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The One Major Thing My Parents Failed To Do.

I don't live with my parents anymore although we all stay in the same city. I see them once a week or every other week. But, I talk to my mum everyday, sometimes two or three times, and my dad, every other day at least. My parents are very involved in my and my siblings' lives. 
      I remember my last heartbreak, it was my mum that talked me through it. I remember how a few of my close friends had tried to console me, tell me to move on, forget him, focus on something else etc. but my mum made one sentence that touched the core of my heart. She said "I know it hurts.", that really touched me, I cried even more when she said that. No one else had acknowledged that I was hurting or I had a right to, except my mum. 

      If you know me you'll know how my dad treats me like I'm an egg. I remember how I got so miserable in NYSC camp (you know how that first week can be) that I called home one Friday night and cried, and first thing Saturday morning, my dad took a bus, under the heavy rain to come and see me in camp with provisions, biscuits, home cooked meals etc. As we strolled around the campus hand in hand people were looking at me like "see this big Agbaya". LOL. I guess what I'm trying to say is
that my parents love us so much, too much, sometimes. They are the best parents I could have asked for, yet there is one thing in which they failed.

Yesterday morning I got a call from my daddy. It went like this; 

Daddy: Nne kedu (Nne how are you?)
Me: fine
Daddy: I laru kwa ofuma? (Did you sleep well?)
Me: yes 
Daddy: I no kwa ofuma? (Are you fine?)
Me: yes
Daddy: I ka na ekpe ekpere (Are you still praying?)
Me: yes daddy
Daddy: ok, asi m ka m mara ka imee (ok, I said I should check up on you)
Me: ok daddy, I'm fine, thank you. Take care, I'll see you this weekend, or next. 
Daddy: oooooooo.

You get the point? My parents for reasons beyond my comprehension, brought us up and did not think it best to teach us our language. When my dad calls me and speaks Igbo I always do *yimu* at the other end. Sometimes I just tell him "daddy, it won't work, the time for all these ones have already passed", because really, you cannot suddenly want to teach me, a full grown woman, her language. 

      Back then in QC my two worse subjects were maths and Igbo. And every term I got F9 in Igbo. Till tomorrow I have no idea how I made a C5 in Igbo in my WAEC exams. I never attended lectures because there was just no point. 

      I went to university in the east. (UNN) and this is when it became really embarrassing. Igbo is the predominant language in Enugu and that's what people mostly relate in. So, back then when someone said something and I looked lost they would now ask "bia, i bu ro onye Igbo?" (aren't you Igbo?) with an incredulous look on their faces. Some people actually thought I was "forming" and that's why I was pretending not to know how to speak Igbo. Sometimes it was so embarrassing that I'd have to lie that I'm from Delta state. 

      Law school came and I got posted to Kano. And for the first time in my life it REALLY hurt not to know how to speak my language. In a land where you're a stranger it becomes almost imperative to seek your "people" out and form a bond with them, and I saw this happen. 
    Just behind where I sat in class was were a large group of people always convened, before lectures, during breaks, after lectures. There was always loud and excited chatter among them. I would walk passed them with my eyes straight ahead, pretending not to see them. A couple of times I saw a few of them look at me. No doubt they thought, as a lot of people do, that I'm a snob and I didn't want to be associated with them. They never knew that it was shame that made me avoid them like a plague. How would I explain that I, from Anambra state , could not speak the language. Or was I to go there and start speaking English while they all spoke Igbo? So no, I avoided them. They would never know how desperately I wanted to be a part of their group. 

    In camp, (NYSC), the same thing happened. In my side of the room we were mainly Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa and from the South (Akwa Ibom/Cross Rivers). And there were days that people would just decide to do "kporapo" meeting and speak in their native dialects. All around me, it was only I who couldn't speak. So I'd bury my head in my novel and act like I was so engrossed in it that I didn't notice what was going on. The Igbo people always wondered why I never joined in their gist. After all my name was Nwando, yes?

