And the Lord answereth the orphan’s prayers

Penultimate Sunday was wet as the shower of blessings, which started the previous day, kept dropping with almost no end in sight.  Being a Sunday, every Christian, may be those touched by the holy spirit, will want to make it to the church. It becomes more compelling when you are a pastor with a mandate to speak to the brethren from the pulpit. 

The previous night, he had prepared his sermon points for the next day. So, he dashed out of the house to join his co-evangelists at the Bible deeper Life Church  for the day’s ministration in Bonn at about 1.22pm.

Before then, he   had quickly prepared some balls of Irish potatoes with fried egg to match for our Blunch (a rough amalgam of breakfast and lunch). The cold weather, you will agree with me, is always a big boost and sine qua non for deep sleep. So it happened to us. 

And when it was a little before (German time), I put a call through to really ascertain what went amiss because he usually returns as early as 5/6pm whenever he goes on ministration. The first time, the call went through but was not picked. And upon giving it another shot, the receiver assured he would be with me in the next twenty minutes.  Shortly after then, my phone rang and he said, ‘Alhaji, please, help put some rice on the stove pending my arrival.‘ At that point, I knew, just in a matter of minutes, we would be reuniting with truly sumptuous Nigerian delicacies. I began to salivate.  Don’t ask me if I am cooking here.

And lo and behold, after a long wait, the ace AIT presenter, Pastor Sola Jayesimi, briskly walked in with a bowl of stew well-stuffed with chicken, all wrapped in a bag. Indeed, it was a day to remember, because for a very long time, we never had the benefit of real home dish, thus increasing our nostalgia for home. It’s really worth celebrating.  You cannot understand what it means and how it feels to miss home until you experienced it.

 Since arriving Germany some 58 days ago, we have never had it so good in terms of Nigerian food until then. The closest we were was on a Sunday -September 29- when we managed to prepare  eba (made from a cassava derivative called Garri)and got same munched with  okro sprawling in oil, pepper and all other ingredients in one converging point(asepo in Yoruba).  The difference here is not just the feminine touch of the stew, but it came separately and could be served on any meal, including even the okro.    

And like Sola would say after a nice meal, ‘my enzyme has really resurrected’ and the difference was crystal clear. I can’t thank Pastor Ferdinand Ngo-Ngaka of Deeper Life Bible Church, Bonn, and his wife, as well as Dr Titus Olawale Oyedokun, an electrical engineer (radio frequency and microwaves engineering);  and his pretty wife–Toyin- a veterinary doctor who  broke the barrier between us and home delicacies.

Prior to this time, the experience was quite an eye-opener as the many pieces of advice by KAS Samson Oyediran really fell on deaf ears. As we were inching towards the trip, Samson would constantly remind us of the need to ensure we had some food stuff on the trip. However, the reality of all he was saying dawned on us when we arrived Germany. And we looked round and there was no remedy. 

Of course, in our early days, it was Kebab(a burger-like stuff) that was our basic food.  We were so ‘committed’ to it that we didn’t seem to believe there was any other menu better than that.  But as humans, we got tired of it with time, and when we did a search for possible replacements, they were also in the same class.

At that point, the advice of our counsellor emeritus Samson just crept in like a thief in the night. Quietly pondering over it, I took a straight look at the little Garri and the local snacks-  Kulikuli – that stubbornly made it to Germany. Yes, stubbornly because upon ignoring his invaluable advice, I really didn’t want to feel some sense of guilt and therefore reluctantly heeded  my wife’s counsel and bought the packaged three sachets of Garri  at a supermarket in Gwarimpa, Abuja.  Women, being what they are, would always coerce, persuade and do everything to ensure you go their way.

And one week after, the one whom God has been using in our lives and for our stay here- Abiodun Opadeji- led us for the first time to African shop around Bonn Hbf. It was indeed another chapter in our stay here. At the shop operated here by an Ivorian, you will find virtually all  African food stuff.   But guess what? It was at a very exorbitant price. Take for instance, a tuber of yam goes for 10euro, an equivalent of N4,000(@N400 per euro). The powder milk (NIDO of 400g) which ordinarily sells for about N800 in Nigeria, goes for six euros.

And after a couple of times the Ivorian businessman chop our euros, the bubble bust when we discovered another African outlet in Koln, another city not too far from Bonn.  Of course, the shop owner –an Arab(from where I don’t know)-was  so generous in the pricing of his wares. There for instance, five tubers of yam is sold for 12euros (N4,800) and same powder milk for five euros.  An interesting scenario, you would say.  What does that say of our fellow Africans?

On the whole, coming across Nigerian food, for me, is like an answered prayer of an ‘orphan’ in a foreign land. For whatever it is worth, I will eternally remain grateful for the Opadejis, Ngo-Ngakas and Oyedokuns for their wonderful support and giving one a semblance of feeling at home. 

The takeaway from here? Religious diversity should be a source of strength. For  Abdulrahman, a Muslim of northern extraction getting favour from the Christian folks in a foreign land, underscores the need for tolerance and being one’s brother’s keeper.  That I won’t live in Germany without Nigerian delicacies is certainly a manifestation of what the lord can do when and where least expected.

Come and see, come and see, come and see what he lord has done, come and see what the lord has done….

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