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My Neighbours.





Yesterday I went to spend Christmas with my parents and I was bemused to see different dishes in the kitchen with different kinds of rice, chicken and moi moi or salad. Each looked and tasted different and that's because they all came from different households. 

I was like wow! It's been ages since I saw this that I thought it had stopped. I mean, would you believe that I've lived in the lekki axis for three years now and I have never seen my neighbours? I do not know and have never seen the people that live in the houses beside and behind mine. I hear their voices sometimes, I see their cars drive in and out, but I've never seen, much less know them. This is a far cry from my parents neighbourhood where during religious holidays people still cook and send dishes to the neighbours. During Sallah the muslims still send you juicy pieces of fried ram and rice too. 

Coincidentally I came back home to an episode of Come Dine With Me SA. During a conversation, one of the diners said she couldn't imagine herself living in a neighborhood where she couldn't ask her neighbours to help keep an eye on her kids, or where she couldn't pop into a neighbour's house to borrow something. Apparently she loves the kind of communal living most of us grew up knowing. On the contrary, another diner said she just couldn't stand the thought of living in a neighborhood where you had to keep running into your neighbors, or be friends with them or have them in your business. She said she's perfectly fine not knowing who her neighbours are and actually does not want to know her neighbours or have to be friends with them or have them in her business. 

Later in the evening, while still at my parents', I saw little kids from different families all come out to play together, the girls ran around gossiping, playing tenten, suwe and other fun games we played as kids. The boys chased balls, played with fireworks or toy cars. It was fun to watch, it was also alien to my nephews watched from a distance in amazement. 

It made me wonder, don't these games among children foster a sense of bond and togetherness among the kids, does it perhaps improve their social skills, better than those kids whose play-time is limited to video games or computer games? But most importantly, doesn't it just build this sense of community? When we were kids it didn't matter if my mum had cooked or not, we could just pop into a neighbour's house and ask for lunch and be very well fed. 

But apparently, like the second diner, not everyone likes this kind of living. Which do you prefer; the communal neighbourhood or the impersonal neighbourhood? Which kind of neightbourhood did you live in, growing up? Do share.



Quite honestly, I find that as a single young woman, I prefer the impersonal neighbourhood (even though there are times I wish I knew and had a relationship with my neighbours, for different reasons), but as a mother I'm not sure I'll still feel the same. 

Comments

  1. I grew up in your parents kinda area,it was fun and I schooled with people around me...when I got married and moved into the gra,chai,i was shocked to waking up hearing bird sounds alone....Five years down the lane,i have adjusted, but not completely.....TNHW

    ReplyDelete
  2. When I was much younger, we lived in a public yard, growing up there was fun, the street was full of activity, gossip about who got pregnant and who's dating who was the order of the day then, infact it was interesting and I miss it so much. Me and my siblings still talk about that neighborhood till date.

    Now we've moved to a neighborhood where it's to each his own, we have neighbors o and our paths cross each day but it's nothing compared to the other neighborhood.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Impersonal neighborhood all the way

    Mainly because Nigerians just don't know when to stop....you go and be chummy...next thing u know...the whole hood is all up in your business.

    Impersonal neighborhood is the main reason why I choose to live in a different town far far away from my parents....i need to make my own decisions and be solely accountable and responsible for them.

    Also communal neighborhood makes me all shades of uncomfortable

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think there can be a balance. I grew up in a 'friendly' neighborhood where all the parents and kids knew each other and we had play dates (supervised by various househelps)and were all invited to each other's birthday parties, but there were boundaries. We could never be caught dead or alive playing in the streets. And I don't think I can remember actually just going to sit down and have lunch in any of their homes for no apparent reason. These days though everyone is so competitive and backstabbing that one needs to be careful with the sort of people you let into the sanctuary that is your home.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Impersonal neighborhood nii ohh,never been a type who gets familiar with the neighbours, I grew up partly in a local area and a face me I blow u house where everyone knows what u up to, kids everywhere to play with but I later went to live with an aunt in ilupeju,that was the beginning of a mind your biz life style for me because most of our neighbours were Indians,so I got used to staying alone for days with a playmate, I grew up with that style, so now I just know how yo mind my biz except I choose to b friendly. But u know what they say about too much familiarity, so the good morning and go your way interaction is the best and let's not bump into each other every other time.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Am graceful i grew up in a communal neigbborhood, even though my new neigbborhood is little communal but could be more if not for boko haram. But we still do the christmas and sallah food sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I grew up in a communal neighbourhood where we all looked forward to playing after school and rode each other's bicycle and games which was fun.. It made bonding easier. But right now as an adult I'll prefer the impersonal lifestyle bcos some Nigerians don't know their limit and stick their moses all up in ur business. To be safe is better than sorry(hope I got that right though)
    Happy last Sunday of the year!! God is faithful.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I prefer being with people and creating that bonding..a lot!
    Never had much of that in my childhood days, so I always look forward to making up for lost times anyway possible, presently.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Mine is a cross between the both, this is cos I stay in an apartments building , there are two buildings in the compound and 10 apartments in all. I know only two of my neighbors, the one directly opposite me who I see like once a month or once in two months and the one under me. I know her cos she's like the miss congeniality in the block, she's in everybody's business, the day I went to say hello and ask her something at hers, she came knocking the next day asking to borrow 5k... I shifted and gave her space thinking she'll take a hint but alas she came again to borrow my food processor hian! I don't know how to get rid of her now, she's always borrowing things I'm tired.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol,kaaiii this your neighbour ejhhh. We should name her miss borrow borrow. Lol

      Delete
  10. That's the problem with communal neighborhoods, people always come to ask for or borrow things from you. But I find myself in some situations and I wish I could go and ask my neighbors if they have what I need so urgently.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly, I think there should be a balance.Stayed with an aunt briefly in VGC and the silence is deafening,you could. Pratically be missing for days and no one would know,as much as I love my privacy that is a tad too much.

      Delete
  11. I love me,my compound and i. if I feel like mingling I go visit my friends but when i'm home I don't want any disturbance or familiarity with neighbours. Asides from the usual pleasantries, I don't like any communications with my neighbours.J

    ReplyDelete
  12. I prefer the communal neighbourhood (with some boundaries in place). Certainly bonds are created, people are thought of and looked after. Meddlesomeness, Betrayals and backstabbing are never ruled out. They are all part of life. Even living impersonally does not rule out these ills. In fact, in such circumstance, some could plan some evils against you or harms maybe coming your way, and nobody will care to inform or warn you. All because you have chosen to keep to yourself. Of a truth, a lot would gleefully watch to see the end. Human interaction is never overemphasised especially with neighbours. The only thing always advised is to know what to hold back to yourself. There is an Igbo adage that says: "One's neighbour is far better than a sibling that lives far off". #Maywebeproperlyguided

    ReplyDelete

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