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Galilee in my years of innocence, Pastor Segun Oluwafemi

Every Easter celebration brings to memory my childhood picture of this greatest world event. Each time I reflect on this season, all I use to remember is the feasting and the early morning cry that would rend the air proclaiming the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. By 5 o clock in the morning of Easter Sunday, the whole town was agog with shout of “Jesus has resurrected”. Joyous individuals,though uncoordinated, heralded the news of the resurrection. Sounds from excited individuals resonated through the early morning darkness to kick many out of their beds or is it mat in those days.
I can never forget the wife of one of our Catechist at St Matthews Anglican Church, Itapaji Ekiti by the name Ojo. This woman would wake up very early to announce the resurrection as if it was a breaking news. With sonorous voice she did it with passion.
At the Sunday service, the pastor would tell us that Jesus, the risen Christ asked that we meet Him at Galilee the following day. I believed the pastor that Jesus would be waiting for us at Galilee. The men would go down the road to Iyemero and clear a portion of the bush there. That is the Galilee designate. Galilee encounter with Jesus was never within the Church premises.
The highlights of the supposed Galilee encounter was the feasting. Every family would come to meet Jesus with menus. They explained that people had to bring food because the journey from Jerusalem to Galilee was far and people would be hungry before they get there.
By the time we got to Galilee and saw the dishes, we the children would have forgotten our expectations to see Jesus. Our whole attention would shift completely to the food. I wouldn’t know what was transpiring in the heart of our parents. Our Galilee was a demonstration of love because the food you bring would not be the one you eat. You just submit the food. Period.
The most prized food at such occasion was not pounded yam. We had it plenty in the village. The most sought was rice that had boiled egg. In those days, it was like a taboo to give egg to children. People would accuse you of teaching them to steal. So it was our exalted delicacies at Easter and Christmas. Rice menu was not part of Nigeria’s staple meal then. It was reserved only for special occasions. It was not the type of rice we see today. It was local rice that you have to take time to separate the rice from pebbles before boiling, otherwise you will not be able to eat it. It was General Murtala Mohammed that introduced the nation to what they called Uncle Bens which later displaced our local rice from the market.
The elderly would take what they wanted and pushed the remaining to my peers. Come and see the rush. It was the survival of the fittest for you to have a bite. Someone took the meat and ran. You pursued begging him to give you part of it. He quickly put everything in the mouth stretching forth his hand to show that you are too late to make your request. Hands soiled. Cloth soiled. Sometimes you are bathed with the soup.
Easter at that time was fun. It was fun, fun and fun. As children, we had nothing to bother about.
How I wish I am at ITAPAJI EKITI, my place of birth and home town this season. I had planned to spend this Easter at the well located, plain and serene topography. But the call to ministerial assignment hamstrung me. This would have enabled me see what Easter is in the town after the last one I had in the year 1987.
Today, I have a better understanding of what Easter is. This will be a subject of discourse at another time.
Happy Easter celebration. May the power of resurrection locate you in Jesus name.

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