This is not my usual kind of post but I just had to write about this. This is a story of my Lagos experience. Is that even the right title for this post? anyway, Would I consider myself an aje butter? Ermmm I think so. But hey I have kpaki in me.
Let’s just say I can be whatever I want to be. Is me that have myself abi? Anyway sha back to the matter. I am one of those people who would be inside their car looking at those standing at the bus stop (my sarcastic side is asking, if they don't stand at the bus stop where would they be?) waiting for bus and okada and keke (okada with roof). But best believe it, I’m very very extremely thankful that I can afford to enter motor and be chauffeured wherever I want to go, paying for cabs every other day. I sit in my car looking out at those who can’t afford it and in my heart I just say ‘Thank you Lord, Thank you that I can afford it’. Anyway somewhere along my consulting career life in Lagos, I got a job somewhere in dolphin. One day I got a bank email alert and believe me I wasn’t singing ‘I don get alert’ nope. I was singing a totally different song. So anyway I decided I wanted to experience the other side of life even though I could cry and whine for certain people and I would get cash but nope I wanted to see the other side of life.
So I decided it was time to start taking a bus to work. Which I had no idea on how to. I am clueless when it comes to taking buses in Lagos. Infact the last time I climbed an okada (bike) was 2007. But I woke up determined to find a way. I found a colleague (now friend) who lives very close to me so she decided she would teach me, and that was how my bus journey commenced. To cut the lonnnnggg story short, I have seen it all; from crazy drivers to crazy humans. dead bodies just laying on the road. People living under the bridge, eating and cooking and taking a bath. Dammit.
First I didn’t reminder how to get on a bike. Was I meant to climb from the left side or right side? I was confused sha. And let’s not even talk about the speed at which the man was going. Anyway I found a way. Oya lets go there.
Got on the bus and it was cheap. Ehn are you kidding me? People inside the bus were complaining it was expensive and fares had gone up cause of fuel scarcity. I just smiled, and in my head I was like you don’t want to know how much I pay for cab. We got down and I had to do a long walk and the roads were wet and dirty. Damn mehn. At this point I was thinking, ‘what did I get myself into?’
Do we even want to start with the way bus drivers drive? What hell no. Can they just stay on their lane please? Another Hell No. how about the bus driver who was driving so fast in his patched up bus that the door of the bus came off on the express way? I kid you not.
Let’s fast forward to the day I had to go to work alone. Ehn they for show my face for NTA that day. Of cause the bus driver followed a place I had no idea about and that was where I saw people living under the bridge. Some sleeping, some cooking and eating and some taking a bath. I saw kids taking a bath under the bridge and getting ready for school. I saw mothers with babies under the bridge and my heart sank. Where is the father of those kids? Who got her pregnant? What kind of life is this? Long story short, when the bus stopped, I had no idea where I was but the impatient driver wanted us to all get down so he could get new passengers. I looked left then right then left and my very confused Johnny just come mind told me to go right. O ga o I am done for, today they shall declare me missing. Today that I decided not to follow the crowd. Anyway I just decided to ask somewhere after 5mins yes 5 whole minutes and they told me I was going in the wrong direction and I should turn back which I did. Eventually I realised I was on the other side of Obalende wow anyway yours truly found her way eventually yippee.
Now let’s talk about the people who forget that they are getting into the bus with other people and it is only right to take a bath before coming out of their houses. I bet you are laughing at me at this point. Some people smell like they have been living in caves perhaps they have because what I have learnt in the past couple of weeks with my experience is that anything is possible in Lagos.
I have learnt all kinds of slangs, half of which I have no idea what they mean. I have learnt that agbero is a profession. So don’t judge. School is for everyone but no everyone can afford it.
I have learnt to appreciate life and what I have. Appreciate the fact that I can still pay for cabs and have a driver chauffer me anywhere I want. I have come to appreciate the roof over my head and the warm bed I go home to everyday. Appreciate the fact that I can have whatever I want if I just asked for it.
I no longer take for granted where I am in life because it is not my doing but God. For those of us who have and can afford the good life, we take for granted what we have. We forget to take time out and be thankful for what we have because we are praying and craving for what we don’t have. I thought about all those people living under the bridge who have to take their baths on the road and eat whatever they see or have to beg for, what they would give to have a warm bed, roof over their heads and 3-4 meals every day.
God has been more than gracious to me and I thank him for that. Today take a moment and be thankful for what you have. Today don’t ask God for anything but simply just thank him for what you already have because it is his will that you prosper.
Eko Oni Baje.