Home > Uncategorized > I did Malabo….!

I did Malabo….!

Deciding where to start this article was as tough as deciding to leave the only Spanish speaking African country. Do I start by describing the tutelage of the protocol officer, Emmanuel, assigned to us by the foreign affairs ministry, who did his work with so much zeal and passion right from my arrival till time of departure? Do I start by descrbing the beautiful island marred with palm trees at every corner, streets as clean as the clouds, the wonderful sights of ships as they sail, not to mention the friendly, loving and very caring particpants that took part in the training. Do I start by lightening up your soul with chants of “Africa Oyeeee…!” which typified our cultural evenings of songs, dance and drama? Or do I kill your spirits by describing how I screamed, cried out in pain and called on Allah to heal me when I fractured my right ankle while playing soccer? Thats a day I never want to remember. Or maybe I should just start by describing the roadmap to the success of pre-deployment training of the second batch of African Union Youth Volunteers. But there are some secrets. . .!

I left Addis Ababa on the 2nd of June 2011 along side my colleague, Daniel Adugna for Malabo to meet up with the advance team of Adelia,Yonas, Dr A and Chimene. As organisers of the training, it was imperative for the advance team to arrive Malabo at an ealier date to ascertain preparedness of the host and to fix other logistic “bugs” that may arise. We arrived at the airport and met some other particpants who had come for the training. Practically all of them needed visas on arrival but the ever efficient Emmanuel (protocol) ensured that they got it without hitches and hassles.

Soon we were in the bus with other participants chatting and admiring the green lands. (Yes, Malabo is so green…!)  Emmanuel speaks Spanish, English and French so it was easy for him to interact with everyone in the bus. We drove through the city for about 15 minutes to the Equatorial Guinean cultural center, the venue of our training. I met the team and other participants who had arrived ealier and we greeted “habesha style“. Potatoes with onion sauce and fried fish was served for lunch and I recall Daniel had some nice words for the Spanish chef who prepares our meals.

We were taken to our hotel (Hotel Fedraciones) inside the Estadio de Malabo stadium. The facilities in there are world class and the stadium seems pretty new. I guess its because they are co-hosting the next edition of the African Cup of nations with Gabon, come January 2012. I checked in to my room, had a shower and got ready to experience Malabo.

Hotel Federaciones

Yap. . .I haven’t forgotten the secrets. . .!

Like the first batch of training held in Nigeria, our early days in Malabo were marred with series of problems. First was the issue of food choices. . .second was that we could not start the training unless the president had declared it open and the date for opening ceremony kept changing…third was that the local officers attached to us were very slow in their responses to our numerous logistics requests. . .fifth was that the local officers again weere very rigid in opinion and they felt whatever they told us was final which led to the sixth and the final problem. The protest that occured in Tahir Square can not be compared to the one that took place in Malabo. In one voice, participants and facilitators revolted against the dictatorship of one of the local officers who thought he could “bend us over” every time he got “powerly-aroused“. A day before the official opening of the training by the President, a clash of opinions erupted between one of the local officers and us which resulted in a revolt by the participants. That day, we abandoned the official buses and trekked almost three kilometers to our hotel. A good experience it was even though the officers later, could not stand it anymore sent the buses after us, some of us still made it to the finish line, trekking.

Inside Estadio de Malabo

Inside Estadio de Malabo

The opening ceremony was awesome. It was an opportunity for us all to meet the president first hand and watch him deliver a long speech full of promises and re-iterating his commitments to the continental plan of action for youth development. Can someone help me ask President Theodore Obiang Mbasogo how he hopes to empower the young people by not ratifying the youth charter…?

Still on the opening ceremony, one of the equatorial guineans that took part in the training delivered a speech “on behalf of the young people” and I laughed so hard in spanish. That “senorita” is a politician in the making because her speech was full of the president’s eulogy. The visibly-shaking president was smiling and feeling happy. Well if you asked me, her speech was crap and that, I’m not sorry to say. Why sing the praises of someone who constantly suppresses your voice and denies you your right to be heard? Well who am I to complain. . .not like my opinion really counts anyway so chipes….!

