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Health & Lifestyle

THATCH: FROM THE HILLOCKS TO THE BUSH BARS

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The African huts are always unique in many ways. One of the things that make it so is the thatched roof. It looks so ordinary but is most effective in providing both shade and shelter. Of course, it is a special kind of broom grass that grows in areas that are rich in the kind of special soil that hosts it.

Where It Is Used

Thatch is still in use in the villages and other rural settlements. However, its most popular feature is now in the cities where it is used to roof the bush bars and other recreational buildings. An encounter with thatch on the roof sucks one into an immediate ambiance and the beauty of its convenience. It naturally absorbs heat hence it provides a very cool shade from the blazing sun and shelter from the pouring rain. This cool effect is more pronounced if the sides of the structure are open, allowing for a free flow of air.

Where Thatch Comes From

Do you know where it comes from? Many types of grasses are used as thatch, but the most popular type in Nigeria for instance, comes from the hills and hillocks dotting the areas of the tropical rainforest regions of the Southeast region bothering the savanna grassland areas of the Middle Belt, to the bush bars you sit under to enjoy. So, thatch comes from the hillocks to the bush bars.

The soil where it grows is laterite in nature, resulting in loamy sand and stones being in an ample mix. Again, the area must be open and somehow wild. It thrives most when it receives good rainfall and sunshine. While the rain makes it easy to absorb nutrients, the sun strengthens and ripens it for harvest and use.

So, despite appearing brownish when dry, the way it is when it is encountered by most today, it is an annual green grass that is soft to feel when fresh but becomes much stronger after it dries.

A truck arrives to take a shipment of thatch harvested from the Duhu hill (in the background) at Ohodo, Enugu, Nigeria.

Maturity and Harvest

When it matures, it stops growing and begins to turn from light green to brown. It also gets dryer. It is best harvested when it still has moisture and feels softer. Those adept at it can harvest it with bare hands by bunching a handful towards the base and pulling them briskly to free it from the ground. This can be done with one or both hands. The reaping sickle is also used to cut them in bunches. However, the ones pulled by hand are usually longer and fuller as they retain most of the supporting fluffy components. It regrows from the remnant roots of harvested ones.

It is tied in neat and sizable bundles and stacked on platforms well above the ground to avoid easy access by termites and other insects that could infest and destroy it. Thatch harvested in Ohodo, Igbo-Etiti local government area of Enugu state, Nigeria, had been known to be shipped as far as Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt, Lagos, and the neighbouring country of Benin Republic.  

Fire Hazards

In the areas where the thatch grows, and to ensure that the thatch keeps coming from the hillocks to the bush bars, people take great care to ensure there is no fire around as it ignites and burns very quickly. While it is common for fire to break out naturally when it is tinder dry and the heat is much, or when there is lightning, sometimes too, arsonists do set an entire vast area of thatch on fire motivated by sheer criminality. This means all thatched roofs are very vulnerable to catching fire.

Building the Thatched Roof

Just like the artisans building the modern roofs, those who build thatched roofs are highly skilled personnel who are well trained. It is both a skill and an art. The builder can incorporate beautiful and intricate patterns that are pleasant to look at. That is why they are both in high demand and are well paid.  

A thatcher perched atop a bush bar laying the roof

So, when next you sit under the cool shade of a bush bar to enjoy a drink and carouse with family and friends, don’t forget the epic journey of the thatch: from the hillocks to the bush bars.

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Entertainment

ENUGU FOOD FESTIVAL DEBUTS TODAY

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The people of the beautiful Coal City, the capital of Enugu State, Nigeria, will today be treated to a colourful and sumptuous event celebrating the rich culinary culture and practices of the people.

Enugu as the regional capital of the South East of Nigeria that is home to the Igbo ethnic group, is a melting point of the Igbo culture. It is home to all Igbo as well as a large chunk of people from other parts of the country, the African continent and indeed the world.

Thus, from the core indigenous menus to the influence of the cuisines imported by the settled population of visitors, Enugu offers a wide range of tastes coming from its kitchens. This is what Enugu food festival seeks to celebrate.

However, according to Ike Ezeugwu, whose Hillheights Media Solutions is behind the event, the time has come for the real indigenous tastes, in foods and beverages, to be singled out for celebration. The people must be redirected towards the kitchen where the iconic Enugu foods are prepared and accorded it’s place of pride.

Ezeugwu acknowledged that foods like Abacha, Echicha, Okpa, Ayaraya, etc, and the ever popular palm wine, were already well known. However, Enugu food festival will definitely make them more acceptable, especially to the younger generation whose kitchen knowledge are not as diverse and traditionally inclined as was desired.