In the building where I did my Law Office attachment, there was this guy who I always saw smoking by his car around noon. I'd heard him speak several times and he had a British accent. One day we finally got talking and I honestly had difficulty making out what he said. Then he asked my name and I told him. To my surprise this guy switched from his britico to Igbo. I was shocked, but not as shocked as he was when he found out I couldn't speak Igbo. Apparently he was born in the UK and had been there since he was born and only came back to Nigeria for the first time the previous year, and he and all his siblings speak Igbo fluently. He said, even back there in the UK his parents made sure they started speaking Igbo first, because they could always learn English outside. 
       This made me ask myself for the thousandth time. What were my parents thinking?!!! They both speak Igbo and have always spoken to each other in Igbo but when it came to us, they spoke English. As a child I was actually relieved by this decision (Igbo seemed like such a tedious language to learn) but now that I'm older I truly regret it. 

I feel bad when I'm with my Igbo friends and we're around people from other tribes and I can't speak the language to them so that others don't know what we're talking about. I feel bad when I'm gossiping with my mum and someone is hanging around, listening in on our conversation and we have to whisper, when we could just have easily spoken in our language, if only they had taught us. 
     My parents learnt their lesson too late and now they regret it. I have a lot of friends in this same situation (mostly Igbos). I'm even better than some! SMH. 

I don't know what tribe my husband would belong to but I hope he can speak his language because our children just have to learn. Just last week someone said to me "wait o! Nwando you don't speak Igbo, you don't speak Yoruba. So English is the only language you know? Buahahahahahahhaha" That was not funny at all. 

I once heard someone argue that it is pointless and unnecessary for a child to learn his native dialect. That parents these days should instead ensure that their children learn Arabic, Mandarin and German. Because these are the most important languages now. While I don't doubt that, I think it is foolish to throw your language to the wind. Would you throw your identity, your roots and your lineage away? 

I would like to enjoin the people of this generation, please, speak to your children in your language, they can always learn English in school and outside. Lest, they get older and feel lost, even among their own people. 


  1. I totally agree, Thelma. My parents do speak to me in both yoruba and english. And I've found out that I can easily switch btw the two in public or elsewhere!

  2. I know that feeling too well, my parents didn't teach me and my siblings our native language, so now I only speak Kiswahili and English when I try to speak my native language I sound ridiculous so I stopped trying.

  3. I totally agree with you on this. I wish everyone can read this, so many people don't seem to understand how important it is to speak their language to their kids.

  4. Very well written Thelma. lol @ your daddy coming to see you in camp. Big Baby.

  5. I TOTALLY agree with you Thelma . My parents spoke both English and yoruba to us and we speak both well, except the core yoruba which we still manage to respond to in the regular yoruba dialect. And funny thing is I and my sister speak little igbo and hausa.

  6. I have a natural flair for languages so I count myself lucky. languages unite people too. ThaT has been my testimony. Itz never too late though. Chinwe

  7. I love learning different languages,never been ashamed to speak my language igbo not 'ibo' o for umuada that like forming. It's never late to learn a new language. Nwando I totally remember the picture from your dad's visit lol you're one spoilt child. Gigi

    1. Gigi I agree that it's never too late to learn. But I think I'm just so upset with my dad that I don't want to give him the satisfaction. Lol @ being spoilt. Not my fault jare.

  8. I can relate to this.. I have never heard my dad speak esan (a tribe from edo) just a little yoruba because he grew up in lagos. My mum sounds like a clown when "trying" to speak edo language smh but she grew up in kano so she's very fluent in hausa or fulani (i dont know which). Then you have my siblings and I.. complete waste lol. cannot speak nadda. while i was little I thought it was local to know how to speak your language but at 22, I'm a get a bit sad. so whoever I get married to will have to teach my kids something.

  9. Mine is a different case,my mum is yoruba while ma pop is frm benin republic but I don't even understand "come and eat " in tha dialect reason bin dat its only my mum that is alwaz only yoruba and eng I understand bt it hurts,I wish I understand french and our local language like my dad!

  10. Oh same with my husband,he grew up in Lagos,he can't speak Igbo, he can't speak yoruba,its like double jeopardy.When I visited him in the north where he served he realised how important it was to speak igbo esp times he'll want to say something to me he didn't want others to hear.I'll ensure this does not happen to our kids though.

