Food sharing time is popularly known as Item 7 in Nigeria. I don’t know about you, but when it is food sharing time in a Nigerian party I attend, I get very uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong – I am not a food person. I just hate to seem like the sidelined hungry dog. Something crazy happened to me last week.
I was at a church member’s wedding. We had been invited as members of the choir to sing and six of us were chosen to attend due to COVID-19 lesser number party rule. Even though I showed little shakara at first, I was happy I was good enough to be selected to go. Others who were not selected were not too happy about the selection, but they warned us to bring enough rice and chicken for them.
It may sound petty, but if I have been invited to a party, in as much as I want to see two people get joined together, it is important that I am treated as a guest would be. Everything has to be completely organized. It shows how receptive people are when they take care of guests whether it is at a party or in their homes.
Most times, the food is not the problem, it is the hospitality that matters. If you give food to some people and ignore others, it shows how thoughtful – or not thoughtful- you are. Now, back to my story.
So, we finished singing at the wedding and we were all settled down at the reception at 1:00 pm. That was when food sharing started. And, as usual, I became uncomfortable. I have had my fair share of bad food sharing episodes, and knowing that I had no choice but to attend this one, it was inevitable for me to feel this way.
The first red flag I got was a related walking with the food servers. At that moment, the uncomfortable feeling became a feeling of negative expectation – I started expecting the worst from the party. I sat there with my fellow choristers and we started waiting for the food to find its way to our table.
The first lesson I learnt was “Pick a good sit.” I didn’t think about that at first until the lady that sat beside me left my table and went to another table. It was like a veil was covering us. I acted like I didn’t care but she got food almost immediately.
To be honest, that infuriated me. Why do I have to pick a good sit to get treated properly? If you are the person who put that sit there, why wouldn’t you make arrangements for it? We were two girls at my table, and we didn’t keep quiet about it. Only one guy joined the fight while others acted like they didn’t care. Well, only for a short time as it wasn’t too long until they got hungry as well.
At a point, I suggested that we should all speak up to remind them of our table. You know what? Scratch what I said before. It wasn’t about hospitality anymore – we were all hungry and justified as it had been three hours since food sharing began.
At a point, we couldn’t take it anymore. We stood up to leave only to get a message from our pastor – who was sitting so close to the groom and bride – that we shouldn’t leave without eating. He said that was what the groom said.
Wouldn’t it seem appropriate that we should go and meet the groom? Tell him that we have not been served since the reception started 3 million hours ago? It seemed nice that we were important. However, at a point, we couldn’t take it anymore – we all stood up to leave only to be stopped at the door.
To cut the story short, we ate our fill at the entrance. We were never going to eat at that table we chose. Another tip, I learnt was, “Get angry and leave, but make sure you’re important enough for them to stop you.” However, if Nigerians were so organized, we wouldn’t have a need for these tips. The hospitality level drops when the value is not visible.