It’s my birthday tomorrow :). Please let me know if you’d be interested in dinner after our last class tomorrow @7.30am. It will be at Inshanghai: the new Chinese restaurant at the Gates. I heard the food is really great ;)
So in those early days, when I get this kinda mail I’d get so excited. Like Yay! Chinese.Yay! Outing for me and my friends. Yay!! On somebody’s bill. Bless your generous heart Steve for wanting to feed me Yay!!!. God bless your parents for giving birth to such a wonderful generous man like you.
Wake up and Welcome to Oyiboland; where all that glitters is not gold.
Now in Nigeria, If I had gotten that kinda invite from Steve. It means…Steve has hit ‘dirt pay’ and wants to spend part of it with/on his friends. Steve is inviting me to an all expense paid dinner at Inshanghai. All I have to do is wear a pretty dress and get myself there. Maybe buy him a card and/or gift. If the place is far I might even complain and Steve will arrange some sort of transportation to get me there or promise to foot my taxi bills ..cause he really wants me to be there.
In Oyiboland…It means…You are invited to come join my birthday dinner party. It is great opportunity to be in the company of friends. You are expected to foot your own bills and some (like if the table buys bottles of wine the cost is split…love wine or not) so do come with ‘generous’ cash or balance in your debit card. And if the place is far, well get on the bus or get a taxi..duh!
I really don’t know the origin of this culture. Is it for practicality? The ingrained culture of independence? A case of people being reasonable…there’s a recession you know? Or just sheer miserliness. Or are Nigerians the ones doing it wrong by placing so much responsibility on the celebrant?
On the other hand, I have also been part of potluck dinner celebrations, wherein everyone contributes something to the party. I bring a tureen of fried rice. Lee brings pork chops. Brian makes chicken masala, Meg bakes cookies. Lisa makes some pasta dish. The traditional rule is that each dish be large enough to be shared among a good portion (but not necessarily all) of the anticipated guests. The dinner table ends up being filled with loads of amazing food to mix and match. I love those and really think it’s an idea worth borrowing. I have met this community of Nigerian friends who do this most weekends. It makes for a stress-less way of having get-togethers. What do you think?
p.s. Sorry I am a day late. Just couldn’t get into writing mode yesterday!