  11. My parents too didn't teach my siblings and I how to speak igbo but we learnt ourselves... We kinda have a nack for learning languages. But this hasn't worked well with one of my brothers, sadly, he enjoys igbo o! You'd hear him playing songs in igbo language and singing out aloud...singing aloud rubbish! lmao! Then my mum would always go..."Why? Who has done this to my son?!!!! Rotfl!! " He'd roll his eyes and I'd rise to his defence sharply! I really must teach my kids the native language o!

  12. Nne,fine they didn't teach you Igbo, y don't you try learning it? A lot of pple learn languages at different ages. So my dia stop making excuses and start learning

    1. And who said she's making excuses? She's learning,give her a break. Gigi

  13. My parents made the same mistake too. But my mum tries to speak igbo to us sometimes... my dad didn't even bother.. d Lil ibo I know was learnt during my Xmas breaks in the village.

  14. I grew up in lagos as well. My parents did not teach us igbo when we were growing up. My dad even forbade us from speaking pidgin in the house. I am the oldest so we used to go to the village every xmas when we were very young and i also attended a federal school in the east and that was how I learnt how to speak igbo. Unfortunately, my siblings don't know how to speak but they understand. None of them attended school in any of the eastern states. Now that I live abroad, being able to speak igbo brings one closer to the fellow igbos in diaspora. Although, the igbo people that grew up in the easy laugh at the way I speak sometimes, I don't let it bother me.

  15. Chai, I do not have too many regrets in this life but not knowing how to speak Igbo is one of the worst. I don't like going to the village because I seem like a foreigner and I'm sure laugh at me behind my back. The worst happened at my cousin's funeral where I had to represent my dad and address his age grade, I stood up and started speaking English, il never forget the looks on their faces. Now I'm torn between marrying an Igbo girl and someone that's not because I don't think any proper Igbo man will want a son in law that can't speak the language, especially if his daughter is very fluent. I went to a friend's house last month and she has 3 married sisters, all their husbands were with the dad speaking Igbo and I felt so ashamed that I couldn't join the convo.
    My dad actually actually apologized to my siblings and I for not speaking the language to us in our formative yrs

  16. I am igbo, but i can't speak igbo, i have been in Lag for like ever i still can't speak yoruba.
    I pray my future husband knows how to speak his language so at least our kids won't end up like me.

  17. Lols @ switched from Britico to igbo...

  18. Funny thing is, my parents never taught any of us igbo! We all kinda picked it up, n I went d extra mile of learning my dialect! It was always something I found odd; that tendency a lot of Igbos had (I say had cos I hope most gve learnt n hve become more encouraging towards teaching dia kids dia native tongue) to find our native tongue 'local'. I speak flawless English, very good french n thanks to my training while learning to speak French, can actually adopt an accent based on that of those ard me, yet I'm never more @ home as I am when I'm gabbing away in Igbo! My kids are definitely speaking this n whatever other languages I can get into them! If 4 nothing else, I'll have a language I can reprimand them wit if ever I hve 2 abroad, n I know dey get me even if d people ard me don't!


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Good morning people! 
Just checking in to sign the register. Lol. It's been a very busy week and it looks like it might be an even busier weekend. I was hoping to get some writing done when I got to the airport yesterday but I even almost missed my flight. It was hopeless trying to do any work on the plane as it was bumpy af, and this toddler behind me wouldn't stop screaming in piercing shrieks like he was being exorcised. 
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He was my coursemate, crush, then my boyfriend.... he was super
intelligent, smart, tall, dark and handsome. Believe me he got
swag, but he didn't seem to notice me. (I'm a nerd but a sassy one
if I say so myself).  So oneday I decided to take it to another level..
After listening to a song "IF YOU LOVE SOMEBODY TELL THEM THAT YOU
LOVE THEM and watching the season film of The Secret Life of
American Teenagers. ..when Amy Jeugerns mum told her "you are only
young once". LOL that part got me.
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the Quiz that was coming up, we found out that we had this
great chemistry between us.. hehehe both the covalent and
electrovalent bonds....

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him to my house and he came. The guy got swag, he even came
with a packet of durex condom.
We talked for a while and and and and and and
See how you are serious dey read this story....!


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