Food, he said, as an important part of a people’s culture should be a familiar culinary art, habit and practice, transited inter-generationally. And what can only guarantee that is when local staples and diets are given prominent slots on the menu, as Enugu food festival is intended to do.

The event will feature food talks bordering on safe food practices, food sampling, cultural displays, games, performances, networking, among others. Professor Charles Ishiwu, a food processing specialist from Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, will be the guest lecturer. He will be talking about Food Safety and Food Malprocessing.

The event is holding at Amadeo Events Centre, Enugu. Red Carpet call time is 5 pm. Meanwhile, tables are still available for reservations.

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Health & Lifestyle

NEVER DRINK WATER DURING THESE TIMES

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Never drink water during these times, no matter how thirsty you are.

Our welfare depends on water, and being healthy requires drinking sufficient of it. Even though you may be really thirsty, there are several situations in which drinking water is not advised. When water is consumed improperly, it can cause a number of health issues, such as stomach discomfort, dehydration, and even kidney damage. We’ll talk about when you shouldn’t drink water in this article.

  1. Just before or Following a Meal:

Water might weaken the stomach acids and digestive enzymes that break down your meal before or right after you eat. This may lead to poor digestion and nutrient absorption, which may cause gas, bloating, and bowel issues. Water should be avoided at least 30 minutes before and after meals, according to experts. This makes it easier for the body to consume and assimilate the nutrients.

  1. When Doing High-intensity Exercises:

Water consumption during intense exercise might cause cramping, nausea, and exhaustion. This is because during vigorous exercise, your body sends blood flow to your muscles, and drinking too much water might cause your body’s electrolyte balance to change. It’s recommended to take small sips of water before and after exercises and to hold off on drinking more until your body has cooled down.

  1. When Your Thirst Is Too Great:

Your body can easily absorb too much water in a short amount of time when you are severely dehydrated and exceedingly thirsty. Electrolyte abnormalities brought on by this may result in seizures and brain enlargement. It is preferable to drink water slowly rather than guzzle it down all at once if you are severely dehydrated.

  1. In The Evening:

Drinking a lot of water in the evening can interfere with your sleep cycles and result in repeated bathroom visits, which can prevent you from getting enough sleep. Two hours before going to bed, it’s recommended to minimise your water intake.

In conclusion, water is vital to our health and should be regularly drank. However, as was already said, drinking water at the improper times might result in a number of health-related issues. So it’s important to be careful about when and how much water you drink. Remember that staying hydrated is important, but it’s also crucial to consider any hazards associated with insufficient water consumption.

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Health & Lifestyle

THREE RULES YOU MUST NEVER BREAK WHILE TRAVELING ON AN AIRPLANE

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An Air Transat plane arrives at Marseille Provence Airport... / SOPA Images/GettyImages

There are rules in every society. Rules also apply while traveling by airplane. Do well not break any of these rules when you are traveling.

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Three rules you must never break while traveling on an airplane. Airline travel should be an easy experience, but there are so many ways that things can quickly go left. One is due to those unruly travelers who seem to forget there are other passengers on the train. Just as within every other aspect of society, there are airplane etiquette rules that must be followed. While no one teaches these ways to be a nice travel mate, take a moment to familiarize yourself with these rules so you don’t become “that” guy or girl.

Asking someone to switch seats

You may think it is not much of an issue to ask someone to switch seats. You’re all on the same plane and will get to the destination at the same time, regardless of where you’re sitting. However, it’s a simple act of selfishness that you can avoid. Do not inconvenience someone by asking them to change seats just so you can sit beside a friend or a loved one. Even if you are in the same row, don’t think you can get someone to give you the window seat just because you’re being nice. No, you’re being rude. Now sit in the seat you paid to use.

Using both armrests

This rule is for those who sit in the middle aisle seats. Don’t be that person who attempts to take both armrests. Yes, it may seem like a normal idea that the person in the middle should get two armrests, widely because this may be the least-desirable seat.

But bullying your way to both armrests isn’t the best way to go. Instead, try asking your aisle mates if they don’t mind. That will go a long way in making the flight more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Taking off your shoes and socks

This is perhaps the worst offense of them all. When flying, do not – repeat – do not take off your shoes and socks. Yes, everyone wants to be comfortable. If you’re wearing sandals or slides, it makes sense to slip them off with ease, but make sure you do the proper hygiene before the flight to ensure that all bodily odors are contained.

Close-up view of sweaty socks after workout over a pair of worn-out dirty shoes.

It is beyond reprehensible to be barefoot on a flight. Some airlines even look at that transgression as enough reason to remove you from the flight entirely. Do not risk it. Keep your shoes and socks on at all times.

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