Tuesday, January 6, 2009

And i finally met Mama Ekundayo!

I had gone with my sister for a conference where she was speaking to young girls about 'Having It All'. TY Bello was also there, and she showed us a documentary... something on Mama Ekundayo.
And we were caught up in it. Everything about it was interesting and emotional. The fact that it was an orphanage in the first place, and then the fact that the person who was taking care of all these orphaned kids, was a 90something year old woman with no source of income.
Of course, as with me, i spoke before i thought! "I am going to see Mama!"
I even wrote a note on it!
Initially, i was meant to go in November, but stuff happened and i could not go. And then began the postponements and re-scheduling till i thought maybe the journey was never going to happen!
But thank God that it still happened, thanks to all the people who kept calling, and kept saying they wanted to support in some way!
Rogba Arimoro, of Knighhouse called me and said Knighthouse wanted to go as well and support Mama. Game on! We were back! Transportation, check! But what about accomodation? Cos hotel bill can't be beans, can it? Well, thank you to Jide Bello who helped out massively! He spoke with a friend of his and got us a house to stay in.
So, accomodation? Check!
Good to go!
We left Lagos on the 3rd (Fri) and flew to Abuja, where we were met by Mr Francis of AVIS, an arrangement that had been handled by Bio O (cos we dont know how to spell nor pronounce her last name) of LABELLES TOUCH!
We then began the drive to Kogi State...
It was, shall we say, in.te.res.ting?
I saw some Area courts along the way... was tempted to stay back and practise there. Ho Ho Ho
We did not see the Niger-Benue confluence, but we saw parts of River Niger. And we also saw a lot of crazy drivers. Where is LASTMA where you need them?
We got to MAPO which is where we were staying at about 7pm, and a mini-adventure began as we had to find the house in the dark. We found it sha, and i won't share the scary jokes Rogba, Bio and i shared concerning haunted mansions and stuff. Oh wait, i just s.h.a.r.ed!
But we found the house, where we were treated like kings and queens. Oh to holiday in Mapo from time to time!
Rogba didn't sleep though...something about zombie villagers and wanting to protect us. Yeah. Sure.
And in the morning?
Rogba continued to scare us with stories about how we would not find our way out of there, and how we would keep driving and end up back there, and how... yeah. As you can see, Rogba needs to stay away from zombie and science fiction movies!
Then we got back into the car, and began the drive to Isanlu Maputu to see Mama.
At this point, i must admit that i was worried and a bit excited. Worried about it being all anti-climactic. I mean, what was i expecting anyways?
But i knew what i was expecting.
When people ask, why Mama? Why that orphanage?
I tell them a lot of things, but this is where the real answer is.
It is the smile.
I saw that documentary and saw a great grandmother with no steady income, and seemingly not much, smiling and laughing, and i thought, she must know something we don't know. Us with our fancy cars, and fancy houses and fat pay checks and bonuses... here is someone with none of that but with a smile that says she knows something we don't know. And i just wanted to be in the presence of someone who knew a secret i didn't know!
The other reasons are of course, the ones i tell people, and they are no less untrue
- SHe needs the help!
- SHe teaches us that we should give all the time, and not wait till we have it all! (What is all sef?)
- It plays to my sense of drama and romance and adventure
And so, there i was in the car, wondering if it would be anti-climactic.
It wasn't. And like Rogba later said on his status update on facebook, everyone should visit mama at least once in their lifetime!
First of all, she is tinier than the pictures and the videos. She is TINY.
You could lift her up and hug her tight, and you would have to be careful not to squeeze her too tight!
ANd then, mama does not need to know who you are, she will be welcoming and friendly. But mention TY or Shina or Dami and you will hear the most loving and happiest laugh ever! And then, when she does speak with Toyin, you hear something undefined in her voice. That's probably still what happy and loving sounds like.
You might want to sit far off, but Mama will insist you stay beside her. She will hold your hands, and want you to speak up cos as she will tell you, she does not hear that well any longer. And then, you have to sing for mama. Cos mama loves singing.
So we sang, and sat beside her, and spoke with her, and of course, she prayed for us!
Prayed for husbands and wives and children and fufillment.
ANd throughout the visit, she continues to touch herself then look up to heaven and thank Jesus and wonder why people love her so much.
Did i get the secret?
Yes i did.
And i will s.h.a.r.e it, cos that is what Mama taught me!
More than that, we were able to find out what the orphanage needs.
The top three things they need are
- Beddings and Mattresses
- Computer (s)
- A vehicle so they can be mobile
No, mama isn't going to drive!
The good news is, one of mama's children, Miss Cole, has retired and is now taking over from Mama while mama stays on to put her through (which is Miss Cole's prayer!)
Mama Ekundayo orphanage has a First Bank Account, and you can ask myself or anyone from Knighthouse for the account details.
We left after a few hours (with pictures and chicken cos mama insisted we had to eat) and were silent for a bit. And then we started chatting again happily. None of us could really speak about how we felt, but we could speak about what happens next!
Thanks must, at this point, go out to
- Hannatu Ogunnaike and Yeside Asekun-Martin for their donations
- Rogba Arimoro, Lanre Oladimeji and Tope Gomez of Knighthouse
- Bio O of Labelle's Touch
- Jide Bello and Uncle Yomi Awoniyi
- Funke Bucknor-Obruthe
- You! For being interested!


  1. happy 4 u. a great start to the new year! wish i could've gone :(

  2. awww she sure does look tiny!!!
    but she's a big inspiration too
    God Bless mama Ekundayo!!!

    thank God u guys had a save journey to n fro

    happy new year!!!

    ps:rogba could go to channel 4's e4/dead set for big brother zombie stories......honestly if naijas saw it they def won't be goin into the bigbrother house ever again:-)!