Flowerly Maua

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I smile recklessly and I love excessively. I live today knowing I have no other day until tomorrow. Now is my moment. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is a mystery, but today, today is my gift (present).

Friday, 27 June 2008

Bringing Africa to London

I’m still working on my next attraction, but I just had to share this.

Yesterday on my way home from work, I got into a bus in Camberwell. I was on the upper deck busy reading my Lite. The bus was almost full, meaning empty seats were scattered all over (you know what I mean).

As we got to Peckham, these two Naija guys in their 50s (I'll just call them Tunde and Femi,(although I'm sure they were not Yorubas, Ikwere, maybe) dressed in their attires boarded the bus. By this time there were only two empty seats, one more to the front and the other right at the back. Tunde sat in front and Femi sat at the back. Before they boarded the bus, they must have been in a deep conversation which was interrupted by the bus’s arrival, but believe it or not, the conversation continued in the bus. It’s like the guys were seated next to each other.

People tried shushing them, but the guys just sneered and continued with their conversation, as loud as could be, until the lady seated next to Tunde volunteered to exchange seats with Femi.

Tunde informing Femi at the back that the lady was offering to move was a conversation in it self coz somehow, Femi was a bit reluctant to move, but Tunde insisted.
'Come now, Oyibo go offer her seat now' (say that in Naijo accent. (Oyibo - white man )

Talk of bringing Africa to London, (keeping it real).

Other News
And as I was googling Yoruba, I came across this. I'm sure almost all of us have received emails of this nature. Now try accessing the website given

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Polygamy or Bigamy?

I promised HnH a post of people who get married to married people. It has taken long, but I hope it serves the purpose.

This is a real life experience; in fact it's a friend of a friend of a friend who was played for 5 yrs.

This guy, I'll just call him Alex, was married to….. Jane traditionally for several yrs in their native country in West Africa. He came to the UK for studies and upon completion got a good job and brought his family over. By then, they had 3 children, all girls and the first born was almost 10 yrs. They lived in West London and Alex worked in Central London. Jane got a job as an admin assistant, and they settled in their new council house.

A few months of Jane coming to UK, Alex met …. mhhh, Sheila, a Jamaican beautician who was in her mid 20s and fell they fell in love. He never mentioned Jane or the girls through out their courtship. After almost a year of being together, they got married, and 3 yrs down the line had 2 children, a girl and a boy.

Alex had 2 mobile phones, one number he gave to Jane, and the other he gave to Sheila. He always switched of one phone according to which wife he was with, making excuses that it was a work phone and did not need it when at home. He lied to both of them that his sales job required travelling to Birmingham every week for 2-3 days and the rest of the time he'd be in London. He had divided his week so well between the two women. He'd have several days here, while the other wife thought he was out there working hard. His job also demanded attendance of conferences, international travel and sales exhibitions etc every other weekend. This would be the weekends the wives would have with their husband.

'A thief has 40 days', my grandmother always said. Alex’s 40th day came after 5 years.

One day, he came from work. It was Sheila's turn to behold the husband. As usual, he hung his jacket, and then went to have a bath. It was one of those evenings when he had 'come from a conference' and was really tired, and needed to soak himself in the bath.

He had forgotten to switch off 'Jane's phone', and as soon as he got into the bathroom, Jane phoned. Sheila knew she had no business with that phone coz it was all work. The phone stopped, then rung again and again. She thought maybe it was an emergency, and if she answered, she'd relay the message over to her husband.


The phone went off, and then rung a few seconds later.


'May I speak to Alex?'

'He's busy right now, May I take a message'.

'sure, tell him his wife phoned'

'What, I'm his wife'.

The women argued for several minutes, and it dawned on them that they were being played. So Sheila asked for Jane's phone number and so she'd call her later.

Late in the night when Alex was fast asleep, Sheila phoned Jane. They talked and exchanged notes on how they both had been the other wife. They even met on several occasions. They agreed not to disclose this to Alex until the right time. Jane lived in West London and Sheila lived in South East London (likelihood of meeting… very little). The truth, Alex never travelled outside London. Birmingham was West London and London was South London.

Every day, they talked. When Alex was with Jane, Sheila would call and joke that her husband had travelled to Birmingham or was in Europe on a conference. And Jane would say ‘my husband is right here with me. He looks too tired though, it must be that conference he went to last weekend’. And the game went on and on for 6 months, by which time both women had grown to resent him so much, and somehow like each other.

Alex's family (sisters and brothers) all knew of the 2 women. They had attended the two weddings, birthdays and other special occasions. They played the happy in-laws for both women, and the happy aunties and uncles for the children. both women felt very betrayed by the whole family.

Sheila's son's birthday was coming and this would be the moment they were both waiting for. The wives decided that Jane would turn up last after the sisters, brothers and friends. They'd make it extra special and mega.

When everyone was seated and enjoying themselves, Jane phoned Sheila to make sure it was time. Jane rung the door bell and Sheila asked Alex to please open the door, and she stood right behind him. It was such a shock for Alex. He looked at Jane, and the children, and then at Sheila and all he could say was 'You know her?'

When Jane walked into the living room, all the sisters and brothers went quiet. The 2 women did not bother. They just continued as though nothing had happened, until they cut the cake.

Sheila called the children and introduced them to each other, then send them outside to play. The drama in that house, wacha tu.

