Award for the Most Remote Reader

December 2012, 7pm

Imagine a border crossing in the middle of equatorial Africa, its night, its hot, mosquitos are everywhere. A light flickers in a small oppressive room. Omar is crossing from Nigeria to Republic of Benin, the immigration officer does not like him. He doesn’t like the way the ‘i’ is dotted, clothes are wet with perspiration and tempers begin to flare. Omar raises his voice, “Oh common man, I’ve lived here for 30 years!” The Nigerian immigration officers from Northern Nigeria, stops yelling. He is quiet. He looks at the name….Lababidi. He begins to recall a book, “There was an American woman who lived in Nigeria for 30 years…I read a book about her life…this name looks familiar…she talked about calabashes. It was a book about…about paddling a canoe.” He begins to recall stories from the book as Omar looks on in shock, then amazement. A big grin spreads across his face.  Omar says to the immigration, “that’s my mom!”

** I think this is my finest hour, my moment of fame…for an immigration officer from the North (officers change every 10 days) to have read my book, written over 10 years ago and remember the name and then for my son to reap the benefit and advert an ugly situation is so randomly amazing that I think this is the best compliment I could ever have. L.L.**