My Journey into Culture and Tradition with GbaramatuVoice by Esther Bebetuakumor

My Journey into Culture and Tradition with GbaramatuVoice by Esther Bebetuakumor

Join me on a captivating journey into the heart of culture and tradition as I share my unforgettable field assignment with GbaramatuVoice. This remarkable experience began on Friday, October 13, when Mr. Jacob Abai, the visionary CEO of GbaramatuVoice, led me and my fellow interns from our office in Warri to the Miller jetty at the NPA Waterside. Little did we know the series of surprises and cultural encounters that awaited us.

While waiting at the Miller jetty, an unexpected incident with an unknown person added an intriguing twist to our day. Our anticipation grew as Mr. Abai arrived, and we embarked on our journey after savoring a sumptuous Ijaw delicacy known as “pulofiya” with starch, which came at a cost of approximately N12,000.

Our voyage took us from the Miller jetty to Kurutie town in Gbaramatu Kingdom, a one-hour journey that transported us to a different world for the burial ceremony of the grandmother of GbaramatuVoice reporter, Bella Moses. The atmosphere transformed as the five vibrant ladies accompanying us began to celebrate, infusing energy into our journey.

Esther and her colleagues enjoying a boat ride, embracing the beauty of the Niger Delta.

With the guidance of Miss Bella, we settled in Kurutie for her grandmother’s burial ceremony and had the privilege of witnessing an Ijaw burial ceremony. The church members sang and prayed, while family members danced to welcome guests and support the musicians.

Delicious food was served, and while some guests had complaints, others generously shared their portions. Throughout the event, Mr. Abai kept a watchful eye on the proceedings. Eventually, rain disrupted the ceremony, prompting our return journey.

As early as 8 am on Saturday, October 14, we embarked on another journey to Oporoza town for the marriage ceremony of a high Chief in Gbaramatu, Julius Tonfawei and his heartthrob, Comfort Ofekeme Tebela. We made a pit stop at Kunukunuma town to satisfy our hunger before continuing to Oporoza, the headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom. There, we had the opportunity to explore the bride’s house, meet the esteemed elders, and observe the intriguing exchange of bride price. Meeting Mr. Abai’s mother and brothers added a personal touch to our journey.

The marriage celebration unfolded with prayers, a cake-cutting ceremony, and the presentation of rappers worth N700,000 by the Gbaramatu Traditional Council of Chiefs to the bride. Her expression of gratitude and promise to share the rappers with various individuals captured the essence of the celebration.

The festivities included soulful music, enchanting dances performed by different women’s groups, thoughtful gift presentations, and words of encouragement to the musicians. The event reached its climax with celebratory gunshots, followed by a delightful dining experience accompanied by an array of drinks and delicious food.

As the ceremonies concluded, the bride and groom made their exit, leaving behind a few guests who continued to savor the final moments with joyous dancing.

Our journey back to the jetty was filled with stories and laughter, even though we initially took a wrong route. We later joined Mr. Abai at the jetty opposite the Pere of Gbaramatu’s palace, where we knelt to greet him. His return from a trip to Ondo State for a fellow king’s coronation anniversary added an unexpected but delightful chapter to our adventure. A brief visit to the Pere’s palace included his prayers and captivating entertainment.

The Pere’s customs involved unique cups and an intricate pouring ceremony before savoring a native drink. Additionally, women were required to cover their hair before entering the palace. To our surprise, one of the chiefs generously shared money with everyone involved in our journey. When the Pere left, we dispersed to our respective homes.

This extraordinary experience of witnessing Ijaw burial and marriage ceremonies, entering the Pere’s palace, and immersing ourselves in traditional customs was made possible by Mr. Jacob Abai. We are immensely grateful for his guidance, wisdom, and the opportunities he provides to expand our horizons. This journey was a testament to the rich cultural tapestry of Gbaramatu Kingdom, and we eagerly anticipate future adventures.

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