On the 20th of July, I attended what I would describe as a wonderful and very exciting open air event organised by the Delta State Forum UK (DSF UK) based in London England. It was their 3rd Annual Summer DSF UK Barbecue. Very meticulously planned it was all-comers-welcome barbecue party held in Burgess Park, Camberwell, London. The ambience at the barbecue was truly infectious and very friendly facilitated by the hot summer weather, the presence of countless interesting people and lots of surprises. The event had a casual style and appeared to have something for everyone. It was a perfect way to celebrate the best feel of the Delta life in one event, abroad. (To see photos – https://youtu.be/Opg3PAHWUPM).
An all-comers-welcome and free event organised by a small-to-medium civil society organisation, the DSF UK Barbecue was very generous and well-sustained. The barbecue was excellent and the drinks and food went on for hours from 2pm up till when it was dark. There was also plenty to talk about, laugh about and think about with up-to-date friends, with friends one had not seen in years, family hitherto unknown and people one had heard about for years but had never really met. The new friendships looked just as congenial. There was also music and dancing! The specified dress code for the event was a ‘white top and jeans’ and more than half of the attendees complied to it.
The most interesting thing about the barbecue was the opportunity meet people. It was evident that the people who attended really wanted to meet people, the event perhaps filled a gap in social lives of many Deltans living in Diaspora. People came and went but there were at least 200 people (minimum) at any given time. Networking happened constantly with phone numbers, emails, social media IDs and business cards being exchanged very freely. I personally exchanged contacts with about a score of people. The networking covered business, friendship and reconnection. With at least 400 adults in attendance, it was difficult to tell the proportion of the married and the singles.
Everyone who attended the barbecue looked very relaxed, easy-going and happy. Olorogun Charles Okobia, the Chairman of DSF UK, and the other executives had to make sure the event ran smoothly and their efforts though subtly hidden were rendered visible in small ways from time to time. Vice Chairman Charles Lawson was indefatigable in make sure everything was okay with everyone. I was very impressed. The cliché phrase of the day was “Them try” a unanimous testament to the enjoyment and success of the event.
I personally, and I am not alone on this observation, turned up at the event felt an instant nostalgia for the Delta life in Nigeria. I could comfortable say it mostly was an over-30s event with many of the adults turning up with their little and teenage children. The children appeared to be having even more fun than the adults! Never underestimate the fun kids can have in a park.
I am already looking forward to next year’s barbecue event and the reason is simple: I had a truly great time amidst other Deltans, my people. Who does not like to experience more of a very good thing? I strongly suspect that a day will come when thousands of people will attend the DSF UK barbecue, Burgess Park will no longer be big enough to host it.
The DSF UK is a registered civil society organisation established to provide a social and political platform for Deltans in the UK to have a significant voice in the affairs of Delta State, Nigeria as well as in the UK. All Deltans and well-wishers are free to join. For further details about DSF UK, they can be contacted on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/deltastateforum.uk/