President Theodore Obiang Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea at the opening ceremony

Finally the trainings commenced and because of the cosmopolitan nature of the participants, some trainig sessions requried that they be grouped in different language blocks .Some had to be translated into 3 languages (English, French, Spanish) which slowed us down and sometimes made it boring. Asides the fact that the participants had very good words for the trainers and facilitators after each session, the most interesting parts were the early morning ice breakers. Different participants came up with ice breakers to “ginger” up everyone in either English, french or spanish. For the icebreakers. . .I give it to the Malians.

A training session in progress

A training session in progress, The trainer here is Umar Sow from Senegal

Ngasuma Kayenka didn’t disappoint with her outdoor activities, Wakesho Peris was her excellent self taking the participants through different personality tests. Umar was Umar…Daniel, the eloquent apostle, Dr A, Dr E, Amr,Nkiruka,Keneth,and Carolyne didn’t go short of expectations. Special mention to Yonas (aka “ladies delight”. ..lol) did an excellent job facilitating different sessions. Yours sincerely took an experience sharing session, provided technical support to participants and resource persons.

An activity in progress

An activity in progress

But wait. . .someone had a name change. This person worked hand in hand with Emmanuel (protocol) in picking up participants from the airport, was in charge of assigning rooms at the hotel, was in charge of head counts to know who had arrived and those still expected, infact she was in charge of practically all of our logistics and she did it excellently well. She always had an up to date list of everyone present which made it easy for the local officers to respond to our needs. She is the beautiful, slim, tall and dark ebony chic from Benin with big eyes and very meaty lips…”Where is Chimene. . .where is chimene. . .? I need the list now!!!”. . .or “Please can you tell chimene to bring the list to the lobby”. . .or “Please can we have a list of everyone that are not paied in rooms…”..”Oh meet Chimene, she has the list”. It was like that. The word “list” and chimene were always in the same sentence, hence she got christened with the name “La Lista“. It got to a point that whenever she heard “La Lista“. she hands you a list. She hears a knock on her door and she’s like “Yeah..hold on I’m coming. . .” with the list in her hands. . .lol

La Lista and Lucas pose. La Lista is tall innit?

The 17th annual African Union summit was held in Malabo too and we attended. We participated. The themse was “Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development” It’s the first tiime in the history of the African Union that an entire summit is dedicated to discussing the future of African youths by our killers in suits and agbadas sorry presidents. It was a good experience seeing all the African heads of states first hand. They are humans after all and they looked very ordinary to me. I used to think they were ghosts. Lol.. Some of the youths addressed them on our behalf. Kariuki GATHITU, Mosunmola Umoru, Mehdi Yusuf, Amr Awad and a few others I can’t recall presented burning youth issues as it affects young people in different departments of life. They all did excellently well and I am proud of them.

The summit in progress

The summit in progress

Its wasn’t the summit that impressed me. . .nor seeing the president. ..nah. Its the place the summit was held. Sipopo, the newest and most exclusive area in Equatorial Guinea. Refinement, intimacy and subtlety are the refining words for its atmosphere. Its decor and design inspires a feeling of open space, natural light and pure comfort making you feel the essence of nature. Breathtaking views of the sea, the world class facilities, the beautiful water fountain, the artificial full moon that shines both in the rainy and dry season. . .the flawless network of roads. . .damn!!! Give me a Sippopo anyday!!!!!

Sippopo

The facilities of Estadio de Malabo were open for our use. The soccer pitch, the swimming pool, the basketbal court, the handball court and a few others. Do I wish they were never opened? YES!!! because I wouldn’t have broken my leg (lol). On the 23rd of July, it was our usual sports and games time. Okay I was comtemplating between going for soccer or swimming. At the end of the day, I decided I would play soccer for a while and then go to the pool to cool off. I took the ball and headed for the pitch. On getting there, I met a few participants and we were just kicking the ball around, practicing corner kicks, free kicks and penalties. Soon we increased in number and formed two teams. Kick off…and the game got off to a good start. After playing for like thirty minutes, I started hearing my mind as I usually do…”Dude..enough soccer go and swim“. I’m like naahhh.. .not until I impress Fatima and Carolyne by scoring a beautiful goal…lol After like 45 minutes, the goal had not come and my mind kept bugging me to go swimming but I was adamant. Then it looked like it was time for the goal. The young Muhammed from Algeria played me through with a lovely but over hit pass. My mind crept up again..”That pass was over hit…you can’t meet it even if you take a bike“..I’m like “shut up..I said I need to score a goal..Fatima and Carolyne are still here..lol“. ..So I started the five seconds chase. The things I thought about before getting close to the ball will take at least five hours to narrate. “Should I stop the chase? The pass seemed over hit after all” I thought. If I had got to the pass, I would be through on goal, with just the keeper to beat. Damn it. . I ain’t stopping half way so I intensified my run but Alas!!!!! Jaji slipped and fell. For the first 2 seconds I did not feel anything, no pain or whatsoever. “Heeelllpppp!!!!!! My leg!!!!!” I screamed and rolled on the turf. It took less than a minute for me to have tears all over my eyes. The pain was too much. I could not bear it anymore. I felt like giving up. “Oh Allah hellppp meee!!!” I screamed again. Of course the match had to stop.

The pitch where I broke my leg

Everyone gathered around me but I didn’t see faces. I didn’t hear voices. I was in another realm where pain and tears were greetings. Who will bring me back to the painless world I knew a few minutes ago…who??? Then I heared a voice. The voice that eventually rescued me. It was Souad, the participant from Algeria. She is a professional handballer and plays for the Algerian national team. She abandoned her jogging and raced towards where I was laid. The guys were coming up with different suggestions on what to do with me. Some said it wasn’t a fracture, it was just a dislocation and was not a big deal…Another person said I should be pinned down and overpowered, let him bend the leg over (Nauzubilah min zalik) that I would be alright. Funny right? Yes very funny… Souad came and pushed everyone aside, sat on the turf and put my fractured leg on her lap. She looked me in the eyes and said I would be fine. She told me not to cry and remain positive. She made me courageous throught the pain. She stopped anyone who tried to touch my leg for any reason. No one knew what was on her mind. She dilly-dallied till real help came.

The lady in red tracks is Souad. I miss her

There is this spanish guy who plays soccer with us sometimes. He brought his jeep and together with Souad, Amr and two other participants, I was taken to “Our Lady of Guadalupe” hospital in malabo town. Souad sat close to me and she was full of tears for me. The more I cried, the more she cried too, sometimes using her hands to wipe my tears away. I read several verses from the holy Qur’an loudly and praying that Allah should come to my aid. Yes he did. Allah has never failed me. I was carried to the radiology lab for an x-ray to ascertain the extent of the damage done. The Tunisian doctor, who spoke very little english explained in french and La Lista was there to translate. My leg had been fractured. The doctor said I would go through surgery the next day but before that, he would try his best to re-arrange the bones (reduction). If it works, then there would be no surgery, else I won’t escape the kinfe. Then he started the reduction process (without anastasia). I screamed loudly again. The pain was too much but I did not stop nagging and calling on Allah. After a few minutes, I was taken back for another x-ray. The next thing I heard was a loud applause at the waiting lounge where my well wishers sat. Yes…Jaji would not be needing surgery. For the first time, I smiled in tears (oxymoron). A cast was put around my leg which I would carry for 8 weeks. (Yippeee…! I have less than two weeks to go…i’m happy). I was taken back to the hotel. I was to spend the rest of my days in Malabo on clutches as a one legged hurlder. (One legged hurdler poetry is coming soon)

Every night was visiting night, I was showed love and care by all the participants. Some would bring food and drinks, some would stay with me and tell me stories, help me take my clothes to the laundry, walk with me, laugh with me and all sorts. Someone even offered to come assist me with bathing..lol..Some people are “walking love’, love personified. Keneth even suggested that I put visiting hours tag on my door from 9 to 12 pm…lol It was from one visitor to the other. For some, they never went for lunch or dinner again because my room became their kitchen. There was always excess food and drinks (the eloquent apostle).

