I took this picture as a reminder. To remind myself that I am not bound to one place. To remind myself that places like this exist, and waiting for me to come back.
This was my first time visiting the stream after many years of going back to Nigeria.
My mother told me stories of how she and her cousins used to bathe here. How this was the place she learnt to swim. How the water was so clear you could look right in and see your toes as if there was nothing surrounding it.
Some common words still used in Caribbean English[es] that come directly from the Igbo language or are influenced by it.
‘You [plural]’, the same in Igbo, únù, wunna may be used, in Nigerian pidgin English una is used.
‘Only’, ‘single’, in Igbo orthography it’s sọsọ [saw-saw] meaning the same. [Not to be confused with English so-so, meaning average or mediocre]
‘Is’, ‘presently’ / ‘positioned in’, in Igbo orthography dị [dih], also in Nigerian pidgin as de.
‘say’, ‘said’, also from English, Igbo sị.
‘chewing stick’, Igbo atụ [atuh]
‘White person’, in Igbo orthography bèké, meaning white person but also generally western or European, used in the French Antilles including Dominica [Roseau].
‘greedy’, ‘envious’, a calque of Igbo ányá úkwú [lit. ‘eye big’] meaning the same.
‘mud’, ‘muddy’, Igbo mkpọtọ mkpọtọ, meaning the same.
Igbo ọkrọ [aw-kraw] or ọkwụru, plant known to some as ‘lady fingers’.
‘shamanism’, ‘witchcraft’, in Igbo orthography ọbia [aw-bia] meaning ‘oracle’ or ‘doctoring’, practitioners in Igbo are known as dibia [di ọbia].
An exclamation, in Igbo it’s ewo and usually used in the same context. Ex: Ihe ị dere ebe a hikwara nne, ewo! [This list is quite long, ewo!]
[particle] ‘is’, ‘will’, in Igbo orthography á [alternating tone], gá in Igbo is ‘go’ in the example: ‘to go’, CE: ah go; Igbo: a ga. / ‘is he going?’, Caribbean English (CE): him ah go? Igbo: ọ na à ga?.
‘will not’, in Igbo nà is ‘is’, à at the end makes it negative, together it’s na with a long ‘a’, same meaning. Example: ‘I’m not going’ CE: Me nah go; Igbo: A na’m a ga.
‘going to’, ‘will’, Igbo ‘ga’, Example: ‘he will come’ CE: him ah go come; Igbo: ọ ga a bia [which is word for word if you switch around the ‘ah’ and ‘go’].
Source: Holloway, Joseph E. (2005). Africanisms in American culture; Cassidy, Frederic Gomes; Page, Robert Brock Le (2002). A Dictionary of Jamaican English; McWhorter, John H. (2000). The Missing Spanish Creoles: Recovering the Birth of Plantation Contact Languages; Menz, Jessica (2008). London Jamaican-Jamaican Creole in London.
Akata Witch/What Sunny Saw in the Flames Series by Nnedi Okorafor
Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born American. Her features are African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. And then she discovers something amazing she is a “free agent” with latent magical power. Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too?
Everyone’s on their own journey, and it’s important to respect that. Sometimes advice, inspiration, and motivation are welcome, other times they’re not. Be mindful that some people need to learn their lessons when they’re ready and on their own terms. Send them love and light, and let them know you support them, but give them the space they need.
River gods and goddesses are found wherever a significant river or waterbody is found in Igboland, some of the more powerful cults cover larger areas and command more respect and followers by the importance of the waterbodies. Often of fluid gender, the water spirits are powerful ‘images’ of sexuality, fertility, beauty, and wealth and power. The most powerful water spirits are listed.
[Map of major rivers linked to divinities within Igboland]
Ńjābá is so powerful among southern and specifically southwestern Igbo communities that he outranks Àlà, the Earth Mother, in these communities. Ńjābá is usually male and is the guardian of the river of the same name that is a major tributary of Ụ́gwụ́tá (Oguta) Lake in Imo State, Nigeria. Éké, the royal python, is sacred to Ńjābá and surrounding communities consider them messengers and manifestations of Ńjābá and somewhat of a totem animal of which it is forbidden to harm or eat; serious fines and the responsibility of funding a human-sized burial for the snakes befalls anyone who harms pythons. [Interview about Ńjābá+]
Ímò Ḿmírí is the spirit of the Imo River [pictured] which runs between present day Imo State (which is named after the river) and Abia State and runs into the Atlantic between a section of Rivers State and Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria. She is usually feminine and was associated with the Ibinukpabi oracle or “Long Juju” of Arochukwu, the most powerful oracle in southeastern Nigeria during the Atlantic Slave Trade, and she is considered as its female counterpart. Ímò Ḿmírí is a largely benevolent fertility spirit. In myth, the Imo is the river that rushed between the Ngwa people of Abia State and their relatives in Imo State creating a permanent cut-off between them. [More+]
Also:Ósìmírí / Órìmílí / Órìmírí / Ósìmílí - the female spirit of the Niger River which is named after her in Igbo. As is usual to feminine water spirits she is a fertility goddess. Èzù nà Ómáḿbálá, the confluence of the Anambra and Niger Rivers, is the site where Èrì’s band, the primogenitor of the Umuleri and Umunri Igbo people, migrated from the north to and settled.
Ìdèmílí is the female spirit of the river of the same name that runs through the local government area of the same name in Anambra State, Nigeria. Ìdèmílí means ‘the pillar of waters’ referring to the spiritual force of the water spirit preventing rain-clouds in the sky from falling [ídè also means flood, and water spirit forces are known to punish through floods or other sorts of water-logging]. Like most water spirits Ìdèmílí is a fertility goddess. Éké, royal pythons, are also sacred to Ìdèmílí and to communities that depend on her and are also known as ÉkéÌdèmílí. Ìdèmílí’s story also involves appearing to mortals as a maiden. [The Ìdèmílí story+] [Priest of the Ìdèmílí shrine+]
Also: Ụ̀hámírí- The ambivalent feminine spirit of Ụ́gwụ́tá Lake of which she owns, she is paired with Ńjābá and she is also known as Ògbúìdèmeaning ‘deep floodwater’and her husband is Okita. Ụ̀háḿmírí roughly translates from Igbo as‘the shining beauty of the waters’; Ụ̀háḿmírí is beautiful and wealthy and happy and childless. She is a powerful spirit among women in Ụ́gwụ́tá and is considered as somewhat of a spirit of achievement among women; successful women in Ụ́gwụ́tá especially were said to mostly be devotees of Ụ̀háḿmírí.
Also:Ụ́làsị̀ / Ụ́ràsị̀ - The spirit of the Ụ́ràshị̀ (Orashi) River which runs through Imo State and Rivers State. A male, Ụ́ràshị̀’s sacred grove, like Ògbúìdè’s, was marked primarily by the red and white pieces of cloth.
Also: Ọ́máḿbálá - The spirit of the Ọ́máḿbárá (Anambra) River which runs through northern Anambra State in Anam-Igbo land and then into the Niger River.
Of the Ọ̀tá Ḿmírí (Otamiri) River which runs through Imo State and particularly Ụ́ràtà-Igbo communities where the Ḿbárí votive shrines are dedicated to his mother, Àlà the Earth Mother, and where he plays a significant role.