Mfon Ekpo: Between “Sandalili” and “Ten-Ten” (30 Days, 30 Voices)

Childhood should be a time of creating great lifetime memories not memories that make even grown men cry.

 

I recall singing “Sandalili” a million and one times in primary school. So imagine my consternation when last week someone told me the word “Sandalili” was supposed to be “Standard (of) Living”. Outrage!

 

I replied in anger: “Who told you that?” and she said, “Mfon, don’t take it personal.”

 

“Personal?” I retorted, “Of course it’s personal! That’s 6 years of my life you are trying to play “Myth Busters” with. Next you’ll say “Ten -Ten” was supposed to be ‘Then-Then’ ”.

 

To which she replied, voice lowered, “Please don’t say that about Ten –Ten, it is legendary. In fact, it is sacrilegious to say anything against it.”

 

I laughed at her feigned dismay.

 

Well, if ‘Sandalili’ was actually ‘standard living’, then it was welcomed to my collection of ‘murdered’ songs. I remembered singing; “All those (who) are born in January stand up, stand up, ariya riya rosi, God bless you.” Only later did I discover that ariya riya rosi” was supposed to be “ring a ring a’ roses”.

 

Hymns were not spared either. I recall singing my favorite hymn in church at the top of my lungs. It went, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other “groundlings singing song …all other groundlings singing songssssss”. It took me a while to realise that the words of the hymn actually were “…all other ground is sinking sand”.  My version made perfect sense to me then. I mean, we were the “groundlings” being located on earth and we were ‘singing songs’ as per the hymn. Imagine my self-admiration when I found the word “groundlings” in the dictionary. I still sing the “groundlings” version sometimes, as a salute to the incredible “mini me”.

 

As I sat, reminiscing and smiling, I marveled at how strong childhood memories are. Then I wondered, if good memories were this strong how much stronger were bad ones. I mean, for children whose realities were different from mine, who only remember pain, the way I remember joy, laughter, and mischief.

 

Just as I still hear the punch line of the Choco milo advert (Chocomilooo, chewy chocolaty chunks of fun!), do they still hear the slaps they had to bear?

 

Just as I remember envying the children sitting at Aunty’s feet in ‘Tales by Moonlight’, I guess they also remember envying children like us who came back smiling from Apapa Amusement Park with our parents.

 

Just as I recall the pride of winning one box of Coaster biscuits for answering one question on Kidivision 101 TV programme, I presume they also recall the shame of being told they were no good.

 

Just as I remember eating “Oyacaca” and drinking “Tandi Guarana” in school, I reckon they remember going to school hungry and being labeled class beggar as hunger trumped over feeble efforts to maintain dignity.

 

And just as I remember reciting “Good day, panel of Judges, accurate time keeper, my co debaters …”, I am convinced they remember being told to shut up when they wanted to express that confident ignorance that comes naturally to every child.

 

Childhood should be a time of creating great lifetime memories not memories that make even grown men cry.

 

So the next time you think that child that caught your eye, doesn’t concern you because he or she is not yours, think again. You could be the memory maker for that child, any child; you don’t even have to be married with kids. When you take your children out for a treat, take their friends too, in fact, go beyond your comfort zone and ask them to invite children no one wants to invite or better still, invite them yourself. Buy them a toy, a skipping rope, something … anything. It may be the only gift they get. Teach them a song you learnt, show them how you did the “running man” or the “butterfly” way back. You might be the only glimpse of the past they get.

 

Don’t expect a medal for it, for some might take it for granted but there might be that one child that grows up to say, “I will never forget how important I felt when that uncle/aunty danced with me.”

 

Children don’t really forget. Make your life count; make someone remember you … for good.

 

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About the author: Mfon Ekpo is a maritime lawyer and a bestselling author who has co-authored books with industry greats such as Brian Tracy, Robert Allen, and Ron Legrand. She blogs at https://theschoolcalledlife.wordpress.com/ when she is not thinking of weird business ideas like “Sweet ‘Agbalumo’ juice” and has broken up with Twitter quoting ‘irreconcilable differences’.

 

 

Editor’s note: Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

 

 

 

 


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Comments (18)

  1. Its gud we realized the rite words., so dis wuld make us sing the song the rite way 2 our children.

  2. Who would have thought "sandalili" was "Standard of living".LOL! Great article with a great lesson.I hope we all reading this actually go out and make a difference in a child's life. So help me God.

  3. Great write up Mfon. Thank God for my wonderful childhood memories. I hope and pray that my children will one day look back and be thankful for their childhood. Wonderful reminder also to include other kids. My mum did a fabulous job "raising" so many other kids and at that time I did not understand why; but now I certainly do. Like my pastor would say- "Do something! Make your life count"

  4. Great write up Mfon. i'm always thankful for my childhood and I hope and pray my children will be able to say the same. Thanks for reminding me about including "other" kids in our fun activities!

  5. True talk!make someones life count.

  6. what ever happens Mfon Ekpo ten-ten and tinko-tinko must not be touched biko! Lol @ all other groundlings singing songssssss”. I so agree, childhood should indeed be a time of making good memories.

    1. lol! @ tinko tinko!!!! i hv unleashed the dragon!

  7. Good to knw I wasn't d only one deeply shocked by d 'sanalili' discovery…I insist on keeping it dt way…I'll jst tell my kids there are two versions and I maintain d rite to pick wch 1 I'll call d original.U̶̲̥̅̊ are right Mfon..children never really forget. I remember sooo much about my childhood! From my cathecism teacher who made us chant 'I get block head' while walking from the catholic church to d anglican church in d barracks under d very harsh Lokoja sun to lovely holidays at a serene convent somewhere in Kogi state where I learnt to listen to all that silence had to say and how to attempt to be still.

    Very lovely piece Mfon…way to go!

  8. hmm… You indeed learn something new everyday especially from being around you Mfon Ekpo, Now I know sandalilili is indeed standard of living…How come I never figured that part out? I could never have figured it out anyway… A million dollar question indeed. you have taken me through the corridors of Childhood and have thought me a valuable lesson especially in this country were affection is disappearing by the sec… Stand out and be counted, don't be carried by the norm, show love regardless of how simple you might look or what people may think…. Thank you.

    1. Thanks …Alibaba! 🙂

  9. hmm… You indeed learn something new everyday especially from being around you Mfon Ekpo, Now I know sandalilili is indeed standard of living…How come I never figured that part out? I could never have figured it out anyway… A million dollar question indeed. you have taken me through the corridors of Childhood and have thought me a valuable lesson especially in this country were affection is disappearing by the sec… Stand out and be counted, don't be carried by the norm, show love regardless of how simple you might look or what people may think…. Thank you.

    1. Aww, you are welcome. I never figured out "sandalili" either….lol! neither did 99.9% of Nigerian children…No…make that 100%! 🙂

  10. I feel sorry for children of this age, stuck indoors with game consoles. We were so lucky. I miss chocomillio.

    1. im glad i inspire your appetite ! lol!

      parents can change that though for children of this age though… as can you and i if we want to.its tiring sometimes…but well worth the effort.

      p.s- Iv actually seen choco milo in Asda. in the international food section! check it out or just go to peckham and shout "i want chocomilo! 🙂

    1. lol! my darling room mate ! Lets go to those "place"s on a personal private jet .deal?

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail