The Meaning Of A Home To A Nigerian

The Meaning Of A Home To A Nigerian

Most persons think of a home only as a building where people live. A home is more than a building that provides shelter. It is a place where your mother and father and sisters and brothers live and share experiences. Every member of the family performs his or her own duties everyday to keep the family alive and to maintain a good standard of living.


The home provides comfort and relaxation for its members. It is a place of free self expression and maintenance of privacy. It also provides security for it’s members. When a home is happy all its members care for each other and there is plenty of love and joy.

NOTE : THIS ARTICLE IS AN OLD ARTICLE FROM THE EARLY 90’s

DIFFERENT TYPES OF HOUSES IN NIGERIA.
There are many different types of houses in Nigeria. The house we live in is part of our home. Houses vary according to the locality, culture, urbanization, and physical conditions of the area and the people who live in them. Therefore some houses are peculiar to certain tribes because of the above reasons.

TYPES OF HOUSES BUILT IN THE NORTHERN PART OF NIGERIA.
The types of houses built in the north are influenced by the weather, agriculture or business activities, religion or kingship. In the north most houses are built of red mud. The roofs are also made of mud. This is because mud is a bad conductor of heat and it keeps the inhabitants cool during the hot season and warm during the cold season. The roofs are usually flat but have some openings like pipes to allow drainage.
The type of houses found in Bauchi and Plateau states are different. They are round huts with thatched roofs and have small windows that are built in clusters to form compounds.
The houses for emirates are built in the traditional patterns. What makes the difference is the fact that they have a fence made up of a high wall around the entire compound with a big decorated gate.

TYPES OF HOUSES BUILT IN THE WESTERN PART OF NIGERIA.
In the west, mud houses with corrugated iron sheets are very common. They are generally very low in structure. They contain many rooms, some of which are face to face with a very long narrow passage between them.
Agricultural activities in the west also influence the the type of houses that are built. Mud huts roofed with bamboo leaves or iron sheets to prevent heat are very common in areas where there are plantations.

HOUSING PATTERNS IN THE EASTERN PART OF NIGERIA.
In the eastern part of the country, very talented modern buildings are very common. This is because of scarcity and high cost of land in this part of the country. Agricultural activities and culture also influence the type of houses that are built. A few houses are built and fenced together in a compound. The compound is usually isolated from other compounds. In some parts, the walls of the houses are mixtures of mud and wood.
In the riverine areas, houses are built on sticks raised above the water level. These can be found in the riverine areas of Bendel, Lagos, Ondo, CrossRiver and Rivers states.

CARE OF THE HOME
Our homes only look pleasant when they are clean and tidy. We therefore have to make sure that we sweep and dust our homes everyday. We should also keep our clothes tidy and wash them frequently.
Babies should not be put on cushioned chairs or carpets unless they have nappies and waterproof pants on. This is because it is difficult to wash carpets and remove the smell when they urinate on them. It is also important to leave doors and windows open to allow the free passage of air. Windows should be left open as much as possible especially when cooking.
The two items we often use for cleaning our houses are brooms and dusters. Soft brooms made from Palm leaves are very good for floors that are inside the house. As the brooms wear out and become harder they are good for sweeping floor mats and carpets. The harder brooms are better used outside. A broom on a stick is good for clearing cobwebs high up on the walls and ceilings of our homes.
Dusters should be made of soft materials to ensure that they do not scratch but only clean the surfaces. Old cotton vests or shirts made of smooth materials make good dusters. Dusters should be kept clean and washed daily. There are machines called hoovers and carpet sweepers that can be used for cleaning the home.

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FUNCTIONAL AREAS OF THE HOME
THE BEDROOM

This is a special room for sleeping either in the night or during the day. The essential pieces of furniture required in the bedroom are a bed for resting or sleeping and a dressing table with a mirror for dressing up which has drawers where combs, brushes etc are kept. Other furniture include a stool, a cushioned chair for relaxing and a wardrobe for hanging clothes and shelves for the storage of underwears and beddings and other clothes.

