Monday, 31 May 2010
Monday 31st May 2010
Today is a public holiday here in Lagos as well as back in the UK. It was a slow start all round today, even the children didn’t rise so early, and no knocks on the door. I got up, showered, had my cornflakes and mango, and eventually when the children realised I was up they all came in one by one. They clamber all over my bed and seem to enjoy wrapping themselves in my cover (especially Sola). The other thing they want is to press buttons on my computer, this I have had to be strict about as they do just press which is a pain when I’m in the middle of anything, so my rules are Do Not Touch!
As distraction from my netbook I went outside with them and watched them crash on their bikes for a while, they seem to get the most fun by taking the bikes indoors and then falling down the large front step and crashing into the car. Bolu was wearing her new Hello Kitty bow in her hair that she proudly told she received from the children’s party at church.
The family all then went out and I sat outside with Nike (the dog) who was now tied up as punishment for the bin episode yesterday. I watched as the red faced lizard ran along the top of the wall dodging the barbed wire and I flapped to get the flies off me, there are so many here. I am feeling quite homesick today and wishing I was going home to see my family, now the children’s day party is over, and with nothing major now planned, the clinic seems quiet, and there seems little reason for me to be here.
Soon Femi arrived with his assistant Fumni, as we were going to Festac to pay another visit to Gloria before I leave. The traffic was slightly reduced again today due to the holiday I guess. As we drove along we suddenly passed a taxi (one of the yellow mini buses built to carry about 8 people usually seen with several more crammed in). It had stopped in the middle of the road with its wheel literally fallen off (don’t think it had passed an MOT recently). All the women passengers were standing on the blocks in centre of the roads, obviously paid for their ride but going nowhere. There seems to be quite a lot of burnt out or smashed vehicles dotted along the road sides, cars, taxis and lorries.
I can’t help but notice people’s shoes as we drive along especially the men’s, I don’t think they worry too much about shoe sizes as a rule here. Many I notice are either too small and their feet hang over the edges whether sandals or even sometimes actual shoes with the back worn over, whilst others are too big and they look like flippers. I guess money dictates what they have and what’s available to them, the ‘shoe shops’ as with most shops tend to be small stalls with a selection of several items, not a cellar full of different sizes.
We arrived at Gloria’s house where the neighbour’s chickens were running around with the pigeons all pecking for food. It appears that chickens and goats run around Lagos much like they would in a farm, they just roam about, I assume people know which ones belong to whom. We stayed and had drinks, chatted for a while then made our way back, I was glad to see Gloria before heading back to the UK.
As we were going we grabbed a snack from a street seller, fried yam and akara with a dollop of a salsa type dressing and a nice bit of chewy goat skin thrown in. I declined the goat skin as when I say chewy, I mean really rubbery, Femi enjoyed it though.
There is a river that is crossed to get to Festac and on the opposite bank I noticed as we were heading back were loads of tin roofed huts/houses all looking precariously like they were about to fall into the river. Many of the rivers that we pass (and there are many in Lagos as its built around lagoons) are sadly full of rubbish and must be extremely polluted. It seems that although Lagos State is making a noticeable effort in clearing up the streets, it has yet to look at the waterways, some are certainly loads worse than others but all are affected. This in turn must affect the health of people as well as wildlife.
On our drive back we witnessed another victim of poor vehicle maintenance. A huge lorry laden with its goods had completely snapped in half down the centre, the middle of it was touching the floor. These things very rarely just happen and not if they have been well maintained and not over loaded. We looked in amazement and both just laughed ‘only in Nigeria’.
I returned home and when the others got in Angela prepared food, fried chicken and turkey (which is always chopped into small potions never cooked whole and sliced). Angela also prepared Amala, which I finally saw how it was made, from yam flour and water stirred and stirred into play dough consistency and turns a grey colour (there may have been more to it than that). This was served with a bean sauce and another hot sauce all of which I can’t remember the names of.
The whole of the evening was filled with the sound of torrential rain, I came in from the garden about five o’clock because it started to spit. By eight we had thunder, lightning and this continued on and on. I wonder what the roads will be like tomorrow as many were flooded today with just showers. Many of the roads have been laid without much if any drainage, it’s a good job the cars seem to be diesel and not petrol, at least they stand half a chance through the roads of river. I also wonder how it affects all those people in those poorly put together buildings, the disabled men scooting around on those skateboards, and all the street workers trying to make their living.