Tolu is a five year old girl tied by the knots of Garri. In Nigeria, we know that one of the foods that need no advertisement is Garri. Our well known Garri is soon becoming a privatized commodity. Garri; some say the meal for the poor, some the meal for all. It is very much an argued fact.
Our friend, Tolu, has no way out from the clutches of Garri even though her father had lost his life to it through Lassa fever as he left to find greener pastures. Wherever the greener pastures led him to, he needed the comfort of Garri soaked in cold water. Only about a week later, from afar off, the taste of Garri had snatched him away.
Garri, made from cassava, is one commodity that is much adored especially when it is just coming off the hot pans of a coal fire, it is adored by both humans and Lassa fever infected rodents. Nobody knows where it is coming from; from the rodents or safer tents but we still adore it. Maybe we could buy it as it leaves the hot pans but just how many from this mass population of our can afford at the wholesale quantity posed, if lucky, a paint bucket or ike as we call it, yet how many can buy.
The journey of Tolu, our friend, is gradually being told in different homes. A struggling mother of three gives birth to a black and beautiful baby girl, Tolu. To the rich, that wouldn’t have been a problem in fact, the joys surrounding her birth would be much pronounced. Ha! Not in this economy, the economy of the poor has always been declining but at a time of recession what can we make of it? Garri is also fast becoming a rare commodity these days but what can Tolu’s helpless mother do? With four children, dear reader, it is still Garri. Whether in a soup that costs less than #300 which we know has more of boiling water than soup, the seasonings doing the rest, she is still a caring mother feeding her children Garri. Maybe she serves it as the well known African cornflakes or Garium Sulphate, she is still sweet mother.
Who can complain? She is poor, the milk has disappeared a long time from her table as not a necessity, bread has gained a 20% increase, rice is quickly subliming as the white man’s food and even good water is expensive. You can’t blame her for gradually losing her sight even while embracing the warmth of Garri.
Under the hot sizzling sun of Nigeria, Nigerians are still bound to work. We are hard-working and are proud to labour especially with good gains; hustlers or professionals. Somewhere downtown, where builders are doing their thing, building, the comfort of Garri, iced water, sugar and roasted nuts is affordable and well accepted. As far as that is concerned, they do not care about hydrocyanic acid.
Dear reader, please don’t say, ‘Eh! What is that?’ Garri, hot or cold has this ingredient that causes eye failure. As long as eye failure or eye defects wouldn’t kill who can blame the builders.
‘It didn’t kill her, why should it kill them?’ that was what she said until Ahmed died from intestinal problem because he had ulcers but had no meal but Garri.
A meal for the poor or all? At the other side of Lagos, we have another young Miss Tolu who has not felt the passing of Rice as she lives in the comfort of having Fried Rice and Chicken but at the introduction of African flakes, Garri, mixed with milk, sugar, roasted nuts and iced water, she didn’t reject, over all the nutritious cereals, our Garri stands out, anytime any day.
Science has found a nutritious counterpart, yellow Garri or Paki Pupa as the Yorubas call it yet it refuses to be accepted over Ijebu Garri or the Igbo Garri.
Now, the rich investors know the heart of Nigerians is drawn to Garri; it is then privatized in sachets soon to be advertised against those in waterproofs customized by the road side sellers.
To both the rich and the poor, leaving Garri is such an obvious challenge even after hearing about the ills. I can’t even stop myself from salivating at the thought of G5 (Garri, Sugar, Milk, Roasted nuts and Iced water).
Nigeria is blessed with a rich source of Carbohydrate, the disadvantages kills the body and mind of the poor and addicted without a choice. God help Nigeria.
– His Rule Publications