For a Southerner who has never been to the North, the first thing that comes to mind when the North is mentioned is BOKO HARAM. So I was going to serve in Kano State and like every other southerner who has never been to the north, I was scared. I needed to explore this part of the country and at the same time stay safe. I swore that I was going to relocate the moment I got to camp. I was very sure I was going to leave not until after some days. I wasn’t sure why I changed my mind though. However, having stayed few months here, I discovered some things about the Hausas and I will be sharing.
Firstly, an average Hausa man is humble. They greet you if they see you first and talk to you with respect. I think this is somehow connected to their mode of prayer that is always done on mats. No matter their level of educational attainment, they still sit on mats to pray. And to me, this is very symbolic.
If you’re a first timer in the North, you would agree with me that little or no proficiency in the language is a huge barrier. In all your daily interactions with people you meet persons who speak little or no English and trust me, it’s a discomforting sight. The best part of this story is that they are willing to teach you the language and do not frustrate your efforts at learning it.
They are not so out for money like my Igbo brothers do. Don’t get me wrong, their approach to wealth acquisition is very different from that of the Igbos. While my Igbo brothers want to own shops in Onitsha and Ariaria main market to prove their worth, the Hausas are comfortable with their little trade. They take things a little more easier.
Very many of them have multiple streams of income. Except of course for the lazy ones, you do not see them holding on to any singular job. They are skilled in various crafts. With the little money they gather here and there, they are able to earn a living.
Food here is very cheap. They farm for cash and fun.
The transport system is affordable and stress free. You get out your house, board a keke napep to your exact destination. No bus terminals, no extra trekking, nothing. Lagos and Port Harcourt residents would appreciate this more. The traffic jam here is a child’s play.
Their culture doesn’t permit indecent dressing. As visitors too, they expect you to meet up with this standard. As a woman, you cover your hair in official gatherings.
Finally, the Hausa language CAN NEVER DIE. Visit the North and see things for yourself.
P.S in all your dealings in the North, never argue with them about religion or politics. These are the sacred aspects of their lives.
The Kano State I’m getting to know is all shades of beautiful, mysterious, industrious and thrilling!
Funny stuffs abound here too. I’ll be sharing them in subsequent posts.
Photo credit: Pensul Phoneography.
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