Gerald Agbarakwe: My Banana Experience (30 Days, 30 Voices)

by Gerald Agbarakwe


“we ran out of bananas, check back tomorrow.”

 An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but hey! I disagree. I think there is a fruit that better suits that sentence – a banana.
In a world where everyone is looking for that one thing, that will be a panacea to all health issues. The wonder fruit, the perfect diet plan, the special exercise routine that keeps you in shape; I also wanted that panacea.  So I took to reading health tips online, looking for that perfect diet or a wonder fruit. Google search, options, click-dang, and there it was,”15 benefits of eating bananas.” It read, “Eat two bananas before a  strenuous workout to pack an energy punch and sustain your blood sugar.”
 I never  fancied  the banana as a fruit until I started reading about this tropical fruit, that is envied by most western countries whose main source of bananas, was mostly by importation.In the Ukrainian city where I reside, a fruit shop is not complete without this long curved fruit that grows in clusters and has soft pulpy flesh and yellow skin when ripe. Patronizing fruit shops around the city became my daily routine; back from school, church, the gym, anywhere – there was no going home without my bananas. I would say I became addicted until several events started unfolding.
There’s a stereotype that Africans cannot do without bananas, (in fact,as long as you are of the black race,your best fruit is a banana.) Wait a minute, what? Really? That’s the height of ignorance. I have heard of people of African decent that bought bananas, and were asked not to pay since it’s their best fruit. Were the sellers doing it out of magnanimity,  or were they just being plain racist in a generous way? I mean, are we being considered one of the primates? I think it’s disturbing that a grown and educated man cannot  differentiate  an actual human from a  primate. I think its just plane ignorance since I have very good friends of other races that think differently and judge people by personality and not by skin color.
Despite this ignorant attitude, I went on my lavish and care free banana fruit shopping, (do not judge me, I just want to keep fit and be healthy). This went on for awhile, until a certain events occurred. On my way back from school one cold afternoon(our afternoons here are mostly cold), my friend and I walked pass a roadside fruit seller. He ran towards me with a tangerine saying “you can have this tangerine,we do not have bananas in our country.” I was really offended and asked what he meant by that, he started cursing in their local language using all sort of racist words, I retreated and walked off as the number of trouble makers started building up ready to start a fight.
One faithful afternoon, I walked into a new shop around the corner of my house and before I could say jack, the shop keeper walked off to the store room, looked around and walked back saying this exact words while shaking her head as to indicate no “we ran out of bananas, check back tomorrow.” Oh my God, what is wrong with you people, is this the 21st century or did I miss count? I just had to maintain a state of equanimity, it took me a great deal of self control to be able say,  “no,am not here for bananas, I’m here to buy milk”.
The last straw that broke the  camels back happened one beautiful evening. I was in a great mood, ready for some banana therapy. I walked into a fruit shop went straight to the banana section,while checking which banana was the freshest heaviest to buy, I heard a snapshot click and the flash light was all over me. “Did someone just take a picture of me holding bananas?”  Turning toward the direction of the click, a young white male quickly walked out of the shop. I ran after him and asked, “Sir,did you just take a picture of me?” Of course, he said no. Honestly I do not know where I got such courage to approach him, as he was twice my size but I had had enough! I demanded for his phone to go through his images, he did not hesitate, only because it was the sort of phone that one could barely operate. I searched for few seconds to no avail, giving him back his phone, I said, “I know what you did, don’t ever do it again.” He simply smiled.
Now, I’ve become very careful, scared of even starring at bananas for too long in a shop. I miss my bananas and sometimes wish I can order for bananas online.
Gerald Agbarakwe – Med student that loves to pen down a thing or two. Fitness advocate and sometimes, when I can, I blog from

30 Days, 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians from across the world to share their stories and experiences – creating a meeting point where our common humanity is explored.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Comments (8)

  1. Oh my God! this is sad.Btwn Good job Gerald.

  2. Sad such things still happens…Ignorant people everywhere…nice write up.

  3. This is witty,u made a point and it was hilarious too…stereotype much.



  6. One question: Are you for real? Is this for real? Are those pple for real? This is quite troubling, we are in 2013 for heaven’s sake.2013! That’s some deep racism ish right there…God forbid!

  7. Gerald I still don’t understand why they have a problem with you buying bananas.

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