Thursday, October 01, 2009

Celebration by the sea..

To celebrate Nigeria's 49th year after independence, I am pasting below a particularly delightful passage from Harold Smith's autobiography. Harold (known also as Sean) and his wife Carol decide that their househelp, Comfort, should go bathing with them at Victoria Beach (what is now known as Bar Beach):

"It was Carol's idea to get Comfort a bathing costume. We had tried to get Comfort to paddle in the water but she had refused. I think she felt it was not allowed.

"We're going to get you a costume, Comfort," announced Carol. "You're a member of the family. If you don't go in the water, we won't go in the water."

Comfort looked stunned.

"Will you take Comfort to Kingsway and buy her a costume, Sean?" said Carol the following day.

The Nigerian shopgirls were amazed when I asked to be shown the swimming costumes and then told Comfort to choose one. Comfort was terrified but I reassured her. She selected an emerald green costume with some white edging at the top. When Carol returned from the office, she asked Comfort to put on her costume and wear her white coat on top. We set off for the beach with the girls very excited. When the moment came on the beach, Comfort was tense. Very slowly she removed her coat. Her costume fitted her well and she looked really beautiful. We gasped with pleasure and ran screaming down the beach and into the water. Comfort was so happy.

Over the next few weeks we noticed other Nigerian girls in costumes going into the water. Then as if by magic, one weekend the beach was crowded with African families and the road to the beach would be crowded with Nigerians walking there. It was wonderful. Europeans began to complain and head for beaches only accessible by boat. Half the housing in Lagos was insanitary even by the low public health standards. At least the people of Lagos could now go to the seaside and enjoy the fresh sea air."


Obi-talker 9:24 pm  

Oh somebody pls tell me the househelp wrote her own follow up 'auto-'

Fabulo-la 2:36 am  

Lol @Obi-talker

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