A Facebook User, Otateri Enoh Samuel shared this post on the blog on the difference between Iyawo and Aya. Iyawo and Aya are terms synonymously used  for Nigerian women that are married – wives.

Read the post below:

Some weeks ago I happened to meet an old man drinking palm wine in an obscure corner in Ibadan.

He was alone except for the stately bottle of palmy before him.
Tapping the space beside him on the bench he asked me to settle down.
Would I like some palmy? No, I mind.

Speaking Yoruba, he asked me if I was married. I said I wasn’t.
He wanted to know why. I wanted to know why he wanted to know why. He smiled. But it was the type of smile that went everywhere except the eyes. I wanted to leave, but he told me to listen.
He told me, he said, “my boy, there is ‘iyawo’ and there is ‘aya’.”

Iyawo and aya are both words the Yoruba speakers use to describe a married woman. But I have never thought of the words in a deeper way than its copious usage.

So I asked, “what is the difference, Sir?”

He picked his cup of palmy, took a swig, gargled it and carefully sets the seat of the cup back on the spot where it left a wet round mark on the table.

I watched him as he dipped his wrinkled hands inside his buba, rummaged around the folds of his ofi and produced a round tin container. It was old and rusty with age and wear; black with so much handling and when he opened it there was a brown, powdery stuff inside it.

He took some of it between his thumb and fore finger and deposited it on his spotted tongue.

He continued, ” ‘Iyawo’ is the woman who is only out prospecting. She is selfish. “She has come into your life to see if it is comfortable.”

I thought for a bit and asked, “Is that not a good thing; no one wants to suffer, not even I?”

He shook his head slowly, savouring the stuff melting his mouth. I wanted to ask how it tasted.

“You hear me, but you didn’t listen.” He said, “I said she has come to see if it IS comfortable. Not if it WILL be comfortable. And it is about her comfort, not both of you.”
“She has done ‘Iya,’ that is, ‘branch’, then ‘WO,’ that is, ‘check’ or ‘look.’ You get me?”

“She has no intention of staying if it isn’t already a garden of roses. She doesn’t want to build with you. And if she finds nothing already made, she leaves. But if its already made, she stays. But, the day you lose what you have, you lose her love and she likely leaves you.”

I was engrossed.

How about ‘Aya’? I asked.
“That is the complete woman.” The old man replied.

“That is the woman who is not affected by what you have. The front seat of your car is just like any other seat in the car. What matters to her is what you are inside of you. Not your riches, not your handsome or your broke.

What she is looking for is an easy to love, strong, hardworking man who she can work with. A friend and ally. Her soldier, you know.”
“That woman is not easy to define…or find.”

I sucked in a large gulp and let out a deep sigh. Then I asked him if I can do the palm wine now, please. He filled the cup and passed it to me.
I drank it.

I grimaced as the tangy syrup made its way down inside. “Sour?”
“Yes,” I said.
“That is how life tastes every day when you marry wrong.” He smiled.
“So do you have a girl you like?” He asked.
I told him I do have a friend I think about in a certain way.
“What do you think of her, is she nice to your neighbors?”
The question threw me. “My neighbours? Why my neighbours?”
The old man laughed for sometime before saying, “your generation is too naive, even dangerously so.”

Then my phone rang. Pat was on her way.

What do you think guys? Agree with this theory and conclusion. Let’s have your thoughts and comments.

PhotoCredit – EsanHarrisWeddings

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One Response

  1. Debs

    This is super deep. But what’s her business with the neighbors na? He should have waited to listen till the end jo.

    Reply

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