THE BOYS IN THE VILLAGE

THE BOYS IN THE VILLAGE

Recently, I moved back in with my parents in our village in one of the states in the Niger Delta, where I started a temporary job as I waited for NYSC. This village witnessed my childhood and teenage years. This village was a place where boys still bathe nude in the streams.

As a gay man, there are things I’ve noticed (in all fairness, they’ve always been happening even before now) in this village. Things that are sure to get one in trouble in the urban areas, and I can’t help but marvel at the light-heartedness and humorousness with which they are treated here.

The other day, a Monday, I was in an SS2 class teaching. I had dressed well – trouser and shirt all tucked in with a tie. I’ve been told I have a not-so-small ass. Scratch that, a big ass, and tucking my shirt in really accentuates my cakes. Now, I’m very jovial with my students and as a result, they are very comfortable with me. So, I wasn’t too surprised when this very good-looking boy named Gift, who probably could no longer stand the sight of the cakes I was serving, blurted out, “Uncle, I like your nyash oh. It is very fine.” He said this to the hearing of the whole class.

The class roared with laughter, while Gift sat there with a smile, watching my face probably to gauge my reaction to what he’d said. But in that moment, I was still shocked. So shocked, I was just going to move on and act like I didn’t know the implication of what he’d just said to me. This choice was taken away from me by another student. His name is also Gift and he is very good friends with the former Gift.

“Uncle,” he started, “look at what this boy said. He is a homo.”

The class roared again. At this point, I wasn’t sure what I found more startling: the frankness of these boys or the way the class appeared genuinely amused, the apparent lack of hostility considering the subject matter.

When I didn’t say anything still, the second Gift repeated what he’d said, clearly looking to draw a reaction from me.

So, I said to him in mild chastisement, “That is none of your business. His sexuality no concern you. Face your front and pay attention.”

In hindsight, I suppose I should have first of all accepted the compliment with some appreciation, and probably used that opportunity to say a word or two about LGBTQ people. But I failed.

The second incidence happened in the same school. This time in one of the SS1 classes. That afternoon, I was bored and decided to walk around. I got to this classroom, peered inside and noticed a group of boys lounging at the back of the room, chatting and laughing. And right in the middle were seated two boys, one in between the legs of the other, whose arms were wrapped around him. Exactly the way you would sit on a bike with an okada man, expect for the hands that were wrapped around the waist of the one in front. They both sat there, listening and laughing at what the group was conversing, and I watched, nonplussed. From time to time, the boy seated behind would bring his hands upwards to the chest of the one in front and hold him tighter.

I stood at that window for several minutes, watching these two, thinking they would soon become conscious of their sitting position and do the needful. But they didn’t pull back. There was no self-consciousness. They stayed cuddled like that, and the other boys around them didn’t seem to mind. They didn’t fucking care! They just carried on with their chatter.

That day, I thought I’d seen it all. But how wrong I was, I’d find out a couple of days later.

I had gone to the market to get vegetables for soup. I was at my very old customer’s table, trying very lamely to get a better bargain for the veggies, when my eyes fell on them. Two boys, one short and fair and the other much taller and dark-skinned. The latter was seated on a table while the former stood in between his legs, facing him, while they chatted with a third boy. Also, the talk dark one had his hands around the waist of the short fair one.

I was almost done with my bargain when I saw this beautiful scene, but I wasn’t going to pass on it. So, I continued my lame attempt at bargaining, all the while staring at these boys.

Soon, they were done with their conversation, and the two boys parted ways with the third, walking away with their hands locked. They hadn’t taken up to four steps when another boy stopped them, causing them to unlock their hands to say hello. When they resumed with their walk, I had thought they’d move separately, but I was wrong. Because the dark one grabbed the other boy’s hand as they continued their trek.

Now, I’m aware that these two beautiful boys may just be friends or related in some way, but the mere sight of the ease of their intimacy warmed my heart. Especially, considering how it had happened inside a marketplace made me just speechless with wonder.

The fourth incidence happened in my street. I was headed to the street soccer pitch with some friends. While we waited for the guy who had gone to get the football, my attention was drawn to a group of four boys who were gisting and laughing. One of them had said, “I like touching his nyash. It is so soft and big.”

When I turned to see the nyash in question, I was impressed. The owner was a boy of no less than fourteen years of age. He was also effeminate. I smiled and thought, “That is a bubble butt right there.” It didn’t help that the boy was wearing sweatpants.

