It was a great meeting Lydia and Malvin to discuss Taruwa magazine, and to become a contributor. I of course said yes and begun a battle in my mind on what my corner should be about. I am an eco-journalist and in the past year, I have communicated various development issues but with special focus on climate change and the environment. I knew I wanted to write something along this line but this is TARUWA, how would I manage to tell monthly environmental stories for a magazine that talks about Culture, without getting my audience bored. I figured I should bring together our culture, climate, environment and sustainable living.
I would start by telling about my 1stexperience visiting the Emirate in Kano State. I had gone to Kano along side the president of Fight Against Desert Encroachment in Africa, Dr Newton Jibunoh and other staff members. The Emir, Alhaji Ado Bayero is the Board Chairman of FADE .The visit is in preparation for World Environment Day WED, June 5,2011. I had gone to see the people of the desert, who have over the years lost their livelihood to the ever advancing desert, turning their homes and farm land to sand dunes. I had gone to speak with these locals, to hear and tell their stories the best way I could. FADE works to fight desertification and is behind several expeditions across the Sahara. Dr. Newton Jibunoh, is a Nigerian is a soil scientist and Engineer who has crossed the Sahara Desert on solitary expeditions 3 times at ages 27, 62 and 70 and is preparing for a forth expedition. Wondering who sent him and what he is looking for? Well, his experiences from the expeditions has inspired a life project to bring attention to the expanding Sahara Desert and the shrinking lakes of Africa as a result of climate change. Story for another day.
Anyway, this day, I wake up early, had my prayers, took my bath and got dressed in a simple chiffon top and a pair jeans. Then Mobola Atobatele (I love the sound of her last name, a Yoruba name meaning “we have been Kings before we were made Kings), a FADE staff comes back into the room to say “Fatima says we can’t dress like that to the palace”. I am mortified, not just because this is the only clothing that did not need ironing, since PHCN probably doesn’t deliver power to Kano, but because I did not come with any long gown or skirt that was fit. I forgot to ask for a dress code before leaving Abuja…my bad. I tried on a short gown on a jean, strike a pose before Fatima and she goes…..”that won’t work”. I practically turn my well arranged box upside down trying to find an outfit Palace worthy. Palace worthy means I must respect the culture of the land and beliefs of the Islamic religion; A woman must be properly covered.
Losing hope of my dream of entering the great palace of the Emir of Kano today, my eyes hit a perfect long satin dress with short but huge sleeves. “Hmmmm that’s my palace worthy dress.” I put it on, with a skinny jean and added a black bold belt, to create a perfect outfit, then head to the Fashion Police Head, Fatima, striking my best pose. She says, “Good, good, good, that could work”. I smile and say, “My night wear to the rescue”. Fatima laughs and says “who cares”. And I reply, “Who knows”. (this night wear could have been designed as an evening wear).