Wednesday, March 12, 2008

** This was supposed to be put up on the day I put up my last post but well, here goes!**
It's such a pity when I look back to yesteryears and remember with nostalgia the relationship we had with our neighbours while growing up....we lived in an small estate with 3 flats. Tere were 3 families living in them and they were allocated to staff of a particular company...the first flat belonged to a Yoruba family, they were Muslims and the family was young......their first kid was younger than the last child in my family by about 3 years and they were 3 kids in all....the second belonged to an Ibo family with 3 kids and a step-sister...the eldest daughter was as old as my eldest brother, the second was the same age as my immediate elder brother and the third was my age......my family lived in the last flat. We had 4 bedrooms and a living room.

I recall that no matter how much my mum reminded us not to eat at the neighbours or anywhere else for that matter, we still ate at the neighbours and we all played around together like one happy family. Of course we ran indoors, each to our separate homes when we heard the honk of any of the parents' cars but we were sure to resume play in the bus on our way to school the following day.....

Even our parents were on friendly terms with one another....the man in flat 1 and my dad worked at the company's head office in Port Harcourt and the mum in flat 2 was a nurse at the company's clinic. This was all in the '80's...

Nowadays, relationships with our neighbours are cordial at best and conversations with neighbours are such a drag! Everyone wants to have their own space and every one's mantra seems to be "keep your nose outta my business"...Such is the relationship between my family and my neighbours......try hard as our kids did to forge a bond, us parents kept tugging at them, get back in! and discouraged any friendship between the girls....we even got to the point of having silly issues because of this and that...

My neighbour is a single mother of a 1 year old, and in true Island style, we do not speak to each other. Only to the children, and then to offer an exaggerated Hellooo and Byeeee! I rarely even give a second glance or wonder what is happening in her home and I'm sure the same indifference is accorded to me and mine.

From the little I can claim to know of her, I see her as someone whose priorities do not happen to be her child but rather are elsewhere.....far, far, away in a place I know nothing of. She rarely sleeps at home - ask me how I know? Her car's usually not at home at nights and she comes in the evenings for a bit and takes off after sometime. I happened to notice on a few occasions that her help left late in the evenings and came back to work in the wee hours of the morning, say 5:30am. I saw that happen about 5 or 6 times and thought nothing of it. Fast forward to last week Thursday. My neighbour came home in the evening as usual, did her thing, left.....she returned again very late, say about midnight 'discovered' her daughter was alone at home..... checked everywhere, didn't see her help. She settled in for the night and Miss. thing returns at 5:30am sharp the following day......to welcome a very unlikely sight....her madam's car!

Drama everywhere.....girlfriend comes out...yelling...so this is what you do eh? I pay you and you leave my baby at home at go out to sleep with men! I will kill you today! You want to destroy my life....So much drama.....That was when the pieces of the puzzle fell into place for me....so the girl wasn't a come in the morning, leave in the evening kinda help? And the baby was in the house all the time when she went out? I really felt like an evil person when I pieced all that happened together, I knew that it would never have happened if we were more cordial to each other and the girl took advantage of the fact that we weren't friends with her madam and threw all caution to the wind...but even my neighbour herself was partly to blame! How dare you leave your child to the maid like everyday? I'd always assumed her daughter was wherever she was putting up, never for a moment thought she was left at home with the help....

So many what ifs clouded my mind but the one that struck the most was the decline of good relationships with our neighbours in so the called high brow areas....it's sad really, to think we live in a time when your neighbour would see your child going astray and instead of correcting him or her, would look the other way. It's such a crying shame!

What is the meaning of a neighbour I ask? It it merely the person who lives a little distance away from you? Shouldn't it mean much more than that? I remeber while growing up, we didn't dare to be naughty around my neighbours parents because they could discipline us as good as our parents, but nowadays? The essence of the word Neighbour seems to be extinct!

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

l am first,o my God.ok now back to the subject. l use think this only happens in the uk,but am wrong.l guess people are just content with their own space.

darkelcee said...

deux!!!!!!!!!!

darkelcee said...

this is very true,

Do you know that it took like 2 years for my neighbours to know my surname? All my letters were actually returned by them cos no one knew elcee.

I read somewhere about walls/ fence that we put up round our houses that it actually block physical and all forms of contact.

it is really sad. Every parent now shield their children. I had slept over at our neighbours place one or twice while growing up.

I really dont know what is happening anymore.

Neighbour to us now conote fellow citizen not a brother or sister.

Great Post.

UndaCovaSista said...

