One of my relatives *Mr Ike lost his wife some months ago. As is typical in Igbo culture, my father and some of his kinsmen decided to go and pay him a condolence visit. The proposed visit happened today. My younger brother *Obinna went with them because he did his Industrial Attachment (IT) in *Mr Ike's company. When they were almost there, my father decided to call to inform him that they were almost at his house. *Mr Ike responded by saying that he is in South Africa. They exchanged some pleasantries and condolence messages over the phone and my father and his kinsmen reversed and started the journey back to our house.
Obinna gave me the gist when they got home. Apparently, my father and his kinsmen were not happy that *Mr Ike was not in the country when they decided to visit him. They were discussing among themselves and saying things like "A man in mourning should not step out of his house for a period of time, not to talk of travelling out of the country", "It is not proper according to our tradition", "People would say that he did not mourn his wife well", bla bla bla. All that one did not concern me. *Mr Ike has buried his wife over a month ago and what if he decides to go chill out and mourn her in South Africa. Whose business is that. What made me laugh and shake my head was the fact that none of them thought of calling *Mr Ike first to be sure he would be at home, before going to pay him a visit. I have seen this happen time and time again and I keep on wondering at people's behavior.
Once I was at home, and a relation of mine came with his wife, their baby and his mother to visit my father. Let me digress a bit. I live in a block of flats and I stay at the topmost flat. You will have to climb about fifty (50) stairs to get to my home. Yep, no lifts at all. It's not as terrible as it sounds :-). I see it as a great form of exercise. I usually run up and down the stairs instead of walking. Okay, back to my gist: When I opened the door and saw them, I felt sorry for them, but at the same time, wanted to laugh. :-D. My dad wasn't home and they were looking tired probably from climbing up the stairs. The following conversation ensued between us:
Che: Ahhhh, good-afternoon, welcome (smiling warmly)
Them: Thank you (They have a seat). Is daddy at home?
Che: No, he traveled.
Them: (Looking crestfallen). Really.
Che: Don't you have his number?
Them: We do, but we thought he would be at home.
I served them drinks, they rested for a while and left.
My people, what is the essence of having a phone if you can't call first before going to visit ehnnnn? I can't believe in this day and age of mobile phones, someone will stress himself (especially in Lagos) and embark on a journey to visit without calling first. It doesn't make sense to me at all. Even if it is a very good friend or family member that you want to visit, put a call through first. The person might have other engagements for the day and you could arrange to visit some other time or the person might just want to rest and not want to receive any visitors that day.
Can you imagine leaving your house in Surulere (whether in your own car or public transport) and going all the way to Satellite town to visit someone; only to get there and not meet the person. Chai, with the traffic and time wasted, that is just crazy. I value my time and hate stress and know people do too, so I always call first before visiting.