The Joys of Motherhood
How we cite our quotes:
The people of Ibuza were never to forget the night the people of Umu-Iso came for Nnu Ego. Her father excelled himself. He accepted the normal bride price, to show that he gave his blessing to the marriage. But he sent his daughter away with seven hefty men and seven young girls carrying her personal possessions. There were seven goats, baskets and baskets of yams, yards and yards of white man's cloth, twenty-four home-spun lappas, rows and rows of Hausa trinkets and coral beads. Her ornamented cooking-pots and gaudy calabashes were attractively arranged round crates of clearest oils. A new and more beautiful effigy of the slave woman who was her chi was made and placed on top of all Nnu Ego's possessions, to guard her against any evil eye. It was indeed a night of wealth display. No one had ever see anything like it….
Agbadi's heart was full to bursting point when, the second day, the people from Amatokwu's compound came to thank him for giving them his precious daughter Nnu Ego. They did so with six full kegs of palm wine. Agbadi smiled contentedly and invited everybody in his own compound to drink.
"My daughter has been found an unspoiled virgin. Her husband's people are here to thank us." (3.27-29)
Agbadi outdoes himself, displaying his wealth and generosity, in this marriage of his beloved daughter. After the bride price has been paid, and the marriage has been consummated, the groom's family sends a gift to Agbadi to thank him for successfully keeping his daughter a virgin until her marriage. We see that Nnu Ego's first marriage is between wealthy families, but she won't be so lucky with her second marriage.
All young people were the same: they never imagined they would get old. Why, not so long ago he had though that way himself. He had dreamed that he would make so much money from the white men by the time he was thirty he would be able to go back to his home town in Emekuku Owerri, where he would live as his grandparents had lived on the farm. (6.30)
Working for the white man is about making money, but reality doesn't match up to expectations. In truth, Ubani hasn't made the wealth he expected to make by working for the Meers.
Her only regret was that for this baby she could not afford a naming ceremony like the one they had given Ngozi. She had not felt inclined to do any kind of trading after Ngozi's death, and throughout the term of her second pregnancy she had been so apprehensive that something would happen to make her miscarry that she took things easy, concentrating solely on having the child safely. She had reminded herself of the old saying that money and children don't go together: if you spent all your time making money and getting rich, the gods wouldn't give you any children; if you wanted children, you had to forget money, and be content to be poor. (7.62)
Nnu Ego's wealth is her children, but that doesn't fill an empty stomach.