I don’t think many people understand why I occasionally break out in a singsong voice saying ‘we are in Africa…we are in Africa’. It all started when I visited the states for the first time and found myself in the surreal place that is Disney World in Florida. I found it all really bizarre and I was uncomfortable for basically the whole trip. I couldn’t understand why milk was called ‘cream’ and how people could eat scones with bacon and eggs. I think it is the biggest cultural shock I have ever experienced. Anyway, at one point we visited the safari part of Disney World and when we hopped off the bus we were greeted by men dressed as Africans from all over the place singing ‘we are in Africa’. We were, in fact, in a fake Africa and it was made all the more ironic (is that the word?) by the real Africans from Tanzania, Nigeria etc… traveling with us. Once we were all off the bus, they sang this ‘we are in Africa’ tune over and over (maybe if it is said enough we would all believe it?) and led us down to a beach, which I learned later in the night was completely fake. I’ve never forgotten this experience, and every now and then when I experience a slice of Africa in Australia I find myself singing those words again….
So last night that is exactly what I did. Rather than watch the AFL with almost every other Australian, I dragged the majority of my family along to a Nigerian Independence Day party. It was amazing. The headdresses, the clothes, the dancing, the gorgeous babies! The minute I stepped inside the town hall, I was taken away to this other place. A little slice of Nigeria in Australia.
Everything was foreign, but it was a welcoming environment. The invitation had boasted a sit down dinner, drinks and live music. We were served chicken giblets and washed them down with warm soda. For dinner it was a strange mix of fish heads, pies, salad, sausage rolls, pounded yam, tasty rice, lamb and chicken drumsticks (which were also very tasty).
We were entertained by a Nigerian guy who had made it to the finals of Australia’s Got Talent, African choirs and an assortment of other small performance pieces. And being African, we all got up and shook our butts. At one point I was dancing and someone tapped me on the shoulder, I turned around and a girl who I had been speaking to earlier in the night pointed to a little boy standing at my feet. I don’t think he even reached my knees but this kid was making circles around me and was absolutely fascinated by my shoes. It is hands down, one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. He would walk around me, stop and stare at my shoes, bend down, inspect them and then do it all again. I tried to engage him in some dancing, but he wouldn’t have a bar of it and was intent on staring at my heels. All I can say, is kids got taste.
I know there are a million grammatical errors in this, but I can’t really be bothered going through and making sure it’s perfect- I’ve got an essay to churn out!