DAILY CLEANING OF THE BEDROOM
In cleaning the bedroom, you should do the following :
1. Draw back the window blinds. Open all the windows and doors.
2. Fold up the mosquito net if in use.
3. Strip the bed.
4. Shake the beddings outside and keep them ready for remaking the bed.
5. Sweep the floor reaching all corners.
6. Dust all the furniture and the bed.
7. Remake the bed.

WEAKLY CLEANING OF THE BEDROOM
Weekly cleaning is more elaborate than the daily cleaning. Do the following :
1. Open the doors and all the windows.
2. Remove the curtains and hang them out to air if they are not to be washed.
3. Remove the mosquito net and hang it out to air.
4. Strip the bed and take out all the blessings to air them in the sun if they are not to be washed.
5. Clean the floor according to the type. Polishing for wood floors and scrubbing for cement floors.
6.Brush the bedsprings and wipe them all over with a cloth soaked in warm water with disinfectant.
7. Clean the bed frame according to the kind.
8. Remake the bed with clean bed linen.

THE SITTING ROOM
This is a general room for entertaining guests and for relaxation. Items found in the sitting room include upholstered furniture or armchairs, stools for serving guests with drinks, a room divider, television, music set or radio, pictures, albums, carpets, curtains, ornaments, lampshades, flower vases and a book case.

INTERIOR DECORATION OF THE SITTING ROOM
The sitting room should look attractive so that your guests will enjoy sitting there. Upholstered furniture is comfortable. Nice pictures are usually hung on the wall, ornaments, flower vases, lampshades, and other good light fittings add more beauty to the sitting room. You will probably have mats or a carpet or rug as a floor covering. There should be curtains for the windows. The colour of the room’s walls should match or blend together with the curtains. For example, brown furniture looks nice with cream walls.

DAILY CLEANING OF THE SITTING ROOM
1. Open all windows to allow in fresh air.
2. Sweep the floor
3.Empty the ash trays if they have been used.
4.Put books, magazines and newspapers in place.
5.Tidy cushions
6. Dust furniture surfaces and window louvres.

WEEKLY CLEANING OF THE SITTING ROOM
1. Remove the furniture.
2. Clean pictures, picture frames and ornaments.
3. Remove cobwebs.
4. Clean windows and doors.
5. Treat the floor according to it’s kind. Brush the carpet well.
6. Polish the furniture
7. Replace the furniture and arrange it neatly.

THE KITCHEN
The kitchen is a workshop where food is prepared and cooked. The kitchen is regarded as one of the most important parts of the home. Therefore, to provide comfort for the person cooking, it must always be kept clean and attractive.
A typical well arranged modern kitchen should have the following:
1. A sink unit that is either stainless, porcelain or fibre glass in make. It should be big enough for washing up.
2. Draining boards on both sides of the sink. They can be made of steel or wood.
3. Working surfaces which may be the tops of cupboards of the right height, covered with enamel or formica or they may be stone slabs built into the wall.
4. A table for working or serving the food.
5. Built in cupboards of about four feet high.
6. Taps which are made of chromium which can easily be changed.
7. A plate rack which could be made of plastic tube reinforced with steel chromium, plated steel or made of wood.
8. A food safe is very important in the kitchen for protecting food from flies. It has a wooden frame work covered with fine gauze wire.
9.Chairs made of steel, wood or plastic are preferable as they can easily be cleaned.

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DAILY CLEANING OF THE KITCHEN
1. Open the windows.
2. Clean the fire place if available.
3. Wipe enamelled parts of the stove or cooker using a damp cloth or sponge; burnt food should be scraped off with a blunt knife or rubbed off with steel wool or sponge.
4. Splashes of oil and fat should be wiped off immediately so that they do not become difficult to remove.
5. Remove any food that is spoilt or out of use.
6. Wipe the outside and the inside shelves of the meat safe with a damp cloth to remove dust and dirt.
7. Scrub off spots, dirts or splashes on the floor. The floor should be washed every day with soap and water.
8. Wipe the work surface with a damp cloth.
9. keep the sink clean.
10. Wash all used material as soon as you have finished using them e.g. plates, pots, etc.

