Tag Archives: true life experiences

Other people’s business

His phone rang twice. He tapped the green button on the screen and lifted the phone to his left ear. He spoke quickly in a language I did not understand.

A few minutes later, he dropped the phone on his laps. He looked into thin air like someone in a trance. He hit his right hand on his laps, then raised it to his chin. He sighed.

The phone rang again. He answered the call; speaking the same language again. Maybe it was the same caller, I assumed.

He ended the call and the previous gestures followed. Hitting the lap, shaking the leg and lost in thought.

Our conversations had never been more than “Good morning, good afternoon or good evening.”

Should I ask him if he was okay? Should I ask if there was a problem? Would he feel I should be minding my business? Would he feel I was poke-nosing into his private matters?

I decided to keep my mouth shut.

If you were in my shoes, what would you have done?

——
Photo Credit: https://www.news.com.au

Are we mentally aware?

“Aunty, I took care of your car while you were away”. The man said.

I looked at him briefly and ignored him.

“You have a nice car and you are very pretty.”

I tapped the unlock button on the car remote once and eased in. I locked the door and started the car.

“Aunty I just need hundred naira.” He said through the wound-up window. “Please Aunty….” He kept saying as I drove off.

*****

This is the fourth time this well spoken man probably in his late 40s or early 50s would be accosting me. He walks the length and breadth of the popular streets in Surulere every day. The first time he accosted me, I did not realize he had a problem. As I eased into the marwa that was to take me to my destination at about 6:15a.m, he walked up to me and complimented my hair. I had packed it all up and it fell like the leaves of a palm tree around my head.

“Aunty, I like the way you packed your hair. It makes you look like an African beauty.”

“Thank you.” I had replied as I looked away and hoped the marwa would fill up on time so we could move. I was already running late and not in the mood for any chit-chat with anyone early in the morning.

“I just need hundred naira, please.” He had asked.

It was at that point I actually looked at him. A tall, well spoken man begging for hundred naira early in the morning. I was confused.

Thankfully, the marwa filled up and the driver eased in and drove off.

 

The second encounter with him was in the afternoon. I was walking with my son. As we attempted to cross the road, he looked at my son and smiled at him.

“How are you? Hope you are taking care of mummy.”

“I am fine, thank you.” My son replied.

I immediately recognized him and I held tightly to my son as we crossed the road.

“Aunty, please I need just hundred naira.”

 

On my third encounter with him, I had stopped to buy suya from my regular customer. He walked up to me and said; “I thought you had a baby on your back. I didn’t realize it was your knapsack.”

He started with his compliments as usual and kept talking. I ignored him and faced my business. He asked for hundred naira and when he realized I wasn’t looking at him, he walked away.

The guy selling suya to me smiled and I asked if he knew him.

“Yes, I know am well well. He dey waka everywhere dey ask for hundred naira.”

“Ahn…ahn…” I lamented.

“I hear say na this street im papa house dey. Dem say after im papa die, na so he kolo.”

“Wow!!!” I exclaimed. “He no get family?”

“Dem say im brother just leave am for house. I hear say he don travel comot.”

I paid for my suya, thanked the guy and walked away.

 

Whether the story about his father dying, his brother travelling out and leaving him alone is true or not, I have no idea. But one thing is sure, the man needs help and it seems like he has been left to his fate.

—–

Photo Credit: http://www.chinalawandpolicy.com

The troubled N100 note

“I cannot collect this 100 naira. Please change it for me.” The lady said.

“I no get another one.”

“Please change it. No one will collect it from me.”

“I say I no get another one. Dem go collect am no worry. Wón ti cancel 100 naira, kò sí mó ní ta.” (The 100 naira has been cancelled. It is no longer available). The marwa driver said to the lady impatiently.

The lady refused to budge as she pointed the dirty, torn and cello-taped 100 naira to the driver.

“Aunty, no waste my time nau. Abeg, get down make I dey go. Mo ní wón ti cancel 100 naira.” (I said they have cancelled the 100 naira). He repeated.

I looked at the lady refusing to collect the money and the other passenger (a lady also) seated beside her. The three of us burst out into laughter as if on cue. The elderly man seated gingerly beside the driver smiled. “Ta ló sö fún ë pé wón cancel e?” (Who told you it has been cancelled). He asked as he looked at him.

Kò sí n ta mó.” (It is no longer available). The driver replied.

Wön ò cancel è. Wön kò ò print è mó ni.” (It has not been cancelled. They have only stopped printing it).

“Aunty ë jò ó, ë jé, owó ni.” (Aunty, please eat it. It is money).

The other lady passenger and I looked at the lady still holding the money. We both had smirks on our faces.

“Oya give me 500, make I give you 600.” The driver eventually said.

The lady opened her bag, pulled out a 500 naira note and was given three 200 naira notes in return.

