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Humans of St. Olaf

Melie Ekunno ’21

“So this past Interim, I was studying abroad in London. And so we went into this street market. I think the area was called Shepherd’s Bush. And there was this vendor selling
freshly-made juice. So, you would pick your choice of fruits and he would blend it and give you a cup of juice. So, I asked for ginger. And he was like, ‘Oooh! Strong girl!’ And I was thinking, ‘Uhm – okay – how does that – okay.’ Now when it was my actual drink, he made it and then handed it to me and was like ‘Is that enough ginger?’ I was like, ‘Can I have more ginger?’ And he said again, ‘Oooh, strong girl!’ I realised that I didn’t ask for a price before hand [which is something you should do] and he said, ‘2 pounds. But that’s just because you are such a strong girl. I never give anybody this cheap of a price! This is just because you are a strong girl!’

It was so funny. It was very very funny and it just reminded me of how I miss home. Buying stuff in the streets. Especially if you are in the northern part of Nigeria. We call them mallams who just own corner stores – like kiosks. And they would always engage. People call them aboki but that’s because they also call people aboki and aboki means my friend. So yeah, that made me think of home.”