One thing the Igbo tribe of Nigeria believes in is that no matter where one finds himself or herself for the sake of seeking greener pastures, they should remember the road that will lead them home. These belief rings true for a group of women in the eastern part of Nigeria, locally referred to as Igbo women.
For these women, the month of August, every year, witnesses a massive homecoming from different towns and cities across the world to their matrimonial rural hometowns. They unite with their fellow sisters for what is now popularly known as the “August Meeting.”
Every community gathers once a month for townhall meetings. Still, with civilization and socio-cultural needs, the women who felt left out during meetings (especially as the men did all the talking and decision making), decided to start up something that will cater to the needs of women in the community. This has, over the years, become a phenomenon among the Igbos of Southeastern Nigeria and has assumed permanence.
It is a big deal. Women uniting with rural women organize themselves to raise funds for development projects, which could be their initiative or those of their male counterparts (their husbands). Over the years, these women’s activities have given meaning to life, especially for the rural dwellers for which those projects are usually cited.
The meeting usually takes place in four days; the first three days are used to discuss issues and how to make progress and to be united, while day four is set out for thanks-giving service in different churches in appreciation of God’s guidance. It is divided into three parts; the first is held at the village level, the second within the community while the third is held in churches where thanksgivings are held to mark the end of the meeting is seen and used as an avenue for discussing social problems being encountered in the society.
The August meeting has become a very veritable means of socio-economic development that attracts a lot of crowds as it is held in August when farming activities are less, allowing everyone to attend the meeting. It is also a period of unification in which all the women married in a community both home and abroad are united under one umbrella to develop their community. The idea is generally welcomed, and the lists of all the women in attendance are complied with.The August meeting is usually seen as some as a time for competition as some of them will go to any length in other to be the most expensive lady in the meeting, with either the best traditional wear, many gifts for those back at home, pieces of jewelry or cars.
It has been seen that some women plunge themselves into debt just to impress other women. Although this happens to these women, it is a period of brainstorming on how to make their communities better.