Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween!

While Nigeria doesn't celebrate Halloween, the expats are always looking for an excuse 
to get together and have a  party!  
We were invited to a much anticipated Halloween celebration!

I made caramel and chocolate apples with pretzel, nuts, m&m and sprinkle toppings.  

Food is always plentiful and I love the unique dishes that the expats bring!  
My favorite item was a lemon rice dish with peanuts and jalapenos- YUM!!  
And another very TASTY appetiser was a an apple dip made of canned pumpkin, 
cinnamon, cream cheese and vanilla.  What a great FALL treat!  
I had multiple helpings!  :) 

This dish was the most creative -  Stuffed eyes (eggs)!  
 The food was wonderful and the company was even better!  

Costumes were required, so we went to the party dressed as BLACK EYED PEAS.   :) 
Our driver laughed out loud when he saw us.  
He has Just another story about those 'crazy white people' going around!    
(Just in case you need additional explanation......
We each have a BLACK EYE and have lots of P's on our clothing!)  

The staff in the kitchen dressed up too!!  
They were so proud of their costumes, so we had to have a picture!!    
Even the security guard participated and wore a Bandana and cowboy hat!  

Ozzie and Sharon Osborne were our hosts all the way from London!  

And a pregnant Peggy as a Louisiana 'gal'.  (So funny Peggy!)

Charles, Adrian, Cletus and John 

 I wish I had taken more pictures of the clever costumes.  
A mail order bride attended along with a 'geeky' engineer (Ralph did that one well!).  
The Flintstones, Wilma and Fred arrived along with nomads from Morocco.  
There was a guy dressed as an indonesian dancer, a witch, a golfer, a prison inmate, 
a tourist and a guy returning from a safari!    
One I especially thought was creative was the Buckaneer......
He taped a dollar bill to each ear and had a "buck an ear!".  
When you don't have much to work with, creativity takes over!  

  Happy Halloween Ya'll!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Elephant Stew

Yesterday I purchased a new cookbook entitled "Passport to Food'.  The book is written by the ladies of the American Women's Club of Lagos, Nigeria.  I love the expat cookbooks, since they contain unique recipes from all over the world.  I thought you might enjoy my two favorite recipes from the book.   I haven't tried them, but I am SURE they are wonderful!!  Let me know what you think!  

Elephant Stew 
1 Elephant 
salt and pepper 
Brown gravy 
2 rabbits, optional 

Cut elephant into bite-sized pieces.    Cover with lots of brown gravy.    Cook over low heat for about 4 weeks.  This will serve 4200 people.   If more are expected, the 2 rabbits may be added, but do this only if necessary as most people do not like to find hare in their stew.  

Honeymoon Salad 
Lettuce Alone!  


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Chiefs and Kings

To be addressed as a Mr., Mrs. or Ms. in Nigerian social circles
 means you are a nobody. 
To be a mover or shaker you need to be a chief
 - or to at least hold a doctorate.

"To be a traditional chief is like being a small god - 
it is seen as the peak of one's achievement in life."

"A chief should be someone who is well-to-do financially and intellectually - 
and has contributed substantially to the development of the community."  

 "It's a recognition by your people," says Luke Ogadagbe, who became a chief in one of the Delta States in the 1990s.    He is known as Erhuvwu of Udu kingdom - "Goodness of the Udu kingdom" - and has found that his traditional title puts him in a "special class".  "You don't operate as an ordinary man anymore. As a matter of fact you are supposed to be in the upper bracket of society and that lifts you from the commoner," he explains.  

In Nigeria, titles are very important.  Many titles are inherited; others are awarded for doing good works within the community.  Some titles are earned professionally and other titles are bestowed as favors.   It is not uncommon to have titles which connect people with royalty or  those which are honorary chieftaincy titles. Sometimes the titles are also 'purchased'.    When we don't know the title of the individual (or in my case, when I can't pronounce the names) we use Her/His Excellency which covers all errors.   In general, we know that the Chief is either the head of an African village/community OR an honorary title given by an official.   The Otunba is a title given to signify a form of royalty in the chiefdom.  The Ayore is also a royal title which is given as a huge honor.  The king of a state or large community is the Oba.  The Oba is highly respected, but doesn't have political authority.

We had our first real exposure to this system when we were invited to a birthday party recently.  
It was the 75th birthday for "Her Highness, The Otunba Ayore,  Dr. (Mrs.) Bole Kuferege - Olube O.O.N." and we were thrilled to be invited.  She is a board member where Charles works and a very impressive lady.    

The Otunba is a beautiful woman and does not look 75 years old.  She is gracious, well-spoken, intelligent and has earned all the titles bestowed upon her.   There is a wonderful article about the Otumba here which is worth reading.  She is a high-profile woman in Nigeria, a former CEO of the United Bank of Africa and the former minister of commerce.  This excerpt from the article mentioned above tells about one of her titles. 