The kind of attitude that you describe has been prevalent in western culture for a long, long time e.g. you hear of old age pensioner being found dead in their flats for weeks on end and no one even noticing that they hadnt come out of their homes.

It's really sad to hear that it's now seeping into our society...As Darkelcee said, nice thought provoking post...

30+ said...

Oh dear you mean this also happens in Nigeria. Here I am mouthing off that we are too offish in the UK.

O ga o, thank God nothing happened to the baby (1 year old!!!) it would have been another story

Waffarian said...

Ah! I thought it was only here, I normally go around telling people how "this" and "that" would never happen in Nigeria, how we all live like an extended family. Na wa oh!

My childhood was a blast, with sleepovers, pyjama parties and all...some of the food that we love in my family today were adopted from neighbours. Pictures of my childhood are mostly with the neighbourhood kids or their parents.

Meanwhile, the mama self na wa...she be night nurse?

Jaycee said...

*Sigh* This is such a great reflective post. I remember when we used to attend all of our neighbors' kids birthday parties, we were all like one big happy family. Nowadays tho, people front...could it be that there's so much more evil today? Nah, I don't think so...'evil' has always been there (hmmm, thinking aloud).

I wish neighbors could be more cordial, u're right...it's an absolute shame.

A neighbor is much more than the person living right next to u...I think Jesus illustrated this in the parable of the Good Samaritan. His neighbor was the one who stopped by the road-side to rescue him, after being robbed and beaten by robbers...(that's such a good analogy to ur story)...

Jaycee said...

*Sigh*

Reflecting on what undacovasista said, one time there was almost a fire in my flat in Nigeria, and the neighbors rushed to our aid...

Errrmm, I wonder how much love can still be shown today...*sigh*

Jinta said...

irresponsible woman, i judge

bring back the old ways. these modernisation and 'civilization' will drive us back to the caves

Calabar Gal said...

Its all about minding your business these days o Jare.

Uzo said...

I am not even comfortble with the concept of neighbours all up in your business anyway.....

princesa said...

I agree that the whole 'neighbourliness' thing is dying down these days unlike when we were kids.

However i still believe it all depends on the neighbours involved. When we moved to our current place some years back, the neighbours in the next house came to welcome us to the neighbour hood and since then we have being really close.
No festivity goes by with out us exchanging food and drinks and any tiome they travel they make sure tio send us some Ijebu garri when they return(they are ijebus). Same thing goes for my folks, there is always some plantain, oranges and the like set aside for the neighbours when they come back from the east.

Still, i understand that there are some neighbours one wouldnt wish to get close to maybe because of their lifestyle.

Afrobabe said...

wow tot it was a uk thing...I can relate with it...I realised I didnt know any of our neighbours in lagos till the day of teh robbery when we had different ppl coming to say sorry the next morning...strange but then there are a few legitimate reasons why ppl stay on their own..

In our former estate my mum hated some single mum who looked like a model...lmao..rumour was she was sleeping with the married guys in the estate, I dont think she would have blinked if what happened to ur neighbour happened to that woman...

30+ said...

See this babe harrassing me for update...I updated on sunday you are asking for more on Thursday. It can only mean one thing she is missing me, she loves me so Nyemoni is missing me.

NikkiSab said...

Well i live alone and my neibor is one of my best friends. But d odas are at arms length. I rmbr wen i was in primary skool i would run out of my house and go baff in my neibors house. we were real close. But d trad has truly died down, cos its often beta to mind ur biz cos of d strange pple around. Moni i de o, how's d family? u like my new blog look ba!! 10x

Beyond said...

great observation.....i guess that is one of the things that is coming along with westernization......If one has a neighbor you can trust, i see no reason why you won't allow your children develop a relationship with them but if you have one that is "kuku" one has to becareful as well.... so as not the allow negative influence around their children........But neighbors should def~ be more than someone living in close proximity to one's home.

ibiluv said...

truth be told-i like my space

i am fyne with neighbours who just say hi and bye
I get finicky with friendly neighbours-i tend to think they are just plain nosy

and if i sense something is off............to each his own

i like i like my space

Truth said...

We are becoming too Westernize, that our cultural heritage is fast eroding.In the days gone by,you could drop your child or children with your neighbour without fear of any harm. These days,we are even afraid of our children relating with our neighbours for alot of adult reasons.Can you imagine if you were both in good neighbourly relationship,the help wouldn't have been bold to do what she was engaged in doing.May God help us to do the right thing and be the type of neighbour we are surpose to be.

soupasexy said...

i rem growing up, for the six years i lived there somewhere in PH, woji exactly..i never saw my neighbours..like never..its funny!