Hehehe. . .thats my leg with cast autographed by friends

Yes..! the secrets…! Worryless i will reveal everything.. .but before then, let me tell you about our meals, cultural nights and our church. . (yes our church!!!)

I spent one month in Malabo and the amount of bread and “la mantequilla” I ate in that period alone is more than the entire amount of bread I have eaten all my life. Every meal comes with bread and “la mantequilla“. At some point, I thought bread will start growing on my head. Every morning was bread and some other “oyinbo” food I don’t know their names but I ate them…lol. Rice, beef, fried fish, green beans, potatoes, eggs, eba (Yes…Eba) amongst others were served by “the best chef in the world”. If an only if the chef from spain knew what some people said about him. . .well I am not an “amebo” and I don’t want any “muzungu” sueing me for libel. . lol

Yea we know...Kenyans love bread. . .lol

Still on the meals. . .we were being served by some “senoritas“. At the early stages, they never smiled to anyone.. .they never talk to anyone. They just give you what you want and thats all. I thought to myself…”what types of sapiens are these ones…?” But trust me, I brought a few of them out of their shells though. . i would say things to make then laugh in pigin english (yes they speak pigin english in equatorial guinea), or tease them with marriage and all that. Some of them dressed to kill. . exposing more than half of their bosoms for everyone to use as desert after meals. . .lol

Serve yourself

Serve yourself....!

Africa Oyeeeeeeee!!!!! (pronounced Africa Oyyy-hhaaayyy)…Let someone scream “Oyy-hayyy’. Damn, I miss malabo. miss our cultural nights hosted by the fire spitting lawyer. Nkiru did an excellent job in planning and ensuring that nights were always fun. Every night, one or two countries were paired to entertain everyone with their dance styles, short drama, songs or poetry. Its a night no participant will forget easily. The Nigerian night should have been named African Night because virtually every participant knew our dance steps, our songs, slangs, culture etc. There was really nothing new except maybe how we greet in our local lingo which some of them were hearing for the first time. All in all, the Nigerian night reaffirmed my belief that every african soil is a Nigerian soil. Yes I said it…sue me!!!!!

The cameroonian night was the most entertaining with Victor Abongwa, “my secret” and one other person thrilling us with their traditional “Bottle Dance“. It’s a dance I can watch over and over again and not get bored. Learn the steps and you will forever enjoy bottle dance. Ethiopian night was nice too. We danced to the melodic Orormiya music, the unique beats of Tigriya and you needed to have seen us hop left and right to the sound of Gurage music. It was fun all the way. The ethiopians didn’t disappoint me..I tell you.

Every other cultural evening was awesome and once again the fire spitting Nkiruka did excellently well…

Omo naija ni mi..Swagger!!!!! Nigerian cultural night....

Now, during the first batch of trainings in Obudu Cattle Ranch (Nigeria), we had a group of participants who formed the “11:59” group. Usually, our light outs at the resort was at 12 am. These guys would remain at the bar drinking, chatting and getting drunk till its one minute to light out. That one minute is what they use to stagger or crawl to their rooms, jump on their beeds and sleep off. Funny innit? They even calculated minimum staggering and crawling distances which is done by taking into cognisance how many bottles of beer consumed (x) and the distance of your room from the bar (y).. lol Then the minimum staggering or crawling distance (z) will be derived.

