Deutsches Haus Ile-Ife- A House of Culture and Language
I was at Deutsches Haus Ile-Ife. It was a sunny day in Ile-Ife. From faraway I sighted my long time lecturer, garbed in a blue traditional attire. His abetiaja-cap was cool. I half-walked and -ran to meet this wonderful inspiration and promoter of language and culture. We were all smiles, for it was a beautiful reunion. We greeted, and I finally hugged him. I had promised on a Facebook post I would hug him to thank him for being a great teacher. In that moment, I was thankful a dream was realised.
Being a great enthusiast of language and culture, I felt at home immediately in the House. Mr. Odidiomo received me. He is the Founder and Head of this beautiful House of Language and Culture. Considering the impromptu nature of my visit, the warmth with which Mr. Odidiomo received me was overwhelming. He walked me through the House located in Moremi Estate Phase 1 in Ile-Ife. It is a non-profit initiative for the promotion of intercultural exchange, namely German and Yoruba Language and Culture. In fact, I was invited to a programme scheduled for 28th July but for time I could not participate.
In the course of our discussion, I learnt about the positive reception enjoyed by the House in tge area; residents do say the estate is being “germanised”. This underlines the success recorded so far by the house. The House has trained (and still trains) many students. At the end of which a Goethe Institute Certificate exam is recommended. The facility is also a research centre; the coolness of the estate, the location of the House is good, away from distraction, close to nature and a house dedicated solely to language and culture, I am sure the mind would be at its best to create. The House recently hosted students from Benin Republic, they came for an immersion programme. Interested Doctoral students of Languages and intercultural studies from Germany and Austria and around the world would find this house a cool place, I believe.
We talked about the importance of language. Mr. Odidiomo emphasized the interculturalness of the house. The mission is not to germanise anybody, rather all are encouraged to keep their originality while embracing the newness and uniqueness of the other. Cultural understanding is a key factor here. I mentioned the idea of integration, it is not about giving up oneself, it is about believing in, imbibing and accepting the host society which has long became home for millions of immigrants in Germany. The idea is, be you and be German, always and as at when due.
We gisted about life in Germany. We prayed with wine. Mr. Odidiomo plucked cocoa, we ate and talked about the taste for a while. I was to be treated to a real cool meal of eran-igbe. Mrs. Odidiomo was busy in the kitchen while we busied ourselves under the cocoa tree to talks of culture and language. When, Ms. Gajuwa, my Personal Assistant (PA), prompted me it was time to leave, I still did not want to leave. Thinking about the warmth of reception, the moments shared and the memories relived, and the beautiful food I was about to miss, I wished I could stay much longer. We went to meet Mrs. Odidiomo, she brought us pieces of meat, fried and hot, I bit into it, thanking her heartily. She is a wonderful woman, wife and mother, a great support and believer in the House of Culture and Language. I promised to come back again. In the company of my PA, we headed for the motorpark, with a thankful heart. This visit was a success, it was worth every moment.