"...An Otunba is not the kind of title for which they send a letter and ask you to come and be an Otunba. It is a proper traditional title. 
“I went to do what they call ‘Ipebi’ for eight days, where I sat down and I was humbled by different people, old and young, who came to prostrate and greet me ‘Kabiyesi’. I stayed there for eight days, not going home or even to ease myself. To me, it was an eye opener as to the rich tradition that the Yoruba have. 
“On my father’s side, I come from the Jibodu Sokalu family. My paternal grandmother was Jibodu Sokalu on her father’s side, while on the mother’s side, she was from Ilupomi Soleka. So, I am from royalty in the two sides, as you can see.”    ...."So my basic responsibility to the Oba is to pay homage and, as much as I can, give support to the projects that are taking place within Ijebu-Ode and its environ."  

The Otunba's birthday party was held at the Medici Restaurant on Victoria Island in Lagos.  It was a well-attended event with various dignitaries and important personalities.   
We had a seated dinner with excellent food along with many, many, many speeches in traditional Nigerian style.   We were one of a very few oyibos (white ones) so we stood out a bit.  However, we had wonderful dinner partners and we enjoyed meeting many new people.  
However, to me, the most unique part of the evening was the Oba who attended from Ogun state.   After all the guests were seated, the Otunba walked in with the other dignitaries who filled the head table.  Then a trumpet sounded and everyone stood for the entrance of the Oba.  His trumpeter led the procession while blowing (loudly) and the Oba paraded in under a cloth jeweled umbrella.  He carried a beaded walking stick and a fly whisk made of horse hair fastened to a gold handle.  This is an important part of the Oba's regalia along with his special beads.  After he was seated, the Oba's court went to the table right behind us.  Suddenly, his attendant started shouting"Oba N' kio" for all to hear - over and over.  
All through the evening, this same man would SCREAM "Oba N kio" anytime that the Oba was addressed OR just at random, so we didn't forget that he was in the room.  All during dinner and all during the speeches - even mid-sentence, we heard the shout of "Oba N' kio" -which means either "Hail to the King" OR "The monarch recognizes your presence and welcomes you" depending on when it is shouted.  It was crazy!!  The Oba does not speak (I figured it was beneath him) in public, so his attendant responded from across the room - over FIFTY times!  You can find more information about the Oba (also very impressive) here.  It was just intriguing to us.  

The evening ended with a wonderful band and dancing.  

As we left, we were given a gift as a thank you for attending the event.  
The women received pink packages and the men were given blue, which was a nice touch.  

Charles received a small accessory bag as his momento.  

And I am pictured at 1:30 a.m. with my new bright red coffee thermos. 

What an interesting evening!  

And....I have decided on a new title which was inherited 
and handed down from my family line
 and is also a very HIGH condition of birth 
AND listed as an approved title from Nigeria.
Just call me "Princess Akobi", which means FIRST BORN.  
I think I earned that one!  :)  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Josh!

To our bright eyed.... 





Discus Throwing 

Basketball hooping 

Baseball - Pitching 

Football - playing 

Fun loving 




Shoe Loving 

Little Brother 

Family Oriented 

Baylor Bear.... 


Josh Faced 


Happy, Happy  Birthday!  

Josh - 
We love your....
Fierce Determination
Love of family 
Can-Do attitude
Big heart 
Outgoing nature 
Loving spirit 
Goofy playfulness
Fun personality 
Beautiful smile 
Sparkling eyes 
Big Laugh 
Athletic focus
and your all 'agether huge family hugs!!

We are proud of you and love you MUCHO!!  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Agaja Beach

Charles' sailing partner invited us to his beach house in Agaja, which was a new area for us.   We boarded his boat and set off on our adventure.  Agaja is about an hour away and only accessible by water.  It is beautiful and peaceful.  It's also an area where skiing is possible, so we threw out the lines and the guys jumped in.  They skied for a while, but enjoyed the inner-tube the best.  

Chad and Toby talked as they tubed.

Toby grew up in Jos, Nigeria, then went to the U.S. for college.  
He is now doing an internship at Citibank in Lagos.  

Charles relaxing on the boat!!  What a fabulous way to spend the weekend!  

The caretaker came out to greet us - and there are always children around.  

The views were spectacular and we felt a million miles away from Lagos.  This is a very narrow strip of beach and you can see Five Cowrie Creek on the left and the Atlantic Ocean on the right.
This is also the cleanest beach we have seen so far. 

Our cooks grilled a fabulous meal of chicken and sausages. 

Chad relaxes and enjoys the day.  

Charles and Chad
  Fabulous breezes and peaceful atmosphere 

We've had such a great beach day; Food, friends, family & fun - all in beautiful surroundings.  

Ahhh!   I convinced myself that I was really in Bali.............
and just enjoyed our wonderful day of vacation even more!