Growing up in a Nigerian household afforded me a lot of things in life, education, food, bedding, etc. Unfortunately traveling wasn’t one of them. When you grow up raised by a Yoruba man, the most traveling you’ll experience comes in the form of taking trash out and long rides to school.
My friends would always come to school and tell of their adventures with their parents to some unknown state. I would go home and ask my father when we were going to go somewhere new; and in the words of a pure Yoruba man, “Kilo ndamu e?” “S’onsiere ni?? Translation:(accent rolling) “What’s wrong with you? Are you crazy? If God wanted you to go to another place other than where he put you, he would allow me to knock you there myself; (teeth sucking)NOW sit down jo, before I crack your coconut shaped head”! Se nko ti mo so ye e? Translation: Do you understand what I just said?!
In other words, we’re not going anywhere because I don’t want to go anywhere.
Since it wasn’t likely that I would be going anywhere, I listened to their stories from sixth to eighth grade and imagined myself in the car with them, with my eyes open and teeth scraping the glass,(I had some buck teeth back then). I remember hearing a story about Disney land from a friend of mine, and oh how I wanted to go. He told me about how there were fireworks at night, how his parents let him and his brother stay up all night playing and talking and how they just all in all had a great time. I would’ve given my left leg for a chance to go, and then one day my chance actually came.
It was the eighth grade out of town field trip and we were scheduled to go to Orlando, Florida for three or four days. I remember begging for over a couple of months. I endured No’s; No’s with cussing attached, No’s with slaps to the head; No’s with slaps and cussings. Then one day I heard yes, I think my mom helped me as well.
Now I’m ready to go!! I’m finally going to experience a story that I can tell my children one day. I was pass happy. Finally time comes around for us to go, obviously we’ve been preparing as a class/school. Permission slips were signed, waivers dealing with regulations and things had been signed and returned and letters concerning MONEY were given out multiple times.
The big day finally came. I remember barely sleeping. I had everything packed and ready and on my way to school, I asked “Daddy, can I have the money for the trip”? He acted like he didn’t want to give me anything at first, so I asked again. He gave me a fifty dollar bill. I thought I was rich!! Fifty dollars to a twelve year old was like a thousand bucks. I really wanted to show I had it going on, so I begged him to stop at the gas station near the school and turn it into ones. When I go to school and we all got on the bus, I flashed a few of my friends my fat knot of ones. They asked how much my dad had given me, because everyone knew he wasn’t the “Break you off type”
I said “This is fifty dollars”!!! They laughed. They said thats all? My mom gave me $150, another said $200. I didn’t care, all I knew was that I was going to Florida and this money was more than I had ever had. When we got to Florida, I found out why they were laughing. That fifty dollars was like 5$ at Epcot. I remember people eating breakfast and lunch. I think I only got a chance to eat like two burgers my whole time down there and that was over half of my money. before everything was said and done, I left Orlando with an empty belly a dirty Mickey Rat Ears Hat and a cheap looking plastic gun .
That trip was horrible!! I was broke before I knew what broke actually meant. I got the story that I wanted to tell my kids, but not the way I thought it was going to be. The Mad Nigerian struck again.