Jola Naibi

Writer and amateur photog. I seek to inspire and inform with the words I write and share and the photos I take. I have written a book of short stories: Terra Cotta Beauty, and I am working on a lot more. Reading and writing fuel my energy. In reading, I explore this vast and diverse world, in writing, I employ my over-active imagination and address the 'what-if' questions that life often throws at us.


There and Back Again!

By on March 29, 2009

Elmina Castle -February 2009

At the end of the The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the patriach of the Baggins Family – Bilbo – returns from his adventures after being freed of his inane obsession with the ring and writes a book about where he’s been while he was away from the Shire. It is called There and Back – A Hobbit’s Tale. It is also the title of one of Tolkien’s hobbit-laden stories. In the movie, we are not actually told where There is and are left to guess where the interpid Bilbo has been.

I feel like I have been there and back again myself. I have been away from the blogs for a little while. Lurking in the shadows but not actually coming out of obscurity. All the while my blog remained cooly redundant almost like a shamelessly faithful scorned mistress.

Where is there? There would be the thousands of miles I have travelled along the way meeting a handful of bloggers who added meaning to the phrase – you are what you write. Interesting that the bloggers I have met are not much different from the impressions I had of them in reading their blogs. Okay so some were a lot taller than I expected – that would be the Naija Blogger, some were major surprises hiding behind aptly adopted names which prevented us from knowing that ahem we are actually cousins – what a surprise that turned out to be – twice! I promised myself that I would keep the identities of the bloggers who I happen to be related to secret, but the discoveries made me realize that there is no shortage of creative juice flowing through our collective familial veins. I was very delighted to meet the lovely Omohemi in Lagos. What a wonderful human being!

There would also be the hours that I have spent working on my yet to be published book of short stories. It’s not quite finished yet but it’s getting off the ground and is shaping up.

There would be my newly adopted fascination with photography. I got one of those new fangled cameras more on a whim than anything, I did not actually think I would be taking that many pictures, but there’s something about having a camera that makes you want to capture what I call Kodak Moments and all of a sudden you are seeing things that you otherwise would have overlooked and then you find that you might actually enjoy doing this, next thing you know a photoblog is born.

There would be the Naija movies that I watched on YouTube. If you have not jumped on the bandwagon, you might sometime in the future. I could not help thinking that I was in some way promoting piracy or something illegal. I have not read the fine text for YouTube but is it legal to have these full-length movies on the web. How are the producers actually making any money? Is there a law against this? My guilt-ridden angst did not prevent me from watching over and over again. Notice the neon-lights on my forehead spelling the word H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E!

There would be my memorable visit to the Elmina castle on the Ghanaian coast – the oldest castle on the sub-continent. Making the walk that of long-gone ancestors forcibly removed from their homes and taken through the point of no return to a land beyond the seas. The history of the world tells us that the slave trade era is one of the most despicable periods in human history underlining the inhumane sale of human beings. Our impeccably articulate guide during my visit to Elmina emphasized the role of the ‘white man’ in perpetuating this crime against humanity and I could not help but ponder on how much the times have really changed in the centuries since and how man is still acting in an inhuman way to man – images from Darfur and similar episodes of injustice in Africa and beyond were on my mind as I walked through the deeply historical corridors of Elmina.

Check the photoblog for more photos from Elmina Castle

  1. Reply


    March 30, 2009

    welcome back to the ‘ville, my sista! Off to check out those pics…

  2. Reply

    Shubby Doo

    March 31, 2009

    welcome back