Chxta said...

@ Uzo, pray tell, why aren't you comfortable with the 'nosiness' of neighbours?

In case y'all may not have noticed, Western society began to decline (in moral terms) when everyone became so 'private', and if we are not careful we would be headed in the same direction. When I was young I could be disciplined by just about any adult that knew me if they saw me doing something wrong, and then I'd pray that they wouldn't tell my parents or else I would be doubly disciplined. That sense of the community putting hands together turns out more people right than what obtains in the West, and what we seem to be adopting. Bring back the good old days.

Pink-satin said...

in the apartment building that i live in my neighbours dont say hi and i dont say hi!!the only time they talk to you is when they have locked themselves out and the need you to buzz them in!!!as in we just act like we dont exist to each other!

Nyemoni said...

I see the varied reactions to my post..I say, each with his own....everyone is really entitled to whatever rocks his or her boat. My own take on the matter is this: I like it the old way, when children were disciplined by elders whether their parents were there or not. To me, a lot of the moral degradation we're experiencing stems from the fact that everyone goes about their merry way minding his or her own business..I would like people to correct my children when they see them going astray. That said, I quite agree that some neighbours are experts at crossing the boundaries and being too nosy....but that's how life is generally...so many ups and downs. We just have to take the good with the bad and know how to seperate the chaff from the wheat..being overley offish with neighbous is not okay to me!

Afrobabe said...

ur reply is a classic example of the lazy neighbour!!!!

Reply my comment jare or put up a new post!!!

Ollay said...

This is what the world is turning into...they all want to encroach on each other's territory yet want to be as far away and as hostile as possible...try Israel and the Palestine...

Closer to home that is the picture of things too. I've lived on my road for 5 years and haven't formed any friendship with any of my neighbours. Sometimes it suprises me when they take a delivery for me. Whatever the meaning of 'neighbour' is now it's lost all the attributes we knew when we were growing up...like you sais, its a crying shame and the reason the world is gonna go from bad to worse.

Nyemoni said...

@ afrobabe...are you sure you are frinds with ollay? She seems different from you! I think I'm going to like her!

Aijay said...

Very interesting post!!
Nyemoni I absolutely agree with u.
I feel for the poor baby who had to stay home alone. Shame..

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

My sista, we had some new neighbors that moved in 2 years ago. I went to introduce myself and they looked at me like I crawled out of a sewer. Now that they know I have a backyard full of toys and kids and want their kids to come hang out with mine. Abeg, I no send oh. If you don't know how to show respect until you need to, I stay far away.

Anyway, I liked your post. How far
NIGERIAN CURIOSITY
IT WAS SO MUCH EASIER WHEN I ONLY HAD ONE...

30+ said...

My sis I don update o

Arewa said...

I didnt think these these situations exsisted back home..what happened to the days when your neighbour could discipline a child who was being disredspectful or way ward. What is going on...neigbours not even acknowledging one another....maybe ur neigbour just has a lot of drama going on in her life and feels that the best way to deal with it is just to put up a front.
I suggest that u try reaching out to her....if she still desides to remain stuck up them that one nah her own headache.
Hope u r doing ok and that ur belly isnt weighing u down too much. x x x
oh and i have just updated...just as u requested x x x

rethots said...

Eventually, 'tis left to us to nuture the relationships (neighbours inclusive) we like and would love to have. 'tis not about the other person (neighbours) but, our own actions.

A call to the old times??? Yet still, the world moves on....and adjust we continually do.

Afrobabe said...

lmao...Nyemoni if all my friends were like me no be craze be that??? I need friends that will keep me sane and grounded....she is one of them...

Zena said...

Well the way I see it is this,

Times have changed, you can't just barge into ppl's business like that. I'm not saying there isn't a need to be neighbourly, but do ppl give that chance anymore?

You go and correct somebody else's child and all you get is insults and abuses,

But the woman na wa sha,

Doja said...

I avoid the neighbours because they might become pests.

Jola Naibi said...

I wouldn't have said that this would happen in Nigeria...back when I lived in Lagos, our neighbors were like our extended family. True, you got the occasional nosy neighbor but the right combination of diplomatic tactics would put them in their place. I think society has made the concept of neighbor extinct for a combination of reasons - nobody wants anyone all up in their business. If for instance you and your neighbor had reached out to each other and come up with some arrangement where you could watch her kid and the househelp while she underwent her nocturnal activities - of course, she might think that after some time you might want to know what those nocturnal activities are at which point it might become an issue for her

Sha said...

wow, back in naija, i was pretty much close with ma neighbours, very close sef, quite surprised to knw that this aint d case with err'body in naija. In jand however, theres nuttin like dat, apart from hello n goodbye, dats it. Even sometimes hello nor der happen self.. err'body just dey mind their biz

Olamild said...

There is no such thing as a neighbor in America. Back home, my neighbors were like family. I play, sleep, eat,iron my clothes... at their house.

How do u establish a relationship with a neighbor u don't know? I have lived in a house for about 6 yrs now and i don't even know who lives (to my right) next door. It's sad when u think about it but what can u do /.... u step on people's grass, they throw tantrums. They put a sign that says private property, do not intrude... what do u do?

pamela said...

true that!!

:D

hmmmmm, this post is deep moni...

For the love of me said...

I think it may just be that people are a whole lot busier now than they were before,particularly in Lagos. An average worker gets home between 8 and 9pm, struggles to put on his gen, and is out by 6am the next morning, for some earlier.There is barely no time to be friendly with neighbors.I agree that we are becoming quite westernised but we are still very different from the Oyinbos. I have had to ask for salt from a neighbour once, the help looked at me strange but what the heck, I had run out and I needed salt,in this Uk, I would simply cook my food like that.
We may not be so friendly at home but you know that when push comes to shove, ur neighbours will be ther for you, at least I think so.

Zephi Fahrenheit said...

this estate that you stayed does it start with "el"..anyways, yeah thats sad... we are adopting the western culture and eroding our slowly...soon it will be an offence to come see someone if you dont call

uNWrItten* said...

mmm i had the worst experience with neighbours when we lived in naija..we were either always fighting or never speaking to each other..lol
was kinda funny sometimes tho..

Ms. Catwalq said...

1. When I was growing up, I did have a very close relationship with one of our neigbours in our compound. And then there was another one that I was convinced dined with demons on a nightly basis. She was just that unpleasant.
I think nurturing relationships with neighbours depends on personalities. I might not want to be particularly close to a talkative neighbour or one with odd looking characters going in and out of their houses but I do agree that it is important to know the basics of whom you live with.

2. Your neighbour is an interesting woman.

3. The world we live in requires alot of shielding from. I mean, with paedophiles and what nots runnning around.

Olamild said...

Happy Easter

Lolu Kush (Afronuts) said...

I gotta say...neighbourly love seems to be on the brink of extinction.

I can imagine what its like to watch your neighbour go the wrong way and you can't correct them because its a 'mind ur own bizness' affair

Onome said...

*Heavy sigh* na wa oooo....me absolutely and totally speechless.

Charizard said...

Yeah Its very sad indeed...but what exactly canwe do to make the difference, cuz our elders say that many lizards lie down on the ground but its the thin skin that hides theri stomach pain..how can u tell whether ur smiling neighbour is a psychopath...I am not preaching paranoia but we have to look at all angles to everything

Charizard said...

I dunno mayn buh I dnt think sth like that would happen in ma zone sha...I had a full realization of that when ma parents left for Israel two weeks...ma net door neighbour was always comin to check on us, everyday and stuff...I guess it all depends on the people and the area...u can't expect as much privacy in a face me i face u haus...

Afrobabe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Afrobabe said...

Babe, couldn't find ur email address any where...U don born???

Writefreak said...

Same thing that's been on my mind..i live in a house of 3 flats and can you imagine my neighbour had a baby and i felt odd buying a gift and going over to her flat because that was the most conversation we ever had in over a year of living in the same compound! Not like i'm not nice but everyone just has this i'm busy stuck up attitude and when you ask questions or get too familiar, it's almost like..what you nosing for! That would never happen when i was a kid! My neighbour's kid(very young boy) is chatting to me..i have none yet..and i hear the father shouting his name like he'd followed a stranger! I wonder where the paranoia is from! I've promised myself to show myself friendly to my neighbours no matter the attitude they put up..love can thaw the ice queen! Lol
Meanwhile..your neighbour sef hard o!

30+ said...

Sister Happy Easter (like this is so belated)

Oya update where you at

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

my sista, how body?

Ms. emmotions said...

times indeed have changed,
people now leave an isolated life just to maintain the 'upper class' thingy
poor child,

not that its my biz but where will a mother leave her home to for the whole nite?

btw, how are u and urs doing madam?

badderchic said...

hmmmm. feelin u on this one.

princesa said...

'Moni plz update!
Even if na oneliner,lol!

