Mama Yard Chronicles by Segun Dada
So for those who stay in Lagos and have had the privilege to stay in the popular “Face-Me-I-Face-You apartments or “Yard”, the acronym “Mama Yard” shouldn’t be strange. These wonderful women are usually not that old but all the same, they qualify for this position either by having the mantle passed down to them by “Mama Yards” who have passed away or worked hard to carve a niche for themselves or both.
They are also usually called by the names of their first children and the popular names are (Mama Akpos, Mama Chinedu or Mama Bili) All the same, people refer to these women as “Nosy Pakers” or “Gossips”. They are actually very powerful people and ruthless too. Let’s see the characteristics of a Mama Yard:
1. Every other person’s business is her personal business. She is very effective in areas of investigation and will do a better surveillance job than the CIA, FBI and MOSSAD put together. She is the one every occupant of the building/yard/street leaves their home keys with on their way to their respective places of business with instructions to deliver to their folks on return. NB: she is always at home.
2. If you need to find out anything about a fellow occupant, Mama Yard is always is the go-to person. She has in her database (brain) their full names, date of birth, social security number (if any) etc. Basically she knows everything all the world’s secret intelligence agencies doesn’t know about every occupant. The information she renders is always free except you decide to make it worth her while. It really doesn’t matter because in her head she sees it as social work. Also, for every piece of information contains the following: 40% facts, 20% rumors, 20% fine tuning and 20% conspiracy theory.
3. There exists an association of “Mama Yards” it doesn’t have like a name but it sure should. All the mama yards in the street, area and even local government come together once in a while and exchange Intelligence. This way, every mama yard has a rich database of information on everyone in the area and will provide it as at when due. What you call gossip, they call it Intelligence exchange.
4. As soon as you move into an apartment in the “yard”, Mama yard immediately spots you the minute you start packing in. She starts gathering little information from the quality of stuff you move into your new apartment. Then she approaches you looking as nice and friendly and starts to poke into your life, past and even future. It is very dangerous to even try and protect your personal information from her. If you do, she will make up stories about you and store in her database and share with other “mama yards” at the general meeting. Therefore it is advisable to at least give her a little bit of information so when she makes up rumors about you, it comes with some iota of truth in them.
5. Mama yard has a compulsive need to always keep tabs on you on a daily basis for intel purposes, she deploys covert/undercover agents who most times are her children and are usually Egg-headed, Kwashokor-striken youngesters with sharp eyes and photographic memory who come into your apartment under the pretense to watch movies or borrow something. Be very careful of the little snakes, they will relate everything they see to Mama yard. From the number of meat in your pot to the quality of sofa you sit on.
6. You can’t afford to be Mama Yard’s bad books. It won’t help your street credibility status in anyway. So once in a while on your way back from work or outings, buy a little something for the witch and her little snakes. Nothing expensive though (biscuits, bread…. Or something). Also make a habit of this as long as you live in that yard. If you stop unnecessarily, she will start hating on you.
7. If your wife suddenly delivers, or you are about to get married or you have the need to urgently break some surprising news to your neighborhood and you don’t want to spend money on the radio or seem like you are blowing your trumpet, all you need to do is easy, contact mama yard, buy her bread and tell her you don’t want people to know but God has done For you. Within 20minutes, news of your accomplishments will be trending in your entire local government. Mission accomplished!!
8. Mama Yard is the self-appointed conscience of every home in her “yard”. Be it a casual relationship or full blown wedlock, you had better remain faithful. If you cheat on your spouse anywhere within the local government, mama yard will know. If she doesn’t see you, her fellow mama yards will… And once she knows, she will break the news to your spouse in a coded way. ‘Wahala go come start’. Yeah! They are bad like that!
9. If you need to do anything “illegal” and you don’t want mama yard to be aware, do it within the hours of 12pm – 1:30pm on Fridays or 9am – 12pm on Sundays. Depending on her religion, she will be away to the church or the mosque and she really has to go. Not that she loves God or anything but for more Intel gathering and sharing with other mama yards. She will take her undercover agents with her too so feel free.
10. Finally, Mama Yard is usually the Landlord’s eyes, ears and nose in the “Yard”. So as much as possible, especially if you are in her bad books, do not show off your financial prowess in front of her or her undercover agents (her kids). A little boost in your social status that comes to the knowledge of mama yard and bam! Your landlord doubles your rent. Mama yard is that powerful! Don’t mess with her.
In all you do, Fear God but if you live in a “Yard” respect the queen of the yard.
This piece is dedicated to the #SaveMusibaudeen Project. The 2 years old boy has a hole in the heart and needs your urgent assistance to survive. Please donate to the cause. Thanks.
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