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A TRIP TO IBOLAND

People

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The Ibos are very happy people. When driving through the countryside as a white man the children would start calling you "Onyocha or Oyibo!" (white man) waving their hands and running towards your car. If you are a man with long hair (like my brother) you'll be a complete attraction. They like to laugh a lot. They have learnt to be happy with what they have got - the amount of sun does its bit.

If an Ibo wants to visit his or her friends or family relatives, he or she would just go to them without the need to make an appointment. It may happen that nobody is at home but in that case you can visit someone else in the neighbourhood. Because of that practice you can sometimes have a full house, and that doesn't matter at all. A Nigerian can't imagine not to know his neighbours at all. Everyone lives in a big community which is looking for a common ground on which to base. When an Ibo meets another Ibo from his hometown they are brothers even if they are not from the same parents. When an Ibo meets another Ibo not from his hometown and out of Iboland, they are brothers too. When an Ibo meets another Nigerian or a Black in a foreign country he treats him like a brother also.

The Ibos are lovers of their traditions. They celebrate Christmas without a Christmas tree and Santa Claus. You may see some Christmas trees in shops but they are only for the rich. For the common man it is a useless stuff. During Christmas period most people go to their villages and celebrate it with their relatives and friends. It is the time to meet family and friends, time for wedding ceremonies (traditional & white), time for fund raising events, time for different ceremonies in the villages. For example in Mbaise Christmas lasts from 25th of December till 2nd January. Every day a different village of the community is hosting. A lot of people from neighbour villages come to the host village to meet their friends, to watch masquerades, to eat, drink and laugh a lot.

The Christian missionaries did a good job in Ibo land - you can see a lot of churches and most Ibos are Catholics. Unfortunately, I had the feeling that the importance of religion suppresses the humanistic enlightenment. Having no religion is unimaginable for many Ibos even for well-educated ones. That is why they may look at you in amazement or with a contemptuous smile when declaring you don't believe in God. Because of the high integration into ones family, it is totally uncommon to bury their dead in a central grave yard. You have to bury your deceased next to your house. Otherwise people may think you expelled a family member.

Remarkable is also the importance of hierarchy in society. The hierarchy is determined by age and by affluence. The first born has more privileges than the next born in a family. The rich has privileges than the poor. A white man is supposed to be rich (per definition) and as a big man you may get served first in any occasion.


masquerade

family

family

family

100 years

wedding

mother

wedding

mask

sunday

siblings

Collins

Oguta-Lake