British children call their grandmothers nanny. But of course if you are a Nigerian, your mind might not give that a consideration, seeing the heading.
That woman or girl that you or your mother or your aunt brings from the neighbouring country or the village or the neighbouring community, sometimes from the next street, to take care of the children, she is the nanny, the one we should talk about. Not the grandmother in Britain.
One-third of Nigeria families residing in Nigeria have a nanny. I said One-third so that we can give diplomacy a chance. Now, some of these nannies could be nieces or cousins. Some under-aged. But they are all nannies. Because they are all circumstanced by one primary factor. But let’s overlook those ones that are family or friends, not completely though. Let’s talk about those ones trafficked from neighbouring countries or even states within the country. For example, Togo or Benin Republic to Nigeria, or Benue or Plateau to Lagos. Again let’s give diplomacy a chance in my use of the word ‘trafficked’. It’s true some of them came willingly, but the bulk of them have their wages going to only God knows where.
In church, two weeks back, i was carefully and keenly sitted in the third row, quite close to my pastor when he started preaching about parenting. At a time i fumed and disagreed mildly. I thought he wasn’t being pragmatic enough. It was when he spoke about nannies. He recounted how two boys burried their mother with little or no grief. But when the nanny died, they mourned and grieved like she was their real mother. What my pastor did was to fabricate a Boulevard in the mind of mothers, to allow their thoughts walk through, to see if it’s really worth it. Now the ugly side of this scenario is that, if your nanny is a witch, well, let’s allow the gods to decide. That was on a lighter note.
I thought he wasn’t pragmatic enough because, some mothers have to leave for work as early as 6:am to return 6:pm. Others have to be in the shop or the market to sell their goods. Still, some others have to be teaching other people’s children.
Two days after, i listened to a friend recount her unpopular ordeal in the hand of three, four or even more nannies. It was when she started blaming her mother i realized she could not have framed them up. Those experiences that were larded with unfeigned cruelty. I realized that even if those nannies were punished, indelible impressions were forever stamped in her heart. Am very sure these things are avant-garde to most Nigerian children. After hearing her, i felt my dissension should fuse into my pastor’s thoughts or teaching.
Interestingly and unfortunately, the act has flowed right from our progenitors. But it appears the uncivilized man is more modest and even more modern in his thinking than the contemporary man or woman. When the city was a village, the mothers then had nannies, but they walked with wisdom. The nannies were not from other countries. But lets say there was any, the mothers were too wise to leave their just-weaned children with nannies and go to the farm. Well, i heard there are mothers that sit comfortably in the bank, morning till evening, while their just-weaned babies stay at home with nannies they so trust.
Alas, some mothers cannot stay without nannies. It appears it has eaten up into their vantage point like a plague, and there seems to be no remedy. I understand for many it is because of engagement, while to others, they just need a helping hand.
Well, this is the thing about nannies; those ones you are paying: most of them were trafficked; forced, deceived. Some are inhumane, to the very core. Some have very good hearts, extremely endearing hearts. Also, very important, most of them might not like the way you treat them in your house, even if you are paying them. So here is a proposition, next time, put your child or your children keenly into consideration.
You might want to drop your experience with aunty Nanny, good or bad.