Have you lived in a house of 18 boys and you have to cook rice and share in 18 places? The fish is barely scattered in the stew and they all stand around to pick their plates for a quick lunch. Yes. Unity Villa was an experience and it keeps giving me memories. Memories to salivate on or sometimes even just “smh”.
Unity Villa, a plastered bungalow, about a kilometre from the main junction was where I stayed for over three years in FUNAAB. There I found out what a happier world it would be if the world was more equal. Hardly any difference between indigenes and students, we lived like a large family of lost parents.
There was this warning that mothers gave their daughters, to be very afraid of Unity Villa.
“Are, awon omo UNAABU, sora fun won, bi won se gbe dudu, ni won gbe pupa” mothers told their daughter in thick accent.
An early experience of a lady in our area who was a student of Polytechnic Ibadan made this ring well. Sisi’s mother would pack stockfish, rice, palm oil and everything packable when she was about to return to school. But these girls won’t listen. They won’t. After taking a bike saying goodbye to her family members, Sisi just stopped midway to spend another three days enjoying the juice between the groin.
But you know these stories get passed around. Her mother later found out that her daughter meant to be in school was co-habiting few houses away. It was not funny. In thick Egba accent
“Bode, omo tan ran ni ile iwe”
“Won ti n basun, ah aye mi oo”
[Come out, a child that we are sending to school that some fellow is sleeping with, just look at my life ]
It was not an exciting spectacle till Sisi had to be moved to another room. Her mother did not notice while she was engaged in a chatter and was made to see an empty room. That’s how to live in a nearly full boys’ house of nine rooms. We only reserved a room for a lady.
We sang, laughed, partied and even fought. I once tried to break a bottle just to harass Olukokun Deji who was testing my will. I could not.
Odunayo was having a birthday party and I didn’t know how I downed a full bottle of “Ponche”. I was eyeing a Deeper Life lady that period who also came around. Seeing me doing that after being taunted by friends just made her lose hope. I was not up for redemption. After taking that drink, I decided to go to another party hosted by Osagie and friends, few blocks away. I did not know how I got home after missing some dance steps. The only thing I remembered was that I woke up on a cement floor with mosquitoes feasting on my body. I was not alone. We were like four people. It was a dump room for drunks. For days, I lost appetite, drinking glucose. My room mate, Muri had washed up the room and myself. That was my man. Muri was one student who will prostrate fully, I meant fully for me without shame. True omo Ibadan.
I owed the landlord for months who didn’t really care to take his monthly rent of N600. There was a very troublesome but so likeable woman who sold us food – Iya Ife . She had a list of how much everyone owed. I was not one the top list of debtors but I had this very stinging insult culled from Haruna Ishola’s Sule Maito track, that she so hated:
“Owo ti Onigbinde ba na ni ojumo, ti Iya Ife ba na ni odun kan, ori se ni”
[The money Onigbinde spends in a day, if Iya Ife tries to spend that in a year, she is truly wealthy. ]
With Niyi (Pressy), Odun, Dipo, Deji, Bunmi, Sula, Muri, Tayo, Seedorf, Bora, Ibrahim and many more these memories fail me, I truly had a good time. From supporting my early dreams for Vision Plus Network and UNAABSU Presidency attempt, scolding when my laptop got fully burnt, they were like brothers and fathers to me. This was home.
When I left Unity Villa, I actually took nothing except my mattress and few books. Actually what else did I have in my room – a blue rug, reading table and chair, wooden wall hangers and a pile of clothes.
No TV, radio or DVD. If a girl was visiting me, I quickly dashed to the next room to borrow radio and TV and patiently wait.
What a life, a very simple one.
What if it remained that simple, full of happiness and too little care of the fleeting things of the world.