She eased out of the marwa and we continued our journey with the elderly man laughing at the driver as he repeated his statement about eating the money.

****

In recent times, with the unavailability of clean 100 naira notes, I have also had to avoid buying things that would make me receive the note. Most of the notes in circulation are in a sorry state and you begin to wonder as there are so many insinuations about the note.

Does anyone still have clean and new 100 naira notes in their possession? Do well to share 😉

—–

Photo Credit: http://www.naijaquest.com

Parenting Manual

“Please write down your name sir.” I said to the man seated in front of me.

He took the pen I offered him and began to write. His daughter stood by his side. She was probably about four or five years old. I smiled at her.

Maybe it was the smile that attracted her, I have no idea but she decided to walk round the table. She stood beside me as I continued to attend to her father. She opened my side drawer and took out the milo sachet I had bought the previous day.

She walked back to her father with the milo sachet in her hand. What I heard next was definitely not what I was expecting.

“Did you say thank you?” Her father asked her.

I looked up at the man with unbelieving eyes. The milo sachet was the medium family size not the mini ones.

“Say thank you.” The man said to his daughter.

The little girl shrugged her right shoulder in defiance.

“Say thank you.” The father repeated but his daughter ignored him.

I was done attending to him and I handed him what he had come to pick up.

 

As father and daughter walked out of my office with my milo sachet, I shook my head. I also had kids but it was not in my place to tell a father how to train his child.

If the father saw nothing wrong with his daughter taking what was not hers, then I had no words for him.

The “say thank you” and the defiance showed by the daughter was also a source of concern but well….

If at that age, her father was unable to exercise his authority over her, I wondered what the future held for both of them. Parenting is the most important job anyone with kids would ever do. There are no perfect parents but there are bad parents; parenting definitely does not come with a manual.

——

Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.co.uk

Desiring Diseases

As I drove into the car park of the departmental store, I saw a young man squatting down by the driver’s corner of a Honda Accord. I looked closely and noticed he was administering a local pedicure to a “healthy” man. The first thing that came to my mind was HIV. I shook my head and hissed. The kids noticed and asked what the problem was.

“I don’t believe that that “big man” cannot afford to go for a proper pedicure.” I said to them. I explained to them about the risk of infection using unsterilized instruments.

I was still conversing with my kids when I saw a woman discussing on her mobile phone. I saw her walk up to the man in the car. The look on her face was that of shock. She stood close to the man while she finished with her call. After she ended the call, I saw her scold the man in the car as she shook her head in pity.

Did the man care? I have no idea as I couldn’t see his face but the local pedicurist continued with his duty.

The woman walked away leaving the man to his fate and I wondered if three thousand naira or less was too much for a man driving a Honda Accord. He may be uneducated, who knows? But even at that, is it that he has never heard of the risk of contacting HIV through unsterilized instruments? Or was his health so unimportant to him that he would rather expose himself to a life altering disease? Or was he one of those who had the “something must kill a man” mantra?

Hmmm….I rest my case.

——-

Photo Credit: http://www.wikivisually.com

Lagos madness

It was a Friday. A family event was taking place that evening. I asked for permission to close an hour earlier to be able to participate in the event. 5:00pm, I drove out of my office on Awolowo road, Ikoyi. I should be home in two hours, I said to myself.

The traffic on third mainland bridge snaked all the way from the beginning to the tail end and I began to wonder if I would still make the journey in two hours. 7:00pm, I arrived at Bolade in Oshodi. I did a mental calculation. In an hour, I should get to Iyana-Ipaja.

8:00pm, I was still at Bolade. 9:00pm came and met me right on the same spot at Bolade, Oshodi. It had rained earlier that day and for those who understand Lagos; rain and Lagos roads are like sworn enemies. I was extremely tired and my feet were hurting. Driving a manual car in traffic a’int attractive. Movement was at snail speed and I kept switching off and switching on the engine to ease the stress on my feet.

In my tired state and my feet on the brake pedal, I lost traction and bumped into the car ahead of me. Oh Lord, not now; I thought. A man stepped out of the car. He looked at me and bent to look at his bumper. I tried to signal an apology to him but the man just turned and went back to sit in his car. I guess he was too tired to get into an argument. I immediately switched off the engine to avoid a recurrence.

“Hello ma’am, you look extremely tired. Can I join you and keep you company?” A guy who had been standing at the bus-stop with other passengers as they awaited a bus asked. I looked at him; a total stranger but at that point I needed company to stay awake.

I unlocked the passenger door and he eased into the car. He introduced himself and started talking about the traffic situation and various issues. I listened and his conversation kept me awake.

At about 10:30pm, some army men emerged from God knows where and decided to help our situation. They began to pass traffic and as we moved forward, we realized that some cars going towards Oshodi had decided to face oncoming traffic; thereby causing the total lock down.

