My Warri Chronicles 3. Trekking and The Library

 

Trekking in Warri was not usually an indication of poverty or non-ownership of a family car. At least, not where I lived. It may seem strange to people growing up in this era but in the time in which we I grew up, your family would own cars but very frequently you would walk to school, or the neighbourhood shops and markets. And sometimes you would walk to church or fellowship.

Case in point: I had a schoolmate who was from a very wealthy home. They lived somewhere around Idama road, close to the Rerri family, I believe. I do not have their permission to write about them so I will not mention their name, but they were a very rich family back then. And we all trekked home from school every day.

We would trek from our school, close to the Warri library, through Ginuwa road, turn into Father Healy, pass through Nelson Williams street, and then go down Ogboru road till we got to Idama. From there, people began to turn into their various homes.

Trekking for us was not punishment, it was fun, and it was an accepted mode of transportation. We would tell stories, and jokes, riddles, and we would laugh. And of course the language of communication was pidgin. In those days, there was no DSTV, or any form of cable Television. And we didn’t have the freedom of going out on visits whenever we wanted, so the time we spent walking home from school was our time of bonding and deep friendships.

In my Warri we had no issues of kidnapping, child rape and some of the evils that make neighbourhoods so dangerous today. We were kids and we had the freedom to be young and carefree. And we trekked, no shame, no pain.

Of course, there were those who didn’t; I doubt if the Mabiakus, Rewanes, Edodos, and such other Warri ‘Bill Gates’ did any trekking, but no matter, some of us did and we thought nothing of it.

It was our Warri, our way of life. And it was good.

 

My Warri Chronicles 3. Trekking and The Library

 

My favourite place in all of Warri was the local library. It was situated on Swamp road, at one end of the GRA. It was just a short stroll from my school to the library. The day I discovered that little building, my life changed forever!

I was always a bookworm, and though we had quite a rich library at home, it was never enough. I read anything that was written on a piece of paper, even the ones I did not understand.

One day, during the “Long break”, usually about 30-45 minutes, a friend told me the library was just around the corner; and off we went.

As I went through those hallowed doors, I thought I had entered Heaven! How could so many books be in the same place, all waiting for me to devour? I wanted to borrow ten books at once, but the librarian, a stern-looking buxom lady, would have none of it. S

he said I could borrow one book and read for a week, and if I finished it then she would allow me to borrow two books per week from the children’s section.

Me? One book per week? Okay na.

I filled the form/card and was issued a temporary library card. And I went home with one book. The following day at break time I was back in the library with the book in hand. And the librarian was mad! She said she knew we were not serious! I had returned the book without even attempting to read it, bla bla bla bla..ad infinitum!

I was a very quiet girl, so I politely waited for her to finish pouring the verbal venom on me. When she finally ran out of steam, I told her I had read the book and could tell her the entire story if she wanted. Of course, she did not believe me. So I told her the story, almost word for word. She went quiet, and looked at me ‘one kind.’ Then she let me borrow another book, slightly bigger. And I returned it the next day.

After that, the library became my personal space during the break, and that lady became one of my favourite human beings. Soon she was letting me go home with five books at weekends. And on Mondays, I would return them and we would discuss books like two equals.

It was in that space, I discovered Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, and so many wonderful writers that helped to shape my brain and probably, that was when the secret desire to be a writer began. I’m not too sure, but it did contribute a lot to my all-time love for books and libraries.

Yes, my Warri was not all rough edges; we had the panache that exists only in bookish towns.

That was my Warri. And we will bring it all back again. Soon.

#MyWarriChronicles #Warri #HomeTowns #WarriNoDeyCarryLast #BornTWriteWell #ElsieWrite

… end of My Warri Chronicles 3. Trekking and The Library

to be continued

 

Do you have stories to tell about your street, town or where you grew up? Please send to articles@davinadiaries.com. Let’s talk about the time when Nigeria was different. Let’s inspire a new Nigeria.

xxx Davina

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