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A Day at the Palace

May 3, 2012

Fraser and the Asagba discuss the exhibit panels

From Liz Bird:

Today was an exciting day for the project. We were scheduled to meet with His Royal Majesty the Asagba of Asaba, Prof. Joseph Chike Edozien, for a brief, “courtesy” visit.  As it turned out, we were at his palace for three hours, discussing plans for the museum exhibit and meeting with chiefs and other local leaders.

The Asagba breaks the Kola nut, and offers a prayer

This is the third time we have met with the Asagba; as usual, the meeting began with the traditional sharing and breaking of the kola nut (see photo).  We then gave and received formal greetings; Fraser is becoming very fluent in the appropriate form of address for His Royal Majesty, who should be greeted, “Agu, Agu, Agu.” This title means “Lion,” which is of course the King of the animals, and thus the symbol of the Asagba.  In keeping with local tradition, Fraser is expected to speak for us, as the male member of our partnership.

After the formalities, we shared the exhibit panels with the Asagba, who was very pleased. Some of the attendees noticed a few small errors in names and titles, and the Asagba made some useful suggestions for additional information. This was exactly why we needed to come with our drafts before committing to the final product!

A little later, we shared snacks and were able to taste palm wine, a time-honored beverage in Nigeria as in many other parts of the world. It is made from sap, tapped from the palm tree, stored and allowed to ferment. As the Asagba explained to us, it can contain relatively little alcohol (about the same as a regular beer), but can rise to about 8%, depending on the length of fermentation. The wine can also be distilled and made into a kind of gin-like liquor. Palm wine tapping is mentioned in Chinua Achebe’s classic novel, Things Fall Apart, and also plays a pivotal role in Amos Tutuola’s The Palm Wine Drunkard. Traditionally made in the villages, palm wine is now made and bottled for sale.

Our task now is to make some updates to our panels, have them printed full size, and then return to Asaba to install them in time for the October commemoration. It now seems likely we may be able to find a good public location for the exhibit, while installing a smaller version in the Palace. This would certainly be the best outcome, since we want as many people as possible to see the story.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 20, 2012 9:10 am

    http://blog.travelpod.com/members/lornabr Say what it is they want and often times that accomplishment is found in their jobs or careers. Don’t be ashamed to do this. The inconvenience of shift work and sleepless, exhausting nights with sick children are often a fact.

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