How To Enjoy Your Next Owambe (2)
More tips for ensuring you have fun all through this party season
Read Part 1 here “How To Enjoy Your Next Owambe”
Congratulations!!! You managed to get an IV to that party or you wangled your way into the event by means you will never disclose, your tailor didn’t do you dirty and you arrived just as the party was kicking off, now is the time to have some fun.
Once you get into the hall, conduct a quick survey of your environment. Do a spot check of the who’s who and what’s what so you can better gauge how you will conduct yourself at this party. Do the guests appear to be the stiff upper lipped (very formal) or the turaka/ baraje (relaxed) type? Are there more older people as compared with younger ones? How is the music? Does it seem like the food and drinks are flowing from table to table?
Aha, speaking of food and drinks, this is especially important because your mission at the party is not devoid of partaking in sumptuous feasting. At many events, the event planners would have already ensured that the basic drinks are available on your table: water, juice, and wine. If you are lucky, those early-bird guests who didn’t eat before coming would have saved some for the rest of the table guests. If you are unlucky (which is more likely), you would need to make quick arrangements.
The most powerful people at every party are the food and drinks servers: they decide who gets to eat or drink. Don’t waste time thinking it is the organisers, the event planner, or even the caterers. These people have no say. You need to quickly identify the server that will fulfil your feasting objectives and this is often easy. Take a good look at them as they mill around; with a serious face, call one of them, and dish out your instructions with an air of authority. Not to worry, they are in on it as well and they immediately understand that their reward will be here at the party.
When it comes to ordering food and drinks, my standard rule at any party is to request for what I usually do not eat at home. Not for me any of the basics such as fried rice and jollof rice with moinmoin when I can have ofada rice or our Naija version of oriental cuisine (Chinese fried rice with string noodles, different sauces, mixed veggies, and sometimes fresh fish). Amala with gbegiri and ewedu has fast become another favourite although some people prefer to save it for later in the day after the continental and oriental dishes have been served. The first fare though is usually small chops (our indigenous version of hors d’oeuvres) featuring different types of finger food such as puff puff, spring rolls, samosa, and chicken. These are served to keep body and soul together before the main meal is served.
Now for the drinks. Remember, request for what you do not drink at home. What’s the point in drinking soft drinks when there are different types of cocktails/ mocktails, wines, etc on offer? If the organisers have provided, please honour them and indulge but be careful not to overindulge, you don’t want your family secrets out in public after a drunken episode.
You have eaten and you have started drinking, what next? Well, now is the time to make your appearance known to the organiser (that is if you got a direct invitation otherwise skip this part). If you were wondering why you didn’t seek out the organiser immediately you entered the hall, it is because everyone else would have been doing the same thing and the organiser would have been swamped. You must time your greeting appropriately so the organiser can remember you attended the event, and the best time is with the music.
Immediately you see the organiser step out unto the dance floor, dash after them in quick succession. Recency bias must work in your favour, so as they get on the dance floor, join them and offer a quick bear hug as though you are the only friend who attended the event. If you came with a cash gift, even better as you can quickly squeeze it into their hands in the presence of all the other dancing guests. Never mind that you could have given it to them while they were seated or even better, could have done a transfer. What’s the point if no one knows about your generosity?
Many parties have both a DJ and a band: no one likes to talk about it but there is always healthy competition brewing between them. This is because each party always believes they are capable enough to play all through the event, however, the choice of who plays is usually dependent on the programme flow. The funny thing is that the DJ can play many of the tunes the band plays and vice versa, and both have their different forms of praise-singing; the DJ, led by the hype man and the band, led by its leader. Irrespective of who plays, I always enjoy listening and dancing to throwback music from the 70s to the 90s.
I hope you came prepared to spray but if you didn’t, you can step outside the hall and approach the money changers. For a small fee, they will give you crisp, mint notes of any denomination you want. And if you are one of our IJGB people, I hope you know that we expect you to spray in foreign currency? Your one-dollar bills are ok, we can manage that.
After you have danced and clocked at least five thousand steps on your fitness band, you can go back to your seat and rest a bit. By this time, the aunties would have been going around with the souvenirs and you want to make sure you collect yours. Guys, if you removed your asoebi cap, now is the time to put it back on because you know the souvenirs are handed out by association? You didn’t buy the asoebi? Not to worry, the same bravado that brought you into the hall is what you should deploy now. Depending on the party, anything from buckets and bowls, umbrellas, slippers, napkins and handkerchiefs, to food items (salt, sugar, seasoning cubes) will be handed out. If it is a “one percent of the one percent” party, you may be lucky to receive gadgets and some other pricey stuff.
Remember the servers who have been taking care of you since you arrived? Now is the time for them to collect. Biko, be generous and tip them well. If not for them, you would have probably gone back home to drink garri and groundnut. Note their faces too because you just might jam them at another owambe, and if they remember you (which they would if you weren’t stingy), be sure that you would be able to relax and be taken care of.
The afterparty kicks in as the day winds down and the oldies go home. If you happen to just arrive for this part of the event, you would probably not get proper food but things like fish or chicken and chips would be available. There might even be some local food and you can be sure that there would be plenty of drinks.
I almost forgot about pictures! Not those wait and get ones, there is no point in that as many people have mobile phones with great cameras. Selfies are great but be sure to take as many usies as possible, and videos too.
If there is one thing that keeps me going to owambes, it is the feeling of community. Seeing friends and family, everyone looking happy, these are memories that we should treasure always, and I am certain you know this is the way I see things today?