I sent this [the inhabitat.com story] to some young relatives after they complained to me early this month.
I reminded them that mama used to grow around the house (and all her neighbors used to come begging for!) vegetables, plantains, iṣu, cocoyam. cassava, ọ̀gẹ̀dẹ̀, corn, ìṣapá, avocado, iṣin, mangoes, cashew, (the last 4 trees are still thriving; the avocado is the best tasting and biggest ones I’ve ever seen), coconut, igi ira (aspirin tree) around the house all year round!
I took photos of her harvesting her cotton in May 2015.
There’s also a small poultry so she could raise her own meat, and last Feb was the first time we bought meat. My relatives watched and laughed as hawks swooped on the chicks, all newly hatched 16 cute beings–one, sometimes two at a time! Mama, in her healthy days, would never have allowed that to happen!
She explained to me: “This is why t’ẹ ẹ̀ fi r’adiyẹ pa jẹ.”
Up until a couple of years ago, Mama would send us ẹ̀gusi, dried ìṣapa, efirin, tẹtẹ, all harvested from the land around the house.
The modest 3-bedroom house sits on only a fraction of the 2 1/2-plots. In the beginning people tried to convince her she was “wasting” plots that should be used to erect cash-fetching rentals!
Mama’s now 98 and unable to farm. What do you think my young relatives tell me? Ilẹ̀ na ti gbẹ; ko ṣee d’ako mọ etc etc. So I sent them the photos of the land some 30 years ago so they could see it was once a veritable aṣálẹ̀! When X, one of the kids and I spent our first summer there in 86, he grew carrots and other ‘foreign’ vegies. I have photos of him watering with a home-made watering bucket with tiny holes drilled into the bottom for proper spraying…
Interestingly, one of the people to whom I was preaching is a recent Agric Science graduate from FUTA!
Thanks, Remi. It reminds me of my late step-mother who, unfailingly for over three decades whenever I lived in Nigeria, would prepare ìṣapá by first boiling and taking the sourness out and then dried. She would either send it to me if I did not go home or give me whenever she saw me. I would keep this sometimes for as long as a year before running out of it. The last one she gave me was in 2010; Mama died in 2013 in her 90s.
And by the way, the ẹ̀gusi really love is what in Yoruba ‘proper’ is called ẹ̀gusi Ìtórò, and thanks to two of my sisters,I get a year’s supply purchased and shelled, then dried. It lasts me a year. Of course you cannot get it at Ibadan any more!
A family produces 6,000 pounds of food per year on 4,000 square feet of land!
TUESDAY, MAY 24, 2016. 1:55 a.m. [GMT]