It’s World Photo Day!

Yay!! World Photo Day.

Things worth celebrating

Morning beautiful people!

Did the sunrise meet you well?

Have you had your coffee?

Today I woke up with a craving for disgusting instant coffee

Now the only instant coffee in the entire world that gives me a kick is that local one – Nescafe. The one made in Nigeria. Not the one made in England. Not Nescafe Gold, Silver, Green or Blue. Not Nescafe Espresso. Not even the one made in Ivory Coast. Nescafe Classic Made in Nigeria.

I recall with nostalgia my blissful days of ignorance, the days before I had my first cup of brewed coffee. (Bongo coffee didn’t count. I never learnt how to make it anyway.)

I became a caffeine junkie in boarding school. I was 13. I tried someone’s Nescafe. Probably because my Pronto was finished. I couldn’t stand Milo and Bournvita or that awful one in the orange tin, what was the name? Ovaltine! Shudder. Meanwhile, Ovaltine was considered the Bentley of chocolate drinks.

Anyway. I tried someone’s Nescafe, liked it and bought it the next time I was buying provisions. I knew I wasn’t supposed to drink coffee YET. I knew my mother would never allow it but she wasn’t around and my father, well, what did he know about things like why growing children shouldn’t drink coffee. It wasn’t his field of expertise, lets just say.

I felt so wicked. And so grown up.

Within a year I graduated from buying the small tins to buying those big tins the size of my Nido. Back in those days I drank my instant coffee with instant milk and felt like a ‘big girl.’ Ewooo. I laugh in French.

I didn’t have brewed coffee till I moved to Lagos from my village in Imo State.

“This is Lebanese coffee. Its very strong.” my new friends warned and gave me a thimble of coffee. I watched them sip it delicately. They watched me as I sipped mine.

“Are you alright?”


I wonder what was supposed to happen? I waited for that caffeine buzz.

“Can I have another cup?”

I didn’t understand this drinking coffee in toy tea cups. I was more used to big fat mugs the size of teapots.

My host looked surprised. I worried I was being rude.

“You have a strong head” she laughed. I laughed. She gave me another cup. I’m still waiting for it to kick in. I wasn’t impressed. Next time they asked me “Lebanese coffee or Nescafe?” I said “Nescafe.”

I eventually figured out I need a whole pot of Lebanese coffee to get a buzz.

Then I finally had some good old percolated American coffee. It tasted like crap. It was strong but it tasted like crap. There were no coffee shops back then. Those were the Dark Ages in Nigeria. The only place you could get crappy brewed American coffee in Lagos was Eko Hotel and Sheraton. Ikoyi Hotel and Federal Palace Hotel served Nescafe. I kid you not.

They tried to teach me how to make Lebanese coffee. When I bought my first percolator I used Najjar the Lebanese coffee in it. Nirvana. Flavour, strength and volume. Unfortunately filters and coffee weren’t sold in my neighbourhood so I always had a tin of Nescafe too.

I used to drink up to twelve cups of coffee a day. I had long stopped taking it with milk. Then all those reports about the adverse health effects of coffee started coming out. Friends and family began to comment and throw around big words like ‘caffeine addiction’ and ‘intervention.’

So before they could organise an exorcism I stopped. I woke up one day and just stopped. Apparently my withdrawal symptoms were so bad one observer swore never to touch the stuff. I can’t remember.

Three years later during a routine medical my doctor tells me I have clinically low blood pressure and thats why I was always tired especially in the morning. He recommended I take a cup of coffee, just one cup, in the morning to ‘pick you up’ he said. I know.

‘A pick me up just when you need it most’ Nescafe advert circa 1980.


One cup? Well. I tried. But as I always say – my mother had two breasts. So I take two cups in the morning.

It was during my globe trotting albeit brief career with international development that I really got to know coffee. And as usual for me when something catches my fancy, I became quite obsessed for awhile with my new found love. And disdained and rejected my humble, ever faithful and beloved Nescafe.

Alas, how cold and cruel of me. Surely the god of Nescafe must be angry with me. I repent! I am full of remorse! I grovel and beg for mercy and forgiveness. Henceforth, let it be known that a tin of classic Made in Nigeria Nescafe shall always have pride of place in my pantry. Even if I don’t drink it every morning.

And as an eternal tribute the theme of my next photography project will be ‘Nescafe.’


A poster advert from Nigeria in the 1950’s
Golliwog drank Nescafe? Who knew? 

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