In this post, I examine the cultural inspirations drawn from my 2 weeks escape to the Midlands.
At exactly 5:58 AM on January 9, I typed out the first draft of this piece. My last day before a long indirect flight to Lagos, I sat beside the window in a quiet location Middle of England, reflecting on the last 2 weeks of what could loosely be termed a vacation.
It’d been a quiet escape after Christmas. It didn’t have the trappings of vacations you see on the Travel Channel. Nah! It wasn’t life on Necker Island or Zanzibar with me strolling about half-naked, sipping coconut water and rolling in the sun. At least not yet! Rather, a search for inspiration had necessitated a detachment from the daily grind of running Genii Games.
Life in the midlands compares to the countryside back home; quiet, friendly and modest. I spent my days watching people skate in the Nottingham city center, window-shopping and taking strolls. Wee hours, I snuck out of bed to think and watch the skies; a fantasy that’s remained with me across borders.
And in the midst of all that beautiful escape, I was inspired!
I visited the Nottingham Castle, Museum and Art gallery where I found a trace of home in a 19th century slippers from Northern Nigeria. My excitement grew! I soaked up the Castle’s history of Robin Hood drawing inspiration for Genii Games Digital Storytelling Workshop 2016 where we intend to foster a community of doers among Primary school kids building apps and videos around their stories.
Ever culturally conscious, I picked up my native Yoruba language being spoken on the streets by 2 passersby. Cool!
I attended an offshoot of a popular Nigerian Church where I worshipped with people of diverse cultures. When I introduced myself as a first time worshipper at the Church, a Nigerian parent impressed me by calling out his daughter to greet me in Igbo. My face lit up seeing a British-born kid who’d never been home speak Igbo albeit with a heavy British accent. Awesome!
I spoke to a parent in Leicester who wanted a live class for her kids to improve on the bits they’d picked up from the Yoruba101 app. So, I connected her to Kolade Ogunbayode whose classes hold across the UK.
I met a Ghanaian customer at a community pharmacy who’s married to a Nigerian who was happy to share how he and his wife ensure their daughters pick up the Twi and Yoruba Culture.
A customer whose daughter was keen to show me how much she’d learnt with the Yoruba101 app treated me to a mouth-watering dinner with Nigerian menu!
I connected with the celebrated Cultural Evangelist Mr. Oladimeji Adisa of Osun Arts in Liverpool.
I could go on and on but I couldn’t be more inspired in just 2 weeks. With that, I’m off to a great start with my team in 2016. We’re going stronger but it helps to connect the dots to the last 12 months of 2015. I’ll share that that in a coming post. Happy New Year!