To a large extent, I commend the way this community treats the (perceived) LGBT members. Of course, they are not entirely free from the mentality of the average Nigerian when gay issues are discussed. But they don’t go about seeking out homosexuals or people who are perceived to be gay to harm them. They mostly have this “I don’t care” attitude. A little research points out that there are nonexistent kito cases in this part of the state. A while ago, when a man was outed for sleeping with young boys, the community elders, when handling the case, were more concerned with the question of whether the man was a ritualist, and if having sex with boys was his way of destroying their destinies. And when this was proven incorrect, he was let go after a serious reprimand. The man in question carried on with his business in the community like nothing happened.

So, while we continue our war against homophobia by educating the older generation, let us from time to time seek out these young one. These ones who are still not far up in the annals of indoctrination. These ones who, to a great extent, still see the world the way it ought to be: colourful and beautiful. And let us tell them that there are more colors than they can imagine.

Written by Michael

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18 Comments

  1. Sinnex
    December 26, 06:48 Reply

    This post brings back memories of my service year in Bayelsa-2010/2011. Life was simpler then. I could go with my novel to the waterside and freely watch young guys take their bath, without any care in the world. Sometimes, when some of them notice me watching them, they’d start playing and dancing. It was so beautiful. Unfortunately, I only had the idea of being gay without knowing how to do the do. I remember making a move on one of the guy the day before I left, after all the talk, I didn’t know what else to do to…

    • Patrick
      December 26, 16:48 Reply

      There’s something surreal and beautiful about rural Nigeria. And that’s why I’m moving back to the village!

      • Delle
        December 27, 01:53 Reply

        Huh? Moving back!?😦

  2. Colossus
    December 26, 06:51 Reply

    Nobody is born with hate and all the other prejudices we harbour, its learned from the people around.

    • Pink Panther
      December 26, 07:54 Reply

      I believe Nelson Mandela said as much. His quote goes: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

      And this is true. Hate is learned. Love and acceptance is what comes naturally to mankind.

  3. Victor
    December 26, 08:03 Reply

    “There are more colours than you can imagine ” This have already made my day.
    Thank you

  4. Margarita
    December 26, 08:04 Reply

    Biko, where is this village. I need to move their ASAP, sure looks like a queer utopia to me.

  5. Delle
    December 26, 11:41 Reply

    I think this post only resonates with what I’ve gathered so far.

    In the older days when there wasn’t this much visibility and name tags and consequently, the draconian law, the endless debates, the staunch bigotry due to the awareness and fight to curtail it, things were a lot easier and maybe…better.

    It’s a battle for me.

    The days when you could do what you wanted discreetly but not overly so and no one would seem bothered only because there really is no much focus on that aspect of human life or now when visibility has enlightened people (in both good and horrible ways)?

    A constant battle it is.

    I mean, isn’t it in this same Africa that it was said that a lot of homosexual activities took place prior to the advent of Christianity and sudden exposure? Some friends of mine made me understand there was a period when gay men will advertise for partners in journals and even include their contact details. I’ve not totally gotten over the shock of that ever happening.

    Sometimes, just sometimes, Ignorance really is bliss.
    Oh well…

    • Tallstretch
      December 27, 13:33 Reply

      Yes oooo. In the days of Mills and boon, heart, hint magazines. There used to be ads for men seeking men and females seeking female. Even ads for sugar mummies, sugar daddies and the likes

      • Posh666
        December 27, 21:09 Reply

        Oh how I miss those days of hints and hearts,tickles mills and boom.. Before the emergence of mobile phones and all the peace/love/tolerance and innocence that existed all fled.What a simple life back then.

  6. Bhawscity
    December 26, 12:58 Reply

    Villages don’t have time for unnecessary hate. Na us for city dey disturb ourselves!

  7. Law9
    December 26, 23:12 Reply

    Oh my village life hw i wish.

  8. Higwe
    December 27, 07:15 Reply

    While I think this is a good story; I have a problem with your students commending your ass.
    I believe in everything in life, there should be boundaries, regardless of how emotive it’s supposedly is.

    As someone that served in the rural area though, I can relate with this story 100 percent.

  9. Peace
    December 27, 18:26 Reply

    Nice! But then I have a problem with the man sleeping with young boys, I’m really trying not to paint a gory scene here, but then Consent is key! That would pass for rape mbok! Such boys will grow up now thinking that being queer is all about sex, forgetting the pure love that exists or they might even grow to be predators! Sigh…. Please someone help me out, or am I over thinking this?

    • Buddha
      December 28, 13:24 Reply

      The world is not all black and white. The universe is grey.

  10. Jackcoolguy
    December 29, 08:58 Reply

    Life at the rural areas is just how life should be!!

  11. KingBey
    January 03, 15:55 Reply

    The innocence and naivety of some village boys will leave you baffled. Especially in the North Central part of the country. *Blushes* As I remember my several hot encounters with Daniel whom I converted during NYSC in 2009.

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