“However far the stream flows, it never forgets its source“- Nigerian Proverb.
This is a story about home, about the people who are more than just our neighbours, about the place that raised us and has an imprint on the person we have become. This is a story about going back to the root of who we are.
This is a story about a name. What is in a name? Asiyami’s father begins his story by telling us his name, Ojike Amakiri Wekulom, then proceeds to tell us his full name and the meaning behind it. Nigerian names are more than identifiers, they carry a deeper meaning, a name is bigger than the person who bears it; it is said in prayer and hope of the community for the child. It is both a projection of your future and the promise of your birth.
This is a story about the community that raised you. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, because even before that child is born the village has a vested interest in its wellbeing. The child is a representation of the wider community not just its home, therefore his or her future becomes intertwined in the history of that community.
This is a story about the land that is cultivated to nourish you. There is a deep respect for the ground, each harvest is in thanks to the land which is why the new yam festival is so critical. There are no mechanical contraptions to hurry a harvest, elders speak the language of the earth and know to give her the breadth of the season as she takes her time to yield the fruits of their labour. Growth from the ground is organic. In the same vein, this is a story about time, giving the earth the time to bloom and to heal from season to season.
This is a story about dialect and dialogue, about our native tongue and how it influences our thoughts and actions. Nigerians, we have a reputation of speaking with our entire body, it is almost performative, because language for us is emotive, spoken with feeling and forethought. Our elders have a more rhythmic way of speaking, interweaving words with proverbs and idioms because there is always a lesson to be learned and their words are more than mere, well, words, they are stories, with layered meaning.
This is a story about culture that stems from language, how it is spoken and expected to be received; a story about the lines between.
This is a story about home, and our connection to it, no matter how far we are from it because it is where we love and where, even though we leave with our feet, we are ever present in our hearts- to paraphrase Wendell-Holmes. Home is the place we carry within us, a guidance, it is who we are, and a remembrance of time past. Home is the people we meet along the way whose hands in so many ways have raised us. Home is in the lines of our elder’s smile as they bless us and welcome us back with that big embrace. The familiar feeling of the earth beneath our feet as we walk roads that remember us no matter how long we have been away. It is about the richness of the forest, the paddle of the canoe, the dancing of our elders as they celebrate our successes and the softness of all around.
Time moves forward but in so many ways stands still holding us gently within it, therefore this is a story about the journey back home.
Visually, this is emotional and all encapsulating. A love story most vivid, that endears Abua-Odual to our hearts.
This is a homage to home. This is a beautiful story.
watch it here
images screen grabbed from documentary