The mythical ‘Pot of Soup’

August 3, 2021
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‘How much will it cost?’

That was the first question to anticipate anytime we asked my parents of anything that had a cost implication. It does appear that everybody also asks that question anytime any purchase idea comes to mind whether it is a product, service, or some other fun stuff.

If it was something in the approved list like school things, congregation affairs, and clothing, you get the cash without question, at times though with some delay. But if it was not in this exclusive list, and it was something they didn’t want or cannot do you will hear a big exclamation: ‘What? That much? No. That amount can ‘cook’ a pot of soup!’

What? That much? No. That amount can ‘cook’ a pot of soup!’

My people were not very exposed and didn’t consider a lot of the little things that added to life such as Snacks, Ice-Cream, Zoo visits, etc as important. They also were not economically empowered and so counted the pennies. There were some remarkable factors that made the ‘pot of soup’ the measure of value. Housing was taken care of as everyone had their own houses. We didn’t buy clothes often. A lot of the stables were harvested from the farm such as Yam, Cassava, vegetables, and grains. Regular expenditure in the house was in buying the ingredients for soup. That money for soup was not going to be jeopardized for any other thing at all. Thus, the pot of soup became the standard value of money – the standard by which opportunity cost was assessed. So anytime someone said ‘That amount can ‘cook’ a pot of soup!’ you just knew that what you are suggesting may unleash world hunger if implemented. Na no go area!

The pot of soup mentioned here could be the high-end pot of soup – ‘Okporoko’ soup with dried goat meat or beef, ‘Ofrima’ fish, periwinkle, and other seafood made with ‘Okazi’ leaf and ‘Egusi’. But just to ensure that what you have asked for, no matter how cheap will not be approved, they will say ‘it can even cook a pot of Okra soup’. So instead of frivolities that are not food, we’d use the cash to prepare a soup that many people would eat for many days. Who ice cream help? ‘Long throat kill you there!’

Right now I know that we could have gone for that Ice cream, visit the Zoo, and other things without jeopardizing the mystical ‘pot of soup’. That we missed all that hurt then, it still does. Unfortunately, people still use that phrase or believe in its fundamentals today. That project – house building, saving for education, or an investment – should not stop you from enjoying life or giving joy to your family.

The work will wait while you show your child the rainbow, but the rainbow won’t wait while you do the work – Patricia Clafford.

What other things are you equating to the ‘pot of soup’? Don’t get so restrictive, ok? Don’t let the pursuit of the ‘pot of soup’ blight your life and make you live a life devoid of fun. That holiday you have always dreamt of? Have it; that party to celebrate? Call some friends & have fun. That restaurant you never bring yourself to look at twice let alone visit, go in and have a meal. Remember, problems no dey finish, comot small money enjoy yourself; you won’t be a failure because you had some fun. Life is not only about the big things.

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