Alex excused himself to go to the gents, but instead opened the door and off he went. None of the wives heard from him for a month. The sisters and brothers were too ashamed to talk, they just picked up their bags and children and left.

When Alex turned up at the door steps of both of them, none wanted to listen. He had had his cake and he had eaten it. They had both packed his staff and never wanted to hear from him. He lost his 2 families at the same time.

2 weeks ago (almost 2 yrs since this whole saga),a friend saw him on the streets, he's become a tramp and there's a possibility he's addicted to alcohol, or drugs. I wonder what led to this?

My question is, was it worth it?

Friday, 6 June 2008

Beating with muiko

During my days as a child, there was no detention or grounding. My teachers dealt with vibokos and my parents with slippers and miiko (wooden spoons) and belts. In today’s world, that was child abuse. I fail to comprehend where I would be if I did not get these, but then again, both the teachers and the parents were very poor communicators and never really expressed what they expected clearly. Beating was the only way of being heard.

They always spoke in riddles, and sometimes they would mean the opposite of what they actually expected. Take for instance:

Before my mum leaves for work, she’d say things like ‘ngore mutharurukaniitie nyumba ihana kiara (let me find the house in a mess looking like a dumping ground), or ‘ngore mucinite nyumba’ (let me find the house on fire)’. If anything was a mess when she came back, as a cop, we saw the real her at work.

When I had my son, some of these disciplining came to mind. I wanted to bring an upright child who obeyed, not argued with me like I had seen with other children. At one year old, he had discovered the matches, and somehow knew how to light them. One day, rather than smack the back of his palm, I decided to proof a point. I lit a match stick and handed it to him. Very excitedly he held it until the flame burnt him. He really felt pain coz 12 yrs on, he’s not played with matches again.

He was ok with food, but at a certain age, almost 2, he’d spit it out and throw tantrums. At this stage, I introduced a muiko (wooden spoon). He knew what a muiko was. I smacked him with it on his bum, and there after, I’d just have to mention muiko for him to do what he was being told, including eating. He even learnt to hide them whenever he found them lying about, and I just kept buying them. He’d throw them in the bin, hide them under the bed, the sofas, everywhere.

By the time he was 3, I had smacked him 3 times which he never forgot. To send him to bed, I’d get muiko, and pointing the bedroom, I’d say ‘to bed right now’. If I put food on the table, I just had to put muiko by my side and say ‘eat your food’, and I was assured that he’d eat everything. Funny enough, he never saw me cook with it.

One day I put food on the table, and the phone rung. I was still holding the muiko as I went to pick the phone. My son finished his food and then went to play. He came back 20 minutes later and found me still on the phone. It was my turn to taste the muiko. He quickly went to the kitchen, got another muiko and whacked my bum really hard and pointing to my now cold food said ‘mummy, eat your food’. I had no words.

Before he turned 3, he went to nursery school. I’d drop him on my way to work and pick him up on my way back from work. It was always a fight getting him from the classroom, as it was so much fun, and being an only child, he’d dread going back to the house with no other children.

One evening, I pulled up at the gate to pick my son as usual. I noticed a police car parked inside the compound, and wondered what would have happened. As I got close to the classroom, the class-teacher and the head-teacher accompanied by a police woman approached me. I panicked. Was my son alright. Before I could utter a word, the police woman came to me and asked,

‘Are you master Maua’s mum? I nodded. ‘We’ve got every reason to believe that you abuse your son’.

‘What’, I asked.
‘You need to come with us to the police station and we’ll sort this out’.

Where’s my son, I kept asking

‘He’s with a social worker and will be at the police station’, I was told.

‘He’s only 3; you have no right to do this?’

I was taken to the police station where I was quizzed for almost 4 hours.

This is what had happened: my son’s class was playing with kitchen toys. The teacher picked up something and then asked the children,

'what’s this'

'a spoon',

'what’s it for'


She went on and on until she came to the muiko.

'What’s this?'

'A wooden spoon'.

'My son goes, no it’s a muiko. My mum calls it muiko'.

'No, it’s a wooden spoon, tell us what is it for'.

'it’s for beating bum bum'.

This was repeated at different times in different places and the answer was the same.

‘Does your mum beat you on the bum?’

Yes, when I’m a bad boy.

The class teacher reported this to the head teacher who repeated the same things and finally had to call social services who involved the police. They did whatever they had to do and the last option was to wait for me.

I called my brother who was to act as the guardian. I figured my parental rights were temporarily withdrawn that day.

In a separate room, my son was being interviewed, and I was being interviewed. It was my word against a 3 yr old. The problem was, at that age he did not know how to tell a lie. So whatever he said was taken into account.

After almost 4 hours of hell, in his own way, his own words, he told of how I had beaten him only 3 times, and how I had used the muiko to threaten him if he did not do the things mummy wanted him to do.

Those 4 hours were very terrifying, and at some point I lost it, just imagining social services taking my son away from me. I think there and then I decided to never beat him again. It's lie, coz I still did, once more, story of another day.

Think of this when next you beat a child. I guess I was lucky, several have not.

It taught me to embark on other techniques, grounding and denying the things children like most. For my son football, tv and designing football gear on the computer mean so much. Grounding for me means no TV, play-station, game-boy, psp, computer etc. When the sun is up high, he’s thinking of playing football, or when Arsenal is playing, he thinks he can take ownership of telly, I send him to his room. Through the window, he watches as his friends are playing or listens as neighbours are cheering. Next time he, he thinks twice going against my rules.