In malabo, the case was different.

“Praise the lord…halleluyah!!!”…Louder…!”Halleluyaaahhh!!!!” Could you have imagined there was a church without the chants of Halleluyah? or “Praise the lord?” Welcome to The Hptel Federaciones chapel where ministrations were done with Vodka on one hand and beer on the other…(halleluyah somebody). A church with its elders from different parts of Africa..truly pan african. It all started out as as a secret church but it spread fast and in less than a week of its formation, everyone already knew who the bishop (bless you sir!! if you are reading this…lol) and everuone knew the deacons and deaconesses. I was approached by one of the “evangelsists” from ethiopia who invited me for one of their evening service but unfortunetaely i never made it. Venue was ground floor (room 17) which doubled as the room of the bishop.

Deacon Olamilekan backs the Bishop. . .lol

As with any beer parlour, the church was a good place to get the latest gist in town. . .who is “doing” who, who is “crushing” who and all that. Even though at some point, a “secret” tried to demonize the “house of the lord” but guess what, “the will of the lord prevailed and his church continued to flourish and win souls…” (amen somebody…lol).

To the secrets. . .to the people and moments that made malabo fun. . . Please the following secrets are rated 18. Reader discretion is advised

1. My secret is from cameroon. Yes we were really close…

2. One of the girls that serves our meal fell in love with the eloquent apostle

3. Rumour had it that a nigerian and a zimbabwean were an item

4. Rumour had it that another Nigerian and the same zimbabwean were an item

5. A tall Nigerian and an hebesha lady were glued together…

6. I saw someone recieving “head” from someone in the toilet. . .they didn’t see me tho…

7. Someone fell in love with the one legged hurdler

8. One fine girl was loving the tall and bald headed Ethiopian

9. A tall chic was in love with a “muzungu”

10. Someone could not sleep in her room because the person’s room mate is a porn star…sex every night with someone…lol

11. One spectacle-wearing Nigerian wanted the fair and slim Equato for dinner…

12. Someone was madly in love with the very fair Nigerian in the diaspora but her looks scares him…hahaha

13. Someone planned to make someone fall in love with him, then dump her. . .(repent guy!!! repent!!!)

14. Someone was horny…24 hours a day 7 days a week.. .(You know yourself. . .hahaha)

15. Someone looks at me and starts marriage discussions…(Soon..just soon, I won’t be single again…lol)

16. Someone joined the choir because of some girl….

17. The one legged hurdler judged someone too quickly and the person became oe of his best friends…

18. Two equatos were caught in the act..

19. A cameroonian was in love with a Cameroonian

20. Condoms were shared..YES..but someone already brought enough. . .lol

21. A very fair cameroonian and an Ethiopian were an item

No one should send me PMs asking me to decipher these secrets. Please. . .lol You can post the secrets you know in the comments section, but please don’t mention names. . .

The summit was over, the trainings ended with a light closing ceremony and it was time for everyone to say goodbye. Down came the curtain on an expereince a thousand showers will not been able to washe away. Lots of people cried, especially the local participants. We were a part of their lives for four weeks and I only hope that the emptiness we left will be filled woth the memories of the times we shared with them. Many people could not hold back tears, including yours sincerely.

Yes, the fun times, the pain, the tears, the secrets, the beautiful city, the food, the people, Sippopo, our cultural nights are all the things that made Malabo what it was – fun. Ladies and gentlemen, I DID MALABO!!!!

