I consider myself very privileged, to have many places I call home. Home to me is any place where I feel loved and where I have lived for a long time with family and friends.
A few days ago I got the opportunity to visit the state, town and street where I spent my childhood years. And although the house I called home for 10 years no longer stands, I still felt at home, staying down the street at my childhood Best friend’s home.
And even though we had gathered together because a loved one had been murdered and we where now here to say goodbye. It was an opportunity to catch up on our lives as we reminisced about the past and talked about life, and the future sharing our dreams and ambitions.
And I could not help but feel loved, accepted in this gathering of long time friends who are now my family. Even though my parents were not there, it still felt right, I belong here in Akure, Ondo State. Surrounded by people who have known me since I was a toddler, and despite time and distance the bond remains and is stronger.
As we traveled to the funeral service, we passed the rocks that are part and parcel of the landmarks of Ondo State, Nigeria and my sister said, “I have always loved the rocks.” Ah yes these rocks where part of the scenery I grew up looking at. Then it it hit me, apart from the people the environment also had an impact on my childhood. Even as we walked on the street, memories came bursting out from hidden places. And I found my self inhaling deeply trying to hold tightly to these precious memories that seeing familiar places had triggered.
And as we celebrated my birthday that evening after the funeral service, I was overcome with the love that surrounded me in that room, with my sister, my childhood Best friend, her sister and cousins and her parents. I knew right then that no matter how far I may go away from Akure, part of my heart will always remain here on the street where I grew up to become the person I am today.
And as I turned a year older, I could still picture the previous birthdays I had on this very street, and I find my self being thankful that I have always been surrounded by deep rich love that flows beyond tribal affiliations.