It was my father’s birthday, and it was a landmark birthday so I decided to travel to Ibadan to spend the day with him.
I left Lagos very early, but can you believe I almost couldn’t locate my father’s house? I never really lived there because by the time my father was done building the house I was about to graduate from university. Only my wedding too place in the house.
When I reached the gate, my Dad was standing outside waiting for me. He was so excited that he was throwing a party; he had called all his friends to say that his daughter, the lawyer who lived in Lagos, was around. This surprised me because my father is the kind of man who rarely shows emotion.
Shortly after, I heard the sound of drums. Someone was drumming.
“What’s the time?” I asked the housekeeper.
“8:30am,” she immediately replied without looking at a clock or watch.
“How did you guess the time right?” I asked after confirming.
“It’s Baba Oni Lu.”
At about 2pm, I heard the same sound of drums, and again the housekeeper said it was Baba Oni Lu, which translates to “the father who drums”.
“Who is this Baba Oni Lu and why is he always drumming?” I asked.
My Dad explained that it was the man who lived in the house opposite ours. Whenever he was going out in the morning to buy food from the vendor, he drummed with his food flask. For lunch and dinner, he did the same thing, at those particular times, every day. That was why his housekeeper could guess the time accurately.
My Dad said Baba Oni Lu was a widower who lived alone. When I asked about his children, my Dad said he had 7, all of them married; sometime last year he saw one of Baba Oni Lu’s children when she came to visit. Whenever my Dad doesn’t hear the sound of Baba Oni Lu’s drumming, he goes to check on him.
All of this got me thinking. I don’t like the way Baba Oni Lu is living. I wouldn’t want my father to live like that. How can we take better care of our senior citizens in Nigeria, since senior citizens’ homes are not so popular around here? I remember when my brother told my Mum to take my grandfather to such a facility. My mother was offended. “How can you even think of such a thing?” she asked.
What most Nigerian parents want is for you to bring them to live with you. How advisable and viable is this, and for how long are they going to be living with you? It also got me wondering how often we call and visit our parents. I discovered that when they reach those senior years, they need our attention. Look at my Dad all excited because I came visiting.
A senior peoples’ facility could be a lucrative business o! What do you think?
- How can we create activities for our senior citizens?
- Would you bring your parents to come and live with you? What would it be like if your spouse brought their parent to live in your home?
- What if there are no relatives or village people to help take care of your parents? How do you take care of someone who spent much of their adult life taking care of you?