———-

Habesha    –     Another word used in referring to Ethiopians

Senorita   –     Spanish word for miss

Ginger      –      A Nigerian slang which means “gear yo”

Nauzubilah min zalik    –    Said by Muslims. It means “May Allah protect us from that”

la mantequilla     –     Spanish word for Butter

Amebor   –    A Nigerian slang for “gossip”

Oyinbo   –    refers to a white man in Nigerian pigin english

Muzungu   –     refers to a white man in Swahili

Oromiya,Tigriya and Gurage    –      Ethnic groups in Ethiopia

Chipes (pronounced chi-pes)   –   means Who cares???? Its a song we listened to almost everyday in Malabo

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. August 14, 2011 at 4:55 am

    nice easy but long read….skipped a few parts. didn’t know the leg was that much pain, should have signed on it when we met at Java 7 Nigeria JUG (naijadukes)….the Pictures aided my visualizing the Malabo fun (though i would have preferred more clearer pictures of the Senoritas that served d meals).

    Alright then.

    • August 14, 2011 at 4:58 am

      hahahaha. . .clearer pictures of the Senoritas. . .ninu Awe. . .Alfa Tope!!!. . .lol. . .thanks tho

  2. David
    August 14, 2011 at 6:18 am

    after someone talking about big bananas he got numerous proposals and was scared for his………bananas

    • August 14, 2011 at 6:52 am

      Hahahahahah. . .thats funny. . .i’m thinking of the person in my mnd now. . .lol

  3. Obeya AB
    August 14, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    I think you actually forgot mentioning the name of ‘Obeya’; the Nigerian and goal keeper who sat behind souad in the booth of the black jeep that fateful night when you were been haul to the hospital… The treatment was delayed because they were waiting for response from the secratariat… Thanks to Emmanuel who tried every thing possible and ensured the treatment was administered… Amrr was there with word of consolation that “everything is fine” when we saw the x-ray. That was just an antic not to scare you. … The doctor actually told us that if the first cast didn’t work, you wont escape the surgical knives and it will cost you a $1000. Chimene was worried like mad, Souad cried and asked me lots of questions when I wheeled you into the radiology room but I couldn’t give an answer because of language barrier. It was good news when the doctor said you will no longer need operation anymore… We were happy and the treatement was done successfuly…”you were never to miss your injection for one month” the doctor said. Hope you didn’t?… The curtain was close on our lady of Guadalupe’s scene with the arrival of a virtous mother; MAMA AFRICA to take you off your wheel chair back to your hotel room. Remember what she said? ” Jaji, thanks for giving us more trouble”. That night, I, Emmanuel and 2 other participant did a 3 km endurance walk from the hospital to the cultural centre, missed our dinner and retired to bed exhaustively but happily that you were alright. Anyway, how are you now?

    • August 14, 2011 at 1:52 pm

      Wow!!!!!!!! This should have made a new blog post on its own. . .I remember everything Obeya!!!!! but I had to shorten the whole thing. . .I remember you played a very big role too. . .Thanks alot I really appreciate. Yes I didn’t miss my injections for one day and its completed now. The cast will be removed on the 26th of this month because the leg is healed. I am doing excellently well… So you got any secrets for us?..lol

  4. Blackpearl
    August 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    I just kept laffin from start to finish. Malabo was wonderful. PERFECT write up am looking forward to more from you.

    • August 14, 2011 at 4:10 pm

      Yea…Malabo was wonderful….

  5. August 14, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Jaji, the listed secrets just makes me laugh with names reeling in my head. wonderful place full of memories and another big brother more amplified if you get my meaning, lol…. this is a great piece, kip it up!

  6. August 14, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    Lol, lol, lol thts all i can say n the Zimbabwean and one of the nigerian dudes r still an item.

    • August 15, 2011 at 10:59 am

      Really. . .didn’t know that. . .lol

  7. Daniel
    August 16, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Hmmmm!

  8. August 16, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Wow congrats…….what a great piece chronicling progress of the youth and the beautiful participants who make it happen. keep it up.

  9. uche
    August 22, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Waw!! made me re-live all those moments …. Thanks to all for coming to my life and being so special for my.
    miss u all…………

  10. Avelina uche
    August 22, 2011 at 10:48 am

    uche :
    Waw!! made me re-live all those moments …. Thanks to all for coming to my life and being so special for my.
    miss u all…………

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