I hope u are keeping well dear.

Arewa said...

yUMMY MOMMY...just stopped by to check up on u... hope ux2 and the family are doing fine .. ... x x xx

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

my sista, how body?

In my head and around me said...

This post is particularly interesting to me. Like Uzo, I am uncomfortable with getting neighbours all up in my business. I have lived in the same area for more than 20 years and yet enter only one house. If my other neighbours have had their interiors re-done since the 80s, I wouldn't know about it. I prefer to keep to myself. I'm also pretty shy which means that it is pretty difficult for me to become the sort of person that will initiate conversation between myself and a neighbour.

Jinta, I think you may have rushed to judge her too quickly. Why? I have been considering moving out of my parent's house such that it would have been just me and my kid + a nanny. If I had done that, I would have found myself in the same shoes. We had an situation at work last month and I had to spend several nights there. I would go to work in the morning and sometimes not return till the about 6 a.m...sleep a bit and hit the office again. A few times, I would get home after work just to see my kid and be off again. I have joked with my colleagues that my neighbours must be full of theories about what I get up to. You don't know what she's up to. The money she makes from working is important in ensuring that she gives her daughter a good life. She was just unfortunate not to have trustworthy help and again, her reaction when she found out what was happening points to the fact that she was unhappy to find that her child was left on her own.

Also, I doubt very much if I would want to drop my child off at a neighbour's. Too many pervs out there and you never really know people.

It's an unfortunate situation.

30+ said...

Where are you? Hope all is well.

Even a one liner is fine with us

Afrobabe said...

Me thinks baby has come...

I miss you so much...sob sob...

pamela stitch said...

sorry o! I was rushing out - so couldn't respond. I will respond with a LONG message later on tonight when I get home...

Jejely....I want to say something but ehm ehm ehm

darkelcee said...

sweetie


are you ok?

how is my baby?

Free-flowing Florida said...

i think ur neighbour is just an unfit mother! look @ her screaming at d housegirl! who did she think d girl learnt d 'wakadugbe' from? kettle calling pot black

anyway, abt those impersonal neighbourly relations, i must admit am so totally guilty. am so protective of my space, dat i can only manage 'how is it going' conversations maybe wen am coming back home & i jam u outside, or during those 'yard' meetings. but 4 me 2 go visiting, lie lie. & also don't come 2 my own place o.

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

how now?

Olamild said...

how have u been?

Rinsola said...

I know it's bee a while, rather it's been forever. Just checking on you, hope you'r doing great? Howz #1 and has #2 finally arrived? take care of you and hope to hear from u soon. Much love

God's child said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
God's child said...

Mrs where are u hope all is well

Kai your neighbour sef, na aristo she be? what kind of mother is she? doesnt she realize a baby is a gift from God, and by not taking care of that gift u are dishonouring God?
as for the help LOL@ your observations, kai she get liver, how can u leave a 1 yr old like that, does she have a heart????????

Growing up in lag, we had the best neighbors
the one across had a huge farm in his town, and would always bring us fresh supply of juicy pineapples! The landlord next door had a on of grand kids our age, so they were always over, and we were all close. The 2 boys down the street with the dysfunctional parents were crazy, and used to steal from UTC at age 10, they borrowed bro's game, and switched the inside cartridge to a razz tetris game...mumsie banned them from our house! Other next door house had 3 families pass through while we lived there. The 1st one they had 2 wives, see drama o, I was only like 3-4 and remember all this shouting, and seeing folks run out of their house. Even then our parents banned us from their house. The family that followed was amazing, we were all about the same ages, I never loved eating dinner at my house, even their uncle that would take them out for ice cream, would also take us as well and we hung out together to the point that when they moved from Lag to PH we all cried. Never saw them again for almost 20yrs lol till a few mths ago on facebook! turns out they had been wondering over the years where we were. Family that followed them was also really close to us. I remember once when the husband and wife got into a fight, and he was beating her, she was screaming Mama X (X as in my sister's name), she was screaming for my mum! We heard her in our house, and I think my mum started begging the husband, cant remember the gist.

Now in yankee, some neighbors are cool, others are too nosy. The asian woman across the street that welcomed us a few yrs ago, turns her face when u say hi, and her daughter stares at u like mumu. The ones next door are ok, they talk to my siblings general conversation, they mow our front when they mow their lawn, and we do the same.

Westernization sef get as e be!! I miss my younger years in Naija oooo

Beyond said...

hope all is well.... its been a while.

Writefreak said...

You have to update! It's been so long...
You ok dear?

 

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