Amb. John Olatunji-Dada
Ed. 183/ 01.09.2021
It was midday of my frequent site supervision, coming from a project site, heading to another. I decided to halt my long walk looking for a tricycle to convey me out of this sunny and dusty dry land. For minutes I was still stranded and got tired of waiting.
During my wait for a tricycle, I suddenly glanced at a small spot of land filled with Northerners who were traders of different products and was attracted to the bunches of sugarcane sticks resting on every angle of every wall with the bark which littered the whole ground.
Wow! Here is, “Rakey” (as sugarcane is proudly called by the Hausas), my yearn for it rose beyond natural. I couldn’t resist getting my portion of the long and thick “rakey”. Walking towards the little succession of land, the smell of the atmosphere brought back memories of my days in the Northern region of Nigeria and I smiled.
Salamualekun, waye mai rakey nna (Greetings, who sells this sugar cane?), Unfortunately, the seller was non-avail, and soon they began shouting Aliyu the seller’s name, inclusively by another sugarcane seller (what a sincere faithfulness, why not call me to you, I murmured).
We soon found Aliyu amid a joyful congregation of infants, young, old and elders. I found interest in knowing the purpose of the gathering when I noticed I was left alone tapping to get the attention of Aliyu while others had joined the gathering.
During my observation, I became disarray- What are they reciting, a poem or a song? What is all about this happiness? Why are they mixing/rolling sugarcane with honey? Why do they have to cut, chew (the mixture), pass to another and repeat the process in that manner? All these questions I threw to an elder standing beside me, starting with “What is going on here?” This is “Dariya”-, he said (Dariya means laughter/laughing).
Dariya, How? “It is a mini celebration we practice in our midst once-twice a blue moon, especially during the harvest of sugarcanes i.e. when much sugarcane is in town. A stick of a mixture of sugarcane and honey has to be exhausted before another is brought out. Most times it is unannounced, but we are always eager to be part of this ceremony wherever the news reaches us because the celebration is rare.
All my questions he answered at once to avoid another as he walked away.
Hmmm, indeed a peaceful and loving community.
Aliyu responded to my calling after he must have been filled or tired of the mixture; perhaps he realized he had a market to sell. Anyway, I am interested in this long and thick sugarcane stick, and how much?
Now, a reflection of the sun shines on my face, bringing me back to reality. I am back to reality without a tricycle nor a sugarcane stick. Thank God I haven’t made my payment. I was dreaming while having a nap during my once in a week, two hours leisure time on Sunday afternoon.
As a peacebuilder, I have a dream. A dream where I can have a peaceful society, loving and faithful community. A government or elders with selflessness and more bringing about a peaceful living. My Dream, I mean that which I dreamt revealed to me in conclusion that with Love, “PEACE IS POSSIBLE”.
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