27 March 2009

The Eviction of the 'householder's children' and other tenants

The Yorubas of Nigeria seldom disobey the rule that says great consideration must be given to the prevailing circumstance when naming a new born child. This rule is also applied to how they name certain animals, fruits etc. 

They therefore got it right with the ‘wall gecko’ which they named ‘omo onile' (literally translating the 'householder's child'). The problem with the wall gecko (the householder’s child) is that no matter how grand a house is, wall gecko(sorry 'householder's children') move around with freedom and venture into any room like certified true owners. They particularly like to come out in the evenings.

As much as I don't appreciate this intrusion by wall geckos, I can still understand their claim to some degree, after all, they are the 'householder's children'. They also keep to themselves and do not, as far as I know, seem to interfere with the health and safety of the real owners of the house.  However flies, cockroaches and mosquitoes have no lease let alone a freehold. I know they don’t, because the Yorubas did not give any of them names that link them to the house.  Also these three musketeers are known to be injurious to health and safety.

Mice, although equally terrible are not a problem where we live so I’m not going to ruffle their feathers if they have done me no harm.  In any event, they can only access certain places because of their size. Cockroaches on the other hand have no decorum; they go where they are not supposed to go including inside my perfectly chiseled ‘British’ chest of drawers where I found one recently.  

For months, I have been keeping my toothbrush inside one of the drawers in the bedroom as a precaution against cockroach interference.  As I opened the drawer a few days ago, to my shock and horror, I saw a rather large cockroach mingling with my possessions. 

My wife has been miserable ever since, threatening for the very first time to go back to England

It was on this perfectly legal basis that I called in the fumigators to evict all the non-paying tenants that have overrun our house. An operation that has now become part of what I have to regularly plan for in Lagos in order to stay sane, alive and also keep my marriage.

Unfortunately, some wall geckos (householder’s childrenwould have been executed during the fumigation exercise. This in American military parlance is referred to as collateral damage. Besides, the wall geckos pay no rent too and I therefore offer no apologies.

Stop Press! I have seen many wall geckos in the last week. PostcardfromLagos