If you’ve ever heard the expression ‘It was love at first sight’ then that’s probably the best way I would describe how I feel each time I’m faced with food. My heart literally skips a beat when I’m about to dine and as crazy as it sounds the Bee Gees (in my head) start singing the all time classic How deep is your love…it’s quite an experience. When you’re as adventurous as I am however you quickly learn to respect your foods; some African peppers could give you a temporary lisp, and we all know the evacuation power of cabbage-farts (more effective than a bomb-scare actually). But nothing prepared me for the aftermath of consuming a generous serving of locally prepared porridge beans.
Before I go into my ordeal in full gory detail, I need to first make some clarifications for the benefit of all non-African readers and those who haven’t ever been to Africa. The beans I’m referring to is absolutely nothing like baked beans – That’s child’s play compared to the concoction that rearranged my bowels in 4.8 seconds. Porridge beans is simply boiled brown beans cooked with tomatoes, onions, palm oil, water, salt, red hot pepper, seasoning and the secret
weapon ingredient potash. Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s get down to beans-ness.
The Night Before: Whilst staying over with my cousins during school term I moseyed over to the kitchen one night to see what was cooking for dinner. There it was, boiling and making sputtering sounds as if to threaten me saying, ‘Run along little boy. You ain’t man enough to handle me!’ Well, a hungry crazy Nigerian was gonna see about that. When the beans was finally ready I scooped up a breakfast-bowl size full and stuffed myself till my hunger was undeniably quenched (and an impending chain-reaction awakened).
D-Day: I woke up feeling great. I had a shower, got dressed and had a sandwich before my cousins and I set out for school. The birds were singing and the bees were buzzing (well, I don’t really know but that’s the way you describe a beautiful day isn’t it?). By the time I started my first class my stomach felt like a washing machine that was warming up for a long cycle. I panicked. The cycle would start and stop and then start again. The stage where the washing machine filled up with water is what the gastric juices in my stomach sounded like. My concentration in class was now a definite zero. This went on till about lunchtime and then the unthinkable happened – my stomach went into full spin!
It was agony trying to conceal my discomfort in the open. There were students EVERYWHERE! Girls I was trying to impress…boy cliques I was desperate to join. This current dilemma was going to ruin any chance of that for the rest of my secondary school tenor. There wasn’t a decent toilet on the premises I was ready to use (and even if I wanted to use it I’d have to run in my delicate condition for about half a mile to get there. I also had only 5 minutes to get back to class but getting into trouble was the last thing on my mind – there was about to be an explosion in my pants!!!
Bombshell: “Uh-oh” I said to myself. The washing machine was ready to go into drain mode and I was no closer to an area I could convert to a toilet. My only option was an abandoned classroom complete with dust and cobwebs. I scampered there like a delusional penguin. There was also a toilet there too *Yippee!* The toilet seat was dusty but I just stooped over without making contact and just got right down to it…but as I started to regain some form of relief I had to suddenly stop midway when I heard the sound of students walking into the classroom. By the time I heard a teacher telling everyone to settle down I knew that I was either going to have to keep the noises (and smells) to a minimum for about half an hour or risk being exposed. To be (or not to be) continued…