As usual in Lagos traffic, immediately the army men passed their vehicle out of the traffic, they zoomed off leaving the rest of us to our fate. Moving ahead became a survival of the fittest game. Thankfully, I scaled through without a scratch. I got to the GRA Ikeja junction and we saw traffic still ahead of us. At this time of the night, I thought as I shook my head. I wondered if I should go ahead or make a detour. My new found friend asked what my intention was. After 3 hours on one spot, I was not ready for another long wait.

I turned into GRA Ikeja and manuveured my way through to Oba Akran through Mobolaji Bank Anthony way. It was a smooth drive and I was glad I took that decision. Driving out of Oba Akran, I decided to pass the inner Dopemu road parallel to the Lagos-Abeokuta express way. As we went on, we could see the tail lights of cars in slow movement on the express way. I smiled as I congratulated myself on the smart move. I dropped off my new found friend at his bus-stop which was on my way home and he was full of thanks. I was more thankful because his conversation actually helped me stay awake on the steering.

I arrived home at a quarter to midnight. The celebrator for whom I had closed from the office one hour earlier was already sleeping peacefully in bed.

——

Photo Credit: http://www.ABC7.com

Forest living

I attended a secondary school that was surrounded by thick forests on three sides with no fences. The fourth side which was the school gate had farmlands opposite the school . The school was a natural habitat for rats, snakes (mambas and pythons), scorpions, beetles, crickets, millipedes, centipedes, soldier ants and termites.

I remember the day I was almost bitten by a scorpion. I was walking towards the back of the hostel after dinner with my friends to go shot-put. It was dark and I was carrying a lantern with me. As we were gisting and heading towards our mission, for some strange reason, I decided to take a step back. I turned the lantern towards the ground and right in front of me, where I was just about to place my feet was a scorpion with its sting facing up. I was terrified.

A black snake also fell on my shoulder in another incident. I even remember a student doing his morning duty of sweeping the administrative block when he felt a huge stone fall on his head. He assumed a friend was playing pranks and looked up but saw no one. Another look at the ground revealed that a snake had been the culprit.

A room mate packed her clothes which she had dried on the grass outside the hostel and carried a snake with the clothes. If I ever had any intention of drying my clothes on the grass; which I never did because of beetles and crickets, the incident that evening in my room ended such thought.

A senior boy once killed a large python and carried it on his shoulders like it was an award. A green snake which I assumed was a mamba slithered out of the field right in front of my friends and I when we were going for an afternoon prep.

Rats had a party running around in my hostel and also eating students feet. This happened mostly to students who went to bed with dirty feet. Students took joy in killing them but they gave the rodents a slow and tortuous death. The rats were caught and their tails were burnt in a lantern. Next, students put their whiskers into the lantern. It was funny hearing the cries of a rat. Trust me, their cries warned all other rats to stay away and for the next few weeks, we saw no rats in the hostel.

At night, after lights out, we often heard the cries of foxes in the forest. Their barks and cries were so loud on some days that we almost felt like they were right behind our room.

Different students had encounters with soldier ants and termites as they walked into their long armies. I learnt early to always look on the ground while walking to avoid becoming a victim.

A classmate had a weird liking for millipedes and she picked them up every time she saw one and caressed them like a baby……ewwww.

I look back today and I still wonder; how did we survive living in the midst of all these?

——
Photo Credit: http://www.canstock.com

Insane Driving

The road was a cross junction and I waited for the grey Toyota Corolla in front of me to drive into the street ahead. There was another car; a white Honda Civic in front of him. The driver in the Honda Civic noticed that there was a road block down the street caused by a religious gathering. He hesitated for a few seconds probably considering his options of an alternative route.

Cars behind me began to honk and I ignored them. If the driver of the white Honda did not make up his mind, we were all stuck. Suddenly, he began to reverse. I watched in horror as the driver in the grey Toyota Corolla honked continuously but the driver in front of him reversed all the way and bumped into him.

The driver in the white Honda Civic got down from his car and walked up to the other driver. “Kí ló selè nau?” (What happened?) He asked the driver of the car he just bumped into.

“What do you mean by that? You hit my car and you are asking me stupid question.” The other driver said.

“You no see me? You no see say I dey reverse?” The Honda Civic driver asked.

My jaw dropped as I watched the exchange. Was this guy for real? I thought. By now, there was a spill back of traffic and I tried to see if I could pass through as my final destination was before the road block.

The driver in the Toyota Corolla got out of his car in anger. “Ó dàbí pé o stupid? (I think you are stupid). Ojú è fó ni? (Are you blind?)

“Ojú tì ë ló fó?” (You are the one that is blind). The Honda Civic driver responded; spoiling for a fight.

