Before we get started, let's agree on some slangs, shall we?
'Jand' is slang for the United Kingdom, and traveling abroad generally.
'Yankee' is slang for the United States.
So, if I say I janded and I don't specify, it just means I travelled abroad. That includes Ghana and Togo … Okay seriously, no one says 'janded' unless they're referring to the Western world.
Now, I took a risk by using the term 'janded' because it might be outdated, old-fashioned, or worse still might reveal just how old I am. But assuming we are all on the same page, I will use that term
Anyway, in my time, there were two main things that signaled that you had janded: pencil cases and posters.
My senior secondary school days coincided with the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, F.R.I.E.N.D.S craze. In short, boy bands were the rave back then. Before then, of course was the Spice girls era. If you're nodding as you're reading this, then you know exactly what I am talking about. Those who janded (I wasn’t included), usually came back loaded with mementos of their travels. So, even if you did not travel, you could see what you were missing. Those things seem so trivial now, but back then, it was everything.
Girls came back with Backstreet Boys posters, F.R.I.E.N.D.S posters and pencil cases, and in fact, anything that you could remotely use to prove that you had gone abroad for summer holidays. I am still surprised that one ambitious girl did not come back with the actual cast members of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Now, that would have been something. The pencil cases especially were not limited to just music stars, but also Disney cartoons like Pocahontas and The Lion King, which debuted while I was in school.
After I graduated from secondary school and started going to UNILAG, I discovered that there were "mobile bookstores" under Ojuelegba bridge. I called them mobile bookstores, because they were vans, which had been converted to book stores. They sold magazines (remember Hearts and Hints), books, etc. Most notably, they sold posters, and I actually bought some of the cartoon posters (think Anastasia, Aladdin, etc) and gave them as birthday gifts to friends.
Now, are you thinking what I'm thinking? Here's what I am thinking: some of those girls may never have janded. The really sharp ones might have found their way to Ojuelegba, which was not far from Yaba, where my school was, and bought these mementos. All they needed to do then was to come up with a well-crafted, animated story about their summer adventures in some European country, and we would have been none the wiser. I have no proof, but I wouldn’t be surprised. The "Feel-A-Mongers" certainly would have pulled off that con seamlessly. Girls sha. Na wa!
So, what items would you consider to be the obvious signs of a janded student in your time? Kindly share.