Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The joys of security

For as long as i can remember, my family has always had security guards. We have had diferent types:
  • Babas: recommended to us by people that took their time opening the gates. We usually took these men (usually above 60) on to help them than for practicality. Mr Chris had a big bad leg and he limped. You got to your gate, tooted the horn and he opened the gat after maybe 4 years.
  • Maiguards: These were typically northerners that actually could be security guards. The ones we have had were armed with bow and arrows and maybe a daggar or so. Really quiet and diligent. We ended that chapter when many years ago, my family went to the beach and we came back with a black and white rabbit that we thought we could keep as a pet. A week later, we all went out of town. We came back and Mohammed (the guard) told us that our rabbit was dead. The maid told us Mohammed killed it and ate it.
  • Soldiers: From the days when my dad held certain appointments. These guards were armed and proved to be well.....interesting. Very diligent. Always saluting and running to open car doors. But they always harrassed and scared guests. "Who are you?" "Who are you looking for?" "My friend nobody with that name dey here" "Uzo who? No Uzo dey here. Only sister Uzo dey and we no like your face so you no fit see am" "You wan see Uzo? You know know ya level. Gerrout". Any guesses as to how that ended?
  • Mr Osei: He deserves an entry to himself. This is the guard we had the longest. Mr Osei came to us when i was about 9 and still running around in shorts and a tshirt, making mud cakes and mashing up leaves in an attempt to make soup. I dont remember how he came to us but he was Ghanian and used to eat Kenkey and liked Ashanti Kotoko. I know now that this is a football club. He used to play pool and would go out drinking apeteshi (sp?). I guess this is best described as moonshine. As i grew up and the boys started coming round, Mr Osei became a tax man. Noone could see me without settling him first. I understand that N20 would suffice in the early days. As i got older and the boys became young me with cars, settlement now became mini bottles of Chelsea or London Dry Gin and money. If you didnt settle him, you couldnt see me and i would never get the message that anyone came by. He would also "forget" you so you would have to settle him again. Good grief. He became part of out family. We footed hospital bills, got him arrested, bailed him out, fired him, rehired him......We asked about his family and he told us he had children but nothing more. I was away when i was told that My Osei had fallen ill. He started talking a lot about going back to Ghana to see his family. My parents organized a bus, loaded it with furniture, food items and stuff, gave him money, paid the bus driver and off he went. Back to Ghana. He sent us a letter a few months later. Thanking us and letting us know he was okay. We have never heard from him again.
  • Man O War: This is out present arrangement. They dress like soldiers, act suitably tough and when one bugs you, you simply called the agency and the replacement process happens.

Through the years and through all these arrangements, my mother started the tradition of feeding the guards on Sundays. This is not part of their pay structure or package but its been happenening since i remember. Every sunday, we heap food onto a plate, hand it over with a drink and all we ask is that the plate be washed and returned. Since i have been home, my mom has relaxed on the kitchen and cooking front (afterall what are kids for? LOL) so i make the sunday arrangements.

This past Sunday, i went out to see a movie and had lunch with a friend. I got back home at about 4 and went to my room. My parents had been fed and it was a nice quiet day when my doorbell rang. I went downstairs to answer the door and it was the man o war fellow. Dont know this one's name. But there he was.

"Yes?"

"Ehm Aunty. Happy Sunday"

"Yes?"

"I know know whether you don forget..."

"Yes?"

"But you never give me food and i never chop since morning. I still dey wait for the food oh. I just say make i remind you in case you forget and i know say u comot before"

What the hell? LOL. Its not an entitlement. Its at our discretion. See me see trouble....

14 comments:

DiAmOnD hawk said...

you started it...you have to continue it...it's become habit...

LondonBuki said...

LOL! Like it's part of their pay package!

Ole!

Biodun said...

ha ha this was funny, that is the thing, you have 2 continue the tradition, lol
Mr. Osei, counds so funny, we never actually ever had any security growing up, I was d gateman, lol

Olawunmi said...

what can i say, people get used to receiving favours. lol. now you know, if you stop honouring the (ahem) "agreement", your security is guaranteed to diminish accordingly. lol.

Olawunmi said...

oh, and by the way, i contributed my fair share to the "Mr Osei Fund". and it was never ₦20, it was more like ₦50 minimum. it took me a while to twig to that, so uzo was never home for a looong time. after i wised up though (our own guards were more scrupulous about milking my admirers) uzo always seemed to be home, apart from when she wasn't home of course, and on those days i could be certain that she had indeed gone out, or someone with superior "fire-power" had decreed it so. lol.

Uzo said...

@Diamond: Habit? LOL. Please. Its a favor oh.

@LB: Ole! I agree. This fellow rang my doorbell and made me come all the way downstairs

@Biodun: My Osei was something else. Sometimes i wonder what happened to him...

@Olawunmi: LOL. I sort of remember this. You always had a welcome carpet. I suspected that Mr Osei was being taken care off by you....Oh the memories. Superior firepower? Like my parents? LOL. They would tell Mr Osei to tell everyone i wasnt home. Gracious me

azuka said...

Wow, we've never had one -- neither have we had a housemaid or houseboy.

If some guy turns up to see my cousin and I don't like his looks, either I or my elder brother throws him out.

I loved the story about the maiguard eating the rabbit :D.

Daddy's Girl said...

Eeyah o, the poor rabbit!!
LOL You guys have had some real characters! We just had one old Yoruba guy for the looongest time. We called him 'Baba'. He was so simple and nice and stress-less, and he didn't have a weapon - but he took care of us. Sadly he passed away some years ago.

Bella Naija said...

lol...
ah ah..i guess they have just gotten used to it...u know people just luv free food

LMAO at the soldiers - Who are you?" "Who are you looking for?" "My friend nobody with that name dey here" "Uzo who? No Uzo dey here. Only sister Uzo dey and we no like your face so you no fit see am" "You wan see Uzo? You know know ya level. Gerrout"

hahahah..that is just tooo funny

NaijaBloke said...

We had differnt kind of baba that I cant even remember now ..

I remember in one of my friend's house back then,we were the gatemen(me and my friend).He was the last born and he has 3 older sisters,so all the guys coming to look for them has to settle us before we agree to go and call them or take a message o ..it was fun then sha.

Hmmm.. nice to know I have always been a a Business man then ..LOL

In my head and around me said...

Uzo!! How dare you? That young man was probably starving wondering where his sunday food had gone...

We have only had maiguards and growing up, I wished we had the arrangement were people were properly screened before entry. I hate it when certain people invade my space. Although I guess that what we had was better than a taxing Mr Osei.

angie said...

ur mum's own is good. my mother gives our guards food morning afternoon and evening(and it is not part of the arrangement oh). one day the silly man said he was sick, shei if u r sick u can't eat much, so i gave him bread etc for breakfast. the silly guard was frowning and told me that in his sick state it is only HOT eba that will go down his stomach...lol. usually its the maid who gives him food, but dat day she didn't come. i was angry and told him if he didn't want the food he should throw it away!!!

Daddy's Girl said...

LOL at Angie's comment. 'Only HOT eba' - priceless.

Calabar Gal said...

Yes oh!! Since the tradition is now entrenched in the guard's mind. You cannot be heard to complain that the guy is advocating for the delivery of his usual sunday Meal! Abeg make you no forget am again next sunday oh!! LOL!!!