Swift Scribbles: By The Way…
There’s this place I like to eat whenever I’m at the office. Or close. It’s a small buka – so small you can travel the length of it in three strides. But you would be fascinated to know that, during rush hour, people wait hours to buy food there.
Of course, there’s speculation about the source of such customer dedication.
Some say it’s juju, that the proprietor; usually a woman, washes her privates into the first set of cookings for the day. A couple of people have actually talked about seeing hair that never came from a human head in their food.
Well. I never saw ‘strange hair’, and I know what female ‘privates’ taste like.
I guess people don’t understand the significance of a neat environment to a buka. They don’t understand that goodwill is one of the most important things in a business – that knowing almost all your customers by name is a huge plus.
And that good and affordable cooking makes all the sense in Nigeria.
Most of the crowd there buy to take away because they understand the constraints of space. A few like me, however, like to sit and enjoy the different smells wafting from the set of coolers and pots placed by the entrance. My seat is usually reserved.
Whenever she saw me coming, she would hail me like “Oga ______ (you already know my name), how na?”
I’d hail her back, just as heartily; “Madam, I dey o. How business?”
She’d answer, “We thank God o. Which one today, usual or special?”
‘usual’ is pounded yam and vegetable soup with two pieces of goat meat and one fish. ‘Special’ is whatever catches my fancy at that moment. Rice, plantain, beans, turkey – whatever, as long as she sold it.
That is usually my one meal of the day, so I like to make a huge fat deal of it. And I never misunderstand the woman’s kindness for more than what it is – someone who genuinely appreciates her customers.
But I never expected the turn of events when I took my new girl…sorry; woman visiting…