The holidays are upon us again and it is not unusual for young people to go around spending part of their holidays for sleep overs at the home of friends and relatives.
We recently had the 'pleasure' of hosting my husband's nieces as they came for a short stay on their way home from boarding school. That was not the first time we have had to accommodate friends and family at our home but the experience got me reflecting about
how little our people know about how to behave when visiting with other people - or am I being overly fussy?
Anyway, we all need to acquaint ourselves of some tips so that we can teach them to our children and thereby ensuring that they don't misrepresent us whenever they go into other people's homes.
I guess my number one tip must be that you make sure that your 'proposed' hosts are aware of your intended visit before you leave your base!!! Honestly I can't say this loud enough. It just catches my goat whenever someone just lands on my 'domot' without giving prior notification of their arrival in these days of GSM. Please understand that your hosts have a life and are likely to have plans for their lives not just sitting around waiting for someone to drop out of the sky and land on their doorstep. Sometimes, for whatever reason, it may not be convenient to accommodate a house guest and by giving prior notice to your host about your intentions, you"ll be giving them an opportunity to decide whether or not it is OK for them to have you around which will make for a more pleasant stay for you at the end of the day.
Having you around, giving you free food and entertainment is enough burden on your host don't add to it, bring your own stuff!!! It is not OK to expect your host to supply your toiletries - soap,toothpaste, toothbrush, sanitary towels........., don't expect that they will share their bath towels, clothes, underwear, footwear with you!!! If you have planned your stay and you know how long you intend to stay with them, then pack all the stuff you know you'll need and then some.
Only take what you are given!!! Yeah, yeah I know its your brother that provided the money that was used to cook the pot of stew, but that doesn't give you the right to carry the soup spoon and help yourself to the 'orishirishi' in the pot o!!! No! don't use their phones or internet or any electronic appliance for that matter without seeking approval first. Even if they say "ile ni ile e" (Yoruba for "make yourself at home") , don't take it literally, assume that you have no rights and always ask before using any thing.
Don't treat your host's home as an hotel. As a good house guest, it'll be expected that you contribute to the household chores. Think of it as your payment for the accommodation. Nobody likes a sloppy guest even if you are the husband's mother or sister or brother or father sef do something to help out while you are there!!! Is usually isn't anything major, just washing dishes occasionally, offering to cook or assist in the kitchen, offering to babysit, light cleaning or running some errands for you host is all that is required.
Don't take sides o!!! So what if uncle's wife treats him like a dishrag, e no concern you o!!! It is not right for you to be cooking native delicacies that were your brother's childhood favourites or telling your daughter how her former boyfriend has returned from 'Yankee' to build a mansion for his parents. Don't even get involved in training their children - please leave my children to feast on sugar breakfast, lunch and supper, you met them alive didn't you??? :D
Now here is one tip that will guarantee your return visit; bring a hostess gift. Yes, you read that right, everyone is partial to some bribe. A hostess gift doesn't have to be expensive, it can be something uniquely you or unique to your home base - food ( local delicacies iru, palm oil, garri, smoked fish, fresh vegetables, chocolates,cheese, sausages....), Clothing fabrics or accessories.If they have children, you may even want to bring something for the children such as toys or candy or books. Now one sneaky tip I have is that if you are from the husband's side, then buy something for the wife and if you are from the wife's side, then bring a gift for the husband.
I do have a long list of etiquette dos and don'ts so I'll posting more later, so watch this space.......