Nigeria is made of 36 states, 9 out of these states are located in the Niger Delta with Bayelsa state at it’s very core. Although Bayelsa is one of the largest oil producing states in the country, its citizens live in poverty in the rural areas and engage mostly in fishing, while the women gather firewood and do all the cooking and cleaning. The women are very hardworking and strong. My maternal grandma is from a small town called Peretorugbene in Ekeremo local government of Bayelsa state and you cannot imagine my excitement visiting for the first time.
Prior to this, I had never been to a village and never experienced that “village life.” My grandma’s remembrance was the golden opportunity and yours truly I grabbed it. I had such lasting experience in Peretorugbene and it is definitely much more than one article to share, so this comes in two parts.
Bayelsa and Delta state are separated by a long stretch of peaceful waters through which you sail on boat to several villages/ towns along the delta. I travelled through Delta state and boarded a 12- 14 passenger “flying boat” from Ogbobagbene. It is at least an hour sail on boat and three stops on water. At each stop the captain will switch off the engine as passengers raise their hands to submit to security on guard, indicating that they are on a peaceful journey, no smuggling and they possess no ammunition.
The people of Peretorugbene are happy people and very welcoming, I truly felt at home. The water is so peaceful and fun to canoe in the evening sky, I made sure to catch that and it was bliss. The people do almost everything at the waterside, they drink, bath, cook, defecate and almost live in the water.
Their means of livelihood is fishing and as such local delicacies are made with seafood. Other delicacies include the popular “Doun/Miti” in English- maggot, it is often carried around by street hawkers. Sometimes, it is eaten raw but mostly smoked dry or fried in some hot chilli peppers. They may not look enticing but they sure are tasty, kinda like crayfish.
More in the next article “Peaceful in Peretorugbene II.”