I sat alone on a boulder outside of school in Nigeria, staring at children running everywhere like wild horses let loose. School was over and they were excited to be free for the day and heading home. Most of the professors at the University of Ibadan in the city of Ibadan, whose children went to this school, especially built for the senior staff, were from other countries like France, Germany, England, Ceylon, Scotland, a melody of countries, cultures and colours. Daddy was one of the few western trained Nigerian doctors to return home, to stay and work. We had come from America, three years before and it was fun to have friends from all over the world! A car horn beeped and I turned my head to see the familiar car, grabbed up my book bag and joined the mad scramble.
Five squealing giggling children ran for the 1960 Peugeot car. The back door was opened by an unseen hand and four of the children tumbled in willy nilly. I arrived at the car last, the oldest at 9 years old and opened the front door, sliding into the front seat next to my mother. It must be her turn to carpool today.
“Hi Mother” I said.
“Hi sweetie” she answered. “Oh, Ewen, be a big boy and help Auntie close that back door.”
“It’s Fiona who should close it.” Ewen answered in his strong Scottish accent, “She wanted to sit by the window.”
“I know dear” Mother pacified, “But I need your help.”
Ewen reached over his sister, roughly grabbed the car door handle and slammed it shut.
“Thank you sweetie” Mother pacified.
“I’m being squished” came a whine in a Nigerian accent from little Uche, who was almost crying.
“Spread out everyone” Mother said in that firm no nonsense black American woman’s tone. Everyone was “sweetie” to Mother but she was tough and loving with all her sweeties.
“Is Daddy home?” my sister Rose asked in her British-tinged American accent.
“Not yet sweetie.”
“I can’t wait to get home and play with my toys.” Rose said.
The Peugeot spluttered and grunted as Mother changed gears and we were off, with a lurch, on our way home.
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