I maneuvered my way through and as I got close to both men, I rolled down my window. “Oga, how can you reverse without looking back?” I asked the driver of the Honda Civic. “And you can apologize because you are wrong.” I continued.

“Can you imagine? He hit my car and he is claiming right again.” The driver of the Toyota Corolla said to me.

“Madam, mind your business. Wetin be your own?” The Honda Civic driver said to me.

“Haba! Who reverses without looking back?” I asked.

“Abeg, carry your car comot here.” The Honda Civic driver shouted at me.

I looked at the Toyota Corolla to see the damage done. There were a few scratches but no lights were broken. “Sorry.” I said to the driver of the Toyota Corolla. “I doubt the guy is okay.” I continued.

The Toyota Corolla driver hissed as he also looked at the damage done to his car.

I shook my head as I drove off thinking;

What would it cost the Honda Civic driver to apologize for his obvious wrong? Why do most people behave insane once they are behind the wheels?

I just wonder.

——-
Photo Credit: http://www.spareaze.com

Shine your eyes!

The popular market was busy. Passersby, buyers and sellers all struggled to walk past or have business transactions on the already crowded street. People and vehicles jostled for space as cars honked to get their attention. The sun beat hard and various bodies glistened with sweat. A conductor hung precariously on a yellow J5 bus as he shouted his destination at the top of his croaky voice. Passengers shoved each other to get into the bus.

“Na five five oh. Madam, dress. I say na five five.” The conductor shouted at a woman in the bus.

Within a few minutes, the bus was filled and the conductor tapped the roof of the bus to signal to the driver that they were ready to move.

A woman who was seated by the window at the back seat of the bus called a pure water vendor. She collected a satchet from the young boy and paid for it. As she bit the bag with her teeth to tear open a small portion, she dipped her head out of the bus and started to wash her face with the water. I was seated next to the woman and I noticed that as she put her head back into the bus, there was an expression of surprise and regret on the face of the bus conductor.

A hand appeared from outside and was on the woman’s neck. The woman held on to the gold chain on her neck but the guy who later showed his face was faster. As he pulled the gold chain, the man who sat beside me stretched his hand over me and tried to stop the thief. His outstretched hand came face to face with a shining metal and he withdrew his hand immediately. He did not want to get stabbed. Everything happened in the twinkling of an eye.

As the bus moved forward, the conductor said to the woman. “Madam, shine your eyes oh. You no dey do that kain thing for inside market. If you wear gold, you go comot am once you enter market.”

The man scolded the conductor. “Didn’t you see him when he was coming? You no fit tell her?”

“Oga, she don put her head outside already nau and dem don see the chain. If I talk, dem go know say na me tell her.

As the journey proceeded, the woman mourned the loss of her chain. While some passengers sympathized with her, others began to tell various incidents of robbery in the market.

——

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com

DisAbility

“Please can you assist me in getting a bus to Okoko.” A male voice spoke from the back.

The two friends were seated in a danfo bus and had been discussing with each other. They looked back to acknowledge the person with the voice. He was quite young; probably in his late 20s and he was wearing sunshades which were not so dark. The friends shared a look. He was visually impaired.

“Okay.” They responded as the bus inched slowly towards the final bus-stop. Every other passenger had disembarked and the three of them were left in the bus; besides the driver and the conductor.

“Conductor, you have not given me my change.” The guy said to the conductor. The conductor handed him a fifty naira note and the two friends watched him as he felt the naira note.

“How much did you give me?” He asked the conductor.

“Fifty naira.” The conductor responded.

He put the money in his pocket as he said a thank you to the conductor.

The bus arrived the final destination and the three of them disembarked. The friends held his hands; one on the right and the other on the left as they led him to where he was going to get a bus to Okoko.

“So how do you know the amount you are giving to the conductor?” One of the friends asked him.

“I arrange my money accordingly before leaving home.” The guy replied.

“But what if the conductor does not give you the correct change?” She asked again.

“Well.” He replied as he shrugged. “I only hope they will.”

“And how would you find your way home?” She asked him; still confused.

“I know my way around.” The visually impaired guy concluded.

The friends ensured that he was seated in a bus going towards his destination before they proceeded on their own mission.

They however wondered about how he coped daily with no guide to take him around.

 

 

A few weeks later, one of the friends was standing at a bus-stop when she saw a woman get off a tricycle. She seemed to be partial visually impaired. She had neither a guide nor a white cane. She looked disoriented for a few seconds after getting off the tricycle as she blinked many times; maybe in an effort to get her eyes accustomed to the environment.

Only one question was in the mind of the lady as she watched the visually impaired woman. How do the visually impaired survive in a country like Nigeria? A country where adequate provisions are not made for people living with disabilities.

——

Photo Credit: http://www.disabilitypride.org