For many years, the bodies resided on the campus while undergraduate, graduate, faculty and visiting scholars painstakingly tried to piece together whatever history they could on the remains they had found. He described the interment ceremony with emotion and how the bodies journeyed through all the predominantly black states on the east coast in coffins handcarved from Ghana and lined with handwoven kente cloth. It was a wonderful tale. He ended by saying that one day, we--the students--will be called upon to stand for something and in that moment of decision we will realise what our training/education/degree had been for.
It got me thinking about my country whose birthday had just past. For the past four three years of my being here, I celebrated Nigeria's independence day with much more vigor and enthusiasm than I had done my whole life. I would put on my nicest African fabric, braving the fall weather to brand myself as someone in celebration of my countries efforts. I never really thought of those who might have died so I could have a country but I would think of those who continue the struggle because they have decided to stand for something. They stand for their country, their nation and their people. They know what their training is for and that is their lives calling.
This year, I did not carry my portable shrine of fabric on my skin. I did not show up at any of the many parties being thrown around the city (not that I ever went: there is just something not so appropriate about dry humping in the name of independence) and I did not sit painstakingly texting everyone in my phone book and wishing them a happy independence day. Funny enough, neither did they. I did not rush to my blog to put a post displaying my e-patriotism. It was just an ordinary day. Me, and all my issues trudging through the cycle of it, hoping to get to the next one not as bruised as one feared. And the situation at home unchanging.
We are 48. And so? What have we done to show that we remember those who fought so we wouldn't have to? What have we done to take the name forced on us and brand it a superior identity? Not much.
But still....it is home. A forty eight year old home whose foundations are still there but whose structure is bending in the wind.
Happy birthday old girl. Everything is going to be okay....