THE BATHROOM AND THE TOILET
These two apartments can be separated or built together as is found in some modern homes. Sometimes they are detached from the main building. This can be found in homes that have no water taps like old houses and houses in the village.
There are three types of bathrooms found in this country:
1.The open air type which is normally built at the backyard and fenced round with corrugated iron sheets, mats, grass or palm leaves to give privacy.
2. The shower type which can be a room fitted with a shower or the open air type with a shower fitted. The floor in either case is cemented and there is drainage to lead off the waste water from the bath. This type is commonly found in boarding institutions or houses with many tenants.
3. The modern bathroom consists of a bathtub with or without a shower, a water heater and a wash basin with a running water tap. The floor is either cemented or laid with marble, tiles or terrazzo.

DAILY CARE OF THE BATHROOM
1. Open the windows.
2. Hang towels out to dry and put toothbrushes and tooth paste in their proper places.
3. Clean the bathtub, wipe it with with a hot damp cloth sprinkled with synthetic detergent or mild abrasive (strong cleanser will scratch the bath).
4. Put soap where it can dry out before the next use because damp soggy soap is very wasteful.
5. If rubber soap rests are used, they must be rinsed and dried every day.
6. Rinse the bath.
7. Clean the wash basin following steps 3-5.
8. Underneath of taps and the floor must be cleaned everyday.

WEEKLY CARE OF THE BATHROOM
1. Open the doors and windows.
2. Remove the towels from the rails and soak them in water.
3. Brush down the walls and ceiling to remove cobwebs.
4. Sweep the floor and clean the windows, door and frames according to kind.
5. Clean the bath thoroughly with bath cleaner.
6. Wash the basin and tap.
7. Clean the mirror and other fittings.
8. Clean the floor according to kind.
9. Allow the room to air and dry.
10. Wash the soaked towels and hang them out to dry.
11. When dry, hang the towels back on the rail and put them back in the bathroom.

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CLEANING OF TOILETS
There are three types of toilet. The pit, bucket, and the water system.

THE PIT TOILET
These types are mostly found in the villages particularly where water supply is scarce. A pit toilet is built by digging deep holes in the ground which are covered by a concrete floor with a small round opening. Some are attached to the edge of the house or at the corner of the house, while some are built away from the house. The holes are always covered with lids.

BUCKET TOILET
This type of toilet is gradually dying out. It consists of a galvanized bucket and a wooden three sides box with a wooden or concrete slab on top. These types of toilets require special care since they are exposed to harmful insects such as flies and cockroaches which are disease carriers. Clean the toilet seat and floor according to type. Replace the water in the wash hand basin. Disinfect the bucket.

WATER CLOSET TOILET
This is found in most modern homes. It is easy to maintain and very convenient especially where there is a regular supply of water. The floor is either cemented or laid with marble, tiles or terrazzo. Daily cleaning of the water system toilet involves the following.
1. Flush with water each time the toilet is used.
2. Use the correct toilet tissue and not any type of paper.
3. Clean the bowl and dry it.
4. Clean the floor according to type.
5. Disinfect and brush the lavatory pan.

WEEKLY CLEANING OF THE WATER SYSTEM TOILET
1. Flush the toilet and brush.
2. Clean the inside of the pan with a scouring powder using a brush.
3. Pour some disinfectant into the pan. This should be applied from time to time.
4. Flush the toilet again, rinse out the brush and hang it up to dry outside.
5. Wipe and dry the seat with a cloth that should be kept specially for this purpose.
6. Wash and disinfect both brush and cloth after use.
7. Leave the window open.
8. Always wash your hands after cleaning or using the lavatory.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT
A house is a place where a family lives and relates with each other for the progress and good upbringing of the family members. Types of houses built in Nigeria vary according to locality, culture, urbanization and physical conditions of the area.
In the North most houses are built with the red mud, in the west there are mostly mud huts roofed with bamboo leaves or iron sheets, while in the east there are isolated compounds with three to four houses built inside it. There are also very high buildings in the east because of the scarcity of land. In the riverine areas houses are built on water raised with sticks. These houses can also be influenced by agricultural practices of the people.
Functional areas of the home are the bedroom, the sitting room, the kitchen, the bathroom and the toilet. To maintain them, we should clean them daily and weekly. Equipment and materials used for cleaning include mechanical instrument such as brooms, brushes and dusters. They should be cleaned daily and weekly after use. All the equipment should be properly stored.


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