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The Crumbs off the Wife's Table [Paperback]

By Hilda Ogbe (Author)
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Item Number 169234  
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Item description for The Crumbs off the Wife's Table by Hilda Ogbe...

A white Norwegan woman who married a Nigerian in England during the World War II, here narrates the story of her life. Hilde Ogbe returned to Nigeria in 1956 and was naturalised in 1967. She subsequently establishes, and manages a silver jewellery company; studies astrology; and successfully treats sickle cell patients with local herbs and remedies.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Spectrum Books
Pages   328
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.5" Width: 5.51" Height: 0.67"
Weight:   0.92 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2005
Publisher   Spectrum Books
ISBN  9780293175  
ISBN13  9789780293178  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > African > General
6Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > African > West African
7Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > General
8Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics

Reviews - What do customers think about The Crumbs off the Wife's Table?

A story of a truly remarkable lady who showed unconditional love to a man and his country even through heartbreak and betrayal.  Oct 5, 2008
I randomly came across this book at a book shop when I was visiting Nigeria. The cover stuck me at first - two very elegant people who seemed so in love with each other on what looked like their wedding day. The title however seemed very 'loaded' and seemed to betray the joyful picture on the cover. It therefore piqued my curiosity! I purchased the book, and quickly read it over two days!

Hilda Ogbe was a woman born in Germany during the early 1920s. Her family suffered prosecution in Germany because they were Jews. They escaped to the UK and settled there and also had a lot of difficulty (mostly financial) initially. While in the UK, she fell madly and totally in love with a tall, dashingly handsome Nigerian man with a 'booming voice.' Despite all the obstacles (e.g. there was another woman in Nigeria), and challenges that came with interracial dating in at that time she stood by him until he completes his law degree, and he decides he must return to Nigeria. She throws caution to the wind and returns to Nigeria with him and their baby at a time when the country was truly at its best, brimming with hope, promise and opportunity buoyed of course by the newly discovered oil resources. Mrs. Ogbe eventually runs many succesful businesses in Nigeria = an ice cream shop, a thriving silver business patronized by heads of states, governors etc. She even made the wedding dress of Mrs. Ovie-Whiskey!!! then she discovers some herbs and roots which was succesful used to treat several children with sickle cell anaemia! Talk about a 'Renaissance Woman.'! Mrs. Ogbe truly embraced Nigeria as her home, becomes a naturalized Nigerian citizen and fully embraces the culture of her husbands Itshekiri ethnic group, while making tremendous contributions to the country she calls home, joining the 'Nigerwives' organization, and travelling all over the country and indeed across the world to showcase the arts, crafts and culture of Nigeria and her own self designed jewelry.

Of course there are tales of heartbreak as well - Upon return to Nigeria, her husband is faced with dealing with a changing country, but is also accorded a very high paying and highly visible position. He is involved with establishing the first oil companies in the Warri area - Shell/BP etc. while running his own succesful practice. As is sometimes typical with Nigerian 'big men' the constant philandering by her husband who has now evolved into a 'big shot' begins much to her frustration. According to her, he is very indiscreet with his indiscretions and completely in her face with the other women - including even his own secretary! In a foreign land without plenty of family support, she still loves him through it all, but eventually cannot stand it, and she makes a very painful decision to leave him after 35 years, but decides to remain in Nigeria, building her own house and continuing to pursue her very succesful entrepreneural ventures. It was clear that she never stopped loving the man she followed all the way to Africa. Even till the last moments of his life, despite their failed marriage, the constant philandering, she was there by his side up until a few moments before his last breath. Hilda's story is inspiring in so many ways - here is a woman whose family knew so much hardship and suffering, but she manages to overcome many trials and tribulations to move to a completely foreign place, where she lives a truly remarkable life raising 3 of her own Nigerian children with 'Tommy Egbe and mentoring many many others.

I also liked how she described Nigeria through the years - from its birth as an independent nation, flowing with resources, and newly minted british trained doctors, lawyers, civil servants etc. Since her story spans about 5 decades, you also read how the country was also slowly destroyed by greed, and mediocrity particularly through the military years. You really see the glory of Nigeria through Hilda's eyes.

This book is a must read for anyone who wants to explore the trials and tribulations of cross - cultural marriages. The woman really put up with a lot, but also really made a strong and impressive effort to love her man, and to wholeheartedly absorb the culture, way of dressing, speaking etc. of his Itshekiri people. I cried a couple of times reading this book - If you have ever loved a man unconditionally and despite all of his faults, you will cry too! But she also made me laugh quite a bit as she observes Nigeria and Nigerian culture through a foreigner's eyes.

After reading this book, I would have loved to meet Hilda Ogbe, because I thought her life was so fascinating. Maybe to just thank her for her contributions to Nigeria and Edo State or even to just give her a big hug for all her 'sufferhead'. I understood that she was still living in Nigeria where she always called 'home'. Sadly this opportunity will never come as I discovered that she passed away just a couple of weeks ago in September 2008, way into her eighties. I wonder if she was buried next to her ex-husband 'Tommy Egbe??? I would be really surprised if she wasn't.... May her soul rest in peace - Amen.

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