Saturday 13 March 2021



I was thinking this morning..... Growing up in Warri decades ago was not a smooth ride. Yes, it was full of love, but the years were punctuated with seasons of lack. Seasons we collectively called 'alarm.' 'Alarm' referred to lack, famine and deep poverty. During the 'alarm' season where my parents had to feed seven hungry mouths, it was common in our household to downgrade the menu from staple food to what we called 'alarm food.' These alarm foods were not decided upon for taste or nutritional value, we ate them purely because it was what we could afford to fill our tummy with. As I sat before a scrumptious meal my young wife prepared recently, I gave God thanks for His provision, as I remembered the days of lack in Warri when we ate 'alarm food.'

First, I remembered Kpokpo-Madiga. What is that? Kpokpo-Madiga is a thick hard piece of baked flour. It is a pastery that is neither bread nor biscuit but hard enough to block your intestine once a piece is eaten. When there is not enough food for three square meal, two straight meals of Kpokpo-Madiga (alias belle blocker) always does the magic. Shout out to the Madiga generation.

Another cheap meal for the alarm season was Agidi jollof. Chai! How can I forget the role it played in my life in Warri. Agidi also known as Eko by some is simply corn jellos. It becomes jollof when it is oiled and spiced. To underscore the alarm nature of the Agidi jollof, it doesn't contain beef or fish, instead it has chewable soft bones, which we used to call 'biscuit bone' (correct term is brisket bone). The taste of the brisket bone to an hungry child is simply divine.

In the thick of the alarm season, when we could not afford to buy Agidi jollof or Kpokpo-Madiga, we scaled back the menu further and ate fried garri. I am sure you already know that garri is fried cassava. Fried garri is frying the garri with oil and crayfish. Eating the hot crunchy fried garri containing crayfish is a sure banker to make any Warri child scratch his head. The father of all alarm food is when we can't even afford to eat fried garri and settled for garri and palm kernel nuts.

Oh what we ate in the days of alarm, the days of humble beginning. Las las, we give God praise because in our days of lack, God no shame us. Psalms 37:19 says 'They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.'

Remember the days of 'alarm' and the food you ate. Name them and give thanks.

Stay hopeful. God's got your back.

Happy Sunday.

......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey

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