Written by Hope Eze
You remember the guy who sells okpa at Ejima Junction on Sunday mornings?
Okay. Let’s say this is my confession.
I stayed at Odenigwe all through the four years I was in school. Odenigwe is a popular students residential area close to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
After walking from my lodge to the Faculty of Arts only a few days, I realized that bread and tea, cereal, or noodles would not serve as breakfast at all if I had to do all that walking; or I would have to start buying food on campus.
So, first, for economic reasons, babe had to do okpa and custard every morning, except on Sundays. At a point, I became so acquainted with okpa and its sellers that I was even aware of which of the four ladies who sold at Ejima Junction would come at particular days of the week. I was aware that my favourite green-cooler woman usually came on Mondays and Thursdays. Then there was this guy who used to come only on SUNDAY MORNINGS.
Okay, this is the gist:
I always saw that guy going to his sales post when I was on my way to church, and by the time I came back from church, he would have finished sales. One Sunday, for some reason, I didn’t go to church. So, since I was at home, I decided to do okpa and custard instead of the rice and stew I usually ate on Sunday mornings.
That was the day I ate that guy’s okpa and, brethren, my life never remained the same. The okpa was simply unique: spicy, moist. You needed to have seen how fresh palm oil was gushing out from it. That was when the temptation started. That was when Hopsy started looking forward to Sundays. But then, there was a problem.
I always went to church before the guy came out and came back after he had finished selling. I thought of staying for only first service so I could come back by 9:30 and meet the okpa of my dreams. But, no, I was a chorister. Since choristers were mandated to stay for both services, I bound the devil and started devising another plan. And because I didn’t want to tell a lie either, this was the plan I finally settled for:
The following Sunday, I went to church without eating so that by the time first service would be over, I would have become very hungry and would, thereby, have a legitimate reason to hurry home to meet the famous okpa before going back to continue with second service. And as silly as it may sound, that was exactly what I did. I went, bought it, hurried to my lodge, boiled water, prepared custard, tore the juicy okpa open, and the rest is history.
Hope Eze recently rounded-off her MA program from the department of English Language and Literature at Brock University, St Catharines, Ontario, Canada.