing my 10 toes and everything else above it on Plateau state soil, yayness! Even though it’s a two-week holiday and I still had to factor a childhood friend’s wedding into it, I really am excited to go visit my family. Yes I was one of those people who couldn’t wait to leave the nest (even though it took a long time before that happened, phew!) but I’ve stayed away long enough to miss it. One of my fondest memories of home is the “ranch-like” environment we grew up in…
We kept a farm right behind our house where we grew all sorts of crops, fruits and veggies like popcorn, maize, apples, oranges, bananas, coconuts, pawpaw, mangoes, strawberries, parsley, spinach, coffee (never got to process the beans though) and a few others. We grew all of these besides the many flowers my mom planted around the house. I guess both parents had green thumbs! I remember as kids we would sit in the cashew tree and eat the fruits while the juice permanently stained our clothing. We never grew any of that for profit, but we always had enough to share with a neighbor or relative. I don’t know what the farm currently looks like (being early dry season) but I’ll take pictures of what’s left when I get there!
Mom reared chickens (layers and broilers) for sale while dad reared anything he could lay his hands on: cows, goats, geese, rabbits, deer (who never grew old enough for us to play with, sadly) and a turtle. A few years ago my brother started a commercial fish farm and it was nice watching him select fish for us to buy (the worst part of that was having to clean them – they could be so slimy at first, ew.). There were lots of dogs and cats in the house as well. When I was younger I was actually afraid of the animals revolting just like in the book “Animal Farm” – particularly the chickens – so I tried to pacify them each time it was my turn to go pick the eggs. I would speak gently to them like the little child that I was and keep my voice nice and soft so they wouldn’t peck at my hands!
We also have a few bee hives where my dad makes (or farms) honey. He goes to the hive with a professional who helps him to harvest the honeycombs. Once he was attacked by a few bees and he didn’t find it funny at all! Thankfully he lives to tell the tale of that painful episode, haha! :). In his favor the honey is golden brown and quite sweet. Chewing on the honeycomb was a fun past time for us as well 🙂
Back at home I assumed the role of naming all the animals, so once it was settled that an animal wasn’t for sale or for consumption, I would name it. So I named the cats, a few dogs, the goat, a cock (who had two lady-hens all to himself), and a few geese (they all looked alike so that was tricky). I once had a very clean hen called ginger, who would follow you into your room if you let her, sigh!
It might have been difficult feeding and cleaning after all those animals all the time but it was home, and looking back it was worth it, because it was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.
For those of you who think that Jos has been bombed flat by all the religious and political wars we’ve been having and don’t want me to go home at all, I’ll be taking pictures of my holiday so you’ll see that I’m fine and safe. Jos is recovering